October 17, 2011
Disappearing Miri : Government Quarters along Brighton Road
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.