In another gem of an interview unearthed by reader Ikan Sembilang, we look at Sarikei life in the 1920s through the eyes of Mr. Chan 張武祥 who arrived in Sarikei in 1927 via the sea. At the time, Siaw Ah Khoon 萧南坤 was the second highest ranking government servant in Sarikei after the District Officer (which was a British selected by the colonial government).
At that time, the government departments, pharmacy, police station and prison were all situated opposite the Youth Recreation Centre. Was this Youth Receation Centre at the current Customs House at the junction of Market Road and Jalan Kubu Lama?
邱炳浓 Khoo Peng Loong (the Cantonese kapitan after Chan Wei) initiated a donation drive of $50 each to reach a sum of $1000. This sum was used to purchase a piece of land at 2.5 mile Repok Road from Mr. 鐘海祥.
Chan Wei, and the Hokkien kapitan, Ling Zhao Bian 林昭邊, (note: of Chop Lim Heng Teck 林恒德, No. 4 Wharf Road) applied to the government to get approval for this piece of land at 2.5 mile Repok Road to be designated as the Cantonese and Hokkien cemetery.
8 more wooden shops were built opposite the first original 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
- 林春記號 Ling Choon Kee
- 林恆發號 Ling Heng Huat
- 萬興 Wang Hin coffeeshop - you knew there was a kopitiam, didn't you?
- 順發棧 Soon Huat Inn - operated by 林應林 Ling Ing Ling. The first Sarikei hotel!
- 廣合興 Kong Hup Heng - operated by 陳梦 Chen Mong, father of Chen Ko Ming. Now at No. 5 Wharf Road. Cantonese.
- 金成安 Kim Seng Ang. Now at No. 3 Wharf Road
These early wooden shops were at Wharf Road. Later Repok Road (called "back street" then) had 36 wooden shophouses and a 同利華 Tong Li Hua silent movie cinema, that preceeded the Bai Sheng 百勝 theatre.
Black and white silent movies - that's cool! Now take your hands off my kacang putih! *Munch*