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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sibu based Sarawak Coastal Ships 1950's-1970's



These two coastal vessels served Sibu well right up to the 70's when land and air transport became supreme and time was a crucial element in business. These are reproduced photos. I have no idea who took these photos originally in the 50's..

Sibu was a bustling town in the 1960's. Timber was making every one prosperous and business had never known a better day.

The MV Sian Hong (in English ,Vanguard), was owned by MV Sian Hong Co, and managed by Mr. Ling Tee Hwah (Readers please correct me if I am wrong). Any one wishing to travel by coastal vessal to the third , fourth and fifth divisions from Sibu could go right up to Market Road, No.13, Chop Chip Siang. Chop Chip Siang is still very strong and prosperous in Miri today. One of its owners is Temenggong Lawrence Lim, a popular community leader of Miri.

The services of this coastal vessel included cargo handling, "hot water for the travellers,and complete meals". Good and satisfying services were guaranteed. And the company advertised that all were welcome. However according to some travellers the journey was really rough and most of the time they were sea sick and could not stand up straight. Lying down was also difficult. Many Sibu and Sarikei students took this boat to Miri for their education in Tanjong Lobang School. There was another better boat called Keningau.

Travelling to Miri in such a small wooden coastal vessel was not at all considered dangerous. This was because no sea tragedy had occurred before then.

Several of my aunts and uncles, who were teachers, travelled in this boat and visited Miri for the first time in their lives. Because they were young, they stayed in the upper deck, and not in the cabins throughout the night. They said that it was quite romantic as they could watch all the stars in the great night sky . It was very memorable and meaningful.

Years later, they could visit their children and grand children in more comfortable and air conditioned planes. And perhaps travelling has lost the essence of adventure to them, and time is of paramount importance.

the MV Lian Ho Hin was a bigger vessel. It travelled between Sibu and Kuching. In fact it was a double decker vessel, if you count the levels above the hull. Its hull which could carry a lot of cargo was nicely covered by a green taupaulin, an older product to canvas of to day. And passenger wishing to travel on this particular vessel could just walk in. No booking was necessary it seemed. It's representative in Sibu was Mr. Ting Nguong Chui. The other bigger vessel, not in the same categroy, was the tragic Pulau Kidjang.

My grandmother took MV Lian Ho Hin a few times to Kuching to visit her eldest daughter and had no complaints about the vessel. Aunts and uncles all had experience of using the vessel before the air transport became more popular and very affordable too.

A great deal of changes have indeed taken place in the last 50 years in our coastal shipping history.

3 memories:

Hari Hari said...

Lawrence Lim shop was Chop Kiat Siang.
They diversify to supply Shell product line.

Hari Hari said...

Lawrence Lim shop was Chop Kiat Siang.
They diversify to supply Shell product line.

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