Monday, November 29, 2010

OKMS School - 1970's

Date taken : May 1976
The Orang Kaya Mohammad School (OKMS) in Bintulu is the first school run on a Malay medium of instruction in Bintulu. The above building showed how the school appeared from the the late 1950's to the 1970's era. I had the opportunity to study in this school for my first year primary school education in 1958. I recall at that time the classroom floor was concrete, the walls were wooden and the roofing was of 'belian' shingles. However I did not complete my primary schooling in OKMS and instead continued my second year schooling up till primary six (1959 -1963) at St. Anthony School which was an English medium primary school.
The name of the school derived from a well-known local Bintulu personality during the times of the Brunei Sultanate by the name of Mohammad bin Sungan. As representative of the Brunei rule in Bintulu he was able to ensure peace and smooth running of governance in Bintulu. As an honour of his abilities to lead the local peoples of Bintulu he was given the title " Orang Kaya Pemancha Mohammad" by the Brunei Sultanate.

Date taken : 29 Nov'10
( Digital by Sony cyber-shot)

A concrete double -storey building has taken up space from the original wooden structure site. This school remains the only school situated within the Bintulu town commercial area. From what was once a school serving the local Malay and Melanau community who lived in villages around the school area, today this school accomodates students from various ethnic groups especially the Ibans who have over the years taken up employment in the shophouses and other commercial outfits owned by the Chinese business community located in the Bintulu town area.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roundabout 2 traffic island planting - 1980's

Date taken : 13 May 1984 ( Colour photo )
The above is a long shot view of the new dual carriageway from Roundabout 2 to Roundabout 1. The fact that there was going to be four roundabouts to be built in Bintulu in the 1980's sent signals that the town was developing. This was one of my first project on the landscaping of Bintulu roads. What is seen is a rockery concept to the traffic island. At the central median and road shoulders, grassing works using cow grass ( Axonopus compressus) are being undertaken. The electrical posts with underground cabling are about to be erected. On both sides of the road and along the central median are planted the Angsana trees ( Pterocarpus indicus) which were planted from stumps.

Date taken : 25 November'10 ( Digital image)
Today a drive along this carriageway will give the impression of entering a long tunnel of greenery. The presence of the huge trees are a welcome respite in the tropical heat as you can feel a sudden drop of 2-3 degrees in temperature while driving through the 'tunnel-like' greenery. Note: The use of Angsana trees for roadsides was so prevalent in Bintulu then that today Bintulu has the longest stretch of Angsana planting in Sarawak, an estimated 50 miles of Angsana planting from the Bintulu town to the Kidurong industrial zone.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mile O - early 1980's

Date taken : 13 May'1984 ( Colour photograph)
View of Bintulu town from MO ( Mile O ) i.e. start of the JKR maintained road radiating out of Bintulu town to Kidurong Highway, Higway to Sibu and Highway to Miri. Note the landscaping using low cover plants, the three big buildings on the right belong to government agencies. Of importance to the small town of Bintulu then was the Customs office -cum godown and stockyard area (red roof) . Closest to the foreground on the right is the Forestry Office.

Date taken : 25 November'2010
Of significance in the above picture are the Melanau sunhat-styled roofing structure of the public market buildings built by the BDA ( Bintulu Development Authority). In the Melanau language the sunhat is called " Saong" or " Terendak" in Malay. The one closest to the foreground( in light green colour roofing) is the 'Tamu ' or jungle produce market. The two other buildings in the far background in blue coloured roofing are the 'Pasar Utama' which houses the vegetable and fish and poultry market as well as drinking and eating stalls on their first floors.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jalan Keppel - mid 70's

Jalan Keppel ( Keppel Road) seen on the left.
Date taken : circa 1976

Date taken : 20Nov'10

What was once a tiny two-way street has today become a one- way three-lane town road. The two-storey building on the right was once BDC adminstrative office turned into the BDA Library when Bintulu District Council(BDC) was merged with the BDA ( Bintulu Development Authority) upon the introduction of BDA to administer and develop Bintulu starting the early 1980's. The low building after the ex-BDA library is the Sarawak state information centre which still exists even at this point of blogging. The tall structure after the information centre is the 'Kintown Inn'- a modern touch to the townscape. The open space to the right of the top picture was a community open space that catered for a basketball court and public amenities like swing, see-saw and a resting shed. Today at the same space is allocated a green area with its focal point a public fountain- the first ever for Bintulu and running. Typical of Bintulu shophouses in the 1960's and 1970's they were principally of wooden structures. Today concrete shophouses have replaced the old wooden ones. Note the trend to replace overhead electricity cables with undeground cabling and better tiled street pavements for a modern image town.

Note our fashion during those times. Men wear bell-bottoms, sport long hair and dress smartly as teachers. On the extreme left is yours truly . Others from left to right are Zahiruddin Khan, Angela Chung, Zarina Sauni, Josmani, Wong Kee and Chong Tong Liap. We were all teachers from the Bintulu Government Secondary School (BGSS).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bintulu town riverside squatters operation - 1987

Date taken : 1987
The picture above shows a massive squatters clearing operation undertaken in 1987 . The main road to the right is called the Main Bazaar Road and at that point of time acted as a two-way street. There were many old wooden shophouses along the Main Bazaar road then. The river to the left is the Kemena River going towards the sea in the horizon which is seen at the top of the picture.

Date taken : 19 Nov'10
A row of concrete shophouses has replaced the old wooden ones. The two-way street has given way to a one-way street. The vacant space left after the demolition of squatters resettlement has made way for a fully tiled esplanade ( Bintulu Esplanade) and a main market structure with roof resembling the local Melanau sun hat called 'Terendak'. This main market is now called 'Pasar Utama' which houses a vegetable and fish market at the ground floor and eating and drinking stalls at the first floor.
Date taken : 1987
Earth filling and levelling works done after the squatters settlement was cleared.
Date taken : 19Nov'10

The Chinese temple or Tua Pek Kong as seen today after receiving extensive renovations.
The new concrete shophouses around the temple has provided a facelift to the town making it look more modern.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bintulu roads (Part 1)

Jalan Abang Galau - circa early 1960's.

The same location taken on 19th November'10

The top picture was taken circa early 1960's. I took another picture of the same location yesterday, 19th November,2010. What was once an earth road made for bicycles and trishaws is now a bituminous paved road. To the left of the top picture is a rubber garden . What is amazing in the picture is the staying power of the tall palm trees and the kampung houses in the far background to the right that are still standing to this date. Many of the people in the picture can be named or recognised if you are a Bintuluian. Only three so far have left us. I am the little boy on the extreme right front row. The picture was taken while attending the marriage ceremony of my uncle who worked with the Public Works Department in Bintulu as a 'caterpillar' or bulldozer driver back then.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Initial notes

I started this blog today,18th November 2010 in Bintulu, to augment materials and ideas especially in the form of old photographs, images etc and compare them to the present digital images of same as an indication of changes in the making of Bintulu history.
This blog will supplement the other blogs I created on the Bintulu themes ( my bintulu history, my bintulu clicks, Bintulu perspectives) for the expressed purpose of articulating ideas for my proposed " A History of Bintulu " book project.