Monday, September 24, 2007

Scenes - Across Sarikei River. Part 3

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007.
Find the sexy question mark (fiddlehead).

The areas around Rentap Road do not have only buildings. It has tropical flora that most of you will be familiar with. At the rate which Rentap Road is developing, soon all this will be gone and you will need to travel out of town to see this.

Wild fern is a common plant in the forests. The above version is not edible unlike our favourite dish, midin fern. New leaves expand by unrolling of a tight spiral of frond called a fiddlehead. The leaves produce spores for reproduction.

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007.
"Touch-me-not" plant.

This sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) is a favourite among kids. The leaflets will fold in the evening and the whole leaf droops. It re-opens at dawn. The leaves also fold under stimuli like physical touching, warming, or shaking and can also be transmitted to neighbouring leaves. The cause is a loss of osmostic pressure in strategically situated cells.

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007.

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007.

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007

Among the weeds, you can find wild flowers that jostle for attention from the pollinating insects with its bright colours and fragrance. Other weeds without flowers disperse their seeds via the gone-with-the-wind effect. There's a 70s Chinese song called "don't pluck wild flowers by the roadside". 路邊的野花不要採. I think the song used wild flowers as a metaphor, correct? Can anyone remember the lyrics?

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007

This cluster of shrubs is a common sight along rural Repok Road. It's characterised by leaves that bend at a certain height.

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007

In the thick foliage of the forest, the fight for sunlight is key for survival. Some creative creepers twirl themselves around the trunks of huge trees; literally hitching a ride to the sky.

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007.

In the old days up the the mid 70s before plastic bag were introduced to Sarikei, these big leaves were used to wrap meat and bean curds and tied with a natural raffia string. Believe it or not.

Sarikei Jalan Rentap 2007

These wild shrubs were often shown in martial arts movie to set the scene for kung fu masters to battle it out. Electric fans might be needed to simulate strong breeze blowing on the stalks.

Sometimes we don't realize how lucky we are to be borned in the tropical rain forests of Sarikei. Remember to take time out to smell the diverse flora and then sing "It's a Wonderful World".


Daniel Yiek said...

I'm going to Kuching this Fri night. Will spend some time at the State library across the S'wak river which I didn't cover before. I covered the 2 town libraries in Jan'07. Then maybe go to Bako.

I will be taking express boat to S'kei on Wed. The first time in 15 years+. I always took the land route. I have several items to take pictures and follow up for the blog. I have asked a teacher in St Anthony's to find out where I can go thru the Anthonian magazines from the 1st issue to 1973. I have covered the key items of interest from 1974-1983 issues in this blog. If anyone recognises me in S'kei, pls say hello. :)

I received this email from a student below. To clarify: I'm not an expert on Sarikei. I learn along the way thru reading, web search, research, talking to people and getting readers' feedback.

I remembered my Form 1 Geography lesson on Sarikei. We learned that Sarikei is surrounded by 3 rivers and had 1 Repok Road. The population was 30,000 in 1977.

Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 08:15:01 -0700
From: (email address deleted)
Subject: Hello^_^????

Hi, I'm a student of SMK St. Anthony. I'm now finding information of Sarikei for my geo's project: Fungsi Petempatan Sarikei. I heard tat u know a lot about Sarikei. Can u give me some informations about Fungsi Petempatan Sarikei. TQ

Ikan Sembilang said...

Many years ago while visiting the house of a classmate of ours at about Mile 1 ½ Repok Road, we were surprised to find that there was a very old Chinese cemetery just next to his house. It was a small cemetery (when compared to the one at Mile 2 ½) with many tombstones dating back to the years of the late Qing Dynasty (清朝). If the cemetery land has not been reclaimed for development, a visit to the cemetery will provide some clues on when the Chinese first came to settle in Sarikei and which province and district of China did they come from. Similarly, if one can read Jawi, a visit to the old mosque and the old Malay cemetery at Jalan Masjid Lama, will be useful to obtain clues on when the Malays came to settle in Sarikei as well as to look for the original name of Sarikei in Jawi script. After reading some Sarawak history, I am convinced that the Malays were the first people to settle on the right bank of Sarikei River. The Sarikei town as we know it to-day on the left bank of the Rejang River was only settled by the Hokkien and Cantonese Chinese traders at a much later date.
Before the arrival of the orang putih in Sarawak, the written Malay language was in Jawi script. With the introduction of romanised Malay script to Sarawak most likely by the white Rajahs, the native names of rivers and places in Sarawak were converted to romanised Malay script. In the case of Sarikei, over the years the romanised spelling of the name had been changed from the initial Siriki to Serikei in the 1860s and eventually to Sarikei. Apart from Sarikei, there are many towns in Sarawak such as Lawas,Trusan,Limbang, Miri, Niah,Tatau,Oya, Igan, Balingian, Mukah, Selalang etc. which were named after the rivers on the banks of which they are located. I believe all of them are just native names and they may or may not be linked to any Malay or Iban words for things of nature.
I’ll e-mail you soon some documents for your next series of posts on Sarikei. Meanwhile, enjoy your trip to Sarikei or Siriki if you prefer something more original.

Daniel Yiek said...

Ikan Sembilang,
Looking fwd to your documents. With yours, STLau's and my research combined, will have very good story. Sarikei (village) was very prominent in the mid 1800s.

Later Binatang (urban town) was developed faster than sarikei (urban) as posted before.

Do you have more details of the 1.5 mile cemetary location? Is it by the main road?

Ikan Sembilang said...


If I remember correctly, the old cemetery was not more than 100m from the road and was on the same side of Repok Road as the one at Mile 2 ½ . While in Sarikei, you should take a photo of the old Borneo Company building (now renamed Sebor) next to the Rejang River in Jalan Kubu. Both the Borneo Co. and Sarawak Steamship Co. had a long history of operation in Sarawak and had played an important role in the commercial development of many major towns in Sarawak, including Sarikei.

nelson said...

I think he was referring to the old cemetery along jalan durian off repok road. opposite jalan alan or after rayon rd.(fr. town)

I heard that it is one very old cemetery but i had never been there. perhaps some photos can be snapped and posted here. =)

btw, any news on the meranti bridge crossing nyelong river? is it done?

Daniel Yiek said...

Thanks for the info.

Nyelong Bridge? Maybe it will be in the amount approved for development In S'kei under the 2008 budget.

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