Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Disappearing Sarikei: Methodist Sze Hua Kindergarten - New Church Planned

New Methodist Church planned for 2015

Sarikei is in a dilemma as she struggles between conservation of heritage versus the constant need to progress and expand. Usually it is the latter that wins because Sarikei has not reached the level of affluence of developed cities yet where denizens fight for heritage conservation before it is too late.

Why conserve heritage? If you or your future generations have nothing left to look back on for your past except through photos, life will be less meaningful. The future generations will say things like, "Oh! It's such a shame to destroy such an important piece of history. Why didn't they conserve it?"

The 1920 Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學 in 1964.

Next on the vanishing heritage list is the Methodist Sze Hua kindergarten that is 93 years old. In 1920, a wooden Methodist church was built by 2 gentlemen (Wong Qing Bo黄清波 and Wong Qing Chun 黄清春) with an attached Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學. (Source: 1). 

The beautiful colonial styled church was situated between this kindergarten and the current church and had been demolished to make way for the current primary school entrance. In the late 1950s, the three buildings stood side by side as landmarks on the edge of downtown Sarikei.

 The 1920 Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學 in 2013.

An annex was later added (year?) to accommodate the increasing number of kindergarten students. A Methodist kindergarten branch was added in Nyelong Park in 1990.

Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學: annex (L) and original (R) in 2013.

  The original Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學 in 2013.

The existing church at Repok Road has run out of seating capacity and its roof is in bad shape. A Methodist Church branch 泗里街卫理公会特恩was added at Nyelong Park (57A Jalan Jelutong) circa 1995

The proposed new church can seat 550 people and an additional 330 with the doors opened. It will also house the office of the church, the office of the Reverend, a 30-seat meeting room, a pastory restroom, a fellowship hall, a children's room, a refreshment room, an utility room, a toilet and an underground car park with lift. 

 The original Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學 in 2013.
Some renovation had been done to the windows, doors and roof.

It was proposed that the kindergarten be moved to the old pastory building which needs to be renovated too.

  The original Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學 in 2013.

The new church will cost about RM5 million for demolition, construction, facilities, installation,  renovation of the old pastory building, etc. There's a fund raising at the existing church on 31st Aug 2013 from 6am-12noon with tickets priced at RM10, 20 and 50.

 Fund raising tickets at RM10, 20 and 50

 The existing Methodist Church, 2011.
Source: Sarikeians

The existing church (built in 1955) is luckily not on part of the demolition job. It will be passed into the good hands of the Sarawak Methodist Chinese History Department to be developed into a Museum of Sarikei Divisional Churches, the first of any kind of museum in 6th Division,

 The original Sze Hua kindergarten 泗華小學 in 2013.
View from the main entrance of the primary school.

Can the vintage kindergarten be saved? Can the new structure be built on the open space (picture above) behind the main entrance of the primary school? Can another portion be built on the kindergarten playground and annex site? Can the new structure be built with more storeys? In many conservation projects in developed cities, new buildings are built around a heritage building.

Does the new church have to build on the existing premises of the crowded Methodist compound? How about new land at, say, Meranti Road area, across Sarikei River or across Nyelong River?

It's the old kindergarten for whom the bell tolls unless passionate ex-Methodist alumni folks (local and overseas) can step in to offer constructive alternatives. Do we have to demolish to construct?

For whom the bell tolls...

(1) 80th Anniversary souvenir issue of Methodist Church's Huai Ren Hall. 取自怀仁堂80周年纪念刊

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scenes - Sarikei Skim B - Let's get moooving

On the Sarikei to Bintangor route from Meranti Bridge, if you venture off the beaten path onto a branch road called Skim B (Scheme B), you will be in for a surprise. After the usual country homes and rural school have drifted past you on this easy drive on tarred road, rolling pastures will greet your retina.

Welcome to  a real cattle farm called Borneo Sapi Enterprise.

Skim B Farm, 2013.

If you arrive at the opportune time when the cows are herded out of their pens onto the path leading to the pastures, it will be quite a sight with the ranchers yelling instructions to the herd. The cows will seem to understand that it means, "Let's get moooving!" You better get out of the way of the minor stampede.

Skim B Farm, 2012.
Source: Jong Fung

These cattle are raised as livestock for their meat and are very popular during the Hari Raya qurban (korban) It will be a serene sight for you to watch these bovine creatures graze. Just watch out for the cow dung though.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Scenes: Sarikei General Election 2013 (GE13) - Photofinish

505 votes made the difference on 5/05. It was a nail biting process as voters followed the count live on Sarikeians facebook page. Social networking was faster than mainstream media in reporting the count and results.

Official results on TV8

The official results:
PR/DAP - Andrew Wong Ling Biu 14,263
BN/SUPP - Ding Kuong Hiing 13,758

Majoirty - 505
Spoilt votes - 277
Voting percentage - 77.6%

Andrew Wong Ling Biu thanked Bintangor and Sarikei voters

Judging from the ceremahs (political rallies) held by both parties, it's clear that PR/DAP had bigger crowds in the urban areas so the battle was to be determined by the rural voters. PR/DAP also had star speakers in Penang CM, Lim Guan Eng, and "Superman" Hew Kuan Yau that drew in massive crowds in Bintangor and Sarikei.

DAP's rocket logo rose in Sarikei
DAP Sarawak was founded in Sarikei on 24 August 1978. DAP won both the Bintangor and Sarikei state seats in 2011. It took PR/DAP 35 years to win the parliament seat of Sarikei for the first time while Malaysia marches towards a two-party political system.

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