Stories from Borneo #4

​I was born in 1943. I’m the 4th generation. Currently this complex is home to the 7th generation. The Thjia family, my great grandfather came from China. He settled in Melaka. His son got sent by his boss to Singkawang as a labourer. He built this place in 1902. 

I have 8 children, but only two are here with me and my wife. The rest have moved to Jakarta. Many of us are now in Hongkong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia. They’ll usually come back for Imlek. I’m actually Hokkien. But by my generation we lost the language because we mix so much with the Khek. I can understand it. But I’m more fluent in Mandarin and Hakka.


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