Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Disappearing Sarikei: Sarikei Architecture - The grand dame - Part 3

Sarikei District Office, 1940s-1950s.
Completed 1937.

Physical appearance:
The roof on this one-storey building was made from belian (iron wood) tiles. There was a protruding section at the centre of the roof for flag raising.

Influence:
How will you explain the influence? St Anthony's School's original blocks also had a similar look.

The tale:
Before this 1937 building at Nyelong Road, the District Office was situated by Nyelong River in the 1920s at the current location of the Marine Police. The 1937 building was the centre of government administrative departments before Sarawak joined Malaysia in 1963. A fire destroyed it in 1976-1977 and the current building was completed in late 1970s.


Sarikei Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 1940s
Completed: 1940.


Physical appearance:
This is a symmetrical concrete building with a balcony on level 2 supported by round pillars. It had louvred windows on all three levels. There are two classic arches on both sides of the ground floor. The main entrance had one glass window on each side and red and white painted bricks as decoration. There's a full logo of the kuomintang above the main entrance.

Below the half of white sun at each windows was a section made of glass panels of different colours (it is just black glass now). There was a huge section of glass panels of different colours inside the building (behind the stairs leading to the first floor)

There was no steel reinforcement used - that's why the external floor behind the arches was badly cracked like the aftermath of an earthquake before the renovation in the early 2000s (2003?)


Sarikei Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 2010


Influence:
The main contractor was a Cantonese and his son-in-law, the finest craftsman in those days. The round arches on the ground floor are typical of classic Chinese gardens. The Kuomintang 国民党 emblem (Blue Sky with a White Sun) sits above the windows. It was the symbol of Nationalist China founded by Dr. Sun Yat-Seng in 1911. The inscription on its building shows Min Kuo 29 民國二九 which is 1911 + 29 = 1940. (The year follows Dr. Sun Yat Seng’s revolution in 1911).


Sarikei Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 2007 Oct
Inscription done by Lin Sen 林森:
Sarawak Sarikei Chinese Chamber of Commerce
砂罗越泗里奎中华商会
Year Min Kuo 29 民國二九年


The tale:
The Sarikei Chamber of Commerce was established in 1932. The sponsor was Ling Shao Ru, a traditional Chinese medical doctor 林少如中医师. The wooden building was rented and there was no address. When 邱炳农(Khoo Peng Loong) served as the first chairman, he started a fund raising drive for a new building with members contributing half and another half from export levies.


Sarikei Chamber of Commerce 1937
Front: L3 林少如 Ling Shao Ru (Sponsor)
Source: Ikan Sembilang


Construction started in 1939 and finished in 1940. At that time, it was the only grand building by overseas Chinese in Sarawak. The inscription at the main entrance was done by Lin Sen, Chairman of China Nationalist Government 中国国府主席林森 and read "Sarawak Sarikei Chinese Chamber of Commerce" 砂罗越泗里奎中华商会. In September 2000, it changed its name to Sarikei Chamber of Commerce 泗里奎中华工商总会 (Source: 1)

In the 1940s and 1950s, the top Chinese businessmen network here. The 1955 trade hartal against the colonial government was hatched here. The 1955 Sarikei District Council was based on the ground floor. The registry of marriage was here. Wedding dinners and welcome parties for new District Officers were held here.

In the 1960s-1990s, it was left to rot and was used for many purposes including free vaccinations (smallpox, measles, cholera, etc), family planning unit, taichi lessons, Chinese chess competitions and lodging for basketball players and sportsmen. 

A guy nicknamed Q-mo (curly hair) lived there. Don't mistake his name for a rap star because he's the caretaker of the former basketball stadium next door. Before that, an elderly Hainanese guy was the caretaker and he used to chase away basketball players drinking from his taps.


Source:
1.  泗里街中华工商总会史略 http://chi.acccis.org.my


To be continued ...

6 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...

History of the chamber of Commerce from ACCIS

http://chi.acccis.org.my/

泗里街中华工商总会史略

泗里奎中华商会成立於一九三二年。回忆当年发起人林少如中医师个人幸劳宣传,独力筹备,厥功至伟。以为我会员永不敢忘怀者。是时也,会无地址,租屋而居,比及邱炳农先生出任会长时,乃开始筹建会所,建筑费用半由会员捐助,半由出口货品徵抽,几经艰难,於一九三九年开始建。於一九四零年建成之堂皇会所,在当时而言,乃本邦唯一之宏伟侨产,门前额上,“砂罗越泗里奎中华商会”之题字, 乃系当年中国国府主席林森之手笔。

自胜利光复后,邱氏辞去主席职,於一九五三年以来历任主席为陈高明(1953 -1957),王仰华先生(1958-1959), 陈高明先生(1960- 1966), 陈纯堂先生(1967-1968), 俞德安先生(1969-1973),徐兴礼先生(1974-1984),甲必丹黄祥洲(1985-2000), 张成川(2001-2009), 现任会长为黄良明,目前有会员257名。

泗里奎中华商会虽处在工商业落后之小市镇,但对会员之利益维护,不遣余力,尤以一九五四年政府对商业牌照税突起一千巴仙以上而发起 “罢市十日”之抗议行动,轰动遐迩。此外对人民之利益,亦极关怀,举凡学校,体育,慈善等事业亦多予协助,建树良多。会员如能益加奋力,团结合作,使该会历史发扬光大,前途岂可限量哉。

泗里奎中华商会为配合砂拉越中华工商联合会,於2000年通过会员大会修改章程更改名称,於同年9月21日获得社团注册局批准将商会名称改为“泗里奎中华工商总会”。

Sarawakiana@2 said...

What a great article. The Sarikei govt office structure is similar to the Lau King Howe Hospital!! When the hospital was built concrete was something new...Sui Nee and Kang Tiek (cement and steel) ...the locals were really impressed !! So I am sure when this government building was completed people came to admire the engineering achievement!!

阿炳 (Ah Bing) said...

The original district office was build by a company form Singapore, similarly the wharf that collapse was also build by the same company. Next to the wharf was the warehouse for rice storage and was also build by Singapore's company. Singapore was an important sources of goods, engineering and even talent as well. The early manager of Kwang Lee Bank Mr Leong Ming Teck was from Singapore so was the early school principal of Kwang Chien Mr Tan K S 陳敬信 was also from Singapore.

Daniel Yiek said...

I checked an old photo of the chamber of commerce building and have updated the blog:

1. There's a full logo of the kuomintang above the main entrance.

2. Below each half of the white sun at each windows was a section made of glass panels of different colours.

3. There was a huge section of glass panels of different colours inside the building ( behind the stairs leading to the first floor)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

The photo by Ikan Sembilan also show cases the love of our elders for the Chinese man's gown...It always makes me feel so warm towards relatives who wore the chang bao...it really reflects Chinese ethics and upholding of Chinese values..in those days.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

The photo by Ikan Sembilan also show cases the love of our elders for the Chinese man's gown...It always makes me feel so warm towards relatives who wore the chang bao...it really reflects Chinese ethics and upholding of Chinese values..in those days.

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