Behind the smile…

He was a very nice boy, this ex-student of mine in Kanowit around 40 years ago, pint-sized, cute-looking, always cheerful, naughty/cheeky in a good  kind of way and very talkative. He did all right in his studies – I did not have any problem with him but behind those smiles was a very sad story that I did not know at that point in time.

He told me that day that he was very talkative because that would keep him from falling asleep in class – he had to get up at the break of dawn to go round the town to sell vegetables and help his father at his noodles stall right from the time when he was in primary school.

He would have to rush to class every day and he said that the teachers at the primary school, St Francis Xavier’s, were very nice. They would ask him to leave the unsold vegetables in the staff room and everybody would buy and he would get the money at the end of the day before he went home. If I remember correctly, I think he told me that he had to quit school after Form 4 owing to financial difficulties and he came over to Kuching to work as an apprentice for only RM5.00 a day. Of course he had difficulty making ends meet but he never gave up and worked hard, learning all the skills until he was able to venture out on his own.

I am glad to see that now, he is very successful professionally and financially and is blessed with a lovely wife and family. I think the children are married, with kids or one, at least, except the youngest son and he said something like that one will get married next year. Hopefully, he will invite me to the wedding so I have a good reason to hop over again.

With their children all grown up, his wife, also from Kanowit, a few years his junior, wanted to start a noodle stall…

Ah Lee's wife & helper

…and she is still at it to this very day, presently located at this coffee shop

Glory Corner

…and I was happy to note that it was doing well. When I was there, I saw a lot of customers dropping by, probably grabbing a bite to eat before going to work.

I was there my 2nd morning in Kuching – he insisted on going over to the hotel to take me there for breakfast before going to another ex-student’s daughter’s wedding at around 9.30 a.m. He had the Foochow fried noodles…

Foochow fried mee

…which certainly looked very good but no, I did not want that. I sure would not want to go all the way to Kuching to eat what I can get in Sibu.

He asked if I wanted some handmade noodles and I said that would be good and this…

Kolo handmade noodles

…was what I was served. It was very nice, something like a variation of the kolo mee and I so loved those wantons or what we call pian sip in Sibu and kiaw in Kuching.

Later, another ex-student, the owner who invited us all to dinner at her restaurant the previous night, and my ex-colleague came and they both had this kolo kway teow

Kolo kway teow

After they had had their fill, I followed the two of them to the wedding – the aforementioned ex-student could not go as he had to go to the airport to pick another ex-student, flying in from Penang.

After the wedding, we all went back to the shop and my ex-student’s wife insisted on us having something even though we were still full from breakfast. She whipped up this plate of fried kway teow

Char kway teow

…and this very nice fried bihun with mani chai/cangkuk manis

Bihun mani chai with ikan bilis

…with a sprinkling of very crispy ikan bilis on top to share.

We sat around chatting about old times and good times and laughing away happily…

With Ah Lee & Mrs at their noodles place

…and no, nobody wanted lunch so another ex-student who came later sent me back to the hotel to bathe and rest and left me to my own devices till it was time to go for the wedding banquet that evening.

GLORY CORNER (1.553410, 110.361035) is located at 174-178, Jalan Petanak in Kuching.

Author: suituapui

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

12 thoughts on “Behind the smile…”

  1. wow, wedding at 9.30 am? That is so early. I don’t think we can get fried bihun with mani chai here. Looks so tasty! I am sure I would like it a lot. very nice group photo.

    Here, it is usually 9 or 10 a.m. Sometimes a lot of weddings on the same day so all lined up and some may be a bit later. Yes, the noodles we had were all good, one place worth checking out.

  2. So much food and so many “ex” students (make me confuse).

    So far highlighting two only – one with the restaurant and another running this noodles place. One more coming up tomorrow. LOL!!!

  3. All looks so good. Have never to this place before. Will try to look and search for this place soon. Like I say, a lot of your many “exs” are in the F&B industry. I am confused too.

    LOL!!! So far, only 2 in Kuching…and a son of one of the two – post on that one coming up soon.

  4. I am glad that your student has done well for himself. It is indeed inspiring and heart warming to hear of stories like his. Oh, I do like the look of the handmade noodles you had! The fried koay teow and fried bihun with mani chai looks delicious too!

    Indeed! I feel so proud of students like this who may not have the opportunity to pursue their further studies but fought against all odds to build a truly successful life. Many who went on to get their degree, their Masters or PhD do not do half as well.

    Yes, all the noodles are good. In fact, my uncle and his family went two days after I shared a post on the place on Facebook and they liked what they had there, even tapao-ed some home!

  5. Nice to catch up with your ex-students. I rarely go venture to that part of the city. Petanak road.

    There is one shop selling nice Foochow noodle. I cant remember the name.
    Actually there is another one selling nice Foochow specialty, nearby in Jalan Ang Cheng Ho. But not cheap.

    Everywhere in Kuching now, you will see a stall selling Foochow specialties – nice or not, I wouldn’t know. I only know Me Kong, Ban Hock Road beside Heritage. This one, when my sister was in Kuching not too long ago, her ex-schoolmates took her here to eat, said the kampua mee was good. I did go to that area on a previous visit but to another coffee shop for the Kuching laksa, not bad…
    https://suituapui.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/bag-full-of-money/

  6. You must be very consoled to know that your students are doing very well and so nice that they still remember their teacher. Same as PH, i love to read stories like these, very inspiring.

    Indeed, so proud of students like this, truly a self-made man rising up from his humble beginnings. I know a few others as well, truly a cut above those over-spoilt, over-pampered wimps and their strings of degrees!

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s