he stretch of Nyelong River (义 廊 河) next to the designer toilet is the old stretch. Many will remember the portion between the JKR wharf and the old ferry jetty as their "swimming pool". The old ferry jetty used to be a simple shed where the old ferry transported passengers, bicycles and motorbikes across to the villages. I have never been across before the new road to Bintangor was built. Some of my old classmates commuted everyday via this ferry. What was over the other side in the old days?
The old ferry shed had rotten wood and was replaced by a boardwalk in the late 1990s where sampans (boats) can be berthed. This picture showed a Melanua lady, her kid and dog waiting for her hubby to bring back his haul of mud crabs from the tributary across the river. What tributary? She pointed to a hidden tributary among the nipah palms. To catch mud crabs, you tie a piece of pungent salted fish in an square open net supported by metal wires and when the crabs crawled in, their long legs got stuck into the holes of the net. Hands up for those who like to savour mud crabs.
The new Nyelong River ferry started in 1987 when the new road to Bintangor was completed. In the old days, Binatang (now Bintangor) was considered a sister town 30-45 mins by express boat up the Rejang River or 40mins by the old road via Repok Road. With the new ferry service, it is a breeze in 15-20mins and Bintangor becomes like a suburb of Sarikei. You can have kampua noodle in Sarikei and then the famous rojak salad in Bintangor without your stomach realising that you did so in 2 different towns.
Sarikei Nyelong River Marine Police 2007
Find the hidden tributary across the river.
The Marine Police department is located after the old ferry jetty. Their role is to police the sea and rivers for people like illegal migrants, pirates, smugglers, criminals on the run, etc. Do you remember when their boats used to stop the Sarikei-Binatang-Sibu express boats in the 1970-80's to check your identity cards (IC)? "Mana lu deng kii?" ("Where's your IC?" in a mix of Hokkien influenced Malay).