Monday, July 30, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei Sze Lu Primary School and Church

Sarikei Sze Lu Primary School, 2007
Source: ST Lau

As you traverse Repok Road from Sarikei downtown towards Jakar (7th mile), you will notice this sign at 5.5 mile which reads Sekolah Rendah Kerajaan Sze Lu, 泗蘆學校, among the tropical shrubs and ferns. It's one of those rural schools that you passed by often but did not stop to explore.




Sarikei Sze Lu Primary School, 2007
Source: ST Lau


As you approach the main entrance, you'll see this sign that makes you stop and ponder. Holly molly, the school was established in 1926! I believe the word "lu" 蘆 or 芦 comes from the word 葫蘆 which means gourd. Probably this area was known for farming gourds in the 1920s. Can someone explain what values are the vertical Chinese phrase on the wall trying to evoke?



Sarikei Sze Lu Primary School, 1998
Source: ST Lau


In the 1950s, rural schools in Sarikei started at 1pm so that kids can help out in the farms in the morning. (Source: National Geographic Society (U.S.) - 1956)


Sarikei Sze Lu Primary School, 1998
Source: ST Lau


Blast from the past. These 1998 pictures show a non air conditioned one-storey block with louvred glass panels. This is unlikely from 1926 judging from the architecture. This is likely a block that was rebuilt in the 1950s-60s judging from the pillared corridor, the style of the doors and the metal grills.


Sarikei Church next to Sze Lu Primary School, 1998
Find the church bell.
Source: ST Lau




A clue comes from this charming church next to Sze Lu Primary School. It was built in 1954. There's a new church next to this old one now.


Sarikei Sze Lu Primary School, 2007
Source: ST Lau



The above 2007 picture shows that the school has been renovated further. New red roof, air conditioned, curtained windows and nice landscaping.

Rrrring. That's the school bell. Back to school, kids!

10 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...

I asked a colleauge (from China) about the phrase on the wall of Sze Lu School's entrance. He said that the phrase may be truncated at the top..ie not just 6 characters... but it seems to say,"The water current flows like your ambition.". Agree?

Daniel Yiek said...

Interestingly, Kwang Chien primary school started in 1927 and is the first Sarikei downtown school (whereas Sze Lu primary school started in 1926 in the rural areas). Check out the 1950s photos at the sidebar by clicking on Kwang Chien label. I have forgotten about these Kwang Chien posts as it was quite a while ago.

Lidasar said...

Kwang Chien started classes on the 2nd FL of a shop house, not sure if 1926 is the year where the school building was up. If this is so than you might have to work backward to the days where the children attended classes in the shop houses.

If I can recall correctly there is another school called St.Martin and some where around Jakar too.

stlau said...

I just finished reading “Chinese Vernacular Education in Sarawak during Brooke Rule, 1841-1946” by Ooi Keat Gin of the University of Hull and Universiti Sains Malaysia and published in Modern Asian Studies (1994). This is an academic report and it is apparent from the article that there were already many schools in Sarawak (including Sarikei, which was already a major town in modern Sarawak) during the early 20th century. In that article, they specifically mentioned a Sarikei Foochow school established in 1925 by private individuals. The name of the school is SZE MEI SCHOOL. The Foochow also started Kai Wen School in 1922 in Binatang, Khi Ting Primary School in Kanowit in 1919 and Chung Cheng School in 1906 in Sibu. My conclusion from reading the article is that the education system at the time was already a lot more advanced than we thought. Most teachers were recruited from China and even textbooks were imported from China. Beside Chinese schools, there were mission schools, schools for girls, government lay schools, Tamil and Malay schools. By 1915, the Methodist missionaries had already established a Chinese medium agricultural college. Pretty amazing stuff – you got to read this article.

ront said...

that phrase does seem to be truncated....."flow" maybe not so accurate...seems to mean spraying upward...like a jet of water fountain.

Kanga said...

This is my guess: there is at least one more character before 'water' which I would then loosely translate the phrase as:'the dynamic throttling nature of the (flowing??) water likens the strong & healhty aspirations'. I also think there is another phrase on the right hand side. If this phrase refers to moving items, the other phrase may refers to grant, solitude & stationary items. Daniel, you got me facinated that I must visit this school to check it out next time. I recall the name of this primary school but I can't remember its location. I also guess that 'Lu' may generally refer to young weed-like plants (e.g. aloe vera, etc). Other thoughts any one?

stlau said...

Daniel, Sze is the first character. Sorry about that. There is another phrase on the left side on the gate.

stlau said...

In Sarikei, there is Su Dok (in River Stok), Su Hing (in River Murudu), Su Kwong (in 31/2 mile Repok), Su Lee (in River Baji), Su Lok (in River Merudu), Su Ming (in River Pasi), Su Tak (in River Selidap) and Sze Lu (in 51/2 mile Repok). Sound alien?? Any phrase by combining all these names.

Daniel Yiek said...

Lidasar,
I think you have a valid point that Kwang Chien started earlier than when it was officially established because its 1st principal started in 1926, not 1927 (scroll down at the website to the table on principals).

I paste this Malay sentence from
Kwang Chien's website http://kwangchien.tripod.com/

"Kwang Chien telah ditubuhkan dengan rasminya pada awal tahun 1927" (Kwang Chien was ceromoniously established in early 1927)"

St Martin's Primary school (just after Jakar's bridge) is still around. The primary schools like Sze Li, Sze Kwong and St Martin have produced many good basketball and volleyball players that ended up in Sek Tinngi and St Anthony's.

STLau,
Thanks for the findings on the early eductaion system. Amazing! There are at least 51 Pri and Sec schools in Sarikei now. Check out the "2" pages at this IT company's website

http://www.lestaritech.com.my/pm3%20visit%20schedule/PM3%20Visit%20Schedule%20Sarikei.pdf

Ront/Kanga,
STLau has provided the missing first word of the phrase. Well translated by Kanga. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I asked you a few weeks ago about Ling Kui Yi (林貴貽), he was the principal at Sze Lu

Related Posts with Thumbnails