Monday, May 19, 2008

History - Sarikei Road Names. Part 2

Sarikei Nyelong Road 2008
View from main traffic light junction
Nyelong River in distant background.
Not shown: Civic Centre (L) and District Council (R)

Have you ever thought about the origin of the name of Nyelong River 義朗河? Nyelong Road and Nyelong Park residential area are named after it. Well, after you had spat out the salty water that you drank as a kid while swimming there, the answer might emerge from the murky waters. Nyelong is the Malaysian name for a tree that is common in SE Asia.

Nyelong Tree, Source: Nationaalherbarium

Nyelong Road stretches from Nyelong River to the Repok Road traffic light junction. After Repok Road, the road continues as Jalan Masjid Lama till it reaches Sarikei River. It was formerly known as Masjid Road till mid 1970s. It's a no brainer on the origin of this Malay name - the old wooden mosque used to be at the Ngiu Ngee Store location. You can still find the Malay graveyard behind Ngiu Ngee. Across Sarikei River, the road continues as Rentap Road. The three roads combined is the straightest road in Sarikei.

The kampung road (branching off Repok Road) that leads to the current mosque is called Jalan Masjid Baru (New Mosque Road).

Sarikei Barrack Road 2008

Former Post Office & Telecom Tower in background

Barrack means a building or group of buildings for lodging soldiers especially in garrison. Looks like the original barracks were at this location before it was moved to the police station area at Market Road. Can anyone shed some light on this?

There are other simpler names like Hospital Road where the 2nd Sarikei hospital is located. Jalan Bangunan Kerajaan (Government Buildings Road) hosts the State and Federal Offices, government quarters, SESCO and the fire station.

Sarikei Getah Road 2008

Sarikei Disctrict Council in background

The road leading to Kwang Chien primary school was once full of rubber trees, one of the two old cash crops of Sarikei. Who owned that rubber plantation? (Rubber planting was preferred by the Foochows whereas pepper was the Cantonese's preferred crop.) In the old days, this area was like the fringes of Sarikei. Getah is rubber in Malay so I'll leave it to you figure it out the rest.

Who says you don't need to know the road names in Sarikei? Frankly, I only knew a few roads like Repok Road and Wharf Road when I was a teenager so it's confession time for you!


Daniel Yiek said...

For the concluding part 3, we'll explore roads named after historic people of Sarikei.

Does anyone know who is Haji Karim, probably a famous penghulu? There's a kampung road between Jalan Masjid Lama and Baru named after him. I need this info to add to the next post which I'm working on.

Frost said...

I grew up at Jalan Barrack. There is an old wooden house, quite near to the Sport stadium. That is where I stayed for about 13 years before I move to new housing area at taman susur jambu.

Tuan Lokong said...

Daniel, do not forget Jalan Rentap too it is too Historical names though the Road is consider new.

Lorong Rentap No. 7 (Tiang Soon Height) is our shop :}

sarawakiana said...

In many towns in Sarawak, there will be a Cross Road, Bridge Road, Central Road,Court Road,Blacksmith Road, Market Road. These would usually be the older roads, constructed during the Colonial time.

So in a way, historically, we can categorize roads in a Sarawak time under different historical periods.

Miri has a very good collection of names which attract a lot of interest amongst historians and tourists e.g. Gilbert Estate, St. John's Wood, Maori Hill, Canada Hill, Brighton Road. There is just so much character, history and culture in such names. We used to say, "Yes, we do have a St. John's Wood" in Miri."

Sibu has a road called "Journey's End" . A journey in Sibu in the 1920-40 would end there. And this sort of road name should help students cultivate an interest in names of roads and also bring back good memories.

Then the local councils took over, local heroes were given roads as an honour (or roads were named after heroes/notables). This is good.

Many roads in Sibu are named after trees - Jelutong Road, Ramin Way,etc.

And the latest category could be the roads named after flowers e.g. Cassia Road, Hibiscus Lane, Lily Road, Rose Lane, ...

How roads are named is interesting and an important part of our local history and colour. Very attractive indeed.

Your write up is indeed interesting. There is such a lively and rich historical background in Sarikei.

Daniel Yiek said...

Good observation on the road naming conventions.

All, I pasted a Sarikei student's email below. This sort of email will bring a smile to all of you, especially those who had contributed content and comments. See how it can bring pride to Sarikei deninzens. Wisma Jubli Mutiara is the Sarikei Disctrict Office (the tallest building)


Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 22:53:54 -0700
From: (email address deleted)
Subject: hAI.....

Halo, Daniel. Im miss XXXXX from Sarikei. I have visit ur sarikei blog oledy, wow.....its really interesting n so awesome, as u can find so many information, some even cant find anymore nowdays!!
Im here to giv my thanks to u, as now im doing assignment about Wisma jubli mutiara sarikei. N ur pic n information giv me a lot help. So thanks yea........
Wish u all the best n congratulation for ur good effort in making this Sarikei blog!! SARIKEI THE BEST!!!!!!!!

Gaharuman said...


I am not so sure if Nyelong road is named after a tree. The word nyelong could be the name of a tree in peninsular Malaysia but you have to bear in mind that in sarawak, there is no such tree named nyelong. Trees are known by different names in different places, even within a country. venacular names for trees are also different for different tribes or ethnic group. So, have to take caution on this.

Daniel Yiek said...

Fair comment. This tree is found in Sarawak and Sabah but is known by the name Bubal (Dusun Banggi); rambay utan (Malay)whereas in West Malaysia, it's known as Nyelong.

This is the "best" possible explanation for now till someone can dig into the early 1900s archives of Sarikei District Council on how they named this River.

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