These two photos will remind all my Sibu born peers how life was like in the 1950's and early 60's....I was just too happy beyond words to find an old photo of Sin Kapit (the motor launch which plied between Kapit and Sibu) in a friend's well kept album. Sin in Chinese means New. There would have been MV Kapit before the newer one was built.
While travelling was confined to the main means offered by the Rajang River the idea of the modern Supermarket had made its inroads into the life of the town folks of Sibu by the 50's..
We travelled to Kapit and Kanowit in this kind of double decker motor launch or wooden boat. My mother had a first cousin (Mr. Lau Pang Su) living in Kapit. He had two daughters studying in the Methodist School in Sibu and they were my seniors. Another uncle also worked in Kapit. Later many of my Foochow relatives found work in the timber camps. A cousin was DMO of Kapit after she graduated from MU's Medical Faculty in 1973. The motor launches were being phased out by smaller fast speed expresses slowly by then.
I remember visiting the Kapit Methodist School and the School for the Blind operated by the Methodist Church twice. And a group of students from the Methodist School organised a work camp to build a fishpond for the primary school and the church there in 1968. We even performed a very good play. I still have the script of the play in my scrap book.
My grandmother took my youngest uncle to Kapit for treatment. The Christ Hospital then was the best hospital in Sarawak. A trip to Kapit to visit my father's sister who for a short while was part of the Christ Hospital because her husband was a medical doctor there was a real adventure for most of us. I can still remember how wonderfully she cooked for all of us. Her fried noodles were memorable. Today she is still gracious and loving and she still enjoys good food.
A boat ticket then cost only Straits Dollar 1.00. I remember what a treat it was to have one relative buying a ticket for another. Methodist Missionaries like Rev and Mrs. Baughman would travel in this kind of motor launch. And I am sure Evelyn Fong would somehow remember that. Another family the Manurungs also used to travel in them. Later they moved to Sibu and we became family friends.
( Now it is RM25 for one single journey to Kapit by the local fast express bullet boats.)
The upper deck was like the sleeping area where mothers carefully hanged their babies' "cradle" or "nyuk/sarong hammock". A trip to Kapit then required an overnight stay in this kind of boat. We would arrive early in the morning in misty Kapit.
(Translation :Sole Agent for Chinese Coral Brand Cigarettes for Sarawak,Brunei)
Far East Agencies Super Market - note how the word was split then into Super Market. Today it is supermarket as a single word.
We really felt that Far East was more superior than other shops....Note the visit of the Governor too to the supermarket The photo is remarkable as it encapsulates the lifestyle of the day. The dates are properly inscribed.
At the side of the super market, were a few modern tables (different from the kopitiam tables and chairs) where we could sit to enjoy a very trendy dessert - Magnolia Ice Cream.....I had my first ever Magnolia ice cream topped with a glaced cherry here. I felt good sitting on the chair because people could see us having ice cream from the glass windows. If you look at the second picture in the advertisement you can understand what I mean. I love the people with their bicycles. In fact one man on the left was looking through the glass window.
Mrs. Wong the towkay neo was pretty in her huge skirt and a red belt which was the fashion of the day.
And a challenge to my Miri friends.....Make a guess who the late Mr. Wong Sie Kong was!!
Cheers for the day....