Many of my Sg. Bidut Tiong relatives planted padi in this area during the Japanese Occupation. Land in those days was cheap and not many people actually had the cash even to pay for the surveying and land title in the Boleh or Government department.
Reverend Ling Kai Cheng also owned some land here and he had relatives lived on the land, plant padi and vegetables. He was a very resourceful man and generous man.
My paternal grandfather too had some land here and there for padi planting but his own children, my uncles and aunts (three of them were in Singapore then) were very educated so they did not cultivate the land. He therefore allowed some relatives to plant on his land for some rice in return. His Hua Hong Ice and Rice mill in Pulau Kerto thus had rice to mill too. During the Japanese Occupation and my younger uncles and aunts were not short of rice.
Many of his relatives and his Heng Hua friends from Penasu, Sg. Igan, Sg Merah rowed their small wooden boats to Pulau Kerto to mill their rice. (I heard that he charged one small tin for the milling of one gunny sack of padi). A Heng Hua friend told me that he was then only about 4 years old and he saw my stern, tall and strong grandfather at times. That must have been 1942 or 1943.
My late aunt (cousin of my father) Ling Koo, from Sg. Bidut who was then about 12 years old remembered the end of the Japanese Occupation. She saw smoke coming up at Lurk Kii from across at Sg Bidut. She realised that her parents' padi land was affected. The Japanese trucks were on fire and a lot of uniforms were burnt, including helmets, before the soldiers left Sibu.
And in the air Allied planes were circling around dropping a few bombs. She later heard that a few bombs were dropped in Sg. Merah, in the new airport (built by the Foochow young men, including my father and uncles). There were probably 8 bombs dropped in Sibu area to see to the end of the Japanese Occupation.
My cousins remembered that bags of flour were distributed when the Allied came. The soldiers also distributed old clothes and flour bag cotton cloth. My mum remembers getting a lovely dress with an English collar and three quarter sleeves, which she wore almost every day. My aunts in Sg. Bidut were also given a dress each, which of course were too big as they were malnutrited little Foochow teenagers. They were glad that they could make new shirts , each shirt being made from two flour bags.
These are the memories of my mother, aunts (who have already passed on) and friends who are now in their 80's and 90's. I am glad I have been a good listener, and very interested in the history of every place in Sibu.