Early 20th Century
Moving to Sarikei
Around 1906, Sage 先哲 Deng Gong Su 鄧恭叔 recruited a group of Cantonese from China to the Rajang (Rejang) River basin to develop the wild land. They developed the Cantonese agricultural land at Sibu but the plan did not proceed well and he returned to China. The remaining Cantonese had to fend for themselves. Some moved to Sarikei to work on "red wood" 红木 to make a living.
Sarikei was by the fertile Rejang River bank and the land was suitable for cultivating pepper and rubber. River transport was convenient. Then an early pioneer, Yu Bao (Yu Poh) 余保, was exporting a batch of "red wood" to Indonesia and saw the pepper cultivation there and struck an eureka moment. He brought back 10 pepper plants but only 3 survived the long tropical journey back to his garden.
The year was 1883. (Source: Sibu Chinese History Collection 詩巫華族史科集, 1992)
From there, pepper planting boomed in his village (Sare). They had savings because pepper cultivation supplemented their "red wood" income. They went back to China to bring in more Cantonese to help.
The Cantonese then were mostly dispersed around
XX (I need help with translating those village names), Petalit 八得利, Jakar 椰甲, Meradong
毛XX,Merudu 木律都, Bayong 巴洋, etc. Life got better in the villages and meanwhile Sarikei slowly became a commercial centre. To fulfill the needs of the villagers, the Cantonese Association decided to move from Sare to Sarikei downtown. In 1910, they built a double storey wooden house (with donated wood) by the Rejang River at Wharf Road. This was the 2nd location of the Cantonese Association. The front section was then used as the temporary location of Kwang Chien school in 1927 for 40 students and the back as the Cantonese Association.
Source: Sarikei Cantonese Association, New Office Opening issue, 1980
第一届 (1955 -1956)
主席 : 陈高明
副文书: 李永泉 owner of 永信金铺
财政 : 陈买长
总务 : 朱威
福利 : 孙耀民
学术 : 叶发
监察 : 陈同盛
委员 : 刘目的
Front Row L - R: Unknown, 刘目的, Chen Ko Ming 陈高明, Leong Ming Teck 梁明德, 朱威, 周潮, 叶发
Back Row L - R: 孙耀民, 叶兆, 李永泉, Ah Pao (a watch vendor), Lau Khan 刘根, 陈买长, Chen Tong Seng 陳同盛
In 1941 during the World War II, the Japanese invaded Sarawak. The business market became dead. The Japanese ordered all Chinese associations' activities to halt. In Aug 1945, the Allied forces bombed Japan with 2 atomic bombs and the Japanese surrendered. On 8th May 1955, the Cantonese Association rented the 2nd floor of 18 Repok Road and established the first committee headed by Chen Ko Ming. The first and subsequent committees did well, left a good impression and foundation for future generations.