Writer commemorates father’s life, childhood with book

Cyril (second right) presenting ‘Dungkahang to Seria: My father’s quest, my growing up’ to Wong. Also seen is Tan Sri Herman J Luping (seated), who wrote the foreword for the book.

KOTA KINABALU: To commemorate his father’s life and his childhood, growing up with Kadazan roots in Brunei, Cyril Wong wrote the book ‘Dungkahang to Seria: My father’s quest, my growing up.’

After presenting the book to the Sabah State Library, Cyril told reporters that he was inspired to write it after meeting his father’s side of the family.

“I thought, instead of just documenting my father’s family tree, why not tell his story? I started in mid-March last year and completed the book within a year.

“The tough part was getting old photographs and liaising with those I interviewed for the book. It also took a bit of time to get permission from Brunei Shell to use their statistics,” he said.

In the aftermath of World War II, Cyril explained how his father was among those who sought to rebuild and make a life for himself. His quest for greener pastures led him to Seria, Brunei, where he worked in the oil and gas industry.

“My father embarked on working life in his young adult years, in his early 20s. He remained at the company (Shell) till he retired.

“He started in a low position and worked his way up, taking extra classes along the way and studying English to improve his communication skills. His last posting was as a steward in Labuan,” he elaborated.

Cyril hoped the book would impact targeted readers, namely the younger generation as well as those in his age group. For younger readers, he hoped the book would provide insight to the way of life in his childhood, while he hoped his peers would be able to appreciate a trip down memory lane and his re-telling of his experience growing up out of Sabah.

“I want to tell the younger generation how challenging life was in my time. Back then, we had to plant our own paddy for rice. Now, you can simply buy it from shops.

“For school fees, my parents had to collect firewood. I want to tell youths that although life may be hard, you can survive if you continue to seek knowledge and polish your skills.

“As for my age group, I want to share my experience growing up in Seria. I had a good childhood there and enjoyed growing up in an oil town,” he explained.

Cyril’s effort was commended by Sabah State Library director Wong Vui Yin, who said the book would help preserve the literary heritage of Sabah.

“The significance of this is very great. Not many people nowadays write books or can put their thought to paper. This book is a great effort that documented a part of history through the writer’s experiences,” he said.


Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/05/29/writer-commemorates-fathers-life-childhood-with-book/

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