Who were the first Chinese migrants to come to Sarikei (called Siriki then)? The Hokkiens or the Cantonese? It's well documented that the Foochows came after these 2 dialect groups. Reader Ikan Sembilang took the effort to track down this article archived by Chen Ko Ting, brother of Chen Ko Ming, now in Kuching.
In an interview with 林片登 in 1984, he mentioned that his father 林先慎 came with relatives to Sarikei at the age of 10 in 1864. 林先慎 is the grandfather of 林文欣, the 80+ years old ex-teacher of Kwang Chien school who married the sister of Chong Siew Fai. (updated)
Interview with 林片登 in 1987,
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: Chen Ko Ting,
Submitted by: Ikan Sembilang.
This batch of Hokkien pioneers came from South Eastern China, Fujian 福建 province, Zhangzhou 漳州 prefecture level city, 海澄 HaiDeng county level city (previously known as 三都 SanDu). 1864 was close to August 1861 when Sherip Masahor's rule ended in coastal Sarawak and power was handed over to the Brooke government by Sultan Abdul Mumin. Sherip Masahor was banished to Singapore.
This batch of Hokkien pioneers built 4 attap (nipah palm) houses along Rejang River (at the current Wharf Road) and had Malays as neighbours. They planted crops and raised chickens and ducks. The 4 pioneers were 林先慎, 林先海, 林峇峇 and 林朝陽 (also nicknamed 峇峇).
The 4 attap houses were later rebuilt as wooden houses and used to operate shops with the owners and family living at the back of the shops. The back of the shops faced the Rejang River which acted as a natural sewage system and the front facing Wharf Road.
One day a huge snake from the river slithered up the river toilet hole and scared the living daylights out of the occupants. The snake was clobbered. (Source: Mr Ling's family, 80+ years old ex-teacher of Kwang Chien School).
The 4 shops were
- 新锦成號 owned by 林先慎
- 恆發號 owned by 林先海
- 順發號 owned by 林峇峇
- 锦成號 owned by 林朝陽
Then 2 more wooden shophouses were added:
- under 新锦成號 owned by 林先慎 => named 金成安 Kim Seng Ang (now at No. 3 Wharf Road);
- under 恆發號 owned by 林先海 => named 锦福興號 (now at Foo Hin 福興 No. 17 Wharf Road)
Not long later, 8 more wooden shops were built opposite the existing 6 shops:
- 2 under 新锦成號 owned by 林先慎
- 2 under 恆發號 owned by 林先海
- 4 under 順發號 owned by 林峇峇
Later the shops 新锦成號 and 金成安 Kim Seng Ang did import and export business with Singapore via the 2% commission scheme called 九八行 (updated). The Cantonese came later to Sarikei to make a living. The population of Sarikei and the agricutural business grew.
The Brooke government thought that the shops next to the Rejang River at Wharf Road were not safe and requested that new shops be moved inland for long term development. Hence wooden shops along Repok Road were built. Repok Road was then known as the backstreet with Wharf Road known as the front street.
Hey, you, yes you, the backstreet boys!
家父林先慎，祖籍中国福建省漳训海澄縣三都，生于清咸豐五年即公元一八五四年。渠幼年隨鄉親抵泗里街時，年谨十歲。當時11公元一 八六四年，彼等白製(亞荅)屋，與馬来人毗*而居，以種菜养鸡鸭为生。该(亞荅)屋計四间，为先父及三位漳泉*同鄉所有。查三位前輩一稱林先海，一稱峇峇，另一位亦稱(峇峇)，却未明其姓氏也。四间(亞荅)屋圴築干今泗坡市區靠拄讓江边，以后用木板改建，才开始做生意，並有店號爲新鍠成(屬林先慎), 恒發(屬林先海), 順發 (屬林峇峇), 另一間錦成號則屬只稱 (峇峇) 者. 饑之璯建店屋二間, 一乃屬新錦成號所攘有, 分設爲今之金成安號, 另一屬恒發號, 也分設爲今之錦稫興號也. 未幾又擴建一排木料店屋計八間, 位于前六間之對面, 而兩排店鬥相望. 八間新店屋中, 新錦成號又拥有兩間, 恒發號亦有二間, 餘四間皆屬順發號. 至此, 廣東, 間清屬諸同胞陸續抵泗玻謀生, 於是人口及農商業曰見進展薘勃. 新錦成與金成安二聯號爲, 發展業務, 直接同新加坡(九八行) 進行出入口貿易. 後因白人(拉者) 政府, 認爲店屋傾斜江邊, 爲求安全及永久着想,乃命遷往内陸俗稱(後街) (即目前市區中心) 發展, 巿况遂益形改觀且興盛矣.