Each time when I go back to Ipoh, I would make it a point to drop by at Gopeng, a small town in Perak, to visit my cousin sister, Ah Moi.
A few years older than me, Ah Moi lost her mother at a tender age and being the only girl in her family, she had to cook for and take care of her diabetic father and two younger brothers who are slow learners. Ah Moi dropped out from school after Primary Six and got married at twenty to a young man from her village. They have three children. He worked as a logger in the jungle nearby.
Life is not kind to my cousin sister. Not long after their marriage, her husband was killed in a freak accident, leaving her a young widow with three children, a sick father, and two brothers to take care. But Ah Moi refused to ask for help from anyone. No loan from the banks, no welfare benefit, nothing came her way.
Determined to feed the family, she operates a stall in the Gopeng Market selling noodles and yong tau foo which she made herself. The name of her noodle stall is Tong Kee. It was named after Ah Tong, one of her brothers. They also helps her out. It was a brothers and sister’s business.
Years later, their father passed away and her children graduated from college. But Ah Moi refused to stop. She wanted to feel useful and to be financially independent. Ah Moi’s motto is “Moe Kung But Sau Luk.” A young widow feeding six people – that is an incredible feat which can even reduced some men to tears but today, Ah Moi could hold her head high. She had weathered the storm marvellously.
In this picture taken last month (Sept 14th) on my visit to the Gopeng Market, my cousin sister could be seen standing inside her stall while her one of her brothers was seen sitting at the table waiting for customers. Ah Moi serves delicious soup noodles, curry noodles, assam laksa, and her signature yong tau foo.