Monday, November 07, 2011

Scenes - Sarikei Peking Studio - 1, 2, 3 smile

So you think you can snap decent photos with your compact digital camera and delete undesirable shots from the memory card? Photography before the 1950s was only for the elite who could afford it as a hobby. The capital needed for buying an analogue camera and for setting up a home lab for processing of negatives was a big deterrent.

Sarikei Peking Studio. 
Tel: 109 (three digits only).
Early 1960s school magazine ad.
Source: William Law.

Most denizens of Sarikei only found a need to take their first photos when the colonial British government started the identity card registration process in 1951 (Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance 1951) after life had normalised post World War II.

The registration for identity cards was done at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at Market Road. The registration was done by a Hakka gentleman (nicknamed 黑面午 Black Faced Bull) from Sibu and his Cantonese brother-in-law, Ah Kin, from Sarikei. (Source: reader 45 rpm). It was common in those days to have different spelling of surnames registered due to the poor grasp of English by all parties involved and the various languages and dialects used.

Sarikei Peking Studio.
Mr Lau Kiing Ing and family.
Source: William Law

One of the early photo studios was Chung Hong (Chan Fong) 春风 at level 2 of No. 9 Wharf Road (later Hong Kong Studio took over it). It was opened by Chua Wei Ming 蔡伟明, a Hokkien, son of the owner of Kim Seng Ang (No. 3 Wharf Road).

Sarikei Peking Studio
Mr Lau Kiing Ing
Source: William Law

Now our story begins. Mr Lau Kiing Ing 刘恭仁 learned the photography trade while working at 春风 Chung Hong. Once he worked in Brunei but he was recalled home (as the eldest in the family) when his mother fell sick.

Sarikei Peking Studio.
Lau Kiing Ing using classic equipment.
Source: William Law.

He had a brief stint in Binatang (now Bintangor) where he met his wife from Tulai. He then returned to Sarikei to start Peking Studio at level 2 of No. 33 Repok Road. His trademark was a hat worn during outdoor photography.  

Lau Kiing Ing (84) passed away in Oct 2005, 20 years after his sudden retirement due to a stroke. Mr Lau and his Peking studio contributed nearly four decades of service to Sarikei to capture moments of your childhood, schooling, wedding and family.

Sarikei Peking Studio cabinet conserved, 2010
Source: William Law

Many of you will remember this wooden display cabinet that greeted you after you had climbed the stairs. This display cabinet is still with the family at their current abode at Jalan Tok Tok above Sarawak Motor (near the ex-house of Tiong Hung Ming).

Sarikei Peking Studio, 2010.
Source: William Law

Then you would preen yourself in front of their mirror before the photography session. Some of you still have black and white photos which were shot from the third floor balcony with views of the former padang and Cathay cinema.

Get ready. 1, 2, 3 smile. Your image had been imprinted on the negative roll and could not be deleted no matter how ridiculous you looked.


阿炳 said...

If you take notice their is a period (1950s - 1960s) where Sarikian love to take group photos. Some of the photos was taken together with the old brass band, you can still spot them hanging on the wall of those association’s Majong rooms. It was also common during that era married couple taking a group photo with extended family members plus the brass band. The photographer that had done most of such photos is the early photographer Wu Kok Fei 胡國輝 studio, when Wu Kok Fei uprooted to Binatang, the studio was taken over by Mr Hiew (Ah Peng) who converted to 美娜 Mayna Studio.

Daniel Yiek said...

People dressed up very well in the old days in suits for photo taking...

Alice Liong said...

Hello Sarikei-Time-Capsule,

I want to say THANK YOU for writing this blog. This is a really great idea. To keep us posted about Sarikei. All the pictures, stories and newspaper clippings are amazing!!!

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Daniel Yiek said...

Thanks for the kind words. I wish more readers will email more stories, comments, old and new pictures and ideas.

At this stage, I have only a few more months of content left to blog.

Related Posts with Thumbnails