Sarikei Apr 2006 - Shops under construction next to Nyelong River crossing jetty (This picture: courtesy of reader Jasmin)
Sarikei downtown has grown about a quarter of its size over the last 2 years. The new shops don't have the character & soul of the classic architecture of the old shophouses. The increase in shops may be good news to shoppers as it mean more choices but to existing shop owners, it means more competitors for the same pie (or kom pia, if you like) which has not grown that big.
There are more banks but are there enough consumers ("Money No Enough" is an usual complaint by locals)? Some new shops sell value-for-money merchandise from China which is of reasonable quality. There are more kopitiam's (coffeshops in Hokkien) but how can business be sustained with the same folks eating out for the 4 meals (supper included) & kopi breaks. There are more apparels and clothing shops but it's the same few ladies who buy things they don't need or will never ever wear (!). Shopping therapy, anyone?