Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei District Office

Sarikei District Office (old), 2005
New Sarikei District Office in the background.
Find the Y-shaped fence.
Spot the telecom tower.

The one-storey old Sarikei District Office is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Sarikei, if not the oldest. The sign on the building proudly stated 1937. (Updated: This building was rebuilt in the late 1970s after a fire in 1976-1977. The sign showing 1937 is just a sign)

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce from the 1940s is likely the 2nd oldest building after this. The old basketball stadium was just next to the old Sarikei District Office till it was demolished in 2002-2003.

Sarikei District Office (old), 2005.
Source: Sarikei District Office

Most young folks didn't know what the heck the old Sarikei District Office building was for until they got into minor trouble with the law. eg: been caught by police for riding their bicycles without any light. Then they got asked to go to court for ignoring summons. Adults call this magistrate court as me cha lah in local slang. How did this local term came about? (Updated: this term comes from the Malay word bicara)

Sarikei District Office (old) 2007
Source: Sarikei District Office

Sarikei should preserve this historic building as part of our heritage. Maybe it can be used a a museum in future. It has an old world feel to it as you walk along its pillared corridor.

Sarikei District Office (New) 2002.

The new Sarikei District Office building (called Wisma Jubli Mutiara) was opened on 16th Aug 1993. (updated) It is the tallest building (10 storeys excluding the roof) in humble Sarikei. That's stating the obvious. The roof has water tanks on it. The years have quickly taken a toll on it in terms of depreciation.

Sarikei District Office (New) 2005.
View from Nyelong River.
Source: Sarikei District Office

The functions of the Sarikei Disctrict Office include:
  • Providing and Administering Public Service
  • Safeguarding and Monitoring Physical and Socio-Economic Development.

Sarikei District Office (New) 2007
View from Mammoth Courts furniture row.
Nyelong River in background.

When the Sarawak House mall had Sibu's first escalators in the 1970s, I had multiple joy rides up and down the escalators as a kid. When the new Sarikei District Office had Sarikei's first lifts, I reckon some Sarikei kids might have been awe struck by the lifts too.

"Can we go up again? Please!"


Daniel Yiek said...

Is the old Sarikei District Office the oldest building in Sarikei? I would think so. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce is from the 1940s. The old shophouses that are still standing are from the 1950s. The suburban country homes are from the 1950-60s. Nyelong Park is from 1974. Thoughts? I hope it will not be demolished to build more shops!

stlau said...

I am not very sure if this is the original building. At around 1976-77, there was a big fire one early evening and I think the old district office was burnt down. That evening, my dad asked me to cycle to town to check on the 4-D numbers and I saw the fire. This building was built in the seventies??

Anonymous said...

Comments on : "Adults call this magistrate court as me cha lah in local slang. How did this local term came about? "

"me cha la" is a local term for going to court i.e."bicara".


Anonymous said...

As kids in the early 70's, we played frequently behind the old district office building. We were always on the "treasure hunt" for used stamps. Can't remember what happened to those stamps we found, probably worth a lot now!!


Daniel Yiek said...

Interesting feedback on the fire. Does anyone else have memories of that? The Sarikei District Office website states that it's from 1937.

What's the origin of "bicara". Is it a Malay term?

Used stamps? Soak them and the paper will come off. Kids love the process. :)

ront said...

bicara is malay word for discussion.....

perbicaraan is the word for a court-hearing.

and yes....mi cha ra is definitely from this malay word....

Lidasar said...

Yes the original was burnt, I recall the roof wasn't blue but those timber slate and the whole place looks very dark. I got my birth cert and my IC there.

Kanga said...

I recalled the original roof was the dark coloured timber slate (bilian ??). I was not sure if there was a fire and if so it would have happened in the 70's or later. In the early days this place was concentrated with Sarawak Govt administrative departments (i.e. before Sarawak joined to form Malaysia). It was busy, busy, & busy then! It would be nice to see this place/building preserved.

stlau said...

If you look at the Jan 8, 2007 posting (1965 picture of Padang), the original building was further (note the roof) away from the basketball court. The current building (built in late seventies)is nearer to the old basketball court. Right?

stlau said...

I was just telling Daniel that Bolen got its name from all the government buildings in this area. Foochow for govt buildings is ?? (Bolen??). We need some help to reconcile the two. The polyclinic/hospital was also there (at the current market) and that's considered the dirtest place in Sarikei (because of the mortuary. Hantu). I think the official name for Bolen is Sungei Pasi.

ront said...

"bolen" if not mistaken is from the chinese name of puo li gan (Glass port/pier)玻璃港

Ikan Sembilang said...

The old folks in Sarikei called it po lay shu (glass house) because before it was gutted by fire in the 70s, it had doors and windows with panels made of stained glass.
We used to catch fish and kamat in the small drain behind the building. Just wonder whether the drain is still there.

Daniel Yiek said...

Ikan Sembilang wrote before that Hedda Morrison's husband used to work as Assistant District Officer at the original Sarikei District Office, the glass house.

Maybe a certain part of the original Sarikei District Office facade was retained..hence the 1937 wording..otherwise this is very misleading. The blue roof is definitely new as I can recall (as a kid) that it was rustic like what Kanga said.

pls dig your parent's album for old pics of the original Sarikei District Office.

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