Sunday, December 12, 2010

Scenes: Sarikei Seng Lee Road - Hii who lived there

Sarikei Seng Lee Road  胜利 路, 2010
Behind JKR

There was a small unpaved lane behind JKR, parallel to Siaw Ah Khoon Road, that was covered with forest bushes on both sides in the 1960s-1970s. Now Seng Lee Road  胜利 路 (meaning "victory") is paved and is an alternative route from Repok Road to Nyelong Park.

Sarikei Seng Lee Road, 2010
Look at the nice staircase. 

Sarikei Seng Lee Road, 2010
Laundry and TV antennae dotted the building.

A huge wooden house survived into the new millennium. Next to it are the usual type of newer terrace houses. It has a nice long Malacca-like staircase in front minus the decorative tiles found in Malacca's version. Malacca's version is shorter and has an odd number of steps only to imply imperfection (because perfection is meant for God only). The old house seems to be rented out to several families now. Which family owns this huge house?

Sarikei Seng Lee Road, 2010

At the end of the road, you can some some government quarters. That's not our story today.

Sarikei St Anthony's School, 1953
Standing: L1 劉愛珍, L2 Chong Siew Fai, L3 Peter Chung 鍾添來, L4黃毓基
Sitting: L1 & L2, Mrs and Mr Hii Ing King, L3詹廷方神父 L4王受荃 L5黃廣桃

Our story is on two of the early teachers of St Anthony's School named Mr and Mrs Hii Ing King. He came to Sarikei in 1943. Mrs. & Mr. Hii Ing King taught in the primary section of SAS which was functioning along with the secondary school in the same building then.

Sarikei Seng Lee Road, 1974
Hii Ing King's interview by Anthonian magazine.
Is his old house still at Seng Lee Road or demolished?
Remember those type of chairs?

Mrs. Hii (Monica Ting) was also a teacher at St Anne's Primary School later (Primary 1 form teacher in the 1970s). You could see this lovely couple cycling home on their humble bicycles through Seng Lee Road in those days. Mrs Hii would be carrying her school materials inside a big straw woven basket.

Mr Hii Ing King's interview by Anthonian magazine, 1974
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.

Sarikei St Anthony's school, before 1974. Year?
Fr Rottinghius giving recognition to Mr Hii Ing King.
Wooden front block of St Anthony's School before 1974. 
(Now St Bernard's Block)

We salute Mr. and Mrs. Hii for their years of service to Sarikei. How many of us went through their classes starting with the mandatory "Good Morning Mr/Mrs Hii"?


Anonymous said...

Dear Daniel,

There are 5 acres of rubber land behind the existing large wooden house that used to belong to Joseph Hii Ing King. This piece of land today becomes part of Ngylong Residential area. Therefore the piece of road Jalan Seng Lee was earmarked(red line marking) by the government many years ago. Many times I used to clear and repair the road before it was a bitumen sealed road.I was also then the prefect of St Anthony's Boarding school under the English principal Fr Arherne

Joseph Hii's other pre-occupation was with the Missionary, the Catholic Church organisation. He used to translate most English sermons into Foochow and Chinese during the mid 50's and early 70's and he was an active lay preacher in the Church. He also taught a local German priest fluency in Foochow dialect who later become a bishop in Kuching. Both my father and the German bishop used to go by outboard upstream regularly to visit and preach Christianty to Ibans at the Longhouses.

Mr Hii was active in the school's funfair raising money for the school's administration and was also the President of Maria Curia the equivalent to the Western organisation of Legion of Virgin Mary.This mainly involves fund raising and Charity show for the poor and needy in the rural areas.He later in my years of absence during the 70's recieved a Papal Knighthood from Vatican for his deeds and service to Christianity.(I am not sure about the exact date).He is not the first Sarikean to recieve a Papal Knighthood award.I think he would be about the second or third to do so.

After his stroke he retired to his old home in Sibu where he is close to Sacred Heart Church organisation and continue his missionary work.Soon later when he was diagnosed that he had cancer on his throat he and Mrs Hii moved closed to live in Kuching where their eldest son and eldest daughter happened to be ,and also where there is a specialist hospital like Normah available. He passed away soon after in 1985 and was buried in Kuching 3rd Mile Christan Cemetery.

The old wooden house in which your staff took an iunterview with Mr Hii in the 70's was in fact the last of a few bocs left of thge 5 acres.Ever since your recent article the house was demolished, land filled in and was finally sold to a Sabah company developer by the appointed deceased estate executer. The rest of the blocs were long time distributed to all the 9 children of Mr and Mrs Hii along with some land at Sarikei 3rd mile for the girls only.Most of the rubber land blocs sold were for childrens' pursuit of their tertiary education. Some were earmarked for eldest daughters' marriages and eldest son business.
Altogether there were 9 children in the Hii's family.Currently, only my immediate elder sister resides in Sarikei .

I am thinking of returning to my birthplace to retire very soon . I do read and enjoy your wonderful blog and constantly do so. It makes me proud to be a Sarikean. Home is always where your heart is.Your blog has make any resident of Sarikei proud by keeping us overseas constantly updated and in touch.

I am Dominic Hii the 6th in the Hii family. Cheers to all at home!

Daniel Yiek said...

Thanks for the insightful update!

I read all comments but I may not reply to all comments because the "Comment" area is your space. Everyday this blog gets 80-150 hits but very few of you leave comments. Remember Sarikei is your town. If you want to capture something on Sarikei in cyberspace, you can leave the comments in this blog.

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