October 9, 2011

29th Chinese Republic Year Building in Padungan Road Kuching

I often wonder how many people do pay attention to this building in Kuching..or to any old building any where in Sarawak.....

This building is an aging shop house along Padungan Road. Perhaps only those who have long memories can remember the few significant features of the building. Its roof is slightly different from the other buildings. And it has some other remarkable features too.

October 10th is the National Day of Republic of China.

The Chinese flag at the beginning of 1911 had 18 points - signifying 18 provinces which first joined the first republic (which lasted 9 months!) The sun symbol here however does not have 18 spokes - only 12...so I do wonder why.
It must have been built in the 29th Year of the Republic - approximately 1940...just before the Japanese arrived in Sarawak.

This is the last building on this block. I am wondering what will happen to it in the next few years.

While many buildings now have the normal calendar(Gregorian) years etched on them several Chinese owned buildings continue to bear the ROC years especially those built before 1949.

It was probably only after 1958 that the Chinese immigrants of Sarawak stopped recognising the Chinese ROC calendar. I believe it was also because many of the property owners at that time was not given the local Identity Cards and also many of them were educated in the Chinese language.

The Brooke and later the British Colonial Government did not make it mandatory for the Chinese to use the Gregorian Calendar any way. Many of the marriage certificates I remember had ROC dates and years. So as children many of us had to calculate when our parents actually got married in the western calendar.

Confusing? It is interesting historically. ...and not in any way anti government. And any way the builders have long gone from our society and we have to be thankful that they have given us a part of their lives and a part of their legacy. Personally it is indeed a part of Kuching history and should be kept that way.

Tomorrow (10.10 or Double TEN) China will celebrate 100 years of the Revolution which made a clean break from feudal dynastic rule of emperors and empresses.

Thank you ancestors!!


Anonymous said...

There was a well not too far away from Dung Sang Primary School in Sibu, used by a lot of people from Bukit Assek, for drinking water and laundry. It was a place where many housewives met, both in the morning and evening. Many students passed by this well on their way home. During the rainy season, the water rose to the surface and during dry season, it was several meters far down to the bottom. I remembered seeing a fish (tanek) inside the well during the dry season. The idea of having a fish was to keep the water alive. Sometimes, there was well cleaning event. There were a few wells nearby Dung Sang School, but none was as successful as this one, in term of water quality. That was why people from far away in Bukit Assek area came to fetch water here. Unfortunately the area has been cleared for housing development. I doubt if anyone kept the well monument, or even tried to preserve this well. The well has fed so many mouths and raised so many people over the years.

After all the stories, I remembered the wording "Min Guo 30th Year" carved on the well. It died before Min Guo reached its 100th year.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous...yes I remember the wells in Sibu and particularly the Dong San School Well. But I cannot remember the Tang Nek!! May be it was because I did not have to draw water from there. I just visited the place once in a while. One of my uncles Mr. Wong taught there and my mother thought highly of him.
thank you for remembering the Min Guo 30th Year...Yes I wonder if the well is still there..underground water may one day be very useful!!
Thanks for visiting my blog...Cheers to good memories...and our forefathers.

Daniel Yiek said...

i love Pandungan

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Daniel...Shall we vote that it is the most amazing road in Sarawak? At the moment I think it is the MOSTEST road...wow!! It has everything a person needs and it has all the history we can think of...it is the epitome of Sarawakian Chinese enterprise...I am thinking of too many superlatives!!

Anonymous said...

just googled about padungan history and came across with this blogpost. As u said in the picture, what will happen on it in the next few years, and now this padungan building was just totally dismantled last month.. what a waste.

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