Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bintulu in 1954

Combo picture above shows Bintulu town as seen in 1954 and on 13 October'2013.
There is  certainly a unique appeal in the old Bintulu town.  Despite the expansion of Bintulu to the north in the form of satellite towns of Kidurong and now Similajau, the old town has retained its historical charm.  The town have been re-developed and rejuvenated over a period of more than 30 years due to Bintulu's home-grown economic booms.  As a result of the influx of investment both local and foreign to the town, much physical and infrastructural changes have been enjoyed by the residents, temporary workers and visitors alike.  In 1954, the town consisted of a few blocks of Chinese wooden shophouses, government buildings and quarters and many kampungs or villages occupied by the Malays and Melanaus which are typically located at the edge of the town.
Bintulu town as seen in 1954
Credits : Ho Ah Choon, Sarawak in pictures 1940's - 1970's
 At the right of the picture is shown the first house belonging to the local Melanau people and part of the Kampung Dagang village that starts at the edge of the town going upriver.  There is a series of long jetties from the bank to enable boats and small coastal or riverine vessels to berth during low tide.  The pitched roof wall-less structure at right built on the Kemena river is the fish cum vegetable market.
Bintulu town today, 13 October, 2013.The main highway the runs parallel to the shophouses is the main Bazaar Road.
The tiled open space at the right is part of the Bintulu Espalande area reserved for cultural, events and festivals center.
There is a stark difference between the old town and present Bintulu.  All wooden shophouses have been replaced with permanent concrete ones.  The town has expanded into the previously Malay/Melanau village of Kampung Dagang and the villagers re-settled elsewhere further out of the town vicinity.  There is of course lots of traffic and subsequently air and noise pollution around town.  The existing town retains its appeal as a meeting place for people from the coastal and riverine areas around Bintulu to undertake  business or entrepreneurial activities, obtain weekly provisions, repair machinery and equipments, banking and government matters, social as well as recreational outlets.