July 11, 2015

Government Quarters



This kind of government quarters (Class 3) is on the way out of our social scenario in Sarawak.

In the olden days, government servants who were not graduates, thus "lowly classified" were given accomodation like this. Rental was a mere 30 dollars, around the late 1960's and early 1970's but that was quite a big some to some families.

I have a lot of good memories visiting friends,during my early teaching days, who stayed in this kind of quarters.

I remember particularly the late Mr. Christopher Ngadan, who served as District Education Officer, in Limbang in1970's. He was a good cook and very friendly.

Usually when he came back from his travelling, he might have a small packet of wild boar or deer, he would send messages to his friends to come and share his food. He was also bringing up 2 nephews at that time. As he did the cooking, we would be helping him with small chores and we made sure that we did the washing up. It was good to offer to arrange the table, wash the pots, sweep the floor and pour the drinks. Most serving men teachers were quite handy in the kitchen but some arrogant ones were just too proud to move a finger.

It was also the done thing, to bring a packet or two of peanuts, or some cakes, or may be even another dish. A few bottles of beer would always be welcome. We must never forget to go empty handed, unless we could not help it.

However we were all gracious enough to enjoy a well cooked dinner, prepared by our Education Officer.

It was so nice to drink the local coffee made in a large pot which helped us have great conversations into the long hot nights.


And sometimes we would go to Brunei for our weekend ice cream. That was the nice thing about living in Limbang in those days and when you earn just a small salary.

One teacher remembers him, a bachelor, giving a talk on family planning in Lawas many years ago.
"Have small families so that you can provide quality life and quality education."


3 comments:

Glennis said...

Nice that you got a weekly ice cream, a real treat I would imagine.

Ensurai said...

Yea. It was very memorable and we looked forward to having it, and walking down the streets of Bandar. We were like John Travolta strutting down the streets and feeling good. Cheers.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Hi Ensurai,

I stayed in a similar house.

My dad must have (almost) most number of children. Had most girls, and stayed in 3 class four quarters, 1 class three and 2 class two. He must have moved also the most number of times.

Ann