It's that time of the year again to reflect on the top happenings of the year in Sarikei, our beloved town. My list may differ from yours so feel free to feedback in the comments. And now for the top 5 events of 2007 ....
N0. 5: Let there be light: Record breaking length of festive lights for CNY and Hari Raya traversing the breath of Sarikei along Jalan Masjid Lama from Nyelong River to Sarikei River. Jalan Masjid Lama has claimed the throne as the new hub of Sarikei from Repok Road in the 1990s. Repok Road ruled from the 1950s while Wharf Road ruled from the 1930s.
No. 4: Fruits of labour: Pesta Nanas, the Pineapple Festival, which started in 2004, had its most successful event this year from Nov 23-25 at a new venue, the Wholesale Collection Centre of Rejang Port Authority, Jalan Wharf. For previous years, it was held at the Civic Centre.
No: 3 Moving the cheese to Sarikei: Sarikei has moved beyond ecotourism by capturing a slice of the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) market. 450 members from the Junior Chamber International Malaysia held their conference at the Civic Centre. If each had spent RM$100, that's RM$45K to Sarikei's economy. Check out the parade down Jalan Masjid Lama.
No 2: Sweet port: The RM$332M Tanjung Manis Integrated Fishing Port was launched in Jan 2007. The 35-hectare site is the biggest and most modern in S.E. Asia. It's modelled after its counterpart in Skagen, Denmark and is a collection centre for aquaculture entrepreneurs to process their products before reaching the local and foreign markets. The facilities include 8 shops, a 7020 sq m cold room, 10,800 sq m of processing areas/auction hall, an ice plant that produces 150 metric tons of ice an hour, cranes for loading and unloading cargo, 420-metre long wharf and offices of the Immigration and Royal Customs and Excise Departments. It has a depot to sell subsidised diesel to motivate fishing vessels to stop there. Read what The Star said.
No. 1: Makan angin by Nyelong River. The impressive Nyelong Esplanade has opened for strolling with impressive pavilions, landscaped walkway and of course, the new tourist stop - the flowery toilet.
What's in store for Sarikei in 2008? It'll be parliamentary election year with Sarikei as a hotly contested seat and the Meranti bridge to conquer the Nyelong River.
What to expect in the Sarikei Time Capsule in 2008? Posts on Sarikei history during the Brooke era, Chen Ko Ming biography, Sebor building and the Sarawak Steamship Company, SESCO, Methodist Church, Sekolah Tinggi, St. Anne's School, St. Clement's Kindergarten, Repok Road shop blocks, The Residency, the firestation, etc and of course, rarely seen old black and white photos. This blog will probably run out of content by June 2008, far longer than I thought. Thanks to the readers who contributed ideas, content and photos.
Here's to a new year. Let's pop the shandy and drink to that.