Sunday, June 04, 2006

Scenes - Sarikei Padang


 Sarikei Padang 1970 - firewood (used in old stove and the smoke went up the chimney at the back of the shophouse)


In the 1920s, the first football field in Sarikei was proposed by Siaw Ah Khoon and was situated behind the old Sarikei District Office (just before Kwang Chien School). Mr Siaw also donated the goal posts.

In 1953, the football field was moved to the current location of the Civic Centre (picture above) and was named King George padang. The padang (field in Malay) was surrounded by longkang's (drains in Hokkien) that were not paved with cement until the late 1970's. You could catch frogs, toads, fishes and snakes in the longkang. In the picture, find the plank kids used to cross the longkang. The shophouses' back lane was unpaved then. Spot the army quarters, the Sarikei Chamber of Commerce and the basketball stadium.

On the side of the padang facing the Sarikei District Council, there was a row of trees that produced red beans in pods (name of tree?). The beans were play things for the kids who had to be creative as they didn't have many toys then. In 1974, it was Sarikei's turn to celebrate the Governor's birthday. A grand stage was built amongst the red bean trees. It was not dismantled until many years later. It was used for concerts and sports ceremonies. Kids played games & roller skated on it.


Sarikei Padang 1979 - St Anthony's Secondary School Sports Day


In the photo, observe the Southern Hotel expansion in block 3 of Repok Road, the back of shophouse block 4 and the close up of the blades of grass. Sarikei downtown life revolved around the padang till 1988 when the Civic Centre opened. The padang's activities then moved to the modern sports stadium near Nyelong Park. Just about every key activity would be held in the old padang including school sports days, soccer matches, parades, concerts, celebrations and helicopter landings. The helicopter departures often had a bunch of kids running barefooted (with slippers held by hands) against the air turbulence. Every kid waited with adrenalin rush for the rarer gigantic army helicopters to start their double rotor blades. 





Sarikei Padang 1981 - St Anthony's Secondary School Sports Day

Note that Southern Hotel had finished expanding and the back of shophouse block 3 has a balcony for each shop.The padang used to be my playground. Kids played pyramid games built with 3 slippers. The person who threw the tennis ball to tumble the pyramid could then use the ball to throw at the dispersing kids. If he missed hitting the kids, the kids could run back to build the pyramid and win. The kid that got hit would be the next one to throw at the pyramid. Other games inlcude marbles, police & thief, high jump with homemade props, rope games, saboot (kids' baseball using tennis ball & hand), etc. These kids' games were played on the side while the adults (both Malays & Chinese) played soccer and an old man roasted aromatic coffee beans (on the side of the padang) in a drum that he rotated over charcoal. Every now & then, a kid would be stunned by a booming soccer ball on the head and the soccer players would be stunned by the wailing of the kid & cursing from the mum. But as they say, the games must go on.

9 comments:

g wong said...

That must be the back of No.15 Repok Rd you are standing.....

Anonymous said...

ooboy ... the padang brings me back to my childhood where i used to play guli at the big padang!!

Daniel Yiek said...

C Wong:
You must be an expert with Sarikei. Block 3 has the 10+ numbers of Repok Rd. I like Block 2 of Repok Rd & blocks of Wharf Rd which have the more beau & older architecture. Stay tuned for Wharf Rd post.

Annoymous: I love shooting marbles (guli) when it becah (split) the opponents marbles.

g wong said...

Block 2 of Repok Rd, the background of your blog is No.5 Repok Rd. The blocks at Wharf Rd are the oldest, the shops were mainly operated by the non-Foochow and this also reflect the fact that Foochow only came latter after the Hakka, Hokkien and Cantonese.

Daniel Yiek said...

G Wong:
Very interesting insights! Sibu has very well documented history about the Foochow arriving for a better life & work but Sarikei's history is patchy. I plan to blog on the history soon. If anyone has any content, email me. So far, I found one gov website only about Sarikei's history.

g wong said...

Is Kwang Chien the 1st school in Sarikei? It was started by the Cantonese (Kwang) & the Hokkien (Chien) and started class in one of the 2nd FL of a shophouse. The fist principal of the school was the grandfather of lawyer Chong who is a Hakka......believe it? Methodist Anglo Pri was started by the Foochow who came latter....

Daniel Yiek said...

Good insights! There'll be a Kwang Chieng post coming up with very old photos vs new ones. One photo was contributed by a nephew of the Chong family. His father was the previous principal of Kwang Chieng.

CK Lau said...

Kwang Chien, that is my primary school long time ago. Has'nt been back to Kwang Chien since I left Sarikei High School 20 plus years ago .Will be interesting to see how it look like now.
Got to your site after I came across your cousin Dr Chen blog when I googled one day on Sarikei.Even I live many thousand miles away now, still missed the old days in Sarikei.

Daniel Yiek said...

CK,
Welcome! Kwang Chien has changed quite a lot. Stay tuned.

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