January 2, 2013

Nang Chong Stories : Ramin

In the 1960's timber industry grew rapidly changing the social and economic faces of Sibu and its surrounding areas.

Foremost amongst the timber companies was the Lee Hua Sawmill. Shareholders of Lee Hua Sawmill grew rich over night and became timber tycoons of great renown. Their families were seen as the social leaders of the community.

The sawmill itself was situated inChien Nang Chong, not too far from the Chung Cheng Secondary School. Hundreds of villagers were employed by the sawmill in various capacities.

Amongst one of the jobs in the sawmill was the arrangement of sewn planks. Many women were employed just to earn RM2.00 per day. But money was big in those days.

At the end of the day, most employees would collect the sewn off discards to bring home as firewood.










Ramin discards. Photo taken in Bidor , Perak.

Ramin wood when dried was a very good firewood. The cast offs were "skins" of the trees, or sewn offs. In fact later on, lorry drivers made a bit of money selling off the ramin wood discards.

The firewood was therefore free but the employees would have to use cloth to wrap the discards so that they would not suffer itchiness. Ramin wood and perhaps its chemical treatment residues cause skin irritation.

So working in the sawmill, most employees would have to wear scarves or hats, cover their arms with long sleeves.

Some employees had such bad skin that in the end they resigned from their jobs. But in those days, there was no such thing as insurance coverage etc.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

ramin bark has a lot of tiny fibres which will cause itcheness when the firbre lodge inur skin!!

Ann said...

2MR for workers, how much for bosses?

Anonymous said...

Have you seen ramin fruits before?

Click below:

http://www.wooddomain.com/ramin

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tedadnan/52552028/in/faves-garyfixler/

Very educational images for lot of Swakians!!

Anonymous said...

The real destruction of natural forests was due to the Foochow immigrants to Sarawak

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks for the info. I used to chop the ramin discards for my mum in our Brooke Drive home when we used a wood fire stove. I got very itchy skin as a result. We used to buy the ramin discards from a man who came in his three wheel cycle.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Millions...and one of the results of this wealth is the Malaysia House in Lanang Road, Sibu.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Have not even seen a ramin tree in full grown size. But have seen a sapling in a park. thanks.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I would add to that statement...and all those who know but are blind to environmental destruction...and are greedy enough to join them...until kingdom come.

Anonymous said...

Sibu government hospital is in a very sad state of affair. The head of medical ward has barred many trainee health care workers from his ward. He does not know that he and them are the same gomen officers. And the matrons support him in his pursuit of bersih-ing his medical wards. How much did the private pay him and the matrons to chase away all gomen officers ? What a conspiracy !!!

Ann said...

Do u remember that big furnace with a conveyor belt, you see the fire and the smoke. My Ah Kung said, Gods have eyes and will curse these people who would rather burn the wood than to leave them outside the gates for the poor to pick them up. My Ah Kung would be so happy now to see his Lanang road neighbour's house no more.

Anonymous said...

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or something. I think that you could do with a few pics
to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog.
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Sarawakiana@2 said...

Haven't heard anything about this yet..will check on it. thanks.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I think the Malaysia House is still there. I used to feel that it was a real waste to burn all the wood waste!! Your Ah Kung was a great thinker.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks...