Bean-curd has always been a staple diet of the Chinese people. My paternal grandpa used to be a bean-curd maker. He was from the southern province of Guangdong in China.
Unlike most Chinese immigrants who came to Malaya at the end of the 19th and early 20th century to escape poverty, grandpa came to escape the sword.
You see, he had secretly funded a revolution to change China from a monarchy to a republic. Beneath the humble façade of a small sized and soft spoken bean-curd maker, he was actually a revolutionist or shall we call him an idealist? For waiting to replace the old with the new, he had to pay a heavy price for it. Nearly caught once, he was forced to leave his motherland forever.
I think he has no regret for this decision. Life was good to him in Malaya. Like many Chinamen of his era, grandpa had no qualms over the popular practice of “three wives and four concubines.” Indeed, he had three wives but luckily for them, he stopped there.
Grandpa had a very soft spot for all his grandchildren, especially the female ones. Being the baby girl in the family, I was, therefore, the apple of his eyes. He often came to visit me and gave me some money to buy candies. I would not ask for a better grandpa.
Yip Soo, also known as “Tau Foo Soo” was another character being prominently featured in my book, “The Stories of The Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter.” Beside dad, he was the other man who loved me the most when I was a child. Today, his spirit of wanting to change for the better still lives in me.
To be continued…..