Krokop in Miri started off as an immigrant's settlement. Here Chinese of different descent especially Hokkien and Hakka came to settle down and build their wooden houses for their growing families in the 1910's. Their main occupation was rearing domestic animals like poultry and pigs to meet the growing demand of the expanding Miri which had then discovered oil. And with a fairly benevolent Brooke government at that time many new people were arriving in this once fishing village.
Along this Krokop or Chu Pah (Pig Farm) wells were dug for personal use (in fact each early household had one I heard) and safe potable water was supplied by Shell and the old SESCO in Pujut 1. Many older people remember bringing their tins with their bicycles and even "bian dan" to carry water. Some men even made some money out of carrying water for others. The river water was murky and salty. However some dug wells only for washing and bathing. Drinking water was thus from the safe water from Shell and SESCO (or government)
Did the Malays and Meriaks have the same stories of where their ancestors get their water supply? Did they also have wells?
I remember this old wooden shop house well. Today upstairs or first floor continues to be the dwelling place of the towkay and family. Downstairs is still the sundry shop and kitchen.This wooden building is next to the Krokop Chung Hua Primary school which was established in 1946.
This photo shows the shop from the outside. Students and their parents still come here to buy drinks and some cooked food from the lady operator. The stand and meat hooks used by the original pork seller are still there.
This shop used to have a fresh pork outlet more than ten years ago. And I used to pop into this window to buy my pork whenever I passed by this place. There were two reasons I would drive through Krokop when I first came to Miri: I was on my way to visit a friend who lived in Piasau Camp and also to take my family to shop at Ng Siang Hap(a huge supermarket in those days and is larger today) next to the Piasau Bridge. If it was a school holiday it would be very convenient to buy meat from this old towkay....the white tiles which acted as his table are still there.
The other shop window is now all planked up and Celcom banner flies over it. It was actually kind of sad when I took this photo. The shop "has closed its doors" in Hokkien ring very true in my ears. It is a pity really that time has speedily passed by and young consumers are looking through glass windows and loaving (lepaking) in huge malls.
Today the present generation of the family continues to stay here and also acts as one of the school canteen operators. Some drinks and tit bits are still being sold here. So it is more or less a convenience stor.
In a way I feel that this family has been serving thousands of - parents well in the hot afternoons especially. I like the idea of driving by and stopping for a cold drink. You don't even have to find a parking place.
Perhaps this was the first drive in butcher's in Sarawak. I would like to remember my experience in this way.
P/s I am glad to see that after all these years the shop is still there but the old man has since retired - "too old to work now" according to a young relative. Mirians should be proud that they had an old butcher's outlet here to serve school children's parents...it was a very strategic place chosen by the proprietor to do his business.
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