Saturday, January 4, 2014

friend 1960 ksl

Friend 1960





On 1960, Mr. KS Lim’s family including his mother- in- law came to Brunei. Dad said, “I have a car. I will meet them in Customs and help them settle in our house at 3 Jalan Teraja.”  Dad designed and built that house for Booty &Edward on leased land from Mr. Cheung. Mr. Lim moved into the smaller northern section of the house with a separate staircase (right side of the left picture below). That night “There was a blackout. It turned out KS tried to fix something and triggered a circuit break.


“He was a very hard working young man. He borrowed a tricycle, carried the unwanted wood and made furniture himself.” Dad was also very impressed by a very memorable feast organized by Mrs. Lim and their mother.

In order to make ends meet, KS and dad soon took a side job conducting pilling survey/evaluations at SOAS college. This required both of them to dig a big square holes 4x 4x6 feet for $50.  They took turns to dig and to carry out the dirt. They concentrated so hard , they  forgot to eat dinner. The wives went all over to look for them and Mrs. Lim was in tears when she saw her loving husband in the hole digging. They soon quit this laborious job and took up lighter contracts to do Fence and window screen work. The family became very close , and we called him Uncle Lim. Soon, Uncle Lim was transferred to Kuching after 2.5 years before they returned to Singapore a year later.

“Uncle Lim is very kind to me. Every time I went to Singapore, I always had a room. I stayed sometimes up to a week without any charge. I was introduced to all his family. They were all very kind to me.” I vaguely remember that Mom and I stayed with Uncle Lim’s family in Singapore several times and enjoyed their hospitality very much.

“I borrowed money from him, many times, sometimes up to S$7000. He always gave me the money without question asked. He was not rich, It is likely he borrowed  the money from his family.” A college graduate might get S$300 /month. I questioned why Dad needed so much money on his trips to Singapore. He explained, “I did not have enough cash and I had to send money to China.”

“He helped me with various  architectural  work. This included a 6 stories Hotel in Tawau, North Borneo. After that, I wanted to give him a S$5000 bonus for his work and kindness, but he refused.”


End note:

On my last trip to Brunei 2011,   I taped many hours of Dad’s audio stories.  It has been a challenge to pin him down and have him concentrated on one subject.

He has shared stories about three of his very best friends in life. I have summarized the experiences here.   Money, house and other material aspect were mentioned to give some perspective of the times and  just to show lucky we are today. I am amazed of his memory of the details.

These stories show me certain life lessons: It reminds me that life is quite random, that small interactions can mean so much. We should be mindful of how we treat others. And we could make our trip on earth a pleasurable one with these lessons in mind.

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