June 28, 2010

Kai Dee Primary School of Labaan - Sibu

The bridge of Labaan has made this area very famous. But little is known that this village was settled as early as 1903 by the Foochows who tilled the land and planted rubber and rice.

Thus Labaan or Lo Mah Ang is a fairly well known foochow village amongst the Chinese of the Rajang Basin. Many Foochow tycoons and community leaders hail from this place.

Kai Dee Primary School is one of the earliest Chinese schools set up in Sarawak. The year 1914 saw several fervent Christians wishing to have their own Methodist Church and school. By 1917 a school Kai Dee was in operation. Mr. Wong Liang Kiu donated a piece of land for the church which was constructed in Nov that year. It was called Hung Ang Church.

Many Foochows became Christians after the establishment of the church and school. But it was the strong support of the local brethrens and dedicated pastors which helped this area to progress. Amongst the pastors who helped this area was Rev. Ting Siew Che (grandfather to Meng Lei)and father in law of my uncle Lau Pang Hung. Several lady missionaries also helped establish a firm foundation of Christian faith in this area.

The architecture of the wooden building consists of a low uplifted ground floor to allow air to circulate. This brings about a cooling system for the whole building.

Here you see a strong foundation of belian wooden posts or stilts for this 1917 building. The lattice work under the roof also helps to bring about good air circulation. It was most probably designed by Rev. James Hoover.

this school has two names : Kai Dee Secondary School and kai Dee Primary School. Today the school has less than 100 students and 12 teachers and non teaching staff. Kai Dee Secondary School has been relocated to Bintulu about 15 years ago. In fact the old signboard should also be kept as a historical artifact!

Meng Lei and his schoolmate Thomas Ling in front of the Hung Ang Church. It still serves many Methodists on Sunday. This area is a strong hold of the Pingnan Foochows. They have their own cemetery actually.


Ann said...

Once, before I went to Singapore, a Christain magazine said there are more Christains in Sarawak than West Malaysia. I doubted this until I visited West Malaysia and Singapore.

There are so many BA SIN people there, Even in shops, they have the famiky alter. Imagine a Sarawak born having a culture shock.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

that's right. I had to adjust to all the incense burning and "altar worshipping " West Malaysians!! Today they also have outside altars..more and more in Miri too.

Sibu Tales : Making Bah Gui from Scratch

The pioneering families of Sibu Foochows continued to practise the  adoption of girls from poor families who become their maids (slaves). ...