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  • Of the older brother, Maliggam, we don’t know but the younger brother, Lee Toh Shiong, passed away very young.

    Lee Kuan Sim was old enough to cherish the sight of his long long pigtail. And then he was gone. Mrs Lee Toh Shiong remarried, another Chinese man.

    Kuan Sim went for catechism lessons taught by the Catholic Sisters who welcomed her to live with them as a boarder. So it was that Lee Kuan Sim, granddaughter of Lee of Shantung, China, was raised by European nuns as a Convent Girl. Her Christian name was Brigidda.

    Nearby lived the Mill Hill Missionary priests in the rectory. Youthful males boarded with them too.
    The years passed and Brigidda and her fellow boarders grew up.

    When she was fully grown, she became acquainted with another fully grown male boarder, Maluda Makinjal, whose Christian name was Gallus.

    This is what a Kadazan suitor might say to his prospective bride: “Kapakai ko dogo?” Do you find me [suitable, interesting, likable, useful]? (In other words, “Could I be your mate?” Kadazans think of a husband and wife as a pair, as in a pair of socks, left and right. They refer to their spouse as their koruang, ‘friend,’ as in, ‘the matching other shoe,’ or partner.)

    So, Brigidda and Gallus. Kapakai.

    The European priests and nuns were always thrilled when their boarders grew up and got married. They may never have had the luxury of missing them for long because new boarders came in continually.

    Kuan Sim and Maluda, as they were still known, had seven children. One, Josephine, passed away. The other six grew up. And then came the Season of the Japanese. The time when the Japanese occupied the land of North Borneo, as they did the other areas under British protection.

    Wenceslaus, the third and youngest son, was one month shy of his 20th birthday when control of the country passed to the Empire of Japan. The District Office told him he was a conscript. As he left his home, his father Gallus Maluda son of Makinjal wept. His mother, standing far in the field working as usual, said nothing.

    Starvation spread with the years. Gallus Maluda and his best friend, Fr Staal, Mill Hill Missionary, died within two months of each other in 1944.

    When news of Allied Forces dropping bombs on the Japanese reached the conscripted youths, their dreams of escape took on the tantalizing sheen of reality. Wencesu, as he was called, dreamt a big Allied ship was sitting on the water and as he ran, mortally afraid it would leave without him, vines kept holding him back and he kept struggling, struggling, to be free.

    He did manage to run off into the hills from where he contacted his eldest brother, who was not conscripted because he was married and needed to grow rice. They arranged different meeting places in the hills and that was how Wences received sustenance. The Japanese went to his mother, hunting for him.

    At last it was all over. The Australians bombed the Japanese in Sandakan and from there they flew over to Jesselton and bombed their enemies everywhere they could find them, including Kuan Sim’s convent and Maluda’s boarding school which had become Japanese quarters.

    Many suitors approached the young widow Kuan Sim but she would not let go of the name of Maluda. She would later tell her grandsons, "Marry! so [the name of] Maluda
    will be spread throughout the village."

    So it was that Wences took the first name of his father as his surname instead of his father’s surname, Makinjal. And that was done by all the six children of Mr and Mrs Maluda Makinjal.

    In the meantime, Kuan Sim’s first cousin, Tinggamai, had also married a Kadazan with whom she had three children: Chio, Golingai, and Banggoo. Chio became the wife of Taylor with whom she bore three Eurasian children: John, Beatrice and Francis Taylor who all took after their father. During the war, Chio and her family lived with her brother Golingai; her husband had been shipped out.

    The brothers Golingai and Banggoo, great-grandchildren of Lee, married two Kadazan sisters.

    Golingai and Tati had seven children before Tati died. Priam the baby died too, soon after, and so did the second youngest, Damascus. When Banggoo died, without begating children, Golingai married his brother’s wife who took care of the five remaining children. A son, Eusebius Golingai, was born, the only child from this marriage.

    Wenceslaus saw Pinin, the eldest daughter of his second cousin Golingai. Kapakai. Pinin's Christian name was Augusta. She had grown into a beautiful girl. She was very fair like a Chinese or a Dusun highlander and he was very tanned. Despite his mother’s objection because Golingai’s mother was her first cousin, making him Pinin’s uncle, he went on with his wedding plans.

    And 26-year-old Wenceslaus Maluda, grandson of Lee Toh Shiong and 16-year-old Pinin Augusta Golingai, great-granddaughter of Maliggam, were married.

    And that is what Uncle Raymond, grandson of Lee Toh Shiong and grandnephew of Maliggam, meant when he said to me, “You are pure Chinese.” My mother Pinin is from the line of the older brother and my father is from the line of the younger brother.

    I am descended from one Lee of Shantung.

    He is my great-great-grandfather and my great-great-great-grandfather.

    An actor with four wives and one daughter said, “I wish I had four daughters and one wife.”
    It could be that my honourable forefather held a similar yearning: that he had one wife and more children. So much so that here we are, paternally and maternally traced to one ancester.

    Foreign Lands and People - from Kinderszenen
    published: Dec 01, 2007 by Jeremiah Jones, Lisztonian
    Robert Schumann
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