I found this short article in the British North Borneo Herald (6/16/1906, pg. 149). It is excerpted from a newspaper from Penang. It is about a man, Mr. Lim Paik Kiew, who worked in British North Borneo but who journeyed to Penang to celebrate his mother’s seventy-first birthday.
The article praises Lim Paik Kiew’s sense of filial duty. What I find interesting are the historical and cultural insights which one can gain from it. First, it is interesting, but not surprising, to find a Chinese with connections in both Penang and British North Borneo. It is also interesting to see what Lim Paik Kiew’s business was – he managed the opium, spirit, gambling and pawnbroking farms in British North Borneo. Finally, it is also interesting to see that as part of the birthday celebrations for his mother, the poor in Penang were entertained with “Chinese Wayang.”
The article is as follows:
One of the finest traits in the character of a Chinaman, be he of high birth or low caste, is his unbounded reverence for his parents, his complete submission to parental rule. From earliest childhood he is taught to repose implicit confidence in his parents and to render cheerful obedience to their orders, and even anticipate their wishes. The adoration of a really dutiful son for his parents is practically limitless and the degree of respect for them is often so marked that it appears to the uninitiated to be reverence bordering on awe.
There are no limits to the lengths of pilgrimages which a good son will take in the performance of such acts as he knows or believes will give pleasure to his parents – what he knows to be his duty – and during the last few days a very striking of this came to our notice. We refer to Mr. Lim Paik Kiew, a very busy man, who travelled all the way from British North Borneo to Penang to take part in the celebration of the seventy-first anniversary of his mother, Mme. Cheah Lean Ngoh, the widow of the late Lim How Ewe, one of the best known merchants of Penang for years prior to his death.
The celebration ceremonies commenced on Tuesday last, when a large number of relatives and friends were entertained at dinner by the son, at 68 King Street, who responded to the toast of his mother’s health in a very neat speech, teeming with felicitous allusion to the venerable lady to whose careful training and good care he attributes so much of his success in life. For the amusement of the poor and to enable them to share in the celebration there was a performance of Chinese Wayang in front of the Chinese Town Hall in full swing all Tuesday.
Mr. Lim Paik Kiew, it may be mentioned, is the managing partner of the Ban Chin Lee Opium, Spirit, Gambling and Pawnbroking farms of the whole of British North Borneo. He is also the Agent of the Straits Echo in Sandakan and all parts of B. N. B. We cordially wish him a safe and pleasant voyage on his return to Borneo, and to the worthy lady to whom he has proved such a dutiful son we extend our heartiest congratulations on the occasion of her 71st anniversary. – The Penang Daily Bulletin.