Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ah Kong, the rich yet generous man.

The Alberton, a rich man's house in Auckland. In my book, I described Kong's house which was torched by the Japanese. I imagine that Kong's house looked like this.

Ah Kong wanted to keep his wife away from the unsavory elements in the town. He went up to Upper Lanang Road and built his mansion. It was built on stilts, an ingenious way to defeat the annual flooding. There were three stories on top of the void area. It had balustrades lining the entire upstairs big balcony for outdoor seating. It had a grand front entrance. The lounge had marble flooring. He had fifteen rooms and an entire floor for the servants in the East Wing. He had three cars, and chauffeurs to drive him to work and his wife, concubines and daughters to shop. The most talked of all, was his water pump which had a motor in the wash house. The machine pumped water directly from Rejang River to the house. The rest of the people in the village had to bath in the river and carry water home from the river. It was the grandest house in the whole of Sibu.
He hosted dinner parties for the white civil servants and other rich men from the Foochow community. He had food shipped in from Singapore, and he was living the life of the rich and famous.
His wife, concubines and daughters retained their porcelain-white smooth skin as they were born in China. They had never worked outside in the burning tropical fields where other migrant women had to. They wore different kinds of cheongsams[1] and western dresses. They wore western make-up; rouge and lipstick and their hair was always permed.
It was like two different worlds. When they went to the hairdressing salon, they were regarded as very important customers. Likewise, when they went to the tailor, they received first class treatment. Ah Kong had imported the best silk fabric from Singapore and Hong Kong. The rest of the women in the village wore dull- coloured samfoos[2].

[1] Tall necked gowns
[2] Women attire of tunic and fisherman pants

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