Memories of the Bukit Lima Swimming Pool started before Malaysia in fact.
As children we became very excited when we heard about the possibility of having a swimming pool!! Most of us had been swimming in the fierce Rejang River without fear.
The idea of having proper instruction in swimming was in fact so wonderful. And then cycling the 8 km to the pool at Bukit Lima would be no problem for us!!
When the pool was newly opened we went to the pool at least twice a week and that was a bonus for many of us because our parents were quite open minded. We learned to swim well but as girls we did not form a good team and then Sibu did well by sending only boys to competitions. Perhaps we girls were not really committed swimmers or we could not go every day.
Then the British Army,during the Confrontation, conquered the pool for a while,so many of us girls did not dare to go to the pool too often, unless we had adults accompanying us. It was good that my parents could agree to take us swimming.
I also remember one particular year when a good friend of mine wanted to be a beautiful bride. By then I was already a trained teacher. We swam every day so that her waist line could go down by an inch every day. She did it. She has always been a disciplined dieter and slimmer. Today she is still as beautiful as ever. I can not forget her determination. To have beauty,one must have a very strenuous regime. It is true. I love to sit and write. So my waist line just improves (plus)all the time. :) :)
I also remember that the swimming pool was a place for the local people to spend some time to bring their newly engaged partner to see the sights. Sometimes many new couples would also "pato" or date in the lovely surroundings. While many unattached girls would be soaking themselves in the water, these couples would be soaking themselves in their new sea of love. A popular tune at that time was "Come with me....to the sea....to the sea of love..."
My friends and I used to laugh because we soaked ourselves too much in the Bukit Lima Pool, we did not know what it was like to be in the sea of love. Many of my friends actually married late. Some never married. My sister and her friends who are still single number more than 20. They are all good single ladies.
Back to the great boys who swam and got their gold medals. They were good and very determined. But they also had very good coaches like Mr. Hii Hieng Cheong. Another contributing factor was the support given by the community elders who saw to it that they were motivated and well financed.
In ancient days artists,scholars and musicians needed palace support without which they could never become well known. Today it is still very true in most cases. It would really be hard for any one from the fringes of the society to make it to the top unless they are "discovered" by a miracle.
The Swimming Pool did give many Sibu people a lot of pleasure.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Memoir by I Am Sarawakiana at 7:16 AM