Most rubber smoke houses along the Rajang Basin have either collapsed due to disuse or razed to the grounds by vandals.
smoking of rubber sheets is no longer a "done" thing. After the rubber industry collapsed due to the Communist insurrection in Sarawak, many of the Foochow rubber tappers moved to Sibu and left their rubber trees to turn wild and unkempt.
Today a new spate of rubber tapping has occurred and many Ibans and Indonesians are back in the rubber gardens tapping rubber!!
But smoked rubber sheets are no longer in demand.
Raw rubber sheets now fetch a hefty sum of 800 ringgit per ton or even more. The car industry in China has sent the demand for raw rubber to new heights.
(Mr. Chieng is about 82 years old and is a friend of my uncles...He also knows my grandfather. He is also friends with my cousin who son is working in Bintangor...all of them have connections with Mang Kwong)