“In contrast to Gan Eng Seng, he came from a rich family. His father was a rice merchant in Rangoon, Burma.”
an excerpt from The Chinese In Southeast Asia and Beyond (Ching-Hwang Yen)

Lawyer. Surgeon. Banker. Our last positions in employment. 6th generation Malaysians from a line of merchants, we had morphed into professional workers. Harvard, Royal College Of Surgeons and Manchester Business School postgraduates. A friend called it the Asian Dream.

We embrace the gift of Providence, and are wholly grateful. In context of familial wealth, it appears we are making the turn for better in a second tri-generational cycle of wealth.

Wealth decimated to nought in our illustrious family by the 4th generation. My father and his siblings had to contend with bare soy sauce flavoured porridge meals sometimes.

One would conjecture they lived in extraordinary times of Japanese Occupation. That aside, the family had sunk into abject poverty by the time of grandfather; a 4th generation Malaysian Chinese in the family.

I would imagine grandfather suffered experientially most, the loss of wealth in our family. His father and uncle were the doyens of Penang high society comprising a significant number of anglo chinese and resident British. To wit, as a boy, he had the privilege of an angora goat drawn carriage to perambulate in, too.

Alas, from a wealth peak of ladder-owners who created jobs; we as a family, had to climb the income ladder again. I say this not with resignation, but with anticipation. I have since started to cross the chasm between ladder-climbing and ladder-owning. It is a transitional journey I share with my siblings who are taking the same road.

From the last symbolic vestige of wealth, being the angora goat my grandfather had as a boy; I am hopeful of big blue skies ahead for our 6th generation. By the grace of God, we might just be the “It” generation of Malaysians in our family.

- A.Lo (live.freeInversionista)

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