Friday, July 24, 2009

History - Where did Repok Road get its name?

Sarikei Repok Road, Feb 2008
Rejang River Terminal 1 in background


In 1910, a few enterprising Foochows including Wong Ching Poh 黃清波, Wong Ching Chung 黃清春, Lau Yen King 劉燕X rowed a boat to a Malay kampung in Petelit (across Sarikei River). They obtained permission from the kampung head, Haji Omar, to clear land to plant vegetables, padi and fruit trees.

In 1914, Wong Tien Pau 黃天保 led a team to Lubo-kan (蘆勃港 Repok port) where land allocated to Cantonese pepper growers had been abandoned). The Land Office was pulled in to arbitrate on the land allocation disputes between the Ibans and the Foochows. Shortly, huge numbers of Foochows arrived to develop the area into Lubo (蘆勃 Repok). (source: 1)


Sarikei Repok Road 2008
View from the pineapple statue
Source: Jing



This book has likely given us the answer to the mystery on where Sarikei's main road, Repok Road, got its name. Chinese names of places in Sarawak are mainly direct phonetic translation of the local names. Lubo (蘆勃 Repok) is likely from the Iban word lubok, which means "the deep part of the river". Example: Lubok Antu (Lubuk Hantu in Malay) of Sri Aman near Batang Ai. Repok was likely a colonial spelling that came in later.

In the old days, a stream ran through Repok Road and that stream joined the deep end of Rejang River (Terminal 1 side). My hypothesis is that this was called Lubo-kan (蘆勃港 Repok port). Thoughts?


Sources:
(1) Chinese Pioneers, Sarawak Frontiers (1841-1941), Daniel Chew. p160-161

4 comments:

Nelson said...

or maybe repok rd was derived from the word 'report'? likewise central road.

Daniel Yiek said...

I pasted Sarawakiana's comment below on a previous post on road names:

From Sarawakiana:
In many towns in Sarawak, there will be a Cross Road, Bridge Road, Central Road,Court Road,Blacksmith Road, Market Road. These would usually be the older roads, constructed during the Colonial time.

So in a way, historically, we can categorize roads in a Sarawak time under different historical periods.

Miri has a very good collection of names which attract a lot of interest amongst historians and tourists e.g. Gilbert Estate, St. John's Wood, Maori Hill, Canada Hill, Brighton Road. There is just so much character, history and culture in such names. We used to say, "Yes, we do have a St. John's Wood" in Miri."

Sibu has a road called "Journey's End" . A journey in Sibu in the 1920-40 would end there. And this sort of road name should help students cultivate an interest in names of roads and also bring back good memories.

Then the local councils took over, local heroes were given roads as an honour (or roads were named after heroes/notables). This is good.

Many roads in Sibu are named after trees - Jelutong Road, Ramin Way,etc.

And the latest category could be the roads named after flowers e.g. Cassia Road, Hibiscus Lane, Lily Road, Rose Lane, ...

How roads are named is interesting and an important part of our local history and colour. Very attractive indeed.

Your write up is indeed interesting. There is such a lively and rich historical background in Sarikei.

Daniel Yiek said...

黃天龍 and 黃天保 were brothers.
You can see a pic of 黃天龍 at the 1937 pic of Chinese Chamber of Commerce. They were closely related to Wong Koh Chiong (黄可川) who started Thong Aik of No.1 Wharf Rd and he was one of the founders of Sekolah Tinggi.


http://sarikei-time-capsule.blogspot.com/2007/05/scenes-sarikei-chinese-chamber-of.html

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