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tay full interview

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testing test Can you please say your full name? i am tay yam yam I also have another name. They call me Ah Hwa They frequently call me by that name. Why do they call you Ah Hwa? When I was young, my father gave me the name Yam Yam. My mom said it's very difficult to call, so called me Ah Hwa. This name is given by my mom. Where were you born? In Indonesia. Where in Indonesia? Bagan (Formerly known as Bagan Siapi Api) Do you remember which year? I forgot. 1929 or 1930? 1930 How is the living conditions? Is the house big or small? House is big. How many rooms are there? It's upstairs and downstairs. How many rooms are there? There are 3 rooms. Because the house is very big. Are there workers? At first, there are no workers. So, your mother do the housekeeping? Yes Besides you, who else is born there? Eldest uncle Second uncle Second Auntie Third Uncle Fourth Uncle Any more? No more. And Fifth Uncle and Third Auntie, are they born in Singapore? In Singapore. Where did you go for your Primary School studies? Indonesia That is Bagan? Yes, in Bangan Do you remember how old were you when you come to Singapore? 17 years old, not sure if it's 16. When you came to Singapore, you studied..which grade? Secondary. Secondary. Sec 1 or Sec 2? Sec 1. Sec 1, that would be roughly 12 years old. 13 years old. 13 years old. You said grandma did buy a worker. Can you talk about it for Jon? Did buy a girl. How old was the girl when she's bought over? not sure if she's 17 or 13. I forgot. it's alright. After buying, what is her job? Cleaning and caring for children. How is she bought over? People brought over. Is she brought over by her own mother? No, she is brought over by other people. Do you know how much money grandma gave? Don't know. So, she worked till when? She worked till her teens. Don't know which age? Then what happened? Then married her off. When she was working, how did grandma treat her? Just ask her to do chores and when she did not do well, she was scolded. Did not beat her. The food fed to her, is it the same as those that you all ate? It's the same. What kind of work did grandpa do in Indonesia? He open a hardware store. What did he sell? Do you remember what he sells? He sells stuff used for fishing. Fish nets. What is the memory that is the strongest for you during your time in Indonesia? That is the time when the Japanese came and stayed there. They stayed at our house. When the Japanese came and stayed at your house, where do you all stay? We stayed at the forest. When you stayed at the forest, who arranged for the place to stay? There were workers. Workers build a house? Yes. How long did you all stayed there? Only a few days. After the house was built, the Japanese left. So, we only stayed a few days. About 1 week? Yes. Do you have any food to eat in the forest? Yes, we cook. Because that place belongs to my father's book-keeper. His family stays there. That is his home. So, we stayed at his home. Are you scared? Not scared. Not scared that the Japanese find you all there? Not scared. Japanese did not look for us there. I remember that you said the Japanese cooked in your parents' house and gave you all their cooked food. Yes. How did you all meet these Japanese? They came to our house. So they came to your house on their own? Yes. After they came you your house, you all moved to the forest? Yes. They let you all moved to the forest? Yes. They are not fierce or anything. How many days did they cook in the house before you all moved to the forest? About 1 or 2 days only. Then you all let them use the house and moved to the forest? Yes. You said, next to the house, there was a hole dug. Can you say something about it? The Japanese dug a pit there and the people said that it's to bury Chinese. Before that was completed, they surrendered. So no one was buried. No. When they surrendered, were you there? I was there. How are they when they surrendered? Nothing much. They just move away. How do you move to Singapore? We travelled by fishing boat. With my father and your eldest uncle. Who travelled with you? With father and your eldest uncle. And there are fishermen and skipper. It's a big boat. It's a big fishing boat. How many people are on the fishing boat? 20? No, only 5-6 others who helped on the boat. Why do you travel from Indonesia to Singapore? We came because me and your eldest uncle are given the chance to study here. The rest did not get to come. So where did you stay in Singapore? In your grandfather's friend home. Where is it? On Robinson Road. From there we look for dormitories to stay with the school. Yes, we stayed at the school dormitories. So later, did the rest come over? Yes, the rest came after that. Why do they come over? Indonesians want to kill Chinese. Your grandfather and others were very scared. So your grandma, fourth uncle, third uncle, second auntie, second uncle were brought over. Where do they travel to? To Malacca. So, how do they travel from Malacca to Singapore? I heard they travel by lorry. How do you know Indonesians are killing Chinese? Because there were Chinese being killed. Do you know who were killed? I don't know. It's hearing from others? Yes. All are very scared and grandfather asked someone to look after his house. So all came here? Yes. Then with some many of you, where do you stay? From a friend, found a warehouse. The warehouse is in Amoy Street. Then my mom has a friend with a house in Geylang. Then went there to stay. How long did you stay until you have your own house? Don't know. Did you all stay at Telok Ayer before? No. After Geylang, where did you move to? Did you move to Upper Serangoon Road? No. We moved to Telok Ayer and rented a room. During that time, we need to pay a deposit to stay there. After sometime, we found the place in Upper Serangoon Road. The house in Upper Serangoon Road is very big. So, you moved from Telok Ayer to Upper Serangoon Road? Yes. Is life tough staying at Telok Ayer? Not really. We had a helper. That helper can't cook, so after a few days, we had to let that helper go. During that time, did grandpa decides men can do certain things and women can do other things? No, grandpa does not favour male over female. When did you stop studying? Pre-U 1 Why only till Pre-U 1? My results were bad and I was asked to repeat and I didn't want to. I didn't want to repeat the class, so I quit school. Was grandpa angry with you? No, he already returned back to Bagan. So I returned to Bagan to teach. He returned to do business there and I went there to teach. That's where I met Ngong Ngong. He was the primary school principle there and I taught in his school for 1 year. What happens after a year? I returned to Singapore That time were you are Singapore citizen? Yes. Then you can go to Indonesia? Can. After you returned to Singapore, what did you do? After coming back, I went with Auntie Jin Zi(her close friend) to Kukup to teach. She introduced me to teach there. Who did you meet in Kukup? Met Ying Zi. It's been a long time. He studied in Singapore, Zong Zhen. He's from there (Kukup), so went there. Did you met him in Singapore? No, only when I was there teaching, then I met him there. Why did you choose to teach? Because I can't do other things. When you teach, how do you feel? Any sense of fulfilment? It's alright. When you teach, did you learn anything? No, didn't learn anything. Just working with students. When you were teaching in Kukup, how did the principal treat you? Not bad. How long after knowing Ying Zhi, did you decide to marry? Not long. 1 year? Yes, maximum 1 year. Why so fast? Your grandpa kept asking me to get married. Said that I'm getting older, I need to get married. And I don't have much choices, felt that Ying Zhi is more honest. So, married him. Last time you told me grandpa wants to arrange for you to marry someone else. Is that true? It's before this. Yes, he wants me to marry someone else. How did you tell grandpa that you don't want? I said that man is a businessman and rich. Rich people tend to have a change in heart. I don't want rich man. Poor men better. Grandpa is a businessman. Yes. Did grandpa change his heart? No. Did he have other women? No. Where did you get the idea that rich men will change their hearts? It's my own thoughts. Didn't meet rich man who changed their hearts. It's my own thoughts. How did you meet Ying Zhi? When I was teaching there, I met him. Was he a teacher? Yes. He didn't teach for long. He has a relative that has a business in fertiliser. That relative introduced him to be their book-keeper. Is it in Kukup? No, that relative introduced him to work in Kelatan. After we were married. You went with him to Kelantan? Yes. After I followed him, not long later, I'm pregnant. When I'm pregnant, I returned to Singapore. He worked as book-keeper there. Did not follow me back. Not long later, he returned. What about work? How did he provide for you? He was sick that's why he returned. He returned and stayed at the hospital. Was told that he had cancer of the liver. He stayed in the hospital for 4 months. And he passed away there. Was it very expensive to stay there for 4 months? It's $10 a day. Still cheap. And I asked his company for the money. They paid until he passed away and they gave $500 for the funeral services. You mentioned that he was sick when you are pregnant. Did he get to see me when I'm born? You were born and living in Hougang (that's Upper Serangoon Road). That time, he's not hospitalised. He came and see you. He stayed with you in Hougang? Yes. Did he carry me before? I think he didn't. When he was hospitalised, he kept asking me to bring you to him, I told him that there are virus at the hospital, I didn't dare to. Can you tell Jonathan about what Kukup relatives asked you to do with me? They said that your fate is not good, you've brought death to your father. So they want to give your father, his elder brother's son. Are you supposed to give me away? No. They want you to have his elder brother's son? Yes, I didn't want to. Can you share what you do on your first date with Ying Zhi? Nothing much. He's a very honest man. Were you introduced to him or how do you get to know him? He was teaching in the school at Kukup. That's how we know each other. How did he treat you when you were just married and moved to Kelantan? Nothing much. When he goes to work there, what did you do? I did not do anything. Do you remember when you contracted Parkinson's? It was on a trip to Jakarta (school reunion). There's a person, Lee Li Jun. She saw how I walked and asked me to watch out. That I have Parkinson's and need to see a doctor. When we returned, she wrote TCM medicine for me to boil the herbs to drink. I also went to Chinatown to have acupuncture treatment. So I did both. So, from then on, I kept having to be treated. Why does grandma have her feet bounded and she didn't have your feet bounded? This is a China practice. It is for the rich people. Only the rich people (women) have their feet bounded. The poor people don't have to. Your great grandma wants your grandma's feet to be bounded. She don't want to. So she secretly opened them up at night. Her cousin, Min Yi, don't have bound feet. Min Yi is from a poor family. They are farmers. Have you met your grand parents? No So grandma didn't want you to have bound feet? No, that time we were in Indonesia and no one do that. Do you remember at what age were you married? 30. Was it considered old to get married at 30? Yes. Your grandpa said, you are already 30 and still don't get married. Do you want to be a spinster? Initially, I didn't want to get married. But he kept asking me to. You mentioned that before you were married, you went with Jing Zi to Malaysia and teach. Where did you go? Kota Tinggi. My friend, Ming Ziao, was teaching in Kota Tinggi. So I taught there for 1 month. From there, we went to Kuala Lumpur to meet another friend, Chun Ti. She was already married. We were very brave at that time. We travelled in taxi to Kuala Lumpur. On the way, we ate durian. Three girls in a taxi and did that until we reached KL. How long did you stay there? Just one day and one night. Then we left. Then how did you end up teaching in Kukup? It's because Jing Zhi started teaching there first. So she asked me to go there to teach. How did you know Jin Zhi? She's my secondary school friend. Jin Zhi, Chun Ti and Ming Ziao are all my secondary school friends. Alright. We are done. (We thanked her.) You are welcome.

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Duration: 41 minutes and 35 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: jonbutty on Jun 25, 2016

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