Thursday, May 31, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei Rex building and surroundings

Sarikei Rex building 2007
Find the patches of mismatched paint.

Sarikei Rex building 2007.
Check out the banners.

Did you think that Rex 丽士cinema is back in business after closing in 1989? The banners of Everwin supermarket in the Rex building looked deceivingly like the hand painted cinema banners of the good old days. The Rex building and the Shell petrol station next to it was completed in 1970 but the Rex building is in a sorry state now compared to its glory days in the 1970's.

This location was where food hawkers plied their trade like the ding pian hu stall whcih started in 1960. In 1964, the land was gazetted for building Rex and the ding pian hu stall moved to the Rejang River side.

When the Dua Puluh Sen supermarket closed in 2005, it was empty for many months until Everwin 永勝 supermarket penetrated Sarikei in 2006 (This Everwin store is not their only store in Sarikei).

Sarikei - Lorong Layang Layang, the road next to Rex. 2007.
Find the Shell station.

The shop block next to it was built in the late 70's-early 80's on land owned by Borneo Bus. It's not a pretty building with signboards jostling for your attention and the different types of awnings give it a chaotic feel. There's an air conditioned Chinese restaurant called Fortune (福眾, No. 62 Repok Road). The kopitiam (coffeeshop) at the front had a billiard table. Dr Yap's clinic also moved there (No. 63 Repok Road). Above his clinic was the LD/VCD home theatres run by a Mr Kueh towkay in the 1980s. When LD/VCD killed the cinema business, this shop brought consumers out of their home by offering several air conditioned rooms with high quality home theatre systems, big TV screens, plush sofas and movie-on-demand at RM$20. Later this concept spawned 2 imitators.

Sarikei Bus Station at Bank Road, 1994
Source: Towns of Sarawak, 1994
The old bus station was Lorong Layang Layang next to the former 2nd library in the early 70's before it moved to Bank Road next to Rejang River in mid 1970's.

Sarikei Hawker Building, 1989
Source: Government magazine, 1991

Sarikei Pork Stall, 2007

Sarikei Poultry Stall, 2007

Rex was the location of the stalls selling meat and hawker food in the early 1960's. In the late 1960's, the pork sellers moved next to the vegetables market in Bank Road next to Rejang River. The halal section moved into the seafood building at Bank Road. In 1989, the pork section moved to the building above near the original hospital by the Nyelong River. The poultry section moved to a small building next to the pork section. The changes of Sarikei is no chicken feed indeed.


Daniel Yiek said...

The # of visits has just exceeded 10,000 according to one the counters. I would not have expected this when I started this blog for fun. Welcome to the new readers for the last 2 wks. Old photos of Sarikei life are most welcome. Enjoy the journey, folks.

Sim Y said...

In fact if you look into your Cluster Map, you are almost reaching 15,000.

I noticed that you have a consistent average visits about 30 a day. Not bad for a blog of a small town.

Kanga said...

In the 60's, before Rex, at this exact location was the Sarikei butcher store selling meat (mainly pork). Behind this meat store was a row of hawkers with open-air tables in between. Among the more memorable hawkers here were a Cantonese guy selling 'pow' and a Foochow selling fry & cooked noodles. So it was early morning 'chop-chop-chop' preparing for the meat 'pow' and 'char-char-char' cooking noodles, puntuated by the heavy choping sound from the meat store. And during Chinese New Year eve, the meat stors started activities at around 2:00am. In my young days
I lived in a shop directly opposite this meat store for a while.
Next to the meat store(towards the wharf end) the first shop of that block used to be a car/lorry repair mechanic shop. I Think there was a bakery shop behind.
The Meat store was almost the end of town then!

ront said...

i remember looking out the windows to have a look what's showing at Rex....

nelson said...

i remember i watched king kong there

Daniel Yiek said...

There are 3 counters at the sidebars and each uses different methodology to count the # of visits. It's interesting to see that Sarikei people are all over the world from Paupa New Guinea to South America.

Your description really brought us "live" back to the old hawker days. Pls advise what do you mean by "before Rex, at this exact location" => do u mean the Shell petrol station location and the road next to Rex?

Hey, isnt the car/lorry mechanic across the Repok road, diagonally opposite Rex? Now it's a 4-storey white building (see pic in Petrol Station post). Or are you referring to a different mechanic shop?

Lidasar said...

The GP Dr Yap's clinic 1st open directly opposite to Rex complex, the 1st shop right behind for a number of years and later moved to the front. That was before the clinic moved to the one Daniel mentioned. If I recall correctly there was this Cantonese man selling "Pow" in the early days, a noisy chap shouting "Tow-Sa-Pow", have to double confirm if he pry his trade there. Can anyone recall a mobil hawker selling "Chou-TouFu"? Smelly Tou-Fu? Later you have this Temenggon's wife selling yam cake house to house?

Ikan Sembilang said...

It is delighting to know that Sarikei folks all over the world are regularly visiting this blog. Syabas to Danial for doing a great job! Even though we maybe living and working in other parts of the world now, we still cherish fond memories of our young days in Sarikei !
A Sarikei grandpa in his mid-seventies told me that the first petrol station in Sarikei was located somewhere in front of the shophouse at No. 14, Wharf Road. It was a Mobil petrol station with flying horse as its logo. In the late fifties, it was relocated next to Wong Yuk Siew Shell petrol station and later changed its name to ESSO when the Mobil operation in Sarawak was taken over by ESSO.
He also told me that the first pork market in Sarikei was located at the padang right behind the Kim San Kopitiam.
Well, we need another Sarikei grandpa or grandma to confirm this!

Daniel Yiek said...

Lidasar is correct in the movenment of Dr Yap's clinic. Dr Yap was popular because he treated people well when he was working in the public hospital. He was also active in the community's activities.

Ikan Sembilang,
By the way, No 14 Wharf Rd was Hiap Soon General store in the 70's.

Kanga said...


Sorry for the ambiguity. I meant: before the Rex biulding was up, at the exact location, it was the meat market. It started operation every morning at around 4-5 am. Then the 'Shell Station' location was bush.

Also,yes, there was another car/lorry mechanic diagonally opposite Rex in those early days.

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