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.
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
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.)