In the early 1950s, Leong Ming Teck 梁明德 packed his luggage in Singapore and headed to Sarikei in the depths of the Borneo jungle. While his boat was slowly cruising up the meandering Rejang (Rajang) River, he must have wondered what he had got himself into. A mistake? How about a fulfilling life as a foreign educated talent to help Sarikei move towards progress?
Sarikei District Council, 1955
Find the old houses behind.
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: Ease Chen
L1, Leong Ming Teck 梁明德 (Cantonese Association Chairman 1955-1966; Kwong Lee Bank manager);
L2, Wong Yong Hua 王仰华 (Foochow kapitan);
L3 Yii Choo Ting 俞祖添 (St. Anthony's & St. Anne's Chinese teacher);
L7, Chen Ko Ming 陳高明 (Cantonese kapitan);
L8, Penghulu Eman
L9 and L10: The 2 Malays with the songkok and head dress also appeared at the Sarikei District Office picture (1950-60s). Names?
L11, Penghulu Ah-Nin
L2, Tan Kim Sing 陳敬信 (Headmaster of Kwang Chien school);
L4 Yek Suk Kang 葉叔幹(Foochow businessman);
L5 Siaw Ah Khoon 蕭南坤
Mr. Leong, a Cantonese, was educated in Sichuan (Szechuan) and Canton. He spoke Mandarin with a Szechuan cum Cantonese accent. He became the bank manager of Kwong Lee Bank at 22 Wharf Road (next to the police station - what a great location for a bank!). In those days, banking could be very informal and if you were a towkay (boss) who needed cash urgently on a Sunday, you could simply call Mr. Leong who was staying above Kwang Lee Bank. He would process the transaction and pass you the cash from the side window while wearing a sarong.
He became the chairman of the Cantonese Association from its inauguration in 1955 until 1966.
In the mid 1950's, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of Cantonese kapitan, Chen Ko Ming, made use of a piece of land beside their building to build a basketball court. The original court was open air without roofing and the seats were only built on one side with the back of the seats facing the padang (now Civic Centre). In the early 1960s, Mr. Leong Ming Teck started a donation drive to construct a stadium with roofing. With the support of the public, the stadium was constructed next to the Chamber of Commerce in 1962-1963 in time for the inaugural Kwang Lee Bank cup (Sarawak inter-district basketball tournament). He also helped organise the tournament.
In the early 1970s, he was transferred to Golden Castle Finance Company 金獅金融公司 in Singapore as its manager. His wife passed away a few years ago. He is now living in San Francisco, USA, in his 90s.
Update: He passed away at the age of 95 at San Mateo in California in July 2011. Below is a news clip.