September 29, 2012

Amoy Road, Two Cycles of Rural-Urban Migration

Roads in Sibu have names like Foochow Road and Amoy Road to denote that these roads were designated for these two dialectic groups. In Miri, there are Hokkien. Hai Nam, Teochiew and Kwangtung Roads but no Foochow Road. Kuching has a whole area called Foochow Road area.

Interesting road names and history of development!!

However after more than half a century Sibu's Amoy Road is seeing a second wave of rural - urban migration - the indigenous people namely Ibans and Kayans are moving into the semi abandoned houses with their families after they have found fairly permanent work on construction sites and other menial industries. Those who are indigenous government civil servants have the benefit of government housing and also means to buy their own properties.

Immediately after the Japanese Occupation some of the community leaders were far sighted enough to ask for land to development new residential areas for labourers who were needed for urban development. The businessmen then were mostly Hockiens and Teochiew. From Mission Road to Amoy Road more and more move into the vicinity of Lanang Road. Bukit Assek or Ik Tek Kii was a Foochow domain. And then in 1968 the Communist threat caused the Foochows to move from their comfortable rubber gardens to Sibu. Tiong Hua Road exploded!!

40 years ago I used to ride my bicyle here(Amoy Road)  to visit some school those days..only a plank walk linked the houses together. Below the plank walk  was mud and at high tide...a sea of water. I wonder if my friends who used to live here ever come back for a visit......
In the 21st Century Amoy Road of Sibu is no longer the domain of the Hokkiens who were given the area as a starting point of their residences to help provide the man power for  the construction business of Sibu after the WWII. Ibans who have moved away from their long houses in Kapit and Song are now residing in these semi-abandon houses. The original Chinese house owners have moved out to better residential areas. While waiting for further urban development the Chinese owners are renting out these homes to the low income earning Ibans. Young Iban children grow up here and attend the nearby Chinese primary schools. Most of them speak Mandarin they learn from school.
The Chinese lanterns would indicate that the occupants in these "long houses" in Amoy are still Chinese.  Motor bikes and bicyles are still the main modes of transport. Cars would clog up the small Amoy Road...Lane?

Whether the development in Sibu in this area would be rapid or not depends on the political situation of the day. anything can happen. And any speed can be engaged.

I only hope that ethics will play a big role in development and corporations practise there policies of ethical responsibilities and giving back to the community.

Dedicated to all my friends who used to cycle with me......cheers and good health....

(Photo credits : Steve Ling Leh Tiong)


Daniel Yiek said...

Like stories of road names.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yeah...I hope to write about the history of these roads in English.

Anonymous said...

I was born a Malaysian. Growing up without much money, I have never had the chance to travel to Sarawak -- east Malaysia to be exact (except the east shores of mainland Malaysia). I am really shock and sad to see 'the FORGOTEN' part of Malaysia. Especially the Iban. Are they not the 'REAL' bumiputra of Malaysia? What the picture showns here is what I normally associate with the slump area of Manila. For example.

In the western world, where I am now, whenever we see things about Malaysia, there is always the Twin-Towers, the ultra modern buildings of KL and surroundings, the million ringgits rich folks homes, the never ending eating places of Bukit Mintang, the food courts ... And people (west Europeans) whom have been to Malaysia, and when they talk to me they always tell me all the wonderful food they found in KL and surroundings. ANd they were so impressed by all the richness and modern facilities they found in Malaysia ... and I always agreed with them UNTIL I SEE THIS POST.

I am ashame. Next time I will ask them to go to East Malaysia. Perhaps with more tourists going there, just perhaps, something would be done to bring more 'equal' to ALL MALAYSIANs. Not just KL and surroundings.

Thanks for the post, and thanks for showing the realities in some part of Malaysia. I am sure there are more even in mainland Malaysia itself.


wenn said...

interesting info..

Sarawakiana@2 said... is hard for many...good for some..and excellent for an extremely small number of people....some have come a long way of hard knocks...if we can...we help a little because it will mean so much....

Sarawakiana@2 said...


Thanks for the comment. Haven't been reading your blog posting for sometime...been really busy...God bless

Anonymous said...

Very nostalgic! I remember growing up with all those Hua kiw ROd, Amoy Rd, Tiong Hua Rd, Tong Sang Rad, etc, etc...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

My old home was in Kong Ping Road later named Brooke Drive. So I am familiar with Truth Road, Hua Kiaw Road and Kai Peng Road etc....Thanks for visiting!! said...

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