May 5, 2010

Road to Kutien 2010

Three of us writers from Sibu on this journey are Kutien dialect speakers. The other three are Ming Chiang including myself.

As we drove towards Kutien (Gutian)  in our privately hired  7 seater (roti bao) van I was wondering what other returning Kutiens would feel going for the first time to the Kutien township? In fact the old Kutien township(of their forefathers) had been inundated several years ago by the successful and powerful Hydroelectricity Project. More than 800 feet of the area and thousands of PING (acreage) of rice land and orchards came under water leaving only two peaks with one temple (Xi Lok Shi) and another with a Protestant Church. Fields and homes and shop houses were all covered up by water making way for a new progressive era. More than seven villages were moved to other places and new history began. Today the new Kutien is most famous as the world's largest and fastest edible fungi growing capital.

I was told a long time ago by a Kutien relative that Kutien was a magnificient place - So much more beautiful than Sibu.  She had wanted to return or move back to China but political situations in those days prevented her return. But old age finally caught up and she  did not live to see this new development and I can not  now possibly tell her about my journey. I saw her growing frail when I left Sibu for another town. And then later when she passed away I was not there. From her I gained much knowledge and wisdom for a mother and for "widow's waiting days".

May be this trip has happened during a different season and flowers were not yet abundant. Or may be after 110 years the hills have been already robbed of their natural vegetation. She had looked for wood and twigs for her family stove on the hills and she had found mushrooms and wild fruits when she was growing up before the Nanking massacre in 1937. Then when she became a teenager she was sent as a "mail order bride" to Sibu to marry a young man who was working in shop. It was supposed to be a good match.

This article is by way of telling my late Kutien relative about my journey......

enjoy some of our photos....

Big cars like this are everywhere. Most of the drivers are young and smart looking. Driving is American system. Driver's seat is on the left.

HEP dam

New Bridge

River water villages and fish cages in the foggy rain soaked afternoon.

Some of the older temporary housing

New shops are springing up every where

Newest development

New Public Transport - pride of the township. Kung Jiaw means public transport. They don't use BAS or Ba Tzi....

(Photos were not very good because of the rain and the fog...and also it was hard to squeeze around in small van...Difficult to stop along the highway too and we were hard pressed for time. My apologies.)


Ghosty Nana said...

Kutien is Heng hua's village?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ghosty Nana
Kutien is Old or Ancient Rice fields the family prefecture of the Tings and Lings of Sg. Sadit Sibu.
Putien is the new name for Heng Hua.
Thanks for visiting.

fufu said...

yeah i saw many luxurious cars when i was in fuzhou too... erm the gap between the poor and rich is ridiculously high

Ann said...

(roti bao) van

This (roti bao) van , has the Foochows got something significant about it?

My Dad had all his funeral arrangements with the most expensive funeral directors in Kuching. He even "gave " them, 2 days warning he was dying. I mean he was very sick, and the directors came to Nomah to talk with us 2 days before.

When he died, my aunties who are married to Foochows complained that they came and took him in a (roti bao) van and were most unhappy about it. We the Cantonese didn't know anything.

Sarawakiana@2 said...


Yes in Fuzhou city I was tempted to photograph every big "boss" black car I saw...just to show friends how rich they were...then my Sony gave me some trouble and I gave up the would have been a good collection if I had been patient. But then the weather was against me. Three days of rain when I was there!! the gap between the have and the have not is big.

thanks for dropping by.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
'I am not sure about roti bao van. It is just a term we use to describe the type of van which is not the luxurious Toyota Four Wheel or SUV or MPV. These roti bao vans are very multipurpose - can seat 7-8 and are marvellous for church use etc.
I believe many of the funeral directors in Sarawak and in Sibu especially use them for funeral purposes. The late Dr. Judson was taken to the airport in Miri in one.
Most Foochows would use a big lorry (if that was what your Foochow relatives were thinking of).
Hakkas here use a 2 ton lorry for the coffin. Families and close relatives would walk for about half a mile from the temple around the town and followed by another covered one with the brass band and the gongs etc.
The funeral procession will then be followed by Merc and other big cars and then finally a few buses. These altogether would form a 100 vehicle funeral procession in Miri - a good one to the cemetery.

But then again different towns do different things and different clans do different things I think a lorry for funeral is the usual thingy.

I have to compare notes with my friends though.

Ah Ngao said...

what do you think Sarawakiana,probably the gap between the poor and filthy rich wide?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ah Ngao
the rich become richer exponentially as money makes money. The poor are left behind because that's all they can make in a day or in a week. the other reason is the poor have very little savings left after they have spent their income. Sometimes it is the savings which help people accumulate enough capital to build up a good business.
Then you have diseases and lack of political opportunities which debilitate the poor even more.

many more other factors.

Ann said...

after the (roti bao) van, the day of the funeral, they took him in a big mercedes hearse.

I remember from our Primary school days, i guess those were what you call 2 ton lorries.

In some Singapore funerals, they have two tone/hue lime green crepe paper over the entire two ton lorry. I used to live in NTU, whic is very near to the Chua Chu Kang cemetary, and I saw a lot of it.

Once, near my son's kindy, they still had the old fashion throw the "hell" money along the way. I thought it was quite funny since Singapore has anti litter laws, Govt has to give way to tradition.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
A Merc hearse is great!! Miri is still having all sorts of transport for the coffin. The lorry is still the traditional method.

I am surprised that Singapore give a licence to throw hell money. Here no one would think that that act is littering any way...Also I think the paper they use is really biodegradable.

Never saw the lime green crepe paper over the two ton lorry though...May be Cantonese?

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