Tuesday, September 07, 2010

History - Sarikei Su Kwong Primary School 泗光 - the first school in 6th Division

What's the story behind Su Kwong 泗光 Primary School at 5.5km Repok Road? You know, the one that you have driven past countless times but have never entered the gate.

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2009
Front gate at Repok Road and covered basketball stadium
Source: Kenny Ngu

Su Kwong's roots can be traced back to its humble beginning in a standalone house at 6.6km Repok Road in 1920. It started with 20 students and 2 teachers which was a very good ratio compared to nowadays.

Sarikei Su Kwong School founder, Yek Suk Kang
Source: 1956 Sekolah Tinggi magazine

Its principal then was none other than Yek Suk Kang 葉菽幹, also one of the founders of Sekolah Tinggi (Sarikei High School).

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2009
School Gate

Its current site was rented in 1922 by the Methodist Church to build the school and it was then named as Su Kwong 泗光. Su Kwong 泗光 means a beam of light on Sarikei because this is the earliest school in 6th Division of Sarawak. Other schools followed in the 1920s.

The school's population gradually increased in the 1930s. In 1936, classes were built to support the increasing number of students.

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2007
Former canteen block demolished in 2007 due to termites

Su Kwong Chinese 泗光  Junior Middle School and Su Lu 泗蘆 Chinese Junior Middle School were merged to form Hua Chiew 华侨 Middle School (now Sekolah Tinggi) in 1936. 华侨 means overseas Chinese. In 1938, the first classes of Hua Chiew 华侨 Middle School started on the premises of Su Kwong. However, in 1939, the classes were stopped at the Su Kwong site because Hua Chiew 华侨 Middle School started its 3 classes at its current location.

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2008
Entry road completion

The Su Kwong School site was closed during the Japanese Occupation in World War II  from 1941-45 and reopened in 1946. In the 1950s, Su Kwong School had an average of  150 students in 6 classes with 5-6 teachers.  In 1959, there were 280 students taught by 9 teachers. Since then , the student count had averaged 250 in the 1970s and 240 in the 1980s.

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2009
Block A (Primary 5 and 6)

The population of this Chinese medium school declined further to 217 because parents sent their kids to other schools with the Ministry of Education's focus on English and Bahasa Malaysia. In 1983, it accomplished the school class of KBSR (Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah; Integrated Curiculum of Primary School) ).

Only 2 buildings that were built in the 1960s were left. One was used as an assembly hall and church. Another was utilised as a resource centre and a science lab .

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2009
Science Garden

An open air basketball court was constructed in the late 1960s. You may recall their strong basketball teams of the 1970s.  A concrete block of toilets were added in 1974. Badminton courts were completed in 1977 and the volleyball court was up in 1980. All these were funded through its own private fund raising. SJK Su Kwong is privately run (SJK - Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan means that maintenance and development is privately funded while the government only funds the management fees)

Two one-storey high blocks of classrooms were completed in 1970 - half was funded by Jabatan Pendidikan.

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2009

In 1992, a room for Practical Skills and canteen was constructed. Under the determined efforts of the staff, a car park, a concrete gate and a school badge were made and the main road was tarred. In 2001, a computer lab was established. A fountain and the Science Garden was added to beautify the environment.

Computer classes started in 2002 with a MYR$10 fee per month, a small sum to pay to put the world of knowledge into the finger tips of a kid. The covered stadium was constructed with the help of then MP, Law Hieng Ding. A toilet for teachers and a fish pond were added. The Science lab was cemented as its condition has deteriorated.

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2009 

In 2003, new concrete based toilets were built under the effort of Ms Christina Chieng Hee Sieng to replace those built in 1974.  In 2004, the school was fenced up with help from JPB. In 2005, the roof of the library was replaced and the staff and principal rooms were tiled with funding from JPB. In 2006, shades for the Primary 5 and 6 classes were sponsored by Public Bookstore Sibu and Millennium Bookstore Sarikei.

In 2007, the block serving as rooms for Practical Skills, store, kitchen and canteen was demolished due to destruction by termites and re-construction began in march 2007. An area for rubbish dumping was built in 2007.

Sarikei Su Kwong School, 2010

The school has rejuvenated after its history of ups and downs. It has made significant progress in various areas. Visit their website for more information.

Tel & Fax : 084651340
email : sjksks@zoom-a.com

1. Su Kwong School's history at website
2. Sekolah Tinggi's history


Daniel Yiek said...

Surprised that this was the 1st school in 6th division? Look at this list gathered from historical records

Su Kwong - 1920
Kai Chung School, Bintangor - 1922
Abang Haji Mahathir - 1924
Sze Lu Primary School - 1926
Kwang Chien Primary School - 1927
St Anthony's Secondary School - 1932
St Anne's School - 1936
Sekolah Tinggi (Sarikei High School) - 1936
Methodist School - 1954
Bandar Sarikei - circa 1979 (or slightly before)
Su Lee primary school - ? (does anyone know? At Merudu)

长竹 said...


Daniel Yiek said...

Long Bamboo,
If you have any old pictures of your school, please email to me for posting.


Daniel Yiek said...

If anyone has stories to add or update the anonymous comment below, pls comment.

Yek Suk Kang 葉菽幹 used to own half of the shophouse at No.1 Repok Road. He also owned land along Repok Road, across Nyelong River and Sarikei River. He could be considered a reasonably well off business man with his plantations. He's active in the Methodist Church and donated to the church and schools.

He's a supporter of Kuomingtang and some students from Sarikei received scholarships in Taiwan through his recommendations.

His eldest son, 叶保慈, was supportive of communist China then. This son later became a Member of Parliament of Malaysia.

长竹 said...


sarikeikia said...

I doubt the accuracy of the anonymous comment.
Yek Suk Kang indeed owned a lot of land but there was this incident across Nyelong river where says it all. The resident across Nyelong wanted to raise fund to repair the common path but Mr Yek wasn't cooperating though he was the largest land owner. As one day he was cycling to his estate he was pushed down the drain by the angry village folks. This a missed opportunity otherwise the road though Nyelong could be called Jalan Yek Suk Kang today.

The son who was a MP did not represent Sarikei but a constituency in Sabah, passed away long ago. The son in Sarikei operated a failed electrical shop, it was bought over by a Cantonese.

Daniel Yiek said...

Sarikeikia's comment on the MP representing Sabah is correct.

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