Monday, November 12, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei Cantonese Association Part 3

Sarikei Table Tennis Star, Yip Pau Cheng.
Gold Award from Cantonese Association.
Source: Cantonese Association Relocation magazine 1980

Ping pong anyone? Sarikei had a star tabletennis player in Yip Pau Cheng 葉寶珍 in the mid 1970s. This Cantonese lass was borned in the Mei Na village. She loved sports and was talent spotted by the Ming Du 民都Primary School's principal when she was playing table tennis in Primary 5. She was groomed with training and coaching. She attended Sekolah Tinggi.

Sarikei Table Tennis Star, Yip Poh Cheng & haul of trophies.
Source: Cantonese Association Relocation magazine 1980.

She represented Sarikei in the 1973 Divisional Table Tennis Competition in Miri and won both the Youth and Women's individual golds. In 1973, she represented Malaysia in the Afro-Asian-Latin American Invitation held in Peking (Beijing) and secured 3rd position in Junior Girls Section (Source: 1975 Sekolah Tinggi magazine)

Some of you may recall watching her represent Sarikei in the divisional competition at the old Sarikei basketball stadium in the 1970s. Ms Yip is now working in SESCO Kuching and is also a table tennis coach. (updated)

Sarikei Cantonese Association, Oct 2007

The Sarikei Cantonese Association moved to the 1st floor of the Payang Puri Block in 1980. You can use the stairs next to the ting bian hu kopitiam (coffeeshop). It holds regular karaoke nights for its members.

Sarikei Cantonese Association, Oct 2007
Library and lion dance drum.

The Cantonese Association's library has both fiction and non-fiction Chinese books. It is synonymous with its lion dance fund raising as it tirelessly drums up support from Sarikei's denizens for worthy causes. Let the beat go on.


Daniel Yiek said...

A reader, Mike, has alerted me of a mistake in the blog. The Block 3 Right was burned down in 1990 (not 1980, which was too early and I was still in Sarikei then.) Another reader, Ront, had also emailed last year that it was 1989 or 1990. I have updated the related posts as:

The administration office was moved to the 1st floor of the Payang Puri hotel block in 1980 while the mahjong & games area was retained in Block 3 Right till it was burned down in 1990.

Daniel Yiek said...

Got a surprise comment left by Chen Ko Ming's sibling below at the 1955 Hartal post. Yes, Ease, pls email me those stuff at and I will compile them...where possible, pls list down dates/year.

Last Sunday, there was an record 66 "unique" readers as per the counter. There are a lot more content left which I'll need time to compile like the 1800's Brooke era in Sarikei..probably have to wait till Xmas time to compile multiple sources into readable flow.

Ease Chen (Wong) said...

It's so interesting & heartwarming to read your comments/discussions about my late father Chen Ko Ming. I'm proud of what he's done for Sarikei - he was a great man! The 2nd anniversary of his passing on is coming up (Nov 20). If you're interested, I can send you some articles from newspapers, pics, etc. You're doing such an awesome job - keep it up! Our heartiest thanks from all Sarikeians!

Lidasar said...

Poh Cheng was the talk of town when she went to China for a competition, in those days who would imagine such an achievement can be accomplished by some one from a small town like Sarikei.

In the photo she is seen receiving an award from Mr.Chan Hon Seng, the elder brother of Chan Ko Ming. Chan H S is a heavy weight in both business and community service, having served the Cantonese Association and also the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. I think the Cantonese are very appreciative of him for offering his rubber estate in 7 mile Bulat as the Cantonese's cemetery. He is a lover of cock fighting and in those Sunday (50s -60s) you would expect him to take his priced cock out on his out boat. There was once when his out boat motor died just before reaching a cock fighting event in Binatang and Mr.Lee (Ah Pun of Brothers Co.) who has an out boat too and another cock fighting kaki helped him to drag his boat back.

Kanga said...

our walking memory delivers again! The Chan brothers & the Lee brothers! Its all good memories of Sarikei!The Chan brothers showed their 'sparks' in the community by day and the Lee brothers flashed their metal works 'sparks' skills well into the night.
Cock fighting - as a young boy I always happened to catch the 'tail-end' of the Saturady/Sunday cock fighting sessions at the 4th mile location (it was at the bend of the road). I travelled by bicycle from farm to town to get ready for the next week's study on late Sunday afternoons and frequented this shows. Associated with cock fighting sessions, there were this famous "fish-prawn-crab" dice games. It may not make you lose you shirt but can burn a big hole in you pocket!

Daniel Yiek said...

My great grandma from Xin Hui 新會in Guangdong was the 1st person to be buried at the Bulat Cantonese cemetery. I recall she lived a long life and was a bit hunchbacked and all wrinkled.

Ease Chen said...

Correction: I'm Chen Ko Ming's daughter, not sibling. Yes, the man handing the award to Poh Cheng in the pic was my uncle, Chen Ko Ming's elder brother. He passed away quite a few years ago. In fact, his wife, son & daughter-in-law are still living at the shop at #5 Wharf Road, & running the business. I'll try to send some pics, articles, etc.

Ikan Sembilang said...

Besides Datu Patinggi Abdul Rahman and Sharif Masahor, Sarikei has produced two other famous sons, Kapitan Chen Ko Ming and Chief Justice Chong Siew Fai. It is quite a coincidence that the father of Kapitan Chen, 陳 梦, and the grandfather of Chief Justice Chong, 张乐天, were both equally prominent in Sarikei in the 1920s. 陳 梦 was the founder of Kwang Chien Primary School and 张乐天 was its first Principal. Founded 80 years ago, the Kwang Chien Primary School has now become the biggest Chinese primary school in Sarikei. To many Sarikeians, it is their 启蒙学校where they learned to read and write Chinese. The Chen and Chong families, one Cantonese and the other Hakka, had certainly made some notable contributions to the Sarikei Chinese community.

Ease Chen said...

ikan sembilang, lidasar & kanga, I'm curious to know who you are, & how come you know so much about the Chen family's stories, some of which I'm not even aware of. I'm really enjoying reading all the stuff that you wrote, discovering my family's history. If you don't mind, pls e-mail me @ Wondering if I know you guys.......or if our parents know each other......

Lidasar said...

Staying anonymous gave me the confident and freedom to write. This is the best blog I came across because it touches on something dear to me and help me to do some mental exercises on my memory. I always maintain that Sarawak is unfortunate to join Malaysia; I am saddened by the selfish distraction of Sarawak's forest and wastage of oil revenue. Malaysia has an undisclosed policy of selective prosecution and for that reason I wish to maintain my anonymity, fortunately or unfortunately I have left for a far away land.

Sometime I feel like knowing almost everybody from Sarikei. I suspect Kanga is the son of a Cantonese from Mei Na who is a lecturer in NUS Singapore but again that is only my wild guessing and cannot be correct.Haha!

gkvaener said...

I believe Yip Pau Cheng is in Kuching, Managed the Kuching MAKSAK ping Pong team in 2003, She was still playing and in top shape..

Daniel Yiek said...

I passed by No.5 Repok Road and it's a kopitiam now. Maybe you can request your relatives there to put up old photos and newspaper clips of your family history and differentiate that kopitiam as a neat stop for Sarawak tourists and locals alike. :)


When this blog runs out of content sometime next year, my wishlist is to have some Sarikei folks step up to write a book on its history like what Sibu did. I have an old big and thick paperback book on Sibu's history which was funded by the Sarawak Chinese Cultural Society based in Sibu. It was an incredible research project with very old black n white pictures. This would be a good retirement project for some of the blog readers who are in the 40-50s now. We would need an English, Malay and Chinese writer each. Maybe we shouldn't wait because the older folks in the (60-80+ year old) would be gone soon with their intimate knowledge.

I'm happy to be part of this project but someone has to have the time to dig Sarawak Museum archives, browse old newspapers, do interviews, trawl for old photos from Sarikei folks. This blog has only touched a part of what's possible. Sarikei has quite an amazing journey which everyone should be proud of. Originally I thought Sarikei had a boring history but I was surprised by the rich history....

Lidasar said...

Old black n white pictures is valuable and today I would like to tell you story of early photographic in Sarikei in the hope that their relatives can help to dig out old photos to help this dream project of Daniel. I Lidasar is only good in telling old grandmother stories, the burden of verifying the pass lies with all of you.

Wu Kok Fei photo studio started very early in one of those wooden shop house well before the war and later moved down to No. 9 Repok Rd 2nd Floor. As far as I know this could be the earliest photo studio. Wu Kok Fei had a worker who was a young Hakka from Kuching by the name Ah Peng. When Wu Kok Fei moved to Binatang Ah Peng took over and started Meina Studio.

There was a Cantonese Lou Son who did some photo taking for photos like those used in IC and passport, he was one of the leaders of the Cantonese Association in the early committee. If I am not mistaken he is from Toi San Canton which unlike most other Cantonese is from Sin Hui. If you could remember he is the one living in the Chinese Chamber of Commerce building back section in the 70s.

Another Studio in the early days has a name something like Chan Fong and started by a photographic enthusiasts Mr.Chua a Hokkien who was the son of the Shop Kim Seng Ang No. 3 Wharf Rd. He married the sister of Mr.Chan Ko Ming and he started a studio on the 2nd level of the middle shop in the middle block Wharf Rd. Unfortunately he passed away early and his wife took over the business for a short while before a Foochow took over and change the name to Hong Kong Studio.

There was another studio operated by a Foochow called Peking Studio. Another studio called Kwang Ming started by a Cantonese and when he passed away his son took over the studio but did not retain the same name. Non of this are as early as Wu Kok Fei who was in pole position.

Ikan Sembilang said...

Sarikei was and still is a small town where everybody knows almost everybody. If you read Daniel’s blog often enough, you can more or less guess the identities of those regular readers, though many of them do not now live in Sarikei.
If you have old photos of Sarikei in your family albums, do send them to Daniel for them to be shared by fellow Sarikeians. Any black and white photo of Sarikei is sure to help bring back many fond memories.

Sarikei does have quite an interesting history. The early Sarikei history covering the struggle between the White Rajah and the native Malay and Iban chieftains to control the lower Rejang basin is well recorded in many of the books written by the Europeans. Very little, if any, has been written about the settlement and development of the town by the Chinese.
It may take some time to find someone willing to volunteer to write a hardcopy book on Sarikei’s history. In the mean time, interesting historical events or stories about Sarikei posted on STC in the last couple of years can be compiled and stored in CDs or DVDs. Historical information such as the one provided by Lidasar that the first wooden shophouses in Sarikei were located in Wharf Road with their back facing the Rejang should be recorded and preserved for the future generation.

stlau said...

According to, Yip Pau/Pan Cheng represented Malaysia in the 1979 World Championship in Pyongyang, and the 1981 World Championship in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (there is also a Mr. Yip Pow Cheng (representing Malaysia) in that tournament).

cooknengr said...

Hey, Ms Yap been to my house in Kuching. My uncle the Late Wong( Huang) Chung (Jun) Hieng was her coach. Small work.
I have 8 mm film of Sarikei, 1969 will send you youtube links someday.

Anonymous said...

how much do you know about the husband and wife teachers/principals in Sarikei, Ling Kui Hee (林貴貽). Perhaps their schools were not in the town. They lived in Repok Road, may be like 5-mile??

Daniel Yiek said...

Sorry, I don't know them....

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