Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dung Sang Primary School.

Many of us living in Bukit Assek or Oya Road area in the 60s and 70s were students of Dung Sang Primary School. The school is located at 2 1/2 mile, Oya Road, on a small hill over looking the current long distance bus terminal. Although I had my primary education there I couldn't remember much of its history. A Director of the current Shool Board has failed to provide me with any information . I can't wait to get the old photos of the school posted here because one of my regular readers has been asking for them for quite some time. Sorry for the delay. The old black and white photos were taken in the early 80s. All these buildings have since been demolished and replaced by new and modern ones as shown by the coloured pictures. I would like to produce below in full, what my reader had earlier sent me regarding his memories about our alma mater.
Good memories with the teachers of old days. Many of whom did not go through the training college until much later. They later did. Was the student population like 545?
Do you know Wong Pui Toh, the headmaster and his wife who was the teacher (the rumour that she was not as good but had the job because of her husband)? There was Wong Nguok Hua, who was super fierce, and good in beating students and pulling the eyes and ears.Her mother was taking care of the church and living in a wooden house nearby primary six classroom.Another super fierce teacher was the English teacher, Lau Zhui Ling. I think the more lady like teacher who was not fierce was Ngu Yu Shung.I remembered she was small size compared to others.Her husband came to pick her up in the late afternoon, who had the nickname Giemo Chung.
For the male teachers, the brother of Wong Soon Koh, whose nick name was Long Guong.He taught English. Teck Sing was another English teacher with cury hair and who showed humour in his pronounciation.We had also Lau Hing Dong, with the well known phrase "namo". Tang Zhong Hieng was quite a gentlemen and we always remembered his 7979.Yii Suk Tieng had special skill in making half a dozen beating using a stick on the palm.Ting Lung Piu was also fierce and he gave us a lot of math problems to practise.Later another math teacher, Wong Sing Ung,joined Dung Sang.The volleyball coach, Lau Nai Meng,now runs a hotel in town. He was an English teacher. I must not forget Lau Chiong Tong, who taught me arithmethic. His son Ah Kai was a litle fat.
And we have had the well known clerk, Ah Dang, who lived upstair of primary six classroom.The gardener,Wong Sing Chui who always prepared hot tea and heat the lunch box of the children. I still remember all their names in Chinese.
I don't have the knowledge of those who joined Dung Sang at the later stage.The two toilets were smelly and always with ghost stories.There was a pepper garden nearby the toilet. Behind the girl's toilet there was a big pond made by Japanese bomb.
My friend reminded me about BM. BM has been taught by Lau Nai Meng,Tang Zhong Hieng and Yew Buong Zho (I forget to put down his name earlier). Many people studied BM at night at Chung Hwa Primary School and took the SRP single subject test.For the passing grade, you make a better living.
Thank you so much to my loyal reader who gave a very detailed description of all the old teachers. You really have good memory. I can only recall names like "Long Guong" and "Giemo Chung" after reading your story.And you also remined me of the 12 beatings given to me by Ting Lung Piu for not getting the correct answer to a math question.And he called me "Ni Ba Ngu" (250 in Foochow) after the beating.Can someone provide some details of when the school was first built, who were the founders and what about the church there? And certainly the stories of the Japanese soilders and the many mad men imprisoned there during World War II would be very enlightening.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rubberseeds. By looking at the pictures, you must be there before 1970. I remembered seeing something written about the mental hospital by some one in, but I could not find it at the moment.


Anonymous said...

I saw this one:

5 再寫一點﹐關於我小學的事情﹐那邊有座校舍是充當瘋人院(傳說﹐我無法確定)﹐我有見過那破爛的校舍﹐後來重新改建。在學校附近有一塊地充當胡椒園(70 -80年代在東山小學渡過的大概都有這一點回憶)﹐戰後聽說裡邊曾經挖掘到錫克族的屍體(好像是三具)﹐後來當局重新埋葬。

rubberseeds said...

anonymous1: The old pictures were taken in the early 80s, probably 1982 0r 1983.Please do share more info on Dung Sang when you have it.

rubberseeds said...

anonymous: Thanks for sharing. Where do you get this piece of story? Does anyone has the photo of the pepper garden?

Anonymous said...

I am aware of three wells nearby the school.

1. Concrete well: One of them was behind the church. I think they tried very hard, but it never produced good water, and was never used as drinking water. May be the use of concrete wall was a failure. Sometimes we saw naknakso (do you remember this old lady who had a little mental problem? When she came by the school, we all were afraid of her. We even had the song, 'naknakso, do-re-mi-fa-so')

2. Wooden Well: The other well was behind the canteen, between the canteen and Hieng Siong's house. Hieng Siong used to run the canteen for quite a while. Perhaps not many people have seen this well, framed by the hardwood. I did not see many people using it.

3. Brick Well: At some distance away from the school, after we walked along the foot of a hill (the hill full of mani-chao, 'cat glass' in our dialect, a kind of vegetation) there was a well with the year crafted on it, in Ming Kuo year. Unfortunately this well has already disappeared because of housing construction. Usually we saw several housewives washing their clothes there in the evening or morning.


rubberseeds said...

Anonymous1: Yes, yes...I do remember "Naknakso". I was also one of the naughty boys who would make fun of her and ran for my life when she started scolding. Is Hieng Siong's surname "Tie"? Wonder if his old house is still around. Now really regret for not taking the photos of the 3 old wells.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I prefer this new posting. Please remove the previous one

Yes, his surname is Tie. I still remember his first son was a custom officer (Tai Sing), and the other one Tai Ming, and one in Singapore (a professor or something like that. I forgot his name). I think he has also a daughter (or two, not sure). This is how school taught us to know more people.

Today, I am going to recall my memory about the swallows (swiftlets), not the sparrows (or low-big-chao, haha).

In front of the school building for lower grades (primary 1 to 3), there was a big basketball court and a small badminton court. By the way, this part of the school is no longer there. Sorry! Usually, during the recess, the primary 1 children rushed to the badminton court, and then a lawn and basketball court to the canteen or toilet. We squeezed and everyone would like to be the first one to grasp the food. In the morning, so many of us went to school early and played on the basketball court (nia-lok-lok for boys) and badminton court (nia-ak-seng for girls).

Under the roof of this building, there were a lot of swallows. They dropped so much poo on the windows. It was really smelly. Even now, I could hear the voice of the swallows very clearly in my memory. When I think about this carefully, the swallows were not there all the year around. Sometimes they were away. Now I know these swiftlets could be from somwhere else, and they may be staying here for our warm climate. I am not sure if I am true.

By the way, the building initially had just Primary 1 and 2. The part of Primary 3 was added in later by Tiong Chong Tai (father of Tiong Yong Ching, who lived not too far from the school, and I remembered they have had the geese). Unfortunately a great man like him died early, around 50 years old. His death brought to me the name ‘cancer’ for the first time in my life. During the 60-70, many of our men also died from TB. What a pity. Their lives would have been saved if it is now. Thanks to the science and technology.

We usually did not play on the opposite side of the building. The reason? There were vegetations called huong chao, that had needles at the roots and we would get hurt very easily if we ran through that area, as many kids did not put on the shoes those days!

The swallows were flying around as happy as we who ran on the basketball court. I have several scars on my legs and arms because I fell down on the basketball court in chasing each other in the morning. Many of us have had good memory on the court and under the two metallic towers of the court where we touched and saved ourselves during the game. We went to the classroom in the morning full of sweat!

What was our dream while in this part of the ground? We hoped to be elevated to Primary 4 as soon as possible, that was on an upper part of the hill. We could go through a concrete stairway (later on covered with roof of wooden tiles) or we can go up and down through a series of soil steps nearby the bicycle park (recall your memory, please!). A lot of water rushed down both stairways during rainy days.

rubberseeds said...

anonymous: You really bring me back 40 years ago with the nia-lok-lok and nia-ah-seng. We shall organise a reunion and bring back to life all these childhood games.I think that Mr.Tie in Singapore is called Tie Tai Hui.I can recall the series of soil steps, but couldn't remember so many problems caused by the swallows.Do you remember Tiong King Sieng nick named "Kee Tow" whose durian was the best? That durian tree was later "killed" by "Loi Kung" (lightning)

Anonymous said...


You mentioned about Tiong King Sieng, that brought my memory to the other side of Dung Sang, leading all the way to Deshon Road.

Going down a little slope from the Primary 1-3 building, we saw the house of Ah Ming (Ah Ming has a sister, who may be in your class?). His father worked for JKR and he always rode on a bicycle with a hat on. Students used to call him goron-goron because he drove a kind of machine that compact the road, making goron-goron sound. Ah Ming's house was so close that he could go home during the recess. They also had many fruit trees around. Opposite Ah Ming's house on the other side of the road, there was a wooden house. It was a bit old and I am not sure it still survived.

I think Ah Min's early neighbour was Ling Wang Sing. He died early as well. He had a few daughters, one of them is Ling Kuok Poh (and I forgot her sister's name). I think he had boy(s) as well. After his death, the family moved out of Bukit Assek. After this house, we hit a stream, with a concrete bridge. There you found King Sieng's house and durian trees.

The road to Deshon Road was quiet in the early 70's, but the bulldozer had removed the hill and created a big ground. It was so muddy during rainy days. Some of Dung Sang students practised there for the inter-school sports match. This ground became a well known place for the couples to pak-tou. I remembered seeing many little plastic stuffs on the ground, and now I know they are the condoms. If it is still popular, please take pictures to show the environmental pollution problem. When I was small, of course we did not know what were those things, and fortunately we did not pick up and play with them! Being a very conservative society, I could hardly imagine that free sex was so common even since the early 70's in Sibu. If you were one of them who did that in the ground, and if you read my message here, please smile. That ground was dark at night, and eventually led to series of crimes. Many couples were robbed but they could not report to the police because they curi makan there. Some kids were arrested by the police.

I mentioned about a well on the other side of Dung Sand School, with the Min Kuo year written on the well. Near that well, there was a family called Lau Cheng Kuang (his father also died early and I knew his mother). Cheng Kuang always rode a black motorbike and we sometimes met him on our way to or back from school along the muddy lane. I also attended the funeral of Cheng Kuang's mother. Another family nearby was Lau Sieh Huo. His family is still there. One of the brother (Lau Sieh Ing) could be your classmate? I also know their family well. The father also died early. What a pity because of our lousy medicare of those days. They have a rubber kiln.

If you continue walking, you will come across a little bridge made of several wooden planks. When your bicycle pass through the wooden bridge, you produced very nice sound. There were always jien-pei-lei fish there in the stream because we could see something like the soap bubble on the surface of water. Then we saw Ah Luang's house. I did not know until much later in my life about the connections between King Sieng and Ah Luang (I should not reveal anything here). Ah Luang's mother lived with him in Sibu, but his other brother and father were in China. What a pity of this separation due to the civil war. His mother died much later, perhaps after I finished my primary school. (I know the stories of the several daughters of Ah Luang, but I should not reveal anything here)

We go straight to pass by the house of Su You Ming. There were three brothers, but one of them moved to Bintulu. The youngest brother then separated from the family and built a house opposite the lane. He later started a temple. I was afraid to pass by this area because his wife was similar to naknakso. You Ming's mother lived for very long and she manufacture the red wine, being a well known red-wine vendor in the village. Eventually as the children grew up, Yew Ming and his mother also moved to Bintulu and the house was deserted.

It was these days when I saw the rubber tappers. I could still remember the scars on the rubber trees, the metal piece (nen-tiek) and the cup for collecting rubber latex. We learned in the school on how to process the latex to come out with the rubber sheets. If we keep going, we will hit the Oya Road. Youn Ming’s father also died early. At the end of the lane, there was a family Wong Gee Siong. His father died early as well. I am so sorry that his wife was also like naknakso. Overall, I wonder why there were so many people with mental illness, but not taken proper care. And I felt sad especially why men died early in those days.

Just a little bit about the houses nearby Dung sang. There was a stairway from primary 4 classroom (not the one where 7979 went up the hill). If we run straight, you will go down a lane to hit Tiong Kah Dung;s house. Kah Dung was a businessman. He had a daughter and a son. The daughter was a teacher called Tiong Mee Sieng. I was sorry that Kah Dung died in the 80’s by hanging himself in one of the classrooms. Another house at the foot of the hill was a hei-nan-nen. I don’t know if he was really from Hainan, China, and thus he got this nick name.

rubberseeds said...

anonymous: Wow, each time you would bring fresh memories back to me. I remember most of the people you mentioned here. I think you omitted Tie Kie Yung (Mo Mo) father of Ing Kong and Ing Yong. Wong Sing Mee, now Kapitan Wong, his house was next to King Sieng. Sing Mee had a few "huang niu niu tree" (Guava)which always had a lot of nice fruits. I used to climb up the trees to harvest the fruits. Then further down were the houses of Ling Kek Sieng who had a very naughty son, Kuok Huo, nicknamed Tua Pao Huo (cannon).Do you remember Tang Yew Huo, the man who was popular among the pig farmers because he was an expert in "Kiok Du" (sterilize the pigs)I still remember he charged $5 per pig.How about the father of Cheng Toh Kwong who lived near Tiong Young Ching. I think his father was a Chinese medium or fortune teller. People seeked his advices in fixing dates for marriage and naming of new born baboes.I could not remember his name.Ah Luang's famous daughter is King Hung,I met her many years ago in Ta Kiong, Bintulu.Oh, near the Dung Sang Ting lived Ling Ung Moi, Ling Ung Piew. Ung Piew was killed in an accident in the timber camp.Had you ever been chased by Ung Moi? When people teased her by calling her "Song Moi" (sour plum) she would chase you and threw stones and rubber seeds at you. Who was the most sexy and pretty girl during those days? Haha, I was not as adventurous as you thought....never saw any condom in those bushes. Must asked the naughty boys like Kuok Huo, Ong Seng and may be even Ah Ming. Heard Ah Ming is in NZ now with a new wife.Hey, so sad that Tiong Huo Sien (Huo Kai's brother) also died at a very young age.Do we still miss out any one else living near Dung Sang during those years?

Anonymous said...

I started to forget about some of the people whom you mentioned. But for sure, I knew Moh Moh family, and they sold vegetables around the villages as well. Moh Moh family built the graves, and this is an important job! The grave yards occupied all the beautiful land in Sibu. I think some of boys worked for them as construction workers during the vacation to make some extra income.

Further behind Moh Moh house was Wong Leh Chiew. But they moved to some where close to St. Elizabath's. When I was small, one of his sons was killed in an accident in Indonesia. Throughout my life, I saw quite several cases of accident like this. Our Sibu men are brave. Many worked for the timber camps and surrendered their lives.

I am not sure if Wong Sing Mee came to the area later on, not an early settler (not a bumiputra) of Bukit Assek? I have to recall my memory about the fortune teller, and I remember the houses around the area. Ling Ung's family - the father sold the salted fish and vegetables in the market, right? That road leading from Oya Road to Dung Sang School was half sealed, up to the wooden bridge before Yong Ching's house. It also reminded me there were two gates for Dung sand along Oya Road. One of them was wooden, which was later occupied by the Ibans 'immigrants'. In one of your pictures above, the two sides of the gate were occupied by them, covered with sheets of cardboard, etc.

Very soon, we may be able to construct a visual map in the brain about the surrounding area for the 70's. The area has changed so much. Along Oya Road, we may also have stories to tell.

By the way, if you see any of the persons whom we mentioned, you should take their pictures. I would love to see how some of them transformed into handsome men and women.

Anonymous said...

My brain worked hard. The fortune teller had a grandson studying at Dung Sang, called Yew Huo (different from the old Yew Huo who lived near the kindergarten). This Yew Huo used to eat lunch at his grandma's house.

The old Yew Huo had a brother called Ah Jong. I think Kek Sieng may be relatives of them. Kek Sieng's wife was a hair designer (modern term). She was very busy when new year came close. Foochow Ah Mu loved to have the Negro hair style permed by her. Unfortunately she passed away last year. I know their daughter. Was her name Ling Kiong?

There was the Hang Tian family nearby. Hang Tiang's father owned a tailor store in town called Guang Gung. Hang Tiang's has a brother called Hang Siew. Is Hang Tiang visiting this blog?

In any case, all the people in Bukit Assek were relatives of each other, ima-chinkawu! We were educated to call the elder either as Ima, Jukung, etc. This culture of respecting the elders has gradually disappeared.

rubberseeds said...

anonymous:only in the villages that people still regard each other as ima-chinkawu. Most urban people are very materialistic. They don't even know their neighbour next door.I don't know Hang Tiang. Does he had a blog too?