April 25, 2014

Disappearing Sibu : Red Hair Hill

The Red Hair Hill in Sibu was a popular Pioneering Settlement and is known in Foochow as the Ern Moh Long. Perhaps it was because during the Rajah Brooke period, this hillier part of Sibu had a few Officers' quarters. But we are not really sure of the origin of the name. Perhaps the first Roman Catholic priest lived her? I am still trying to find out about the origin of the name.

Many Foochow families settled there and planted pepper and rubber for many decades since 1901. In those days, the Foochows would walk many hours to reach their homes from Sibu town. Later, they had bicycles. Cars arrived in the scene only in the 1960's. Perhaps there was a bus route too in those days, managed by Lanang Bus Company.

However, after the Japanese Occupation the area was most famous as an area where the CCO were active and many of the rubber tappers were suspects of passing food to them , from 1956 to 1974. So surveillance was stringent and curfew actually prevented some of the economic progress of this area.

A few Foochows were shot dead there and the security forces were always coming this area during those years. One of my Methodist School seniors (Madam Hii) became the first woman to be arrested and placed in detention in Kuching . Later Ms Chieng Choon Hua joined her in Kuching . It was a tough time for many families because sympathisers could be detained without trial. In 1974 many of them were released from detention. (Today, there is a Friendship Complex in Sibu built for these detainees and returnees.)
British Survey Team in Bukit Lima

In 1966, the Ern Moh Long became very famous for another interesting happening. It became the centre for the British surveyors who were mapping Sarawak.

The Methodist Church contributed to this area's development. It built two churches and a primary school. Wang Ming Tong is the earlier one, and Ai Ming Tng is a newer one which used recycled materials from Masland Church . Kiew Nang School was built by the Methodist Foochow Pioneers. In 1996, Mr. Hii Sieh Toh retired from this school as Head Master.

Many of the old scenes have disappeared from Ern Moh Long. And in fact not many people remember even its old name. The pepper gardens are all gone. the rubber trees have been cut to make way for roads , shops and houses and schools of course.

In recent years not many people can recognise the exact site of the older Ern Moh Long because development and progress have change this area completely.

The biggest change is the presence of a huge supermarket, Farley, which is now a landmark in Jalan Salim. 15 years ago, no one would believe that Bukit Lima/Salim Road/Ern Moh Long would have that kind of development. There were only a few wooden houses, and the Sibu Swimming Pool.

From local knowledge (thanks to some Sibu friends), the young boss of Farley is Lau Siew Huai.(刘守淮)who has 8 brothers & 2 sisters. Another brother is the owner of 天然photo shop in bintulu,(刘守资)another brother has a hardware,(刘守奇 ). And yet another has a electrical shop(刘守文) all in bintulu.

Their father,  a Foochow entrepreneur who used to sell eggs along Tiong Hua Road from his bicycle brought Farley to its present height of success with the help of his 8 sons!! That's a fantastic rags to riches story.

(This is still under construction....waiting for more photos...)


Anonymous said...

Malaysia Agreement is invalid, breaches international conventions, Kuching forum told

Anonymous said...

Malaysia Agreement is ‘invalid’;, breaches international conventions, Kuching forum told
The Malaysia Agreement of 1963, the treaty that brought Sarawak, Sabah, and for a short while Singapore, to form the Federation of Malaysia, is an invalid agreement, a forum here heard. The forum on the Malaysia Agreement in Kuching was also told that Malaysia had started out as an “equal partnership” but had now turned to a “take-over...

Ensurai said...


Sibu Tales : Making Bah Gui from Scratch

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