Archive for February, 2013

Praise for Ipohgal and

The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter

Dr Anthony Pun

A Humble Story from a Girl of Humble Beginnings

As I read the tales about the Scissors Sharpeners Daughter (SSD), I was immediately surrounded by mixed emotions of sadness, nostalgia and finally, the joy of relief, when the author subsequently overcome the trials and tribulations in her childhood and teenage years.

These tales are unique as it distills the essence of real life in Ipoh, starting in the early 1940s onwards among ordinary citizens, trying to make ends meet in a small family business. The author was able to capture in a time capsule, the lifestyle and aspirations of a young struggling Chinese immigrant and his family, and his efforts to give the best to his children in Ipoh.  As the tale progressed, the struggles, the patience, the hard-working and the diligence of this first generation immigrant to Malaysia paid off. It is an example of an awe-inspiring testimony of Chinese immigrants who had been successful in his country of adoption. His contributions to his adopted country should not be forgotten, no matter how humble it may be.

Another aspect of the tales dealt with the inter-relations between family members. It puts a very human face to much of the emotions between each member of the family and their events can be a common experience among fellow immigrants. I grew up in Ipoh, hence, I can personally identify and empathized with some of the events and human emotions that happened in the Scissors Sharpening Man’s family.

I hope the author will one day join the ranks of famous Asian women writers, and one of them that come to mind is Han Suyin.  The author has initiated a piece of literature with historical accuracy, that truly put into words for posterity, the life and tribulations of a humble Ipoh citizen and his contribution to the development of Ipoh as a town.  Not many tales were told in English about Chinese settlement in Malaysia but this is a tremendous effort.

People of Ipoh, be proud of a talented daughter of Ipoh!

Review of Frances Yip’s
The Stories of the Scissor Sharpener’s Daughter 
Dr Anthony Pun (A proud Alumni of Ipoh ACS)
B Sc (Hons), Ph D from The University of New South Wales
OAMJP National President Chinese Community Council of AustraliaPresident, Ipoh ACS Alumni, Australia Chapter & (Click for more detail about Tony).

Book order

Author Frances Yip surrounded by her seniors, the Ipoh ACS old salts in KL

Author Frances Yip surrounded by her seniors, the Ipoh ACS old salts in KL

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Love hearts

Orders for my first book, “The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter” are coming in daily from readers all over the world via e-mail and Facebook 🙂

Thank you everyone for your interest and support!

For those who haven’t place your orders, you can still do so.

The book will be out from the printer by late March.

It will be priced at RM32.90.

The book will be available in A5 size, taking up around 200 pages and comes in paperback.

Later, it will be uploaded as an e-book to reach an even wider audience around the globe.

I will update the progress in this blog from time to time.

****** Payment for the book can be made to my account at Public Bank Berhad

Account # 4-9697450-17

Bank Swift Code : Public Bank Berhad (PBBEMYKL)

What is Bank ID/Swift Code for?
It’s very useful when you want to receive funds from people who’s don’t have a Malaysian Bank Account.
eg. People from Australia want to bank in money to your Malaysian bank account, they will need to have your bank account’s Swift Code to TT/wire transfer to your bank account.

Book Price : RM 32.90 per copy (excluding postage or delivery charges)
Please click to email : 188hughlowstreet

Note : Once payment has been made, please email me your bank-in slip, name, contact number and address.

****** Payment for the book can also be made to my Paypal account (option for Overseas)

Log on to : https://www.paypal.com
My Paypal account :  francesyipyfliew@hotmail.com


Book Price : RM 32.90 per copy (excluding postage or delivery charges)
Please click to email : 188hughlowstreet


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Testimonials from

Larry D Mr Larry Ng
MA (English), Iowa State University of Science and Technology Ames, IA, USA.
Former Ipoh ACS boy, Retired teacher.

Mrs Wong_1 Mrs Wong Yew Choong
Bachelor of Science (University of Malaya), Grad Cert. of Education (University of London)
Retired teacher from Methodist Girls’ Secondary School, Ipoh.

Dr Anthony Pun Dr Anthony Pun
B Sc (Hons), Ph D from The University of New South Wales
OAMJP National President Chinese Community Council of Australia
& President, Ipoh ACS Alumni (Australia Chapter).

Gerry Robert Gerry Robert
The famous author of the international bestselling “The Millionaire Mindset”

Ian Anderson Ian Anderson
Commander RN (Rtd).
Managing director of Ipoh World Sdn Bhd

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Praise for Ipohgal and

The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter

Gerry Robert

“Frances’ book The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter is wonderful. She shares a personal story that will both inspire and instruct the reader.”

Gerry Robert,

The famous author of the international bestselling “The Millionaire Mindset.”

Book order

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Praise for Ipohgal and

The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter

Ian Anderson

188 Hugh Low Street, Ipoh, is to most people, just another of the city’s buildings in need of care and attention, that they pass by without a second glance as they speed towards their destination. Certainly, at first sight, it is no different to several other corner shop houses. They are all in need of repair, with dirty grey walls and broken mail boxes that yearn to be used. Yes this is Ipoh City minus the glitz of the “The Town that Tin Built”. But, no doubt, if those walls could speak they would recount many tales of the Towkays and their chauffeur-driven Mercedes, whisking the families off to Whiteaways to buy the latest in imported goods, or Cold Storage for delicacies to tempt the palate. Today, for most of us, these are only faded memories.

But ipohgal remembers vividly the home she grew up in and the tales her parents told her. Therefore, this, her first book The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter , puts these stories into a compendium of memories that take in, not only family life, but the sights, sounds and smells of Ipoh Town as it was when she was young. In these stories she brings those dirty grey walls back to life and provides a colourful montage of Ipoh, its people and places, with a refreshing style which makes it compulsive reading wherever you come from.

To conclude, I am delighted to write this short piece in support of “188 Hugh Low Street” as ipohgal started her public writing career with us at http://www.ipohworld.org as a weekly contributor. Then we featured her in our book “Ipoh, My Home Town”, published in 2011 and here today she has risen to be an author in her own right.

Congratulations young lady.

Commander Ian Anderson RN (Rtd)
Managing Director
Ipoh World Sdn Bhd

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Different dialects have different dishes for reunion dinner. While the Cantonese would go for sweet and sour pork, steamed chicken dip in pounded ginger and a pot of nutritious herbal soup; some Hakkas would prefer “Pun Choy.”

In the past, the Hakkas were a people always on the move. They used to migrate from Northern China to the south. Along the way, many faced hardship and could not afford a grand feast of various dishes for their reunion dinner.

To overcome this problem, each household contribute a dish. You bring this, I bring that, we put them together into a large basin made of wood, metal or clay and eat together.  You get to eat my fish and I get to eat your chicken, get the idea?

“Pun” means basin while “Choy” means dishes.  “Pun Choy” is actually various dishes in a basin to be shared by everyone. It is a communal dish, almost like “pot luck.”

It is our family tradition to have “Pun Choy” for reunion dinner because my husband and our children are Hakkas.  You can put any food you fancy into the basin. We normally have roasted pork, waxed duck and sausages, steamed chicken, fried fish, prawns, mushrooms, abalone and broccoli for our large metal basin. Everyone in the family loves and enjoy this.

What do you have for your reunion dinner?

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To all my readers,

May the Year of the Snake brings

you lots of peace, good health and great fortune.

Happy Snake New year 2013

When are you going to graduate?

Have you found a job yet?

Have you found your life partner?

When are you going to get married?

When are you going to start your family?

How much is your salary?

How many months of bonus you’ve got?

Blah Blah Blah Blah………

To those still single and available, get your answers ready …..hehehe!


身体健康 !
工作顺利 !
家庭幸福 !
身体健康 !

mandarin oranges1

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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…..

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As a curious girl of five or six and together with a mischievous cousin brother who was a year or two older than me, I would often crept quietly across the wooden floor to where grandma was having an afternoon nap.

The old lady loved to sleep on her hard and square-shaped pillow made from porcelain. Fanning herself slowly with a straw fan in one hand, she would drift off to sleep under the Rediffusion box fixed to the wall.

Afternoons are Chinese-opera and napping times for old ladies.

“Can you see that her feet are so small?” I whispered softly to the young boy giggling beside me.

We gently lifted up her feet and examined them with amused eyes. As little kids, we have no idea why our grandma has a pair of feet as small as ours. It looked strange for an adult to have such small feet. Grandma’s dainty little feet never ceased to amaze both of us.

My cousin brother slowly put her feet to his nose and I followed suit. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! We were almost thrown off by the smell. Her small feet smell like salted fish!

Grandma’s feet brought her a lot of pain and tears but pride too. You can read my book to find out how it was to grow up under the care of an old lady who walked with a pair of dainty little feet in my book, “The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter.”

To be continued…..

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Some forty years ago when I first started Standard One at Methodist Girl’s Primary School, my class teacher asked me what my dad’s occupation was. She needed this information to fill up some forms for record-keeping.

At a tender age of seven and hardly knowing much English, I do not know how to describe what my dad does for a living.

“Is he a doctor?” she asked me and I shook my head.

“How about a salesman?” she asked again but I kept quiet.

“Is he then a policeman, a taxi driver or a farmer?” Mrs. Victor Doss asked me patiently. I just stared at her with a blank face. She finally gave up.

“Alright, get your mom or dad to come see me tomorrow, I’ll ask them myself,” she said at last.

The next day, dad cycled to my school and went to see the teacher. He told her humbly in broken Malay of his vocation, “Saya asah gunting, cikgu.” It simply means “I sharpen scissors, teacher.”

It was her turn to look lost. I think she had hardly heard of anyone in this profession. In Ipoh’s new town, there was one along Cockman Street but maybe she was not aware of his existence.

Dad also told her our coffee shop had just closed down a few months ago.

“Oh, in that case, I’ll just put it down as shop-owner!” she said delightfully as she could not find the appropriate term to describe him.

That was how my dad was known throughout my school days – a shop owner even though the shop we were staying in does not belong to us as we were renting it from a rich Sikh property owner cum lawyer.

So when I wrote in ipohworld’s world about my dad’s struggles to bring up a big family by sharpening scissors, I decided to coin the term “scissors sharpener.” Of course there was a debate among the readers on this term but I stood by my description.

I am so proud of my dad the scissors sharpener. I am so glad to be his daughter and be able to stand out from the rest. Humble his trade may sound but he was a very decent and resilient man.

For being such an integral part of my life, he was being featured prominently in my first book, “The Stories of the Scissors Sharpener’s Daughter.”

Do read my book to find out why I loved this man so much.

To be continued….

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