Thursday, January 28, 2010

History - Alastair and Hedda Morrison's Sarikei revisit. c.1965

It was a pleasant surprise when I met one of my neighbours from Sarikei, Paula Ngu, from Hock Siong Kong 福祥康 textile shop at No. 21 Repok Road. My playground as a kid then was the open air area between No. 21 Repok Road and No. 23 Repok Road (behind the soccer goal posts). That open air area was a parking area for goods trolley and a home made badminton court. At night, buskers, fortune tellers and snake oil salesmen entertained crowds. Gongs were used to herald the start of their performances.

I used to peer inside the clean and dry kitchen of No. 21. In those days, you would be lucky to find a dry and clean kitchen in the shop houses because there were wood fired stoves, kitchen, pens for chicken, ducks and fighting cocks, goods storage, a bathroom and a bucket toilet all in the same area.

Hock Siong Kong 福祥康 textile shop,
No. 21 Repok Road, circa 1965.
Find the textiles, fluorescent lights and the 60s style clothes

Source: Paula Ngu
L-R: Pius Ngu, Mr Ngu Ee Kin, Mrs Ngu Ee Kin, Paula Ngu, Alastair Morrison, Catherine Ngu, Francis Ngu, Rose Ngu

Mrs Ngu Ee Kin confirmed Alastair Morrison's story (see Part 1) about the short gun license that he helped Mr Ngu acquire to guard his pepper farm. Mrs Ngu, now 96, is the lady featured in Hedda Morrison's pictures of Sarikei farm life (click Hedda label). Mr Ngu passed away around 1969-1970. This picture was taken during the Morrisons' revisit to Sarikei before they left Sarawak.

Thanks to Ease Chen (daughter of Chen Ko Ming of No. 5 Wharf Road) who organised the gathering with Paula Ngu and James Lau (son of Peking Studio owner) in Singapore in Dec 2009. It's amazing how the internet connects people and surfaces a historic picture.


Sarawakiana@2 said...

What a historical photo!! I love the samfoo worn by Mrs. Ngu.

sarikeikia said...

What I find unusual about this picture is almost everyone in the family was wearing spectacle. You don’t get to see many people putting on spectacles those days and there wasn’t a single shop that can dispatch you a pair in Sarikei until probably the 90s. I remember I got my 1st pair from a shop in Sibu called International, probably the family got theirs from Sibu too.

The pepper farm mentioned was somewhere before reaching Sarikei’s Hua Chiao, probably Sekolah Tinggi is a more appropriate name now.

Nico said...

I am moved to read this continuing series as I am the nephew of Alastair Morrison, who died last year and was the last of his generation in my family.

Thank you and please keep up this as much as possible.

Nico Morrison
Vashisht Village
HP, India.

easechen said...

Wow! A priceless picture!
Keep it up, Daniel!

Daniel Yiek said...

Sarawakiana: My grandmothers wore thos nice samfoo. :)

Sarikeikia: Thanks. This info is in sync with what Paula Ngu confirmed in a previous email that the pepper farm house was at 3rd mile. It had been replaced with a better house. It was Ease Chen who linked me with Paula Ngu after there were queries about the house in Hedda Morrison's classic pics.

Nico: Wow, I was surprised to see your note. Thanks to Hedda and Alastair, we have classic books and pics on old Sarawak! If you find any other old unpublished Sarikei pics from Hedda's collection, pls email me because I like to add as many old pics to the Sarikei electronic book I'm planning to consolidate for future generations.

Thanks, everyone!

sarikeikia said...

Great, just to add a little more info. The farm was on the left side of the road, the same side as Sekolah Tinggi.

Nico said...

I regret I have no original prints or negatives of Hedda Morrison, Alastair bequethed these to the Harvard Yenching Library & the Powerhouse Museum.

Nico Morrison

sarikeikia said...

Check this out, the photos of Hedda Morrison from 1950 - 1980s are hidden here?

Daniel Yiek said...

Thanks, Nico

The most likely source is the box labelled "Small towns" under Sarawak.". Hopefully, one day they will digitise everything before these pics rot.

Rose said...

Wow! I still remember when the photo was taken. I am Rose Ngu (Now Tan)and have been in UK since 1996. Only one month ago I went back to Sarkei to vist my old mum and I was looking to buy the Sarawak Book by Hedda Morrison in Kuching because I lost the copy when we were moving house. Now all this fantastic, valuable and useful information online, I couldn't believe my eyes when I read Paula's email. Well done folks, keep it up!

Nico, I am sorry to hear that Alastair Morrison has passed away last year.
Thanks for your contributions.

Best regrads to all.


Rose said...

A typo in my post, should be ...regards...Rose

catherine said...

Catherine says

I am deligihted to read all the interesting articles and comments made by you folks. Thanks for the contributions which I thoroughly enjoyed. Keep posting most photos for me to see.
Thank you, Paula, for showing the old photo.

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