I felt as if I was visiting a studio in Hong Kong making a 1930's movie.
It was a nice sunny and hot Thursday morning (after several days of rain)when I had a chance to revisit this old and abandoned primary school located in Ensurai the area our Foochow pioneers started their agricultural projects in 1901.
Since many of the Foochow settlers have moved to the town of Sibu the elders and community leaders thought that the Primary School should also be relocated in Sibu. Not too long ago the new Su Lai Primary School was established in Sibu.
Stepping into the lower floor with all the wooden floor having rotted away my mind was full of past images and noises...all of a sudden I could hear children's ghostly voices resounding upstairs. My imagination went on overdrive. I could even hear the voice of my relatives teaching Chinese lessons.
The name of the school continues to have permanence - etched deep into the concrete. When I was small the words looked extraordinarily big and the school seemed so big and beyond my reach. Later when I went to the Sibu Methodist Primary school I realised that the two school buildings were similar in design.
The stairs going upstairs used to resound with happy feet.
The Chinese four-word slogan.The moss greened walls are dappled with sun spots made by the sun shining through the cracks in the asbestos ceiling and the holes of the belian roof tiles.
When we were young we used to feel sad when visiting friends whose roof needed repair. We were used to stories about rain coming through holes in the roof and children and their mother had to use every container and aluminium buckets available to catch the rain water. You can imagine how one could pass the night if the bed was wet . And there was even a story of a poor widow who had to marry another time so that her little hut could be repaired at the encouragement of her neighbours who pitied her situation. It was a story in which a poor woman had to exchange her body for a roof over her children's head.
The jungle will soon creep into the building and colonise the whole block.
Windows are old and rotting away. Cracks on the wall are appearing and the white wash has turned brown. Everything seems so cold and decaying except for the sunbeams which penetrate the room casting shadows every where.
The bamboo which used to to so dainty and pretty are now old stumps covered with moulds and moss.
P/s Thanks to Wong Meng Lei (Rajang Basin) for arranging this one day trip to the East Bank of the Rajang River. He took time to drive us along the small roads (Lau Kah Tii Road and Chew Kung Road) and then we "fell into the kuali" of a church man who gave a treat at Tang Kee in Engkilo. Thanks for the wonderful organic lunch!
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