Tan cheng guan

 

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Title: Rabbits

Title (Original Language): 兔子

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “When I was staying at the chalet last time, I had 2 pet rabbits. My friend sold them to me at about RM1++ each. That time, I just started to work as an assistant nurse (commonly known as “Misi”). I stayed at the marriage quarter with my husband at Central Section. Our pet rabbits were adorable and active. My husband loved them too. We let them moving around the compound when we have free time. When we went to work, we kept them in the cage. My eldest son was sent out when he was one-month old. The government restricted us from raising our children here. My family members brought him to Batu Pahat and raised him there. When my children were not around, I usually listened to radio broadcast or had fun with my rabbits. My husband went to Boon Thuan Kopitiam at Central Section every evening to sell Wanton noodle. He worked from 6pm till 10pm. His lady boss, Madam Liew treated him well. The business was good too. My husband was great in kneading dough. He worked diligently and Madam Liew paid him RM3 as daily wage. He earned RM30 a month. When I was an assistant nurse, my monthly salary was RM42. We were able to make ends meet. My children were raised by my family members and I was less worried and I felt relieved too. Do you know that I came from a well-to-do family? My father was a plantation owner and he owned several acres of coconut plantation. When I was a kid, we had Malay staff who worked for us and washed our clothes every day. Because of that, when I suffered from leprosy and was admitted here, I seemed to be so dumb. I didn’t even know how to wash clothes. When I was staying at ward 64, there was a lady from ward 82, whose name was Siao Kim, taught me how to wash clothes. Oh, my! After suffering from this disease, life has become harder!”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Pontian Pineapple

Title (Original Language): 笨珍的黄梨

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “My second younger uncle, named Tan Chiak, owned a very big pineapple plantation in Pontian, Johor. He owned coconut plantation too. After harvesting, he sold the pineapples and coconuts to the food manufacturers. Besides managing the plantations, my uncle was also a famous Chinese physician. When he was young, he provided complimentary consultation to people. He went around and save many people’s lives before. All the villagers knew him. When I suffered from leprosy at the age of my teens, my uncle caught otter in the river. He took the otter’s liver and ground it into powder and fed me. This was because this particular formula was spread among the villagers as the most effective way to cure leprosy. Unluckily after taking so much of such powder, my disease was not being treated. Finally my parents had no choice but to send me here to get treatment. After leaving home, my father and my younger sister still visited me. My elder brother also wrote letters to me. After some time, my brother wrote to me to inform that my uncle had passed away due to diabetes. He passed away in his 50s.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Chalet and Wild Flowers

Title (Original Language): 屋仔和野花

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “This is the chalet I have stayed before. The unit no. is 1312, located at the hill side of the central section. These chalets were built and originally catered for staff. I felt funny when I recalled how I was given approval to stay in this chalet. It was occupied by a resident who had no defects, named Chong Mooi. One day, she quarrelled with her roommate suddenly due to some unknown reasons. Both of them then fought and pulled each other’s hair and hit each other’s face till blue black. Finally someone reported this case to our Inmate Lay Superintendent, Kok Hoe Wah. He came and instructed them to move to other chalet on the spot. Do you know the rule? As long as someone fought in the ward, the doctors also did the same. The doctors punished them by asking them to move out instantly to other ward. So once the chalet was vacant, the head of the section attendant told me to apply as soon as possible. Hence, when someone fought and being asked to move out, I was approved to stay in this chalet.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Fishing

Title (Original Language): 捕鱼记

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “When I was a young kid, I always caught fish in the river in Batu Pahat with my elder brother. There were many different types of fish and prawns in the river. We usually managed to catch buckets of baby squids and shrimps. We brought them home and my mum cooked them for the whole family. During that time, every kid in our village knew how to produce own tools to catch fish. My elder brother found the rattan and made a handle with it. Then he fixed a rattan ring on the handle. After that, he tied the fishing net to the ring and it became fishing tool. He brought our siblings along to go fishing in the river. We also went into the mangrove swamp to catch clam, whelk (siput) and conch (balitong). There was one time where we went to catch crabs at mangrove swamp. We lost our way home. We failed to look for exit path after sunset. My elder brother found out that we left home since morning and hadn’t gone home yet. He took out my father’s gun, the gun that is used to shoot wild boar. He blew through the gun barrel to produce sound “Woo-Woo-Woo”. We heard that particular sound and followed the direction of the sound. Finally we managed to get out from the mangrove swamp smoothly. It was such a happy and carefree childhood.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Durian and Civets

Title (Original Language): 榴莲和果子狸

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “We could always see cat-sized civets (musang) jumping around the roof beam at our ward. They sometimes even peed there. Their urine dropped and dirtied our bed. Sooi Seong, whose bed is opposite to my bed, had a bad experience. One day, she was so annoyed because while she was taking her meal at the bed, her head was suddenly wet. She discovered that the civet was peeing from the top. Pak Nang also had the same experience before. These civets were very smart. They loved durians the most. They were able to identify which durian trees produced the best quality of durians once they smell. So they always hid on the trees. Because of they always peed on the roof beam, we felt uncomfortable staying at the ward. Hence, we complained to the nurses and the hospital decided to chop the trees behind our ward. Since then, we seldom see civets anymore.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Turkey

Title (Original Language): 火鸡

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “One of my friends in Johor has ever kept a turkey as pet. She stayed in flat and by right she was not allowed to keep it as pet. However, she kept it secretly. After it grew up, she cooked and ate it. Turkeys are powerful in attacking people naturally and they are wild. They don’t care about other people. They are gluttonous, fierce and bossy. We also have one “Turkey” at our ward but I don’t want to mention her name. She is the person who only cares about her own benefits and ignores others. She loves to compete with people and she thinks that she is always right and no one can go against her. Wherever she goes, she causes incidents. This is because she loves to quarrel with people. I think we shouldn’t be too over. What can you do even if you win? If you are able to gain benefits but cause others to suffer, do you feel good? A person’s virtue is very important-if that person always wants to be number one, do you think he is really happy? ”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Cows Eat Grass

Title (Original Language): 牛吃草

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “I often see the people from the nearby Hindu temple releasing their cows, around five to six of them, to eat grass here. Some of them are white in colour and some are yellow. I can see them clearly from the window near my bed. I am happy seeing those cows moving around freely. I believe those cows are released when there are some special ceremonies at the Hindu Temple. Hindus respect cows the most and they find that cows are auspicious and sacred animals.  Hence, Hindus do not eat beef. I am a Buddhist and I recite Guan Yin Sutra. So I also don’t take beef. My daughter always vomits when she smells beef since she was young. But I think cows are unfortunate animals. They have to plough paddy field, work hard and contribute to the human being but their life is always tough. Of course nowadays the cows may be more fortunate. But sometimes I read some news articles mentioning about some poor countries like India, being cows and horses are still the most unfortunate ones. During Korban Festival (Hari Raya Haji), many cows are slaughtered and before they are slaughtered, they usually drop their tears and this is because they know they are going to die soon. Hence, they feel sad. I find that this is too cruel. Out of the twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac, I think the ox has the most difficult life and the happiest one is the rabbit.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Elephant

Title (Original Language): 大象

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “I think the elephant is a kind and compassionate animal. They work hard to help to lift people as well as goods. In Thailand, those elephants have to lift tourists. They can’t even rest when they are exhausted. Furthermore, they are being abused. I think they are really pitiful. Actually these elephants should be living in the forest and should not be treated by the people in this manner. This is really suffering. You see those wild elephants are so free in the forest and they can eat sugar canes and bananas happily. All the animals in the zoo are kept in the cage and they don’t have freedom. Isn’t it unbearable? Just like us, we suffered from leprosy and we couldn’t go out to live with other healthy people. We were placed here and we lost a lot of opportunities as well as freedom. Do you know that my ambition is to be a teacher? However, when I was sent here, it was hopeless. After I have recovered and I have chance to go out, I have become older and unfit, what else can I do? I was looked down by people and I had very low self-esteem. I felt that I was different from others. I didn’t dare to get close to you when you first came here. I felt uneasy. That was because I thought you came from a different world and we are not the same. Since then, I saw you and Pak Nang have become so close and both of you always cuddle each other and I am okay now. I feel more relaxing. I seldom talk to outsiders because I am afraid that they look down on me. I know you never look down on me, so I feel good!”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Pulling A Bull Up The Tree

Title (Original Language): 拉牛上树

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “I think you are like pulling a bull up the tree when you want us to draw pictures. We are not only old and dumb but also not artistic! How can a bull climb up the tree? We don’t know how to draw at all but we know you are helping us. We have nothing to return to you, so we draw all these just to make you happy. You are kind to us and we should be kind to you too. We don’t want to disappoint you. Yet, we are still so dumb and don’t know how to draw at all. Since there is no sample for us to refer, we just draw whatever we can, based on our imagination. Sooi Seong, whose bed is opposite to mine, she used to be sleeping queen. Now she is also busy drawing because of you, purposely doing it for you. We should always be grateful. We have not used pens and written our names for long, now we simply draw and write for you.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: A Way Home

Title (Original Language): 回家

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “This painting is about a rooster that went home right after getting its food. I was admitted at the settlement when I was 16 years old. I had a chance to study at school. My father and my younger sister came to visit me. After staying here for a year, I was feeling homesick. I missed my home very much. At the age of 17, during school holidays, I got permission from the authorities to go home for few days. That time, all the leprosy patients were prohibited from taking public buses or taxis. I walked out from the settlement and hired a taxi. I didn’t dare to tell the driver that I was the leprosy patient. Luckily both my arms and legs are fit and I didn’t look like a patient physically. So I hired a taxi and paid for RM3 to get the driver to send me to Kuala Lumpur city. From there, I took the bus to go back to Batu Pahat. Do you know that all our clothes had to be sent to the front office to be sterilised one day before we went home? I definitely lied to the staff here that I got a free ride by lorry to go home. I dared not tell them that I planned to take taxi and bus to go back. Once I reached home, I cried badly when I saw my parents. My mother consoled me and told me not to cry. She asked me about my life at the settlement.  While we were chatting, I became cheerful again. Then, I started playing hide and seek with my siblings upstairs. After the school holidays, I got to return to Sungai Buloh.  Although I missed my family, I didn’t cry. I know there was no point for me to cry. I still had to return to the settlement to get medical treatment.   My parents sent me RM15 monthly as my pocket money. There was an auntie (children ward supervisor) here who helped me to keep the money. All the registered mails delivered to the children ward were sent to this auntie and she was responsible to distribute to us. Occasionally, my elder brother wrote to me and told me about my family members. He told me not to worry about them as they were fine and asked me to study hard. Time flies and I am getting older. Both of my elder brothers had passed away. My elder sister and younger brother are still alive. My younger sister has migrated to England. I have another two younger brothers who have been adopted by our relatives but we have no longer contacted each other. My elder sister and younger brother also seldom keep in touch. In fact everyone is busy with his or her own life and we can’t blame them.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: Set Free

Title (Original Language): 自由自在

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “Yesterday my friend, Black Pearl (pseudonym) passed away at the ward. Finally she let go everything and doesn’t suffer anymore. I think she has a peaceful mind now and no more worries. Do you know that she has a son and a daughter? Both of them were raised by her mother-in-law since they were very young. When his son was in his teens, Black Pearl wanted him to learn some technical skills. So she intended to send him to Montfort Boys Town, a vocational school at Batu Tiga. However, when she went home to fetch her son, her mother-in-law refused to allow her to do so. Black Pearl was so angry and she totally ignored her mother-in-law since then. Due to her son’s matter, Black Pearl had disagreement with her husband and they divorced finally. Her son was brought up at the Chinese new village and he didn’t have good future. Black Pearl felt that if she managed to send her son to Montfort Boys Town previously, her son should be able to have a better life with the skill learnt. She was upset that her husband was a nose of wax and spoilt their son’s future. Black Pearl is a gentle person. She never scolded people even when she was very angry. She just stopped dealing with the person. A year ago, she had undergone operation due to her heart problem. Recently she was admitted again but after a while, she passed away. In her entire life, she never competes or fights with people. She is a happy-go-lucky person. She had a boyfriend before but she never requested for any status. Now she left. I guess she has no more worries and I think she is set free.”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: It Is Almost Sunset

Title (Original Language): 可惜近黄昏

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “I think when a person grows older, no matter how smart you are, it has become pointless because you are moving towards the end of your life – Sunset. Even if you can live till 120 years old, but what can you do? You are burdening your family members only. Those old folks who are reaching the age of 80s, they are not able to move around anymore, what else can they do? Like me, I am a retiree and staying at the ward, my greatest wish is to see my children live life to the fullest and I live peacefully and healthily and not burdening my family members. In fact, when we are at this age, nobody understands our ‘pain’. No medicine can help to cure emotional problem. Not many people can be like Tun Mahathir, our ex-Prime Minister, who is already 92 years old and still active in politics and fight for power. Eventually the more authority he fights for, the more unrevealed secrets are disclosed. Isn’t it more troublesome and complicated? When we get closer to sunset, we should learn to let go, no longer need to compete with people. Like us, when we are free, we read newspaper and drink herbal tea. We should be grateful and the most important is – Eat happily and sleep well, right?”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan

 
 

Title: The Greed of Man

Title (Original Language): 人心不足

Year: 2017

Words in the Drawing: “The painting is dedicated specially to Tun Mahathir (former Prime Minister of Malaysia). He is already so old and yet still doesn’t want to retire. Greed has driven him crazy for power and wealth. I think he should take it easy and let go. Don’t keep fighting for power. Let others to have chance to perform.  He can’t think that he is the only one who can be Prime Minister and others are not capable. Last time Anwar Ibrahim (former deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia) was also sabotaged by him. After that, there was one guy, named Saiful who accused Anwar for sodomizing him. This Saiful is not young kid, right? Didn’t he know how to protect himself? There was no valid reason to be sodomized by an old man, right? Anwar has a wife and all these people were making jokes of him, it is ridiculous! Foreigners also plead our government to free Anwar but they just refused to. They forced him to admit. I disagree with what the government has done. It is just like Najib who has utilized the public fund inappropriately through 1MDB. Don’t you think that this is also because of greed? These people are greedy, they want conquer the whole world. I think they are not happy at all because they keep demanding for more. ”

Size: 17.5cm X 15.2cm

Location: The Valley of Hope Story Gallery

Owner: Tan Cheng Guan

Copyright: Tan Cheng Guan