Sunday, March 30, 2008

Scenes - Sarikei Repok Road Block 2 (Left)

Sarikei Repok Road Block 1 (extreme left) & 2, 2006.
View from ex-Sarikei's 1st roundabout.
Now blocked with decorative palms.

As you stepped off the express boats at Rejang River wharf (now called Terminal 1) in the old days (1960's) , there's no pineapple statue yet. You headed immediately to the busy thoroughfare of Repok Road. Blocks 1 (counting from Rejang River) are really shop blocks from Wharf Road (Left) and Bank Road (Right).

Repok Road's Block 2 Left was developed in 1935 and sold for $2000+ per unit then. The developer was Wong Koh Chiong 黄可川 of No. 1 Wharf Road who went by his shop's tradename, Thong Aik 通益. (source: reader Lidasar).

Now let us try to trace the pioneers (or at least the 2nd or 3rd batch) of Block 2 Left that made part of the old town.

Sarikei No 1 Repok Road.
1960 Ad. Find the old double digit telephone# 41
Telegraph code: Seahorse.
Source: Ease Chen

Sarikei No. 1 Repok Road.
1975 Ad. Telephone# has changed to 4 digits.
Then they have Post Office Box.
Source: Ease Chen

No. 1 Repok Road: Soon Chiong 順昌.
This Foochow's business was started by Wong Ching Chun 黃清春 at a wooden shop (third house of block 2 Right of Repok Road) before they moved to No. 1 Repok Road. No 1. Repok Road was bought from a son of No. 1 Wharf Road.

Wong Ching Chun owned a wooden house and rubber farm just behind the current fire station at Jalan Bangunan Kerajaan (1st mile Repok Rd) . In those early days, Repok Road wasn't built yet and they had to row a sampan (boat) via Nyelong River from their farm to town. Do you know that they owned the piece of land piece that was developed into the current Nyelong Park? (source: reader Lidasar)

His son's name is Wong Sieng Chiong黃善昌 and the shop is operated by his grandson Wong Yuk Kong 黃毓康.

This shop is an importer-exporter of native products and a fertilizer retailer. The same name has now branched off to Sibu (drugstore) and Kapit (apparels).

The other half of the shop was operated by Kong Tai Chiong 忠泰昌, which sells apparels.

Sarikei Repok Road Block 2, 2007.
From left: No.1, No.3, No.5, No.7, No.9

Sarikei No. 3 Repok Road.
1960 Ad.
Source: Ease Chen

No. 3 Repok Road: Soo Hong 四豐 (Hokkien)
This shop specialised in exports of native products, imports and operated as a sundry shop. The pioneer of Chop Soo Hong was 沈湘波, the father of 沈德超, 沈德芳,沈麗明.One of the grandsons is a medical practitioner, Dr. Sim, in Sarikei now.

This shop had been replaced by 2 shops split into half: Chop Sing Poh 新寶 and Jansen, which has the best picture framing equipment in town (Cantonese; Mr. Yong Chen Seng, son of the ex-caretaker of Kwang Chien School who is popularly known as Kay Po)

Sarikei Block 2 Repok Road, 2008.
From left: No.1, No.3, No.7, No.5, No.9

Sarikei No. 5 Repok Road.
1960 Ad.
Source: Ease Chen

No. 5 Repok Road: Weng Nging 永源
This Cantonese owned shop still exists today and is the best preserved shop in the block. I used this shop as my blog's wallpaper. If you peered into the dark but charming shop, you can still see the old stairs partitioned by vertical poles. An old dining table with traditional wooden stools could be seen at the back of the shop. Next to the towkay's (boss) table is an antique safe. This sundry shop sells agricultural products straight from the farm, intricate Iban basketry and fish traps and live chicks pecking on their chicken feed. Now half of it has been leased by a hand phone accessories shop.

Sarikei Repok Road Block 1 & 2, 2006.
Rejang River in the background.
View from ex-Sarikei's 1st roundabout.

Sarikei No. 7 Repok Road.
1975 Ad.
Source: Ease Chen

No. 7 Repok Road: Hua Hin 華 興 and Hua Leong 華隆 (Foochow)
(updated) A prominent Foochow pioneer is Kapitan Wong Ngiong Hua 王仰华 owned No. 7 Repok Road. The 1st floor used to be a place for banking as he was the earliest Hock Hua Bank agent. His old house was on the land where Hua Tai residential area was developed on. Mr. Wong was an active community leader. He held positions such as Chairman of Sarikei High School (Sekolah Tinggi) board. Foochow Kapitan Wong had an trademark way of wearing his pants high up above belly button. He was one of the earliest to own a car in old Sarikei. (source: reader Lidasar)

Wong Ngiong Hua's 王仰華 trade name was Hua Hin 華興 before the war and only later Hua Leong 華隆 was started when he included his workers as partners. After his retirement, one of his son restarted Hua Hin 華興. The son drove the car No 6D1 & the wife was a nurse but he died early. The other son who was a teacher took over Hua Leong 華隆. In the 70s, No. 7 Repok Road was divided into two, Hua Hin華興 and Hua Leong 華隆. (source: Sarikeikia)

This was a sundry shop that sold canned food and local products. It also sold motorbikes and motor insurances. This shop is now replaced by Soon Chiong 順昌 from No.1 Repok Road.

Sarikei Repok Road Block 1 & 2, 2006.
From left: No.1, No.3, No.7, No.5, No.9
Find 黄天隆 embossed above No. 9
View from ex-Sarikei's 1st roundabout.

Sarikei No. 9 Repok Road.
1956 Ad.
Find Ah Kow's Hung Kiew Kee Restaurant (left)
Source: Ease Chen

Sarikei No. 9 Repok Road.
1960 Ad.
Source: Ease Chen

Sarikei No. 9 Repok Road.
1975 Ad.
Source: Ease Chen

No. 9 Repok Road: Kiew Lok Kopitiam 僑樂園茶室
黄天隆 owned No. 9 Repok Road but the old cafe (which still exists today) was operated by another Foochow, Lau Kong Hung 劉家凰 and then by Mr. Lau In Soon.

I have confirmed with a relative of his that 黄天隆 is the same person as 黄天龙 (an executive member of the 1930's Chinese Chamber of Commerce (see his picture in the 1937 post). He used to own No. 2 Bank Road too.

Outside the cafe, the now defunct Tai Kwong 大光 cinema from 3rd mile used to have a small poster board on one of the pillars in the mid 1970s.

Don't forget the humble beginning of Sarikei's iron chef, Mr. Fung (Hung) Kiew Kee 馮球記, who started his Cantonese masterpieces at the back of the cafe and later passed the wok to his son, Ah Kow. Their business moved to No. 6 Berjaya Road (with the Merderka fountain in front of the shop now) in Aug 1982. Ah Kow has hung up his wok in the late 1990s and his son, Ah Cheong, has taken over the wok.

Sarikei Repok Road Block 1, 2 and 3, 2007.
From left: Block 2 No.1, No.3, No.7, No.5, No.9
View from 1st Floor, No. 1 Bank Road, former Wharf Workers Union.

Sarikei No. 9 Repok Road
Update: Lau Ing Ho, Lau In Soon and Lau Ing Tuan are sons of Lau Koh Hung
1975 Ad
Source: Ease Chen

Sarikei No. 9 Repok Road
1978 Ad

There's an old and creaky wooden side staircase at No. 9 Repok Road facing Central Road that led to the now defunct Mayna 美娜 photo studio. It was owned by a Hakka named Ah Peng (Mr Hiew) who loved cock fighting and playing soccer in the nearby padang (field). He kept birds, goldfishes and monkeys. The family speaks Foochow too because his wife is a Foochow. Below is the origin of this studio.

One of the earliest photo studios was opened by a Foochow, Wu Kok Fei 胡國輝 studio, in one of the wooden shophouses along Repok Road. It later shifted to No 9 Repok Road. When Wu Kok Fei uprooted to Binatang, the studio was taken over by Mr Hiew (Ah Peng) who converted to 美娜 Mayna Studio.

So you see this block is full of stories and history.


Daniel Yiek said...

I'm trying a new concept in this post by combining pictures and old ads from magazines like St Anthony's and Sekolah Tinggi. Thanks to the tireless scanning of old ads by Ease Chen!

This post took a long time to write because of the amount of info and pictures to upload. Hopefully this will trigger old memories. Enjoy!

Daniel Yiek said...

I paste an email from a reader "KS" below:

Dear Daniel,

Thanks for putting up all the details/info on Sarikei. It helps to be "virtually at home".

On your question - Lau Ing Soon, Ho and Tuang , are brothers and are sons of Lau Kah Hung. Ing Soon the eldest, may not be operating "Kiew Lok Huong" any longer. They are concentrating more on furniture trading instead(Lian Star - you have one of the photo of the shop at Central Road Block 1). Ing Ho together with another brother, is the distributor for some of the cigarettes brands in Sarikei. Adjacent (beside Methodist primary school) to their block of shoplots is where Ing Tuang's clinic is. Ing Tuang is the youngest among the lot.

stlau said...

Such a great idea to compile the ads of yester years. Two-digit tel. numbers - its just so cool. I think we remember 4-digit tel nos. but no old enough to know there is even 2-digit tel nos. If you have the time, you could go back to add in the ads for the earlier blogs. Tks.

lidasar said...

I like your new concept of combining pictures and old ads, well done.

No. 9 Repok Rd had some historical significant. During Japanese occupation this shop was the Japanese shop and the name of the shop was called "Na Hor" selling Japanese goods and the 2nd floor was a gambling den then. Hung Kiew Kee (�T��ӛ�Ƙ�) started operating a modest food stall at the side of No.9 Repok Rd before shifted into the shop and beside the earliest Cantonese restaurant operator Mr.Chou Mei also once operated from the road side of No. 9 Repok Rd before starting a full fledged restaurant. Wu Kok Fei photo studio started very early in one of that 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 employs a young man from Kuching who is a Hakka by the name Ah Peng. When Wu Kok Fei moved to Binatang Ah Peng took over and started Mayna Studio.
Kiew Lok Kopitiam �S���@����, even though the Lau are no longer operating the kopitiam you must give credit to them for the Lau are part of an extended family that are the pioneer of Sarikei Kopitiam that almost monopolized the entire coffee shops business in old Sarikei such the two coffee shop on the Bank Rd block ���� and several more.

Kong Tai Chiong ��̩�� which sells apparels is the owner of No.1 Repok Rd. This is one of the earliest trade name operated by a Hakka family that long exist before the war. Soon Chiong the earliest Foochow pioneer rented half the shop from them when they were operating from No.1 Repok Rd.

Soo Hong ���S was started by a Hokkien Mr.Sim that started before the war but the business was interrupted after his death and the children didn't continue the business, one of the son distributed newspaper and the other was a teacher. If you know of any Hokkien Sim than they could be from this origin.

Anonymous said...

Lidasar is correct.

Soo Hong was owned by grandfather Sim Siang Poh. Now owned by his grandson (not me). Use to be grocery store and did pepper trading.

He was very successful in business at that time, unfortunately he passed away at 40+.

Sim Y

Daniel Yiek said...

Yes, will aim to put in old ads in Wharf Rd, Central Rd and Repok Rd posts later. I need to learn how to insert photos better into existing posts because Blogspot is not easy to drag and drop a new picture. It messes up the existing picture captions' format.

Lovely comments. Now the story connects better. Do you have the Chinese characters for the "Na Hor" Japanese shop at No.9 Repok Rd? Is it 南和? 娜河? etc? I think this will be of academic interest to future Sarikei folks. By the way, your other Chinese characters didn't turn out properly in the comments.

The other son (teacher) of Sim Siang Poh is Sim Teck Hong (spelling?) who taught at Sekolah Tinggi in the 1970-1980s. He's an avid badminton player but is better known as the successful coach of 6th Division's ladies basketball team that nearly toppled Kuching when Sarikei hosted the inter Division tournament in late 1970s. Sarikei came in 2nd. The Kuching ladies cried from stage fright from the loud S'kei supporters that rocked the stadium.

khatizah said...

Hi daniel

Waaa..bandar sarikei ada blog sendiri.

I'm in sarikei right now.hope we can share something for our lovely sarikei..heheh

Philip said...

My grandparents used to operate a grocery cum pepper trading shop name Chop Tai Siong along Repok Road. Behind our shop is the football padang and basketball court which still bring fond memories to me.

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