What did you say…

I went to the Rejang Park shops here one morning…

Rejang Park shops, Sibu

In case anybody is interested, that fancy-looking building on the left used to be a cinema. I dropped by the little shop facing the market to buy my favourite kompia – hot from the oven…

Rejang  Park kompia

The ones here are smaller and thinner and sometimes, they may even be out of shape and do not look so nice but looks can be deceiving for I find that they are crunchier and more fragrant than most – others are often tough and rubbery and not as nice when eaten on their own.

Well, since I was in the vicinity, I thought I would just stop somewhere to have something to eat so I went to this coffee shop that I had been to a few times before. I saw a familiar looking old lady sitting at one of the tables with a middle-aged man. I promptly ordered a plate of char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) with see-ham (cockles) and the guy got up and went  to cook what I had ordered.

It seemed that he mixed a bit of noodles with the kway teow even though I did not ask for it to be done that way and once ready, it was served right away…

Happy Hours char kway teow

…by a young girl – probably the daughter of the man and the grand-daughter of the old lady…and since she was not in school in the morning, I guessed that she must be in a lower secondary class as they usually have their lessons in the afternoon.

Juak chay lui?” (Direct translation: How much money?) I asked.

“Huh?” she replied, looking quite baffled.

Kui lui?” I rephrased the same question in another way.

She stood there in silence. In the meantime, the Indonesian worker came to my table to serve the kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) that I had asked for and she saw and heard what was going on and she replied loud and clear, “Empat (Four) ringgit!” I gave the girl the money and she took it curtly and left. Gosh! Don’t people teach their children good manners anymore? Tsk! Tsk!

It was rather early in the morning and there  were no other customers who wanted anything from the stall so that young girl sat at the same table with her grandmother. In the meantime, the old lady’s friend had joined her and they were conversing in Hokkien, discussing whatever they could see in the morning newspaper. The girl did not make a sound nor did she display any interest in what they were talking about.

Then, the old lady saw something in the papers and turning to the girl, she switched code and spoke to her in Mandarin and they talked about whatever they were talking about for a while in the language.

Sigh! The signs are showing, aren’t they? It is so very obvious that the dialects are slowly but surely becoming obsolete in this town especially among the younger generation. Anybody else has had the same experience here or elsewhere?

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

45 thoughts on “What did you say…”

  1. Sobs…. why la they never sell kompiah over here in KL. *mourning*

    Come…can start export business – air flown daily from Sibu…like to KK – now can buy kompia there. 😉

    1. 😦 Actually the solution to this is I learn to bake kompiah… but den again… I am completely hopeless in baking. I’ll spare those innocent oven from exploding… sobs!

      These, they use charcoal oven… See! Must come to Sibu, can see with own eyes. So many things, you city people dunno one! Got, got electric oven one – NCAA (no class at all), nobody wants to buy…

  2. ohhh tat is char kuey tew mien i love it!
    aiyak can’t speak dialect… my foochow so so only…
    tsk3, if u post instant noodles i can cook la
    but tat kompia, how on earth i can eat it today,gosssshhhhh
    i like kompia with chocolate milk
    or fried sumbat v minced meat, or ice creammmmm
    oooohhhhhh
    heavennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
    anyone send me kompia,huhuhuhu

    Your Foochow so-so only? I thought you’re Foochow? And Bintangor people, like Sibu…99% can speak Foochow one? Don’t tell me it is just like Sibu – everybody speaking Mandarin, so the dialect is dying out slowly? Well, kompia is a Foochow delicacy – part of Foochow culture…

    1. U go bodek Cikgu la… go beg him send to u some kompiah. Den get liao dun forget share wif me ah! LOL!

      You go Penang April 1st and collect lah… Hehehehehe!!! 😉

    2. no my mandarin so so too, i use rojak language. hahahhaha. i usually have hard time to understand older generation’s foochow… they use more complicated foochow i think/ hahahahah. like my grandma or my late great grandma.

      Oh, those old people’s Foochow really hard to understand… Never hear people speaking it like that anymore. Most of the time now, I can understand…just cannot speak properly – the intonation is killing! Mandarin is a lot easier…

  3. you mean the noodles and kopi o peng cost rm4??? very cheap leh…haish … i am hungry 😦

    Nope, the noodles RM4.00…and the kopi-o-peng RM1.50. Not cheap…some places other cheaper.

    1. then…its very expensive leh, here aa vry big portion rm4.50. usually share v bf, nt sure how much if small portion. *drool*

      This one also big…and look, so many cockles. RM4 is actually worth it, but that doesn’t mean it is not expensive…so can have that once in a while, ok lah.

  4. i am intrigued with the kompia…. what’s inside??
    i used to dip bread in coffee… yum yum

    Nothing. It’s unleavened bread backed in hot charcoal oven. They do sell, stuffed with meat, deep fried and all that…but of course, those would be more expensive.

    1. oh but anyway kompia taste a lot better than any bread, cikgu, can deep fried urself ma, stuff ice cream or minced meat up to you. nom3

      You Bintangor Foochow…sure you’ll say that! LOL!!! Nothing in the world like kompia or kampua… 😉

  5. A quick glimpse at the first photo reminded me a bit of St. Mark’s square, Venice!

    Wah! Not bad leh…Sibu, like Venice. Hehehehe!!!! 😉

  6. So what is left after the cinema are the birds and bees (where got bees? use your imagination lah..hehe)..Nice shot of the birds.(landing or taking off?)

    So happened that some people were walking through them so they started f lying… Lucky shot. Dunno what they’re doing at the building, some shops on the ground floor – dunno any birds and bees or not in the cinema proper…😉

  7. There is nothing inside the kompia? Thought to see some nuts, black bean paste or something and yet so yum yum! What is the *trick* in the recipe?

    Dunno…one friend from another town said it was tasteless but after eating one and another one and another one, she could not stop. Ordered RM10 to take home for her family to try…

  8. It’s been a trend now for the children to either converse in Mandarin/English and lesser dialects among my relatives, friends and neighbours. So you better start learn to ‘kong Mandarin’ now..

    I’m very conversant in Mandarin now…since a few years ago, Everybody else speaking…and forced to speak when they could not understand dialects so now I’m quite comfortable with it…anytime!

  9. Kompia,kampua..all sound the same leh..I pun dah confused! Anyway, what’s inside the kompia? Kosong or with fillings? Cerita la sikit for the ‘dungus’ like me.
    But the CKT look so syiok…black-black with chow-tah bits..tak boleh tahan I see!!! Next time I visit you, you bring me eat that,okay…

    No problem at all. So when are you coming? Come, come…you can eat all you want. LOL!!!
    To know more about kompia, drop by this post:
    https://suituapui.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/history-2/
    😀

  10. omg.. hokkien! My dialect, pls don’t let it die off. When I have my own kids, I’m definately going to talk to them in Hokkien. Penang Hokkien to be exact!!!

    Yup…I can speak Hokkien in Penang, no problem…or English – not here! 😦

  11. Oh lovely!…simply lovely……the char kway teow plus mee….makes my stomach groaning loh!!……

    Over here in Kuching the price is more or less the same. BTW, how’s the taste of the CKT?

    Oh!…kompia…used to have it when I was small. My bro-in-law is a Foochow from Bintangor (last time I tink is called Binatang)…correct me if I am wrong. He used to buy for us but unfortunately, he and his family have long ago moved to stay in Kuching, so it has been a long…. long….. time I last tasted kompia.

    The kway teow was really good, a bit pricey but very generous with the cockles…so I would think it was quite reasonable, that price. I think they make kompia in Kuching now…but they say not so nice, not original. LOL!!! 😀

  12. Sign of the times. Used to be even my Malay friends could speak Foochow, now the Foochows themselves can’t speak their own dialect. BTW, that plate of CKT looks heavenly, noodles or not. As for the kompia, I prefer the store behind Seng Kee’s bakery on Market St. Seng Kee itself has gone downhill since they decided to forsake the charcoal fire for the electric oven.

    Must get these for you – I never liked kompia all my life (I know! I’m a disgrace to Sibu!) until I tried these. Now I would drop by to buy once in a while… Yup…like those in Penang can speak Hokkien so well. I wonder if they still do…

  13. Ermmm…. a lot of my Foochow friend speak Mandarin more. Some of them which having a child, they speak mandarin to them although both parents are Foochow. In KL, some Hokkiens does not speak Hokkiens but mostly Cantonese.

    Same also in English speaking homes…

  14. The Rejang Park are still looks the same. I used to go there often during Primary School days because my cousins lived there.
    Both my hubby and I are Hokkien but we don’t speak Hokkien to each other (He speaks Johor Hokkien with heavy accent while I speak Sarawak Hokkien with gentler accent). That’s why it is so hard to teach my kids Hokkien. Hope it won’t be too late to start.

    Yup, still the same…no change?

    Johore different? I used to speak Hokkien in Singapore inthe 70s…a bit different but still the same…like Penang Hokkien or Perak Hokkien. Even Kuching and Sibu, there may be a few words different, that’s all. Don’t worry – kids pick up languages and dialects very fast…I was away for 3 months, my MIL came to stay with my missus and daughter and when I came home, my daughter was speaking Hokkien…exactly like my MIL (before that we spoke English only).

  15. Yes, it’s sad that our younger generations are not able to speak dialects now. I feel sad for my two girls who are so ‘ang moh’. My fault I know but it’s such a challenge here when hubby doesn’t speak it either.

    You’re not the only one, many like that. They say that the dialects are the culture – we talk about Foochow cuisine, Foochow wedding customs, Foochow funeral customs etc…and those of other dialects, not Mandarin cuisine and customs…and they say that when the dialects die, the culture die too. Anyhow, whatever it is, it is already dying…as the young ones these days do not (are not bothered to) know their cultural heritage at all… They all know McDs and such better than anything from their own roots.

  16. Talking abt dialect and language….it crossed my mind thinking of my 2 kids.

    I am a Teochew and hubby is Hakka but we both speak Hokkien at home. Naturally,our kids follow suit.

    Yes!….like you say, kids pick up dialect and language very fast. Both my kids pick up their Hakka dialect from the babysitter who happens to be a Hakka too. Same dialect as my hubby (syn-onn khek).

    My girl didn’t even know a single word of cantonese and Mandarin when she is in Kuching. Surprisingly, now she is working in KL, she can speak both fluently and whereas my boy is the opposite. My boy is “chiak ang moh chang, pang ang moh pui”…hahaha

    See my reply to Charmaine’s comment. I guess it all depends on the individual – like what caused the PPSMI (Teaching of Maths & Science in English) to fail. Many TEACHERS, fresh grads from uni, could not speak much less teach in English and the sad part was they were simply not bothered to learn – the attitude of many in the profession today, really pathetic! They would just teach in their own language regardless…

  17. kompia is selling RM1 for 4 here..what about Sibu?

    Not too sure, just tell them how much I want.That’s RM3 in the pic – how many can you see? Hehehehehe!! 😀 I think 12, so the same lah…

  18. the kompia looks like hopia here but it’s filled with mung beans 🙂

    what’s the language that you use with the girl? Mandarin? hokkien? what’s the official languange in malaysia? 🙂

    Hokkien, a Chinese dialect. The official language is Malay which is similar to Indonesian language. The kompia is plain, nothing inside…but at various places, they slice them, stuff meat and toast in the oven before serving them hot…or they deep fry the kompia – nicer…but not so healthy!

  19. that plate of noodles looks well familiar! Are they the same people who used to have a stall opposite Star Cineplex near equatorial?? Because that stall used to do amazing noodles.

    You mean the wrap-in-egg kway teow at Kok Cheng – Ah Tor’s? Nope, this isn’t it. I hear the guy is at Up2U Cafe, next to the public library…and the one at Choon Seng in Sg Merah is nice too – they say the lady’s the guy’s sister.

  20. The kompia loooks great! oh well, like me, my Hakka berkarat dy. lol now tongue oso terbelit if speak it, but still can understand la, n if back to grandma’s place, got no choice but speak Hakka. :p anyway, i found that speaking in Cantonese is much easier than Hakka.hehe

    My Stories

    Oh? Lots of Cantonese people-speaking people in KK? I never noticed… I think I spoke Hokkien when I went around there…or English or Malay. LOL!!!

  21. kampua biscuit… have yet have any leh!

    Put me to shame… mine girl also hardly speak her own mother tongue, Hainanese! Even if we spoke to her in Hainanese she will still answer in English… slap forehead!

    Kompia… This can be so confusing, eh? LOL!!! Ah well…at least she can understand. Like my late grandma would speak Foochow (my ori dialect) to me and I would answer in Hokkien (I speak this at home) and the conversation would go on like that. Like duck and chicken talking! LOL!!!

  22. Rejang Park, yes yes, i remember the first picture, that place always have lots of birds.

    I went to the small shop buy kompia when i back to Sibu last year too, my mum said that is the only shop now selling good kompia. Must eat it while it still pipping hot!! yummy!!!

    That plate of CKT look very good too!! Typical sibu style of CKT. Yummy too!!

    I am foochow, i understand hokkien, but i cannot speak, when ppl talk to me in hokkien i will reply in mandarin, rude? hahahah. My boys even worst, not to mention to ask them to speak foochow, even mandarin they also hardly speak. Although, i speak to them in mandarin sometime too.

    Two shops again. The other one, Jason, not as nice…and people very rude – only if you place big orders, otherwise, they just ignore you or treat you rudely! This one, they closed for a while as Sugar Bun employed the guy – now back in business – the younger brother and family members doing it.

    At least you can speak Foochow, your own dialect. This girl’s from a prominent Hokkien family – I knew her great-grandparents and some of her aunties and also her uncle…and now she cannot speak their own dialect. I can’t speak my own dialect, Foochow as from small, at home, we spoke Hokkien – dunno why…and I came from a prominent Foochow family. Your kids bananas kah? English-speaking? Live in KL, can speak Cantonese or not? They don’t speak, never mind. At least, they know and can understand the language – good enough.

  23. It’s happening in other tribes also. Luckily my parents never want to lose their mother tongue languges-Bidayuh Bau & Siburan. I end up speak 6 languages at home….

    That’s wonderful! My cousin – Chinese-Melanau and hubby Bidayuh….and the kids only speak English. Another cousin – the mum stays with them…so at least, the kids can speak Hokkien. All depends on home environment and upbringing.

  24. after reading your blog for some years, I can now recognise the foods and even remember the names. When i saw that picture, straightaway i shouted kompia… i’m so clever!

    Hahahaha!!! You learn fast. Must get you some next trip to KL…but it’s just plain unleavened bread though.

  25. yummy.. yummy.. 🙂 hopefuly can get 1 stall here in Kelantan.. :p

    You probably can…and just as cheap. Dunno Kelantan but Sg Petani, at the stalls, they never cover the food…and the multitude of flies really put me off!

    Btw, your first time here, Simon. Welcome…and do drop by again. Will link you in my blogroll… 😉

  26. Hello my dear teacher,

    Relli love your blog.. whenever i feel upset (oversea) the delicious food on ur website is goin to cheer me up… :D~
    Nextime go back must ask you where to get all these delicious food … hehe..

    Ronnie

    Hi! Haven’t seen you around for a while. Been busy? Ya, sure…if you come back, just let me know…and we can meet some place. Would be my pleasure to take you around and eat some of the best stuff in town…

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