October 17, 2011

Disappearing Miri : Government Quarters along Brighton Road

This could be the end of the road for this type of one storey (no stilts) government quarters in Miri. Perhaps it is only in Miri where these one storeyed quarters can be found for else where in Sarawak land is often soggy and require stilted houses in the past....

In the 50's and 60's those government servants who lived in quarters like this would be the envy of the local community and their own people . The government clerks were well respected as they carried out their official duties well. When common people went to the government offices they were full of respect and called them "tuan". The Heads were called "sir" especially the Colonial Officers.

And most of the government officers then interacted in English and no one would bat an eyelid when the foreginer's language was spoken. However it was also very heartwarming that almost all officers spoke in Pasar Malay.

Another interesting memory of government servants of yesteryears was the fact that the bicycle was the common mode of transport and when they travelled upriver they used longboat. I will always remember the joy of children running beside their father who came home on a bicycle. That scenario is so sacred for a girl who lost her father very young.

 So the boatmen in their deparment were often a happy group of government servants who had to maintain good discipline (no drinking) so that government servants on travelling duties would feel safe while in their boats. Those days no one wore safety or life jackets.

While the old style government servants' life has completely gone out because of our rapid social and political progress the government housing remains standing until now.
But all too soon this real estate may become private property for private development.

And a part of the excellent Sarawak State Government history would be just a forgotten past.

How many families who have lived here would remember fondly their lives and their own family history? There was even a small padang for their children to play in. St. Joseph School is just next door and the beach is just a stone throw away and when Bubuk season is around hundreds of kilos of belacan would be made on the temporary racks made to stand in the sun.....

Flies would swarm around and the smell of belacan and bubuk drying in the sun would hang on in the hot moisture laden air.

Sweet memories!


Ann said...

I grew up in a Govt quarter, though with stilts. My dad was a civil servant.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Ann..
It is a morning with grey clouds and a good drizzle. The temperature is around 26 degrees. Still too warm for me.

You must write about the days of the Government Servant...for your DAD!!


Anonymous said...

i have seen lots of Govt quarters along Race Course Road and Archer Roads where most of the houses were on stilts or concrete blocks......they were all razed down to make way for modern homes.......lots of them were around King George Memorial Grounds too...bull dozed down to mke way for the SangYang plaza......so there were no history left standing to remind of the British rule.

Anonymous said...

I have an opportunity to stay for a short period within Brighton road area. It a great place and i really enjoy it. many fond sweet memory..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous..the Bull Dozer and Fire can erase History fromt the surface of the earth easily.


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous....yes the Brighton area in Miri (now having a new name) has a lot of memories for many of my friends who loved the beach and the nearby schools.

Particularly one or two had their first dates there!

Anonymous said...

I used to stay there in 1985-87 when my father transferred to Miri as a civil servant. The house was in excellent condition and I have many pleasant memories of my childhood there. We had good neighbours. The beach was just accross the road while the school was next door. It was one of the best times in my life. The main road now is no longer called Brighton. Do you know what it is now?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Anonymous
The road is now Jalan Temenggong Oyong Jau Lawai. However many of us still call it Brighton Road because Jalan TOJL is a mouthful. Yes around the 1990's when I first came to Miri these quarters were homes to many of my friends. One of them was a massage lady who gave treatment to my hockey boys and girls. But later she moved away. A few other ladies were great makers of belacan. My tailor lived fruther down the road. those were indeed happy days.

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). ...