Central Road of Sibu will remain quite a central part of my life.
Flash back to the 1960's. My father used his brother-in-law's office for his mails and so for a long time our our mailing address was c/0 26 Central Road. My relatives from outside Sarawak and business associates would write to us using that address. And most of all I really liked to receive those letters with foreign stamps addressed to my father and I. And furthermore as most of my pen friends would use aerogrammes - a word not many people would recognise today I did not actually get many real foreign stamps and my collection was rather poor.
It was my duty to bring mail home from Uncle Lau's office usually in the afternoon while my father was working at Takang Quarry about 8 miles from Sibu.
Father would only be in town for special reasons and he would visit the office with me. Even after my father passed away we continued to use the address. When I was at university I wrote to my mum using that address. It was only later that we used our home address for mail. But by that time the post office was very near Central Road and our house. Uncle Lau bought P.O. Box 70. So for a long while he had the key to that post office box!! I suppose at that time it was very exciting to own a P.O. Box!!
Today the Ta Fong Aerated Water Factory is no more and the Nam Leong Shoe Shop has taken over.
The second floor or top floor of this shop (No.7?) was where my Third Aunt - the late Pearl Tiong brought up her family. We normally took the back staircase where there was an airwell. Here on the top floor with a nice verandah Cousin James Lau studied hard and went to Taiwan to study thus becoming one of the earliest Taiwan graduates in Sibu. And I remember how my cousin Roselyn and I sat in the living room chatting about Girl Guides and other girly topics. It was nice to sit on their very very antique and lovely sofa set (which must have been very expensive) and sharing confidences with a good cousin. The western concept of sofa chairs was pretty new to me as a little girl whereas my parents only had a set of rattan furniture and the ubiquitous marble table and the accompanying four Germany chairs. Even the ceiling fan was a novelty to us then.
This recent photo shows that the Masland Church can be seen very clearly from the Cental Road
I am so glad that this beautiful building which used to be SMC will become a museum for Sibu. The old Sibu library was here too and my siblings and I used to walk there every week to get our books to read. I remember one librarian by the name of Halalah who was a school mate of ours and she really took good care of the library.
Central Road of Sibu continues to be a thriving road with lots of coffee shops. The first floor are no longer residences but upper floors of bigger businesses. The Hock Hua Bank is still there with some newer enterprises. But many of the older enterprises like People's Maternity Clinic and Ta Hwa Bookshop have folded up a long time ago.
And as I complete writing this...I cannot help but remember the Beatles' "In My Life....." There are places I remember...