Sunday, January 03, 2010

History - Sarikei 2009 in Review

This is the fourth "History" post on "Sarikei - Year in Review". Let's countdown the top 10 news of Sarikei in 2009. The links are in the numbered title.

Sarikei Nyelong River Bridge - barge stuck, 13 Feb 2009
Source: Borneo Post

Submitted by: Desmond Chen

No. 10 - Stuck between a river and hard bridge

The Nyelong Bridge officially opened on 26 Oct, 2008 and a runaway barge threatened to test its structure 3.5 months later. It passed the metal mettle test. This means that you can still drive to Bintangor in 15 minutes for its Bintangor oranges, rojak and MYR$12 prawn noodles.

Tanjung Manis (left) at Rejang River Mouth, 2009
Sarikei (right) is 15km away by a dream road to one side of Tj Manis.
Ferries can connect Sarikei to the other side of Tanjung Manis
Source: Nelson Yap

No. 9 - Tanjung Manis: Administrative boundary vs distance
The announcement of the halal hub and other projects at Tanjung Manis can be viewed as a crisis or opportunity. Some may whine that Tanjung Manis now belongs to another division but a redrawing of the divisional boundaries does not change the physical and strategic location of Tanjung Manis relative to Sarikei. Sibu is even further from Tanjung Manis than Sarikei but Sibu had secure government budget for a mega project (roads and 7 bridges) and it is near completion. Is it the end of the road for Sarikei?

Sarikei Bernard Radin, 2009
Bernard Radin facebook fan club

No. 8 - The Sarawak Headhunter kicks butt

Contender Asia Season 2 is a muay thai boxing reality TV show produced by Imagine OmniMedia Pte Ltd (Singapore), Marc Burnett Productions, DreamWorks SKG and World Muay Thai Council. In our corner, representing Malaysia is Bernard "Headhunter" Radin, 37, from Sarikei, Sarawak. He will fight 16 muay thai exponents in the 15-week show which is expected to have 1.2B viewership from 60 countries. The last one standing will win USD$250,000.

Sarikei Chap Goh Meh parade, 2009
Source: Albert Chua

No. 7 - Chap Goh Meh parade: No pain, no gain

Sweat, tears and even pain went into this massive parade on the 15th day of Chinese New Year. This can be a tourist attraction in its own right if this cultural procession continues its festive celebration annually.

Sarikei Pandaw luxury cruise, 2009
Source: Desmond Chen

No. 6 - Cruise control up the Rejang River
This trail blazing luxury cruise started on 1st July 2009. It can open doors for many if the local tourism operators can band together to offer alternatives to tourists that do not fit into the market segment of luxury cruises. The pie (or rather the kom pia) is big enough for everyone. Can this cruise generate ripples to benefit the rest of the Rejang River community? The ball is in our court or rather the boat is on our river.

Sarikei- the proposed TAR college, 2008
Source: Desmond Chen

No. 5 - TAR college cancellation
In the 5-candidate March 2008 election, SUPP's Ding Kuong Hiing won by a slim majority of 51 votes versus the nearest candidate (PR/DAP's Dr Wong Hua Seh). The court dismissed the post election appeal by DAP which centred on the issue of the Tun Abdul Rahman (TAR) college in Bintangor. Then it was announced that the TAR college will not be built.

Note: Please do not leave politically sensitive comments here. There are other political platforms that can air your views.

Sarikei haze attack, 2009
Wharf Road skyline

Source: Desmond Chen

No. 4 - Holy smoke (yet again)!

In 2006, Sarikei had the dubious honour of having the highest air pollution index (API=183) in Malaysia. The slash and burn method of agricultural land clearing was back to deliver denizens a dangerous cocktail of pollutants. Dazed by the haze yet?

Sarikei monsoon flood, 2009
Central Road

Source: Will Chua

No. 3 - Water, water everywhere
The sky opened and it poured cats and dogs for 4 consecutive days. The temperature was freaking cool too. The radio and TV news warned of flooding at low lying areas of Sarawak. The Rejang River swelled and burst its banks at about 6.30pm on 12 Jan 2009 in Sarikei and the old downtown got flooded like the 1970s.

Sarikei drought, 2009
Source: Desmond Chen

No. 2 - And not a drop to drink.
In early August 2009, hot weather and a severe drought almost dried up the Gerugu Dam which supplies Sarikei's H2O needs. Water rationing at Sarikei and the following cloud seeding made national news. Not something you want to drink to.

Sarikei episode on Astro AEC's series, "Malaysia, My Home"
Mr Yii (Yu), VP of Sarawak Chinese Culture Association,
tanning with black peppercorns
Source: Astro AEC

No. 1 - Sarikei on the tube
On 20th Dec 2009, Astro AEC dedicated a whole 1-hour episode from the "Malaysia, My Home" series to Sarikei, albeit from a Chinese angle to cater to the channel's Chinese audience. It covered old town Sarikei, pepper farming, pineapple planting, barber trade, Chinese-Iban inter marriage and mee suah making. If you missed the show, figure out where to watch it on the net.

Sarikei View 2009 from Kampung Seberang
Source: Lau Ngo Chun

There are other news that could have made the the top 10 and I will leave it to you to debate.
- Chikungunya outbreak
- Dengue fever scare
- Hari Raya Puasa market at Kampung Seberang
- Pesta Nenas at Central Road
- Xmas parade
- Success of Sarikeian group on facebook with 1550 members today and arguably the town group with the richest content in Malaysia.

No one, including your humble blogger here, expected a blog on Sarikei to last so long. Thanks to new content from avid readers and comments that trigger new ideas, this blog will continue on its last leg of the journey in 2010 (only a few months' of content left in my computer).

Enjoy the rest of the ride.


Bengbeng said...

only a few more months of content left on the computer? nolah... Sarikei is vibrant.. there will b new stuff cropping up from time to time. Happy new year

sarikeikia said...

Ha...the Astro AEC's series on Sarikei was good but the introduction by Mr Yii was slow, not enough insite. Not sure if he has enough collection to write his dream book but just in case he forgotten, his dad was Ah Nam and his grandfather we use to call him Lon Pak. Happy new year to all!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Well done!!

Will look forward to reading more from your great blog!!

thanks....very worthy work!!

Wong Siong Hu said...

Thanks for this blog and keep up the good work! Happy New Year 2010!

nelson said...

Selamat Tahun Baru 2010. Viva Sarikei!

easechen said...

Happy New Year!
Hope you'll go on......... or many people will miss it..........
Thanks for the great work, Daniel!

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