Thursday, August 28, 2008

Scenes - Sarikei District Office 1940s-1960s

Sarikei District Office, 1940s-1950s
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: Albert

When reader Ikan Sembilang commented that the picture below is not St. Anthony's School's old central block, I clicked the picture to enlarge and studied it. In the middle of the block's roof was another protruding roof (hidden behind the trees)! Bingo! That's really the old Sarikei District Office block which was completed in 1937. Compared to the above rare picture in my archives, it's a match.

Now the above undated picture was likely from post World War II (1946 to 1950s) or may be even from pre WW II (1937 to 1940). The Japanese didn't want to use this as their administrative centre for fear of been bombed by the Allies so they used St Anthony's School as their HQ. Can anyone tell from the picture (the grass, the bicycle, the electricity poles, the surrounding, etc)? What is that smaller building on the extreme left?

Sarikei District Office, 1960
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: Ease Chen

Front row sitting from left:

L2 face half covered is Mrs Siaw Nam Khoon 蕭南坤

R1 Seated with cheongsam Ong Poh Ai 王寶愛 (Mrs Tan Kim Sin陳敬信 )

Standing from right:

R1 Father Joseph Chin詹廷芳神父 ; the one with white coat and dark pants was the then Governor of Sarawak Anthony Abell; man with a tie was Siaw Nam Khoon; Lady standing with a handbag was Mrs. Chen Ko Ming (Mdm Ling Bee Ing); next was Juliana Lee; lady with checked dress was elder sister of Lim Kim Khian.

This picture shows an unknown occasion where the invited guests were all dressed up to the nines in the tropical humidity. Check out the guys in two piece suits with bow tie, neck ties and polished shoes. Find the Dutch Mill Hill and local Catholic church missionaries. Who were those two colonial guys from the British administration decked out in smart gear?

Find the ladies taking refuge from the sun under the trees. The 2 ladies in traditional cheongsam attire were Mdm Ling Bee Ing (or Mrs Chen Ko Ming; standing) and Mdm Ong Poh Ai 王寶愛 (seated).

Tan Kim Sing 陳敬信, early headmaster of Kwang Chien 廣建 School, is the husband of Mdm Ong Poh Ai . She used to run the See Hua kindergarten at Methodist School and Mrs. Tiong Hung Ming continued there after. (source: 45 rpm)

In the background were some folks carrying bamboo umbrella. Picnic in the heat, anyone?

Update: The 2 poles on the right were not flag poles. They were of different lengths and were likely antennae for communications or radio.

Sarikei District Office, 1960s
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: My family album

This picture was previously posted wrongly as St. Anthony's School but it's actually the old Sarikei District Office. Check out the nice landscaping. Sorry Anthonians, you will need to dig out more old pictures of St Anthony's School. This picture does not show your alma mater.


sarawakiana said...

Good photo. I can see the beautiful kopitiam chairs (made in Germany) called Tek Kuok Yieh.

the paper umbrellas were lacquered paper umbrellas made in Fuzhou City in the 50's. This industry is still making headlines around the world.

I still have one here in the house. Poorer in quality but almost the same as the ones used by my grand parents. Bought in Bintulu.

Buwau98 said...

So this picture was taken from the Police HQ, ie the Library block side
if i am not mistaken
Those trees looked like pokok gelam and the casuarina trees were not yet planted
BTW i am giving you an award of creative blogger
Please do accept it

Daniel Yiek said...

Sarawak blackout may recur

KUCHING: The major blackout that hit most parts of Sarawak on Saturday night may recur in the next few days.
The blackout was caused by the shutdown of the state grid Circuit 1 between Bintulu and Sibu for an upgrading exercise.
State Public Utilities Minister Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan warned that there was a risk of a “system split” as the upgrading work would only be completed by Thursday.
He said circuit 1 was shut down for project implementation at the new Selangau 275kV substation near Sibu.
“The substation connects the new Mukah coal-fired power station to the grid as part of the expansion and reinforcement programme,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
Awang Tengah said the grid had not been operating normally since 11.45am on Saturday following the shutdown of circuit 1.
He said circuit 2 between Selangau and Kemena in Bintulu Division (being the only circuit in operation after circuit 1 was shut down) tripped at 6.39pm on Saturday, causing the system to split into two sub-systems.
“Due to insufficient generation capacity to meet load demand in the Kuching-Sibu sub-system, the generators in Batang Ai (Sri Aman Division) and Sejingkat Power Corporation (Kuching) tripped, causing the blackout in Kuching-Sri Aman-Sarikei-Sibu,” he said.
Awang Tengah said restoration of power supply was nearly completed when circuit 2 tripped again at 8.09pm.
“There is no fault in the overall system. The only suspect is the operational malfunctioning of the over-current protection relay at the Selangau 275kV substation.
“The relay was de-activated and efforts were made to restore power again.”
While there was still a risk of system split, he assured that every effort was being made to avoid a recurrence of the tripping incidents.
The blackout, one of the worst to hit Sarawak in recent years, has forced the cancellation of several functions and gatherings in hotels, community halls and other venues.
Many shops were forced to close early and the blackout also caused traffic chaos.

45rpm said...

Those were colonial guys from the British and not the Brooke administration, the year 1960 was under the Union Jack days.

Can you notice Penghulu Eman standing behind the ladies? I guess is him again.

Buwau98 said...

forget to tell you
the award is at this location

sarawakiana said...

Sorry my apologies for deleting my previous comment.

From what I know this picture depicts the Commissioner of the Police wearing his full regalia . I presume that this scene reveals part of the visit of Sir Alexander Waddell to Sarikei...

And the Governor's white hat/helmet was plumed and tall. Very different from the Residents'. But the British Residents in Malaya had similar plumes and were probably of the same height as the Sarawak Governor's.

there is a lot of history in men wearing feathers .....

Ikan Sembilang said...

The building in the background with belian shingle roofing looks more like the old District Office than any of the St Anthony’s School buildings that I know of. I think the original photo was taken at the Padang in front of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and you can see part of the black and white goalpost being used for putting a shed for the occasion. The ladies in the pic were cooling themselves in the shade of the paperbark trees. The paperbark trees produce white bottlebrush-like flowers and are native to Australia. I have seen them only in Sarikei but not in other towns of Sarawak. Just wonder who brought them all the way from Australia to Sarikei?!

Anonymous said...

i hope you will write about pulau kijiang. i think sarikei was the spot for that disaster

Daniel Yiek said...


Pulau KIjang was covered in this post

or you can search for "pulau" in your top left search field.

Ikan Sembilang said...

According to Wikipedia, there are well over 200 recognized species of paperbark trees, most of which are endemic to Australia. A few species occur in Malesia, a biogeographical region that covers the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea and Borneo. The paperbark trees in the pic, or pokok gelam as they are known locally, are not Aussies after all; they are as Malaysian as you and me!
Happy Hari Kebangsaan To All Malaysians!

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