Saturday, September 25, 2010

Disappearing Sarikei - The House of Kueh - Gone like a house of cards

As you travelled past Kwang Chien School on Jalan Getah in the old days, you would see a row of familiar wooden houses like the house on stilts which belonged to Madam Ong Poh Ai 王 寶愛 and her hubby, Tan Kim Sing 陳敬 信 (early headmaster of Kwang Chien). They had 4 daughters 4 daughters namely, 陈国英,国芬,国爱 and 国华 (Angela Tan of Wen Wen cafe, I believe). That house had been demolished 2+ years ago.

And do you remember this house below that was next to it? The bulldozers moved in a few months after CNY 2010.

Sarikei House of Kueh, Feb 2010

This mega monolithic block belonged to the extended family of Kueh, some of the early Hokkien migrants in Sarikei. Their shop is still operating at No. 12 Wharf Road (新金興 Sin Kim Hin). It specialises in gas supplies now.

The extended Kueh family is big because they have many siblings. The eldest sibling owned a seafood warehouse at Nyelong River behind the old SESCO electricity generators at Fort Road. Another owns the only 3 shops in Belawai downtown.

Sarikei House of Kueh, Feb 2010

These classic stairs were made of belian (iron wood). Furniture makers had been calling them to buy the wood for recycling since older wood are "drier".

 Sarikei House of Kueh, Feb 2010 

A lot of the early Hokkiens in Sarikei are related through marriages within the same dialect, a common social trend in the early days of clans and match making. eg. The Chua's of  No 3 Wharf Road (金成安 Kim Seng Ang) are related to the Kueh's.

Several families used to live in this house with their own kitchens and shared toilets. Over the years, more families moved out. In CNY 2010, the extended families had their last new year's eve dinner there. The tables lined the entire length of the house.

 Sarikei House of Kueh, Feb 2010 

This extended family of Kueh's have produced much talent for Sarikei - eg. sports persons (in basketball, volleyball and table tennis), engineers and doctors. One of Sarikei's favourite sons, Dr. Yap, was related to this family too.

In the 1970's, epic rivalries between men's basketball teams like 海峽 (Sea Straits) and 東方 (East Side) were eagerly awaited in the annual double knockout competition. This house hosted the team of 海峽 (Sea Straits).

 Sarikei House of Kueh, Feb 2010 

The houses in this area had to go because they were at the tail end of their 60-year-old property lease. Now this area is zoned for commercial buildings so you will likely see new blocks of monolithic high rise buildings with no character unlike those buildings of yore. Every block will look similar like those that have mushroomed in downtown Sarikei.

Sarikei House of Kueh, Feb 2010
Find the belian wood

The sledgehammer and bulldozers had completed their demolition work. This house had tumbled like a house of cards to seal its fate.


Daniel Yiek said...

A new category for this blog, Disappearing Sarikei, has been added. The inspiration came from prolific blogger, Sarawakiana.

Hope you like this.

长竹 said...


阿瘦 said...

wow...nvr thought tat i can see my old house photos at other's blog... nice ^_^

Daniel Yiek said...

I was informed that this house was built in a traditional Hokkien style but I don't have enough knowledge on Hokkien architecture to comment.

This house had a big middle communal hall with rooms on both sides.

Anonymous said...

nice post.. makes me think of my grandma's old house too. T.T

长竹 said...

Daniel Yiek:很想知道是谁给你这些相片的?拍的非常的好!

Daniel Yiek said...

Long Bamboo,

I took the pictures myself when I visited the house during CNY. I have some friends there.

Daniel Yiek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chin ming said...

very sad to see this old house gone. Like many of the Kueh's friends we have a lot of childhood CNY memories playing card games in this house. Every CNY we still come to visit my old friend here but i guess this year have to be somewhere else.

Jimmy said...

It's my dad's childhood home.
Thanks for the photos, my dad will be delighted to see this : )

Anonymous said...

ha! my great mother house, she was from china if I am not wrong she had 12 sisters over there in china and her feet were bound. In that big house occupied by 5 extended families. My grand mother and her sister lived in the house just at the back of the house. We used to called sin chu (new house, the name got stuck ever since even it was an old house)

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