Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Day in the Life of Rev. Hoover

The Reverend James Hoover spent more 20 years in Sibu,Sarawak. He was introduced to Sibu by Wong Nai Siong who firmly believed that this American Missionary could succeed in doing what he projected to occur in Sibu in 1901.

Rev Hoover was a man who had a purpose in life and he was very "methodological by training".

I have a great deal of admiration for Rev Hoover who taught my father and his brothers in the Anglo Chinese School in Sibu, alongside Mr. JB Chong. And as a missionary and Principal as well as a father and husband, he was indeed a very busy man, running Sibu as a "Capitan" more or less. It is indeed significant that the Foochows of Sibu are building a significant monument in his honour, even though I am sure he himself would not really accept this kind of honour if he were alive today.

And I have taken a leaf from his diary, to share with you in my blog. This is taken from the Methodist Church of Malaysia Archive...on that day, Saturday, March 14, 1925, he had entertained 30 callers before 4 pm.

Can any one today be more busy than this wonderful man? 83 years ago, he was already leading a fantastically socially active life. Read on -----

· One of my preachers, to report that man who had run a gambling joint had stopped, and had given $50 to build a bridge in his neighbourhood. The preacher guaranteed his conduct for the future. I was to stop any prosecution that might be brought.
· To ask about help for a boy going to school in China. People in America had promised but had failed.
· Wanted help to get passport to send his brother who is a leper back to China.
· Feared he had a goitre, and wanted a letter to the doctor for examination. He also had business concerning the preacher-teacher at Lobok Geng.
· Desired to leave his quit rent for me to pay, as he had no time to attend to it.
· His father had died. Wanted to report this, and transfer his father's land grant to himself.
· Wanted to make a garden at Kanowit, and wished me to see the head of the land office.
· Orphan boy from Bukit Lan came to say he had lost his job as a rubber tapper, and wanted to know what to do about it.
· The preacher from Bukit Lan dropped in to say that all the roads needed remaking, and that his salary for the year was not provided for. He also wanted a bit of ground to extend his garden.
· Wanted to get permission from the land office to fell jungle back of his garden. Being unable to talk English or Malay, he wished me to accompany him. Paid ten dollars borrowed two years ago.
· Brought his son to exhibit his anatomy to me, to show marks made by one of our teachers.
· A Malay - to ask correct price of American ten-dollar gold pieces.
· Brought a chicken. Will return later to make his wants known!
· Wanted to buy a combination safe like mine.
· Two men who propose engaging in ferry business. Would I get a catalogue and order a motor launch?
· Two fellows with a wedding invitation.

In the meantime, I had my breakfast and tiffin, went to the Fort twice, the land office once, the bazaar once, wrote two letters, registered four marriages and filled out the forms for the Government. It was then 3.30.' - MM April 1925, page 50.

2 memories:

AlisonBuda said...

I notice the footnote that "Fort" was mentioned. I wonder anyone know wher the Fort actually stand. Those were the times when building fort was the inthing and I was told there was one in Sibu. and your posting on Rev Hoover confirm that. I had read a article called "Fortying a turbulent Sarawak" whereby fort were built throughout Sarawak to protect towns and villages. I suspect there was a Fort Sibu even though it does not exist any longer. Hweveer, other forts still exist such as Fort Alice in Sri Aman, Fort Sylvia in Kapit? and others in the BAram.

sarawakiana said...

Yes I notice that too. The fort could have been burnt down in the big Sibu fire in 1928.

According to several persons I talked too many of the "knowledge" or "info" disappeared with the fire. Hence it has been very difficult for me to extract information from older folks. We need to do our research/things more quickly.

Hope you are making every effort to keep the history alive!!


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