Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scenes - Sarikei Residency

Sarikei Residency, 2007
Entrance facing Jalan Bangunan Kerajaan (Government Buildings Road)

If you have not come back to eat your ding bian hu for many years, you may not know that Sarawak has 11 Divisions now and each division is headed by a Resident. Each division is subdivided into 2 to 4 districts headed by a District Officer each. This decentralisation is to enable the District Officer, the head of the civil service administration at the District level, to make day to day decisions.

Sarikei Residency, 2007

Sarikei was established as the 6th Division on the 2nd April 1973 and gazetted on 15th March 1973. Initially, Sarikei had an area of 6,969 sq km made up of Sarikei, Meradong, Julau, Matu and Daro Districts. Matu and Daro came under the new Mukah Division from 1st March 2002. With this change, Sarikei Division becomes the second smallest Divison after Betong with an area of 4,332.35 sq km.

Sarikei Residents - The first 6
Source: Sarikei Resident's Office

Sarikei Residents - The next 6
Source: Sarikei Resident's Office

Now the 6th Divsion has Sarikei, Meradong, Julau and Pakan Districts. Sarikei Resident's Office has been distributed 2 departments, namely, Department of Administration, Financial and Social and the Department of Planning and Building. There have been 12 Residents for Sarikei so far. How many can you recall? You may remember the first one, Chin Ting Ming of 1973.

Sarikei Residency, 2007
The words made with grass read "Sri Nyelong".
What's the meaning of "Sri Nyelong"?

Sarikei Residency, 2007
Find the tiered roof at the entrance

The Sarikei Residency has one of the most distinctive buildings in town. It's opposite the Lake Garden at about 1 mile Repok Road. The main building and the tiered walkway at the entrance have roofs influenced by Minangkabau style. I have followed my schoolmate (whose dad was the Resident) into this building before. I recall the front has a greeting room with nice sofa for diplomats.

Sarikei Residency, 2006
View from Lake Garden (Taman Tasik)

Sarikei Residency, 2007
View from Lake Garden (Taman Tasik)

Don't you envy the Resident's grand residence, its vast compounds and not forgetting the enticing view of the Lake Gardens? The Resident is popularly known as tua kow (local slang for big boss). Now you know who's the boss!


Kanga said...

In the 60's this was the point where the army set up the security check point along the road. Both the DO's and the Chief-of-ploice's residencies were around here. You stop and only go when you were given permission. It was tuff stuff then.

lidasar said...

The earliest District Officer under the Raja Brooks were Englishman with an air of royalty, they really dressed up when they are seen in public places and after the war the District Officers were administrator where they had their training in England before they get their oversea posting. Each time before a new District Officer took office the Chinese Chamber of Commerce will hold a farewell banquet for the previous officer at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce building, the most decent and classy place in town with food supplied from the earliest Cantonese restaurant operated by Mr.Chou Mei the father of Temenggon Chou Pak Ming of the 80s. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce would hold another banquet to welcome the new District Officer. You could expect Kapitan Chan Wei and Mr.Khoo Peng Loong sitted next to the District Officer, Hokkien could be represented by Mr. 林 昭 边 of the shop 林恒德 Lim Heng Teck No 4 Wharf Rd and include too was Mr. Siaw Ah Khoon. Why Mr.Khoo sitted next to the District Officer? Because he is the only Towkay that can speak English. Peng Loong was English (Dutch?) educated in Sumatra before his family moved to Sarikei and he didn't learn Mandarin, his father whom folks called Mr. Khoo Bak Fu is of Canton origin from a place called "Hoi San" and he love to wear his Chinaman outfit and enjoy Mahjong. He migrated to Indonesia first before coming to Sarawak.

Mr. Siaw Ah Khoon the 2nd man to the District Officer does not stay at the residency, he stay at a house next to Nyelong River and opposite to the old wooden hospital where you could see him cycling to the old district office which is just a few hundred meters away.

Of course in the 1950s taking the place of entertaining in coming and out going District Office would be Kapitan Chan Ko Ming.

The residency was the place where an important event happened when the war started. With the eruption of WWII and the surrender of the Brook's government to the Japanese, Sarikei like the rest was in panic mode. The warehouse in Sibu was already looted, news spread and follow which a group of Iban numbered 300 mainly from Pakan came rushing down Sarikei with Parangs. Knowing this is some upheaval with bad intension the town's leader gathered together our town warriors making a blockage at the 1st mile Repok Rd where the DO residence was. Foochow Kapitan Wong Yong Hua, Cantonese Kapitan Chan Wei, Khoo Peng Loong, Mr.林 昭 边 and also the Malay Penghulu must have taken a big role in that few days. Everyone was anticipating that fighting will erupt but the wise men pushes for negotiation and offering the Ibans to camp within the DO residence's ground. The town folks brought in a lot of food and prepare splendid feast with BBQ pig for the next few days before the Ibans return to their base.

Can't get this from our history text.

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