Mista Ee gingerly made his way down the unevenly ridged gangplank, his black flat cotton shoes making it easy for him to secure his footing. The twenty day voyage had affected his sense of balance no thanks to the choppy seas and the monsoon tail winds.
He hardly had time to take in the moment, before passengers as excited as he, impatiently pushed past him with their belongings. "Watch out, you will fall. Then how will you find work?" Mista Ee hollered. He was cautious by nature and thankful that his planning had brought him to a new beginning. He even coined a title for himself. If any one asked his name, he would proudly reply "Mista Ee". Ee being his clan name, preceded by Mista, as he had heard there were many Europeans in Malacca and they would be familiar with the term. He smiled, pleased with himself. It was 19th December 1906 and he had arrived.
Standing on the dock, his thoughts wondered back to Guangzhou, to the morning he informed his mother that he had decided to go by boat to a far away land to find work and start his own life. His mother reminded him "You are the eldest and have a duty to your parents and the family." But his mind was made up. He had heard stories of magical places from seafarers and merchants during his days of hauling cargo on and off boats returning from India, Malacca and Penang. These images had taken over his mind like a disease. It wasn't a sudden decision. He had planned this for some time now, a year to be precise, saved money for the fare and some extra until he could find work.