Saturday, November 29, 2014

✿ Sibu ✿ SarawaK ✿

Introducion :
Sibu is the largest port and commercial centre in the Rejang Basin and the gateway to Central Sarawak. Located at the confluence of the Rejang and Igan Rivers, approximately 130km from the South China Sea, Sibu is a thriving modern town with vibrant centre and a bustling, crowded waterfront.
To visitors, Sibu feels more down to earth than relaxed uching. There is still something of the pioneer style about the town, and its people are direct, plain speaking and assertively friendly. Of course, their smiles may be partly due to the belief that Sibu has more millionares  per capita than any other city in Borneo.
The mighty Rejang River, almost a mile (1600km) wide, is the dominant feature of the town, and a room with a river view  is highly recommended for vibrant impressions of waterfront life. The river view is a source of constant activity, with large ocean going vessels manoevring delicately between speeding express boats, battered river launches and tiny sampans, and Rejang sunsets can be truly spectacular.
Sibu is not only a fascinating town in its own right, with its excellent road, air and river transport links it is also the ideal jumping off point for exploring the whole Rejang Basin, from the coastal town of Mukah to the furthest reaches of the upper Rejang, over 600km upriver.

People :
The resident of sibu are predominantly Ibans, Melanau and Orang Ulu, also Foochow Chinese,  originating from the Fuzhou region of southern China, and the town is often referred to as New Fuzhou. However Sibu's ethnic mix is as varied as anywhere else in Borneo, with smaller proportions of other Chinese dialect group.

History :
Until the begining 19th century, Sibu was a  sleepy trading settleement in the lower Rejang area, named for the rambutan fruits (buah sibau in the Iban Language) that grew locally. The only significant population was a Melanau village at nearby Kampung Nangka. Sibu's transformation began in 1901 with the arrival of Foochow settlers from Southern China, led by the Reverend Wong Nai Siong. Rev. Wong was a Methodist missionary who sought to find a safe haven for his followers, who were subject to religious persecution in China. Rev. Wong petitioned Charles Brooke, the second White Rajah of Sarawak, who gladly offerred land in the Lower Rejang area in order to develop Sarawak's aagriculture. The first batch of 72 pioneers arrived in 1901, and by 1903 Christian Foochow had made their homes in Sibu. They were later followed by a sizeable groups of Henghuas and Cantonese during the 1st World War period.

The early Chinese settlers planned to cultivate rice, but soon found that the soil was unsuitable for profitable rice farming and turned their attention to pepper, rubber and gambier (a sticky resin formely used in place of rubber).
Despite famine, fever success.
They were capably led by the determined rev. Wong, who was ably assisted by the Hoovers, an American missionary couple who played a major role in the development of Methodism in Sarawak.
By the mid 1920s Sibu began to have the appearance of a fully fledged town.
However disaster struck in 1928, when a major fire destroyed almost all of sibu's predominantly wooden buildings.The hardy settlers simply picked up their tools and built the town all over again, but Sibu was once more severely damaged by second World War, hundreds of local people were killed, not only by the bombing but also by savage Japanese repression of the local Chinese community, who were firm supporters of Chinese Independence and the Nationlist Government of Chian Kai Shek.
Sibu's recovery began in the early 1950s, with the advent of the mechanised logging. The town became the principal centre for the timber industry in Sarawak, and huge fortunes were by enterprising loggers. From the 1960s to the late 1980s Sibu boomed along with the timber trade, and downstream industries such as sawmilling, plywood manufacturing and even shipbuilding were established.
From the early 1990s onwards, the timber industry in Sibu began a gradual decline as more sustainable logging practices were introduced and timber quotas imposed. However the town continued to grow thanks to its strategic importance as the major port and commercial centre for the entire Rejang Besin.

to be continue......