Monday, January 05, 2009

History - Sarikei in the 19th Century

SS Magaret steamer, 1930
Binatang (Bintangor)


I'm not doing a direct translation of this poster displayed below at the recent Sarawak Exhibition at Sarikei's Civic Centre because most of the content had been posted before. Instead, I will try to add more notes.

The modern history of Sarikei started in the 19th century during the period of the Brunei Sultanate and the Brooke administration. Sarikei was part of the Brunei Sultanate until 1853. Sarikei became part of the Sarawak Territory after Sultan Abdul Mumin of Brunei ceded the Lower Rejang (Rajang) Basin to James Brooke in 1853.


Sarikei in the 19th Century
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: Pineapple Festival Exhibition at Sarikei Civic Centre, Dec 2008
Submitted by: Desmond Chen


Clockwise L-R:
Sherip Masahor (1810-1890);
SS Magaret at Binatang (Bintangor) 1930;
James Brooke (1842-1868);
Sago Schooner 1930;
Chinese Chamber of Commerce at Market Road (1940s-1950s)



Rajah James Brooke made his first visit to Sarikei on the ship teamer H.E.I.C.S. Phlegethon on 30 April, 1845.

The steamer shown above is SS Magaret at Binatang (Bintangor) in 1930 according to the label on the above photo I found at a hotel.

The years that followed saw conflicts between James Brook and Sherip Masahor and the local folks. Sarikei was burned on 4th Jan 1856 by the Julau Dayaks. The Julau Expedition led by Charles Brooke on 19th June 1856 was meant to fight the native resistance in Julau.


Sarikei, 1905
Source: Pineapple Festival Exhibition at Sarikei Civic Centre, Dec 2008
Submitted by: Desmond Chen


The Cantonese came to Sare (25km from Sarikei) in the late 1800. They built a school, shop and practised agriculture. The Foochows from Sungei Merah in Sibu followed later. This poster stated that the Cantonese were the first Chinese to arrive in Sarikei.

We know that this is not correct based on the interviews with the Hokkien pioneers published before. The Hokkiens came in 1856 while the Cantonese came several years before 1885 (the documented year of the Cantonese kongsi).


Sarikei, 1948
(Not 1905 as per the label!)
Source: Pineapple Festival Exhibition at Sarikei Civic Centre, Dec 2008
Submitted by: Desmond Chen


Did you notice that the label of the above picture was wrong as shown in the exhibition? It's 1948, not 1905. The label was meant for the previous picture of attap roofed houses!


Sarikei's first cinema
Source: Pineapple Festival Exhibition at Sarikei Civic Centre, Dec 2008

Submitted by: Desmond Chen


This picture with the label "First Cinema Along Repok Road Sarikei" did not have the year and name. Here's the answer for those who attended the exhibition: 1953 - Bai Sheng 百勝 Cinema (meaning "Hundred Victories" in Mandarin). This had been posted before.

This is what is meant by lost heritage if we don't document it. Are you looking forward to the day when Sarikei finally has its own museum?

2 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...

If anyone knows who put this exhibition together, please advise because it means that there may be more old pictures we have not seen before hidden in gov archives.

Nelson said...

this is already an e-museum. =)

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