October 11, 2012

Mang Kwong's Methodist Church (Bintangor)

Mang Kwong is a small Foochow settlement a little outside Bintangor. In the 1930's the Foochows had to go by a small motor launch or paddle a small boat themselves to arrive at the jetty leading to Mang Kwong which was a rubber and pepper growing area. The early Foochow settlers had to walk all the way from the jetty to their own farmsteads. Some were as far as two hours' walk. Later a cement path was constructed and an improvement on transport was made - the bicycles became a mode of transport to the delight of the settlers who carried their smoked rubber sheets on the handlebars  and the back of their bicycles to the motor launches. The bicyle was a boon to thoe who were sick and elderly who could be put on the bike and pushed by another person.
How did this settlment come about? In 1928 a group of enterprising Foochows expanded the Bintangor Foochow Settlement towards Mang Kwang situated alongside a smaller tributary of Sg. Bintangor (formerly Sg. Binatang) after Ling Doh Liong(inspired by the pioneer Ling Ming Lock) was given a grant to the land which he applied for. About 40 families came to settle down here and most of them being Christian Methodists they immediately set about building a church called Ming Kwong Methodist Church. Several of the Foochow leaders in this settlement also approached Rev James Hoover to help apply for more land to build not only a church but a school. By 1932 the Church and the primary school were running smoothly.
The present day parsonage. Today Ming Kwong Church has a lady pastor.
The present new school building. A Church based school has a board of Directors which help manage the school together with the headmaster. Nowadays the headmaster is appointed by the Government upon approval from the Board of Directors of the School.
The first Headmaster of the school was Rev Lau Hung Ang who was also the first pastor of the Ming Kwong Church.

Today Mang Kwong continues to be a peaceful settlement served by good roads which run from Sarikei and Bintangor to Sibu and the rest of Sarawak. People no longer use the old jett and motor launches no longer ply alon the small river.

Rubber is still being harvested although oil palm and other new crops have been growing in the last thirty years. Cars have taken the place of old time bicycles. Education has been improved and many educated people have moved out leaving only a few remnant people. However newer families have bought over some of the land and have started new lives here.

TheMang Kwong Cooperative Society's building is still there and a little shop operated by a business woman has taken over.

An old rubber smoke house can still be found but lovely brick houses are springing up to give the area a new look. Slowly the old wooden houses of the 1930's  would be phased out.


Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why the old days foochow selected to come to sibu for a tougher life than in china. i afraid they were misled.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous,
The Pioneering Foochows of Sibu felt that it was their destiny to be in Sibu to enjoy the life with dignity, a life of religious freedom and a life of less intensity and political pressure. They were then tired of the Qing oppression....and they believed in Wong Nai Siong...They were also Methodists. In the third year of settling down in Sibu God sent them Rev James Hoover who managed them very well for 35 years!! That is the History of Sibu Foochows. It is up to you to judge them in the 21st Century. 110 years alter. I am a descendant. I have to live out my own destiny.

kk ling said...


i went to this primary school and Mang Kwong church 1967 to 1971.

Best time of my life.


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