January 13, 2011

St. Francis Xavier Mission School of Kanowit

Kanowit is one of the very special Chinese bazaar towns in Asia. While almost 100% of the shops are owned by the Chinese those who come in to trade are the indigenous people (selling rubber and oil palm and other jungle products) while the Malays and some indigenous people belong to the Civil Servant group.

One of the earliest Churches established in Sarawak is the St. Francis Xavier Church by the European Roman Catholic  priests. The church also set up a very good clinic which served many people for miles around and that benefitted the schools which have been set up around Kanowit too. I know  a good nun called Sister Barbara who served here very selflessly for decades. Although she should be retired now she is still serving in different missions elsewhere.  She was a saviour to many  young mothers who could have lost their lives while giving birth. Many unwanted young baby girls were also sent to the Convent to be educated and later led good lives.

The Mission Road in Kanowit has a very different reputation from that of Sibu.

This road is also the address of the Dayak House which provides accomodation to people from the ULU who could not afford the small hotel rates.


Boarding House for the Ulu People...5 family rooms are available.


The old school buildings of St. Francis Xavier
A long time ago there was a young boy who went to school for the first time . He knew that his father had named him Xavier. When the Primary One teacher called the names of the  students he realised that his name was not called. At the end of the morning the poor boy was in tears and the teacher did not know what to do with the unregistered boy but wait for the father to come. The father being illiterate proved the registration of the boy at the school by producing the birth certificate.

The mystery was solved. In the birth certificate the boy's name was not Xavier at all. But instead he was registered as SPOON.  The clerk at Registrar of Births obviously could not spell Xavier and wrote down SPOON instead. In Sarawak this is actually quite a common story . Tales of funny names because the father of the child cannot spell the good name he wants to give and the clerk is not any wiser. Perhaps this problem is slowly being alleviated by better education.


School Pledge


New St. Francis Xavier Church



New school


Self explanatory

KANOWIT will always have a special place in my heart.....and the bazaar provides such a wonderful experience too. One day I will try to row a boat across to Sedaya if I have the energy left and the river current is not too strong.


15 comments:

sintaicharles said...

Nice Sharing.

Anonymous said...

Sarawakiana,

St Francis Xavier is one of Sarawak's and Malaysia's historical schools. The school is the first Catholic school in the Rejang and I believe is over 110 years old. The school looks old in your photos. It should be upgraded and given new coat of paint.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Charles
Thanks for dropping by. Kanowit has a lot of history...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous...the school looks old because it is no longer used as a school. It has moved to a newer building. I believe the old building is now a temporary shelter for some people or workers sheltered by the Mission. I am sure there are plans for the site since it is on prime land.

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Sarawakiana@2 said...

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Thanks for visiting and dropping a comment. Love writing about services to new mothers and new born babies!!

Ann said...

My bro Charles did his Pri one there. My dad returned from England and we stayed in the secondary school for one year.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi...I am wondering if he ever met this guy called Spoon....about the age of your brother...Sedaya now is a little run down. It used to be such a great premier school as Kanowit Govt Sec. School. Many students then were so proud of their school!!

Anonymous said...

I left the school in 1971 and never came back. I have always wanted to but never seemed to have the opportunity. It was a time when the total student population was about 400. I wonder how the school looks like now.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ?
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/213/8023.jpg/

Anonymous said...

St. Francis Xavier pic taken in 1988 i believe...
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/213/8023.jpg/

Anonymous said...

Hi, I went to St. Francis Xavier in 1970 and left after primary 5. I was confirmed in the church that same year. I am Gina Lammert. Anyone who remembers me, please email at gina@moe.edu.my.
The photos bring back memories. Would like to go there when the opportunity arises.

Anonymous said...

You might find more interesting historical facts from another blog :http://sarikei-time-capsule.blogspot.com/2007/12/history-sarikei-st-anthonys-catholic.html?m=1.

Anonymous said...

Link to letter by the piioneer Catholic missionary to Sarawak and kanowit
http://archive.thetablet.co.uk/article/26th-december-1885/24/among-the-head-hunters-of-borneo-the-following-let. (The Tablet-Catholic newsletter). Very revealing. Do enjoy reading it.

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