Handsome couple Mr. and Mrs. Chew Chiong Tack. Mr Chew Kindly let me use this photo. Mrs. Chew made the dress. What a beautiful dress it is. My mum would have been a beautiful bride. I love the bouquet,
I was pleasantly surprised to receive this email. It's from the
son of Mr Chew. We older kids knew Father's good friend
Chiong Tack. He had a shop near the wharf. Father was the
Secretary of the Old Boy's Association, and Chiong Tack
was the treasurer. I was indirectly involved because I help
father to collate the annual report. We remember the DA
POW from the association dinners. ( That resulted in my first
published article in the Dolphin magazine).
I will copy Dr John Chew's first email, and his brother Paul
Chew's comment to my blog post.I am sure they do not
mind. Both my parents are dead, and finding Mr Chew
Chiong Tack is like finding our relative.
We have not met but our parents were good friends.
My brother was googling my father's name and came
across Sarawakiana blog and your posting about my
mother's wedding dress. My parents are 90 years old
now and they remembered both your parents well. My Dad
said your father and him were very good friends,and
being in the Old Boys committee together for many
years before your Dad was transferred to Sarikei. . He
talked about their two heads clashing and my father
ended up worse off with a black eye.My Mum remembered
the unfortunate accident involving your Mum.
This is a picture of their wedding 12th September 1942.
They are in Kuching now with us, and lately have not
been of their best health.
My brother Paul tried to reply on your blog but I
think email is better.
I got to your blog through Sarakiana's blog after googling
my father's name. My father is Chew Chiong Tack. Yes, he
was your father's good friend. He even remembered your
father's black eye from football injury. My parents are now
staying with us in Kuching. They are both 90 and have fond
memories of the good old days.
My parents were married during the World War 2, (Japanese
War), they didn't take a wedding photo. Sometime after mum
had died in 1988, I tease dad if they eloped. I asked dad if
Mother wore Aunty Kok Fei's wedding dress because I have
see Aunty's dress and her wedding photos. Dad said he
borrowed Mrs. Chew Chiong Tack's wedding dress. I never
asked why his friend's wife and not Aunty Kok Fei's. I am
curious, and now I have the opportunity to find out. Uncle
Kok Fei was sort of Father's best man when they paddled
the canoe up Rejang River to Durin and fetch Mother down
The Japanese came, at fifteen, Mother gave up her dreams of studying in the big city and became a candidate for a child bride match making session. Ah Tai promised her that she would choose a young man of fine character, educated and from a good family. Ah Tai went out to reconnoiter with her cousin Lai Siong who was a match maker. She must have loved her granddaughter so much to travel during the perilous war time in a little canoe. Together they scoured fifty miles of both sides of Rejang River, and the whole of Sibu town. Word came that five miles upriver was that fine young man who fitted the bill. He was unfortunately not a Hakka but a Kwong Ning boy and a Chan.
Traditionally the Hakka Kongs married only the Hakka
Lais, and vice versa. The Cantonese Chans married
only the Cantonese Lees, and vice versa. But then beggars cannot be choosers.
quickly find a wife. For him, it was the fear of forcefully
conscripted to the Japanese army.
I have got permission from my Mum for you to use the
Answers to your queries:
1. My grandfather owned a shop selling clothing
material besides practicing as a Chinese Physician.
During the Japanese Occupation cloth was in very
short supply and there was a rush to get married amid
rumours of conscription and comfort ladies. The
wedding gown was made by "tukang"
My Mum made the head band and bouquet out of paper
flowers herself. Many brides did not wear wedding gown
because of the rush and of the short supply! My Dad
said many weddings were celebrated by as much as
letting off the firecracker and nothing else! Mum said
your Mum was about her size and she lent the gown to 6
2. The name Rose probably came the Catechism teacher
so there were many Marys and Roses.