Thursday, August 17, 2006

Scenes - Sarikei Repok Road Shophouse Block 3 (Right)

Sarikei Repok Road 2005: View of block 2 & 3 from near Rejang River wharf (source: Blogger Petre)

If you have not been back to Sarikei for a while, you won't recognise this scene. That huge monolithic block was built on the location of shophouse block 3 (right side if viewed from Rejang River). That old block from the mid 50's was burned down in 1990 (update from reader Ront). It was the centre of town next to the 1st ever roundabout (now blocked with palm trees). It had 6 shops unlike block 2 which has 5. Let's travel back to the 70's block 3.

The 1st shop was Tong Kiow 同僑 kopitiam (coffeeshop) at 12 Repok. Mr Loh, a Foochow, served one of the best kam pua noodle (RM$1 or 50 sen if excluding meat) in town and he even hand delivered to nearby shops. There's a Malay stall which served food like mee goreng and a drinks stall. Cock fighting enthusiasts liked to hang around this kopitiam to exchange gory tales about contests. Behind the kopitiam was Yen Yen hair salon by Mrs Kang. Right behind the shop was a barber (50 sen a trim). Upstairs was a ladies school for tailoring. In the new block, the 1st shop is now Tong Yang fresh seafood store.

Shop #2 was split into half. The goldsmith, Mr Lee & family (Cantonese) also lived upstairs. One of his daughter, Miss Lee, taught in St. Anthony's School in the late 70's. The other half was a grocery shop. Shop#3 was a hardware store and the owners (Hokkien, I think) lived upstairs.

Shop#4 was Yeu Leun 友聯 kopitiam at 18 Repok Road. It had a kampua stall & a drinks stall. Upstairs was the Cantonese Association where people could play mahjong, cards and dominos 24 hours a day. Outside the kopitiam was the Rex cinema poster board.
Shop#5 was split into two. One half was a hair salon and the other a grocery store. Shop#6 was the Lido restaurant. Behind the restaurant, there was a Foochow sinseh (Fatty Ling passed away while exercising one morning) on the 1st floor. There was a tid bit stall next to the restaurant.

So this was a busy block. A couple could come here to shop and feast. Then the lady could go for acupunture therapy and a perm. The hubby could lose his pants at the marathon mahjong sessions but that's better than waiting at the salon to see the end result of a very strong perm on Asian hair and answering that dreaded question, "Darling, how do I look?"


jw said...

whieeww ... I only managed to recognize the shophouse after reading "...1st ever roundabout (now blocked with plam trees)...". Took me & my CSI team to studied through your post over and over to identified the shophouse.

Well, I don't really remember those old shops & their names.

Daniel Yiek said...

It's sad that this historic block was burnt down.

I think in the 70's, shop#6 has a kopitiam on the ground floor (named Lido or something) while the 1st floor was Sing Chuong restaurant (air-conditioned). Any insights?

swift drops said...

We use to have wooden lamp post and all the wires were completely occupied by swallows from 7pm to 6am. You could see a clear lane of swift drops on the ground under the wire and I guess probably everyone from the town experienced swift drops fallen on their head and someone would say "You strike 4D".

Unfortunately on one of my trip home for my holiday I witness the faithful night where the Block with No.12, 14, 16, 18, 20 Repok Rd was almost completely burned. It all started on level 3 of No.12 Repok Rd where Hai Bing coffee shop was and that unit on the level 3 was occupied by a medium. By the time the fire figther came the fire was still burning the 3rd and 2nd floor of the first shop, too bad the Boomba are just good enough for a show only.

Shop #2 Goldsmith. Mr.Lee first migrated to Sarikei from West M'sia and worked for early trader Kong Hup Heng at Wharf Rd before starting on his own, so you could see not all the Chinese are migrated from China.

Shop #3 The shop used to be operated by a successful Hokkien family. The father of Ah Do, the unlikely "Forest Gump" of Sarikei??

Shop #4 Tong Kiow was started by a Cantonese who sold it off and return back to HK, later it fall to the hand of a Foochow.

Daniel Yiek said...

Swift drops,
Wow! Which year was the fire? 199X?

swift drops said...

The fire that distroy the roll of shops, too bad I really can't recall but it should either be the late 80's or early 90's.
Tong Kiow has one of the earliest billiard table in Sarikei, gone with the fire.

Anonymous said...

I remember Ah Do, we used to see him walking up to our place (shophouse slightly opposite Rex cinema) and all the children will start shouting " siau lan lai loh" those were the days .........

长竹 said...

I used to stay overnight in my brother coffee shop(Hai Ping),in upstair of course,during every school holidays in 1960s. After dinner, I always followed my nieces,and we liked to play in the small playground, back of the old library there, now is the D.O.There were bench,seesaw, swing and chute in the playground. As we didn' t have these type of things in our village,so that attracted me very much in those old days!

Daniel Yiek said...

Ha!! I remember the 1st playground in Sarikei that you mentioned. I loved the swings and see saw!

Anonymous said...

This is an unique photo to me! Block 2 & Block 3 bring back both bitter and sweet memories. When I was very very young, I had imtimate ties to two of the shops in Block 2. In My school years I had even more imtimate ties with two shops in Block 3. In the last 15 years I had an unique relationship to one shop in block 3. This relationship still exists. All in all how can I forget Sarikei. Many thanks for the photo.


ront said...

the fire that destroyed the block should be in 1989 or 1990

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