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.