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The earliest graveyard (a small one) for Cantonese and Hokkien is at a small hill at 1.5mile Repok Road at a branch road, Jalan Ranyon 南洋路, just after Jalan Durian (see map above). In South China, the people that migrated to South East Asia call this region 南洋 (nan yon in Cantonese). This graveyard was worth a visit during the day. I was the only human there when I visited but the mosquitoes chased me away, not something else.
Sarikei Rentap Road 2007
The end of the long paved road.
If you go on the path, you'll reach lower Rejang River.
Around 1998, the main road across Sarikei River bridge, Rentap Road, is named after the Iban freedom figher, Panglima Rentap (circa 1800-1870), but he didn't live around that area. Rentap was from the new Betong Division (formerly in Sarikei's 6th Division) but he lived his last years in the Sarikei Divsion. He was well known for his fearless battles against the James and Charles Brooke's armies. On July 27 1993, the Sarawak government declared Rentap as one of the heroes of Sarawak, with his portrait displayed on a plaque at the Heroes’ Monument outside the Kuching High Court.
Sharif (Sherip) Manshor (Masahor) (circa 1810-1890) was an important Malay patriot in Sarikei's history who fought against European colonialism. More on him in a future People post. This road runs parallel to Sarikei River thru the Malay villages and ends at the current mosque. Then the road continues as Century Road to the back of Hua Tai residential area. This is a good way to commemorate him because Sarikei (Siriki) village had its roots along Sarikei River bank in the 1800s. More on that in a future History post.
The road between Jalan Masjid Lama and Jalan Masjid Baru is named Jalan Haji Karim. Tuan Haji Abdul Karim was the Malay village head (ketua kampung) in the mid 1930s.(Source: Abang Haji Matahir school history)
Theere were only 2 mud (not stone) roads in the Malay villages in the 1950s - Jalan Haji Karim and Jalan Abdul Rahman. The only water source in the villages then was at a well with a pump at Jalan Haji Karim (which was near to the water source from the hill opposite Methodist School). The villages have pit toilets with a hole in the ground. High tide will carry the waste to the river. (Source: Pengiran Bassar, Ketua Kampung Haji Hossien Bin Abdul Rahman from Oya, Mukah, who came to Sarikei in 1954 with his dad. He also mentioned that the first batch of Melanau in Sarikei came from Mukah)
Sarikei Siaw Ah Koon Road, 2006
JKR in background
Source: Jimmy Ong
JKR in background
Source: Jimmy Ong
Everyone from St. Anthony's School knows Siaw Ah Khoon road because this road leads from Repok Road to Nyelong Park. Who is this with the Hainanese surname Siaw? During the Chinese immigration waves, relatives in Sibu and surrounding towns would go to their District Office (DO) to get the application approval on behalf of their China relatives. These approved papers were then sent back to China or hand carried if there's anyone going back to their China village. After approval, The Foochow relatives would travel to their port city to wait for the next vessel to Singapore. The Cantonese (like my grandparents) would start their journey to HK and wait for the next vessel to Singapore. Upon arriving in Singapore, they would have to wait for the appropriate vessels to Rajang (Rejang) River.
The vessel would enter Rajang River mouth and being the first town along the river with a DO, Sarikei was where everyone would alight and get their papers verified. In those days, you could see hundreds of new Foochow all wearing a blue outfit with a Foochow hat alighting from the vessels and waiting for their turn to be verified. Siaw Ah Khoon, the Treasury clerk who later got promoted to the Assistant DO, would be the man busy with the new arrivals. Relatives from Sibu and surrounding town will come and greet them. Those who did not have valid papers could end up in Sibu's jail for two months. (Source: 1)
During World War II, just before the Japanese invaded Sarikei, the Europeans decided to flee Sarikei. The District Officer, WS Buck, handed Sarikei and its treasury contents of $200K over to the native officer, Abang Haji Abdul Rahim and the Treasury clerk, Siaw Ah Khoon. (Source: 2)
As they say, all roads lead to Sarikei.
1) Reader Lidasar