Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Big Family Gathering


My maternal grandmother, my father (back row, third from the left), his siblings and bros-in-law.
Photo taken in front of the family home in Jalan Leong Tian, Ipoh.


In 2 days, the Big Family will be getting together in Penang! There will be 5 of my father's surviving siblings, the next generation and their offsprings. Yes, it's going to be BIG, BUSY and LOUD! As one can see from the photo above, my father came from a big family of 9 children. In total, there will be 57 of us in Penang, ranging in age from 8 months to 74 years old! The total is excluding some cousins who are living overseas and are not able to come back to join the reunion. Three generations under one roof. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a place to house the entire family under one roof. Some of my cousins' children are adults now, so in a few years we can expect to have a 4th generation joining in the reunion. I've mentioned the Leong Tian House in a Childhood Meme tag.

Penang is the place for lots of fabulous childhood memories for my cousins and I. We used to visit Penang every year end school holidays, stayed for one glorious week each time soaking in the sun and playing from early morning. We used to go to bed close to midnight as there was so much to do! We bugged the grown-ups to take us to the beach after breakfast; swimming in the sea, digging in the sand until way past lunch time. First one of our mothers would come to the seaside to call us in for lunch. Then another mother would try. Finally, one of the fathers would come call, which meant we were in serious trouble if we didn't get in RIGHT NOW!

Straight after lunch, we bugged the grown ups to take us to the beach again. The request usually followed with a reply, "Not so soon after a meal. You'll throw up". Five minutes later, "Can we go to the beach now?" We were on the beach again until almost sun down. Then, one mother come out to call, and another try...

We used to get fried in the sun! Did we use sunblock? Didn't hear of those until I was an adult! I remember using Nivea cream in a blue circular tin. That's why the smell of Nivea cream reminds me of my childhood. Sunburnt? No problem, use Hazeline Snow! Supposed to cool the burnt skin. Err... Given by adults, sapu saja lah.

We were out on the beach again after sunset! This time to watch the baby crabs crawl about on the sand. Sometimes, we equipped ourselves with a little pail to catch some. As kids, we didn't think what we were going to do with the baby crabs we caught. I remember one night, a couple of my cousins who were scouts started a fire on the beach with some twigs they found. We also picked up an empty sardine can which was flat. My cousin brother collected some sea water with the empty can, put a few baby crabs in the can with the sea water and proceeded to cook the baby crabs. The smell of the baby crabs cooking was heavenly!

During one of our night walks on the beach, one of my cousin brothers bent down to pick up a stick. The stick moved! It was a snake!!! I have never seen a group of people run so fast before. We were screaming on top of our lungs!

We also saw a turtle lay eggs on the beach behind our granduncle's house on Batu Ferringhi. The next day, one of cousin sisters who was about 4 years old then imitated the turtle on the beach.

This Big Family Gathering is extra special for my family, especially my cousins, brothers and I who spent many happy days in Penang. Our last year end holidays in Penang in was in 1980. It'll be 26 years since we've been there together. To say we're looking forward to the trip is an understatement.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sasha said...

dun forget jeu hoo char..

12:00 pm  

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