November 29, 2011

The Private Maternity Clinics of Sibu in the 1950's - 1970's

"Where were you born?"

You can be asked this question in your Form Five Oral English Examination as a warming up activity before the real exams start.

How would you answer it?

These were  some of the answers I obtained when I was an Oral English Examiner:

"In a long boat."
"In the padi field."
"At home."
"In the longhouse."
"In a bus."
"In an aeroplane."
"In the hospital."
"In Sibu..."

The last answer would be typical of those born in the 50's and 60's when we were trained by our teachers to answer "In which town were you born?"

And this brings me back to the time of Jesus when the Jews had to be born in their ancestors' villages and also return to their home town for registration.

This also applied to the Chinese and Koreans during the many regimes of their history...Children had to be born in their parents' hometown to facilitate demographic documentation.

Today with all the modern mobility and technology one can be born any where in the world. No doubt one day we could even have children born in MARS - another planet.

Many of my FB friends were born here - People's Maternity Clinic. The first private Maternity Clinic in Sibu operated by Mrs. Koh Yik Keng or Madam Wong the eldest daughter of Dr. Wong Chii Hua of Tong San Road.
Many were born here. It is also possible that many Sibu-ians had three generations born in the same hospital (The Lau King Howe Hospital) This hospital was closed when the Sibu Government Hospital was constructed in Oya Road in the 1980's. It was very inconvenient at first for the downriver and upriver people who came by boat but in  a way the geographical factors or obstacles were removed when the Rajang was not longer used as the main means of transportation. Today at extra costs every could DRIVE or TAKE the bus to the Sibu Hospital. I still remember many people rowed their boats to the LKH and carried their sick and their very pregnant relatives to the hospital. Hospital orderlies were ever so helpful then in helping these humble people up the jelutong or jetty.
Advertisement in Chinese - People's Maternity Clinic of Sibu (a scanned photo of a 1960 photo which is very faded)
another popular private clinic - Tai Tong operated by a company which employed two dedicated midwives - Madam Maria Wong and Madam Marian Wong. The father of the two sisters was the popular Foochow doctor Dr. Wong Chi Hua.

I have no photo of the Lau Fong Fei Maternity Clinic where two of my children were born.

Perhaps one day I would be able to get better photos for you.

One of my school mates had easy birth and two of her children were too excited to see the world. They both arrived in their father's Mercedes. So they could have answered the question :where were you born?"

Answer :"In a Mercedes."


Jay said...

This remind me back of my working experience in LKH way back in late 80's. Just a bit of correction, Sibu Government Hospital moved to Old Oya Road in 1990's. LKH actually was my real life trainning and practical practice in trauma management ( accident and emergency). Night shift is really a challenging moment. At that time only 3 - 4 staff work night shift at A & E. At the time A & E also serve as a registration counter for admission. Anyway it a great experience which will never faded from my memory. Last week i've an opportunity to revisit Sibu but this time, doing something related to Flying Doctor Service.

Sarawakiana@2 said... are you?

Thanks for writing and helping me refresh my memories.

Yes I remember now all the things you have mentioned. Thanks for the correction too...

I should remember because my boy was born in LKH on 27th Feb 1987 and there was no talk of moving to the new hospital yet. It was built then...right!! thanks.

Anonymous said...

ahaha.. I think the People's Maternity Clinic has been converted to other usages same as Lau Fong Fei Maternity Clinic. Yes, myself was born in People 's Maternity Clinic but my best memorable part of Lau Fong Fei is that she is very definite in defining the baby's sex even though the feotus is just week's old. That was my lst born in 1987 where she told me in late 1986 is a baby girl and soon my girl is a doc too. Thanks God for all blessings!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous...Congratulations to is so good to hear that another woman's daughter is a doctor..Well done!!
I think my aunt Sister Lau Fong Fei was very accurate. If she was born a little later she would have been a doctor too..after all her family is very well off...

Please tell her I am in Miri and that my children are all grown up now..Can you get me her phone no? There are so many things to tell her!! I continue to meet one of her best nurses in Miri..Ah Ling..Do you know here? She owns a lighting and general store here..I drop by her shop once in a while...All my pre-natal checks I went to see her because I did not like the crowdedness inthe govt clinics.. but because I was suffering from pre-eclampsia during my last pregnancy I had to have the baby delivered in the LKH...with two doctors!! I was terrified that the two of us might go!!

Praise God for good people like LFF and LKH....

Anonymous said...

Hi there, kindly read my email and hope your email still remains as I couldnt get thro the email address of yours!

Sarawakiana@2 said... it..

hyk said...

hi, i was born in Lau Fong Fei clinic at 1983 years as well. Unfortunately no one can remember my birth time, as it might important to me now. May i know is there any possibility to get the data from lau fong fei clinic ?thanks .. my email contact:

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