January 30, 2010
2010 Blacksmith Road of Sibu
However the name "Blacksmith Road" will remain in the minds and hearts of my generation for a long long time.
That's where I spent most of my primary school days : afternoon classes meant we had some extra money for a chendol. When we had an aunt visiting we could have an extra bowl of noodles (without meat which was cheaper). When grandma from Sg. Maaw came we could watch two or three movies in one weekend in the Lido or the Rex! And of course all Foochows would have their wedding feasts catered for in Hock Chu Leu. How I loved the siew mai there. And at times I would just sit in front of the Chiu Nai Ding Clinic and watch the WORLD go by.
Blacksmith Road was a happening place then!! And I think it is still that special place in Sibu.
This road has such a special place in my heart.
Jalan Tukang Besi? The Hit Iron (Literal translation) Road?
It seems strange now to read the name in Bahasa Malaysia. But as I walked along it last week I still have the same nostalgic feelings. I had that special longing to see an old friend or two popping up at corners. Sadly most of the familiar faces have all gone. And the Beatles' "In My Life" kept playing in my mind. Yes there are places I remember....but most have gone.....I have loved them all.....
This is the Goldsmith Tieng Aik Shop which was established by the Sii family. After old Mrs. Sii handed over the shop to the son the shop operated for a while until very recently when the shop changed its signboard I suppose. The characters have almost the same pronunciation. One of the Sii daughters went to school with me like all her other siblings and so did her nieces and nephews. Her own children went to the Methodist School too.
(The Chinese came to South East Asia with three "knives" only - scissors - choppers or cleavers - and razors and they prospered)
This men's tailor shop has been making trousers (western style or Ang Mo Koh - have you ever wondered why?) since I was a little girl. Still there and the smell of the wool is still there as I remember it when I visited it last week. The sewing machines are still the same. But the old towkay has left this world and the new one does not know me. We have allowed a whole library of knowledge slipped through.
By the way I was told that if the shop name starts with "Kwong" than the towkay is a Cantonese. If the shop name starts with "Hock" then it belongs to a Foochow.
When I was just "one bale of material tall" I liked to put my cheeks against the wool all rolled up and standing in the shop and feel the tingling on the skin. If I remained silent I could listen to the gossips exchanging between my grandmother and the other ladies standing along the five foot way.May be that was how I got all the stories recorded in my brain.
This is the Tian Bien Hoo Shop (so Pauline from Kanowit if you are reading this...go to Blacksmith Road Sibu and look for Hin Wuong at the back and along an alley..) which has been run by the same family for three generations. The grand father was assistant to the original tian bien hoo towkay Mr. Yew. Here the fish balls are always fresh. The rice flour used is of good quality. And how I love the fusion of dried squid and lily bulbs in the soup!! A dash or two of ground pepper will bring you to gourmets' heaven.
This is the alley leading to the Hing Wuong Tian Bian Hoo shop. Motor cycles have replaced bicycles today. Just before going to the shop we little girls had to count our coins all tied up in our handkerchiefs first. Did we have enough?
Tian Bian Hoo is no longer just enjoyed by the Foochows only. These two Iban ladies who sell langsat (a backyard home grown fruit ) are enjoying a quick brunch. They are cheerful customers like all the rest who patronise this shop and the operators are very friendly and courteous. Very 1Sarawak. Not halal though so cannot claim 1Malaysia.
Wan Hin is now a coffee shop. It claimed to be the earliest Kompia makers of Sibu. It was actually the Toh Family's Biscuit Shop and their biscuits and kompia were famous up and down the Rajang Valley.
The proprietors were very kind people who sold the "seconds" of kompia ( not flat and beautiful ones) at a lower price. Those who did not mind would buy them - more for their hungry children. Today most people would choose and choose the best for their children and for themselves. How time has changed.
Hope these photos will provide some nostalgia for those who are not going back to Sibu for the Chinese New Year.
p/s Thanks Meng Lei for providing the first two photos.