Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Scenes - Sarikei Rejang Wharf Terminal 1. 2007

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
View from Payang Puri Hotel
Rejang River in background. Upriver (right)
Source: phoonies.multiply.com

Now compare the bird's eye view of Sarikei Rejang Wharf Terminal 1 in 2007 with the 1971 pictures in the previous post. That's 36 years later. The 2 bridges and pontoon still retain the same look and feel as the old wharf but with an added building as a shelter. That's reasonable conservation.

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
Find the ship at the top.

The plaque of the official opening showed 1 September 1991 but that's actually the date of the much simpler interim pavilion completed for the launch of the Rejang River Esplanade. (Click Wharf label to see the 1991 version) This current building with a ship at the top was opened on 14 April 2001.

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
The metal partition of the bridge is new.

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007.
Find boat heading towards Bintangor.

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
Coffeeshop on left
Hey kid, stop littering.

One of the things done right is the the extension of the wharf building out to the river and over the mangrove mud. There used to be 2 portions to the bridges (see 1971 picture) but now there's only one portion connecting to the pontoon. Why is this a good concept? Sarikei serves a large hinterland of rural river villages and towns like Bukit Huang. After the rural folks had done their chores like selling produce and shopping, they used to have no place to rest. They hanged around the five-foot ways of shop fronts or inside the shops. Sarikei shops have a symbiotic relationship with the rural folks who are major consumers of goods and services.

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
Nice! Both the design and the picture.

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
Coffeeshop. Kopi atau teh?
Awak mahu Greenspot orange? Tak ada lah.

There's a very basic coffeeshop to cater to passengers for that last minute bite or keropok (crackers).

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
Ticket counters, fares and times.
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.

How many rural passengers (or even urban folks) understand the acronym "ETD" on the noticeboard? That's an international travel term that means "Estimated Time of Departure" (not "Estimated Tidak Datang"). The best way to remember the departure time of a boat is to miss it once by seconds and see its trailing waves. ;-)

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
Right side of wharf (speedboats)
Find the old wooden jetty.

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007

Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1, 2007
Find the beer

What would you do when you are bored while waiting for your boat and suddenly a person started snapping pictures? (A) Turn your head away, (B) Ignore him and look grumpy or (C) Who cares? Let's enjoy a warm beer.


Daniel Yiek said...

It's about time that Sarikei Hospital get our share of specialists.


KUCHING: The shortage of doctors in Sarawak can be overcome if the state government allows doctors from the peninsula to work freely in the state.
Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin suggested Sarawak grant permanent resident (PR) status to peninsula doctors after they had served the state for a fixed period.
Speaking at the association’s annual banquet on Friday night, Dr Khoo urged the Health Ministry to lobby the state government on this matter.
Later, in response, Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said he had conveyed the association’s request at a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam on Friday.
Liow hoped the matter could be sorted out given the close cooperation between the state and federal governments.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had asked the Health Ministry on Thursday to quickly resolve the acute shortage of medical officers and specialists in hospitals in the state.
Taib said out of the 1,334 510 or 38.2% had been filled while out of the 175 specialists posts in Sarawak medical officers’ posts, only General Hospital here, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu Hospitals, 135 or 77.5% had been filled.
The Chief Minister said specialist posts should also be created for other larger provincial hospitals like in Sri Aman, Sarikei and Kapit.
Dr Khoo said better incentives should be given to doctors working in remote areas in Sarawak and Sabah to retain them there.
“The government has provided hardship allowances to teachers serving in the rural areas. The same incentives should be extended to the doctors,” he added.
Dr Khoo said the government should hasten the process of posting new doctors, and follow what the Singapore government had done.
“Singapore has taken in our doctors to work as the process time for job application for new doctors is short and that their applications and processing are done on-line,” he added.

lidasar said...

This wharf in front of Bank Rd old block was probably built during the British rule. The wharf does not exist when the Japanese left. In the 70s the clock tower were added by the side but anyone of you got story how the clock tower came about? I have one and it is for you to verify. The clock tower was actually a compensation from a Japanese company for over cutting & collecting MaKou wood (Mangrove) in Rejang. The Japanese knows how to value Makou wood but not the locals, the wood were compressed and shipped back to Japan in big quantity used as raw material for some final product which the Japanese value even more. The locals and the authority were angered by the action of the Japanese and in return the Japanese agreed to build the clock tower as compensation. Earlier and before the clock tower this was the location of a Cantonese porridge seller with nick name 鸡 粥Jow”selling pork & chicken porridge.

Daniel Yiek said...

You answered one of the ques that I had about a building at the clock tower location in the old days. See the hawker centre at the clock tower location in this 1948 pic.


lidasar said...

Cantonese porridge seller with nick name "鸡 粥 Jow" selling pork & chicken porridge before the clock tower location could be in 1960s but those old wooden shop houses are way back in the 1940s and early 1950s. So I think is not correct to link "鸡 粥 Jow" to that early era.

The earliest Cantonese porridge seller Lam Hwie started selling porridge even before the war by Wharf Rd river side opposite to shop Kong Hua Lung (now is 生發 Seng Huat coffee shop). Selling chicken porridge from his road side push cart, the customer will have to sit on stool and long benches in the evening. Those days were very safe because no vehicle will knock you down. You won't know Lam Hwie but probably some of you might know his son Ah Chow who sold fried noodle at the corner of the old hawker food center and right in front of Payang Puri Hotel in the 70s. For the younger generation I doubt they know who is Ah Chow let alone Lam Hwie.....haha!

fred said...

hi daniel,

check out google earth for Sarikei's map. They already updated Sarikei's map to a high resolution picture.


Daniel Yiek said...

Lidasar, noted.

Fred, thanks for the update on Google maps.

Stay tuned tomorrow on how the fuel prices increase has impacted Sarikei!

Daniel Yiek said...

I have posted the obituary ad for Ah Kow . You can see a bit of his history in the obituary. Search for "Hung Kiew Kee" at the top left search box and click on the post.

Daniel Yiek said...


Tongkangs against the tide
Story and photos by ANDY CHUA


ONCE the most popular mode of transport on the Rajang River, launches or ‘tongkangs’ as they are locally known, are in danger of being swept away by the tide of progress.

Slowly but gradually, they are becoming a thing of the past. Local folk in Sibu call it “a sunset industry.”

There are now only a handful of the launches still operational and they are struggling for business. Many tongkangs can be seen idle along the Sibu waterfront.

Still in business: A single-deck tongkang waiting for passengers at the wharf.
“I am doubtful that the tongkangs will still be in existence five years from now,” a passenger on board a tongkang told StarMetro.

“Perhaps, they will be good only for the museum,” said the man, who requested not to be identified.

He reasoned that Sibu town was now well connected by good roads to all the nearby areas located along Rajang River including Bintangor, Sarikei, Kanowit, Durin and Paradom.

Commuting to these areas have been made easier with the construction of three bridges — Lanang, Durin and Igan — enabling people to travel in the comfort of their own vehicle or on other public transport.

Thirty years ago, however, the scenario was very different. There were no less than 70 tongkangs operating along the Rajang River. Today, there are only eight still active.

While the future may seem bleak for them, the tongkang owners who are still in operation, disagree.

Still relevant: A double-decker tongkang anchors at the Rajang River.
They remain optimistic that the tongkang is still relevant, declaring: “We still have a role to play.”

One of the operators, who wished to be known only as Ling, said the tongkangs would never fade away. “It will not die a natural death, especially not in this part of Sibu,” he said.

In its heydays, the tongkang was used not only to transport passengers but also ferry goods and farm produce from the longhouses to the town centre and vice-versa.

They were also very popular among businessmen and other commuters who travelled between Sibu and Sarikei, and from Sibu to Kanowit on a daily basis.

Loyal customers: Sawmill workers boarding the tongkang to get to town.
It would normally take at least three hours to travel between Sibu and Sarikei due to the boat’s slow speed.

Tongkang services were so sought after that at times it seemed as though there were not enough of them to cater to the people’s needs.

Daniel Yiek said...

The most hectic time would be during the fruit season - particularly durian and dabai (local olives) seasons - and also during festivals.

For a double-decker tongkang, the upper deck was for passengers while the lower deck for cargo.

In time, however, the tongkangs were overtaken by the modern and faster express vessels and speed boats.

With the stiff competition, the popularity of tongkangs began to wane. Many operators were forced to stop operating at a regular frequency although some still made their services available but only for hire or rental.

Ling, who has been in the business for over 20 years and owns a tongkang named Huo Huo Baru, agreed that business was not as brisk as before but insisted that tongkangs were still relevant.

He acknowledged that the express vessels and speed boats had taken over the long-distance routes which tongkangs used to service.

“But we can diversify by providing services to other routes,” he said confidently.

He said that most tongkangs were now operating like stage buses, focusing mainly on short-distance routes.

For example, he said, his tongkang serviced the route from the Tua Pek Kong Wharf to Engkilo, which took just five minutes. The boat runs the route every half an hour.

The route served mainly workers employed at the nearby sawmills, he explained.

“On weekends, I have more passengers as the sawmill workers go to town to stock up on their daily provision. I charge 60 sen one-way for each passenger. If they were to use a taxi, the fare would be at least RM20 per person,” he said.

Ling, who employs a skipper to operate his tongkang while he himself is the conductor, felt that with the minimal fare charged and low operating cost, there was no reason why the tongkang service could not withstand the test of time.

The holiday seasons would also help to bring in extra income for the tongkang owners, he said.

He added: “It is normally during the end of the year that we get bookings from tourists including those from the peninsula. They want to experience cruising along the Rajang River on board a tongkang.”

Ling’s tongkang operates daily from 6am to 5pm.

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