I was here…

I was here…

A section of Kanowit town

…in Kanowit town back in 1978 – my first posting after graduating as a teacher.

I loved the kampua noodles then…

Kanowit kampua noodles

…and I love it now.

Philip and I went on a leisurely drive to Kanowit last Saturday – he grew up there and moved away when he was 10. The first thing we did upon arrival  was to go for the noodles and we also had this bowl of pian sip soup…

Kanowit pian sip

This particular noodle stall that I’ve always liked is now at a different place – as far as I know, this is the 4th since I was in Kanowit so very long ago. The present coffee shop where it has relocated has no name except for the old sign board for what that place used to be…

Old shop sign in Kanowit

I remember seeing that but I cannot recall exactly what was there.

I rented this little room above the corner shop…

My little room

…and stayed there for over two years. It had the morning sun on one side…and the afternoon sun on the side wall so you can imagine how hot it was by nightfall.

This primary school, St Francis Xavier’s, was just a stone’s throw away but I understand it is now used as the boys’ hostel…

Old St Francis Xavier's

The school itself has moved to its new premises…

New St Francis Xavier's

Wouldn’t it be nice if Melissa could be posted there when she has graduated? It would be like history repeating itself – like father, like daughter. LOL!!!

We did not explore further as we happened to bump into an old friend of mine and she took us on a wonderful guided tour of her longhouse but that would be in the next post.

Upon returning to town from the longhouse it was already midday and we did not want to roam around anymore in the tiring heat so we decided to head back to Sibu. We did stop by Fort Emma – built by Charles Brooke, the second White Rajah of Sarawak…

Fort Emma Kanowit

…on the way and I managed to take a photograph of the mighty Rejang from where the fort is.

The mighty Rejang @ Kanowit

I loved the place and I still do – that little town will always have a special place in my heart, that’s for sure.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

46 thoughts on “I was here…”

  1. The wonderful and sweet memories of Kanowit. Seems that both of us started our path in Kanowit. Yours was at the old school site, mine at the present site. Have not been back there for sometime already. “Buai Batu” already……

    We were squatting with Yee Ting primary school, using the miserable old wooden blocks. The primary school’s very nice now… Didn’t get the chance to drop by…and only managed to walk through half of the town before we went to the longhouse. You can drive there anytime…and I don’t mind tagging along. 😉 You know the kampua people? The shorter, fairer and very cheerful guy had passed away…and the tall dark one did not look too good to me – had a stroke or something. The wife and son are the ones running the show now. It’s been 30 years since I left….

  2. Sorry, now i really really think Sarawak is damn big,sorry again i have not even heard of this town before, Kanowit,sound like a foreign land somewhere in Hawaii…..

    Ya, the little town will always always have a little space in our hearts. question, how far it is from Sibu to Kenowit, i don’t remember you telling, did you?

    another question, where else in Sarawak, i can’t find Kampua noodle? hahahahhahaha

    They may have kampua everywhere in the state – the Foochows are everywhere here…mostly in the central region before but now they’ve invaded the other towns already. Wherever there is money to make, trust the industrious and diligent Foochows to be there!

    Ya…once I had a letter from the US redirected from Kuwait – it was addressed to Kanowit. LOL!!! This town is an hour’s drive away, located upriver…going into the Iban territory. An hour’s drive in the other direction would get you to the downriver towns like Bintangor and Sarikei…and further down towards the sea would be the Melanau territory. All nice little towns…

  3. Kanowit… hmmm… something new i learn today.. knowing very well, i m hopeless in Geog.. never like the subject and dropped it when i was in form 4…
    thanks for sharing with us, Cikgu.. I think it would be nice if you continue to go for leisure drives often and show us more of these towns… definitely an eye opener for us.. for me, at least! 🙂

    I don’t think the town would be mentioned in Geography in school. Last time in History, yes…the time when we studied about how Charles Brooke had to fight with Rentap…. Come back to see tomorrow’s post. You would be interested, I’m sure. Come, come to Sibu and we can drive to all the nice little places around… I’m sure you’ll love it. VERY different from the places in the peninsula, I tell you….

  4. Eating the world’s best kampua in a place called the Antarctic Cold Storage Co. is definitely an experience. And in a place I used to call downstairs is even more amazing, and to add to all these improbables, to think you lived on top of that same ammo dealer as I did who sells rotten pork is positively eerie.

    Deja Vu! Thanks for the trip, Philip…sure was a welcome break from my daily routine. Had a great time. 😉

  5. I was there too! For how long I can’t remember. When was it I also can’t remember. But definitely before my school year, so it’s 5 or smaller. My dad opened a shop there, by the river, I remember. There was a fire which gutted down the whole row of shops. Then we moved back to Sibu… I remember those days by the river. It was like so far away during those days, now it’s just a leisure drive!

    You were! Gee! So many have connections with this town. My maternal grandpa worked as a chief clerk there so my mum spent a few years of her childhood in that town – an aunt and an uncle were born there, I think. Know anybody in the town still?

  6. oh no, the mee & the soup…i want those!!
    never heard about this place before, but it looks nice & clean ya 🙂

    Yes, one of my favourite towns in the state… Small, laid-back, peaceful, very pleasant and clean…

  7. wow! So this is Kanowit,so near to Sibu n last time we thot it was a town far far away. Very quaint little town. Yes, I remember you were teaching there and I remember meeting one of your colleagues. I wonder where she is now?

    You did? I wonder which one that was? One of my girlfriends kah? Hehehehehehe!!!! Wink! Wink! 😉

  8. Kanowit town back in 1978, oh boy so long ago not born yet woh..hehe. Read about this town before cant remember which blog. For a while thought it NZ. One thing for sure the houses and the vegetation slightly different from Lian Punk *W Msia* unique..gotta go some matters to attend to will be right back..

    Chesh! I think when I was there you were already married…what, not born yet? Different eh? Compared to the small towns over your side…really different.

  9. Kanowit, a nice, clean and peaceful town. Good to pay a visit to the place where you once stay and I am sure it brings back fond memories.

    The kampua noodles look like kolo mee and that bowl of pian sip soup looks great. Wow!…sprinkle with lots of pepper….yummy!!!!……………

    Unlike Sibu, they have three choices – white, black or red… I think they add char siew sauce like what Kuching people do with kolo mee. Nice…and the soup too!

  10. Betul betul nostalgic going back to places 33 years ago whoa how you gonna stomach the hot suana room? The SK St Francis Xavier got any connection with SXI in Penang? Soli my BM given back to cikgu, the ‘kubu’ is it grave and can be a fort too?

    I guess they have the same Catholic roots…but this one’s not connected to the La Salle Brothers. My ex-school in Sibu is the same as Penang’s SFX – run by the same group of Christian brothers. I think a grave is a kubor… Aiyor…I thought Semenanjung people, the BM phi-phiak phi-phiak top class one? Sauna? What to do…? Fresh grad – new teacher, small salary…just tahan lor. Not like young people today – only know how to complain non-stop. But by early morning in such small places, very cold…

    1. Sorry! Minta ma’af cikgu blame it on the tops, marbles, kites and fishes for spending wrong time and not doing the right things hehe..btw you’ve any nice nicknames or special names or your tagline the students would link you in school? No need to comment if they are all nasty ones muahaha. Our physics teacher Mr Rao is better known as “Mr something like that” coz when we answer his question and he is not fully satisfied would play with his beard and utter “something like that” and our PE teacher Mr Goh HA is ‘Mr otak udang’ cos he always scold the students ‘otak udang’..see the beauty of law of the universe..what goes around comes around..haha.

      Dunno. I asked my students, they simply denied that they had any funny names for me…but I did know of a few that they coined up to call some other teachers – usually the not so popular ones.

  11. it’s nice to revisit the place that held a lot of memories especially the happy memories

    Indeed. Wouldn’t mind staying there – so slow and peaceful – sure can live longer.

  12. Kanowit, i cannot remember when was my last trip there? Maybe in late 1980’s? I was there with my church friends, spread god’s word to the small town people and the native there.

    If i can remember, they only got one or two rows of shop there, i cannot remember whether i drop by this place for kampua or not. Maybe i did, hmmmmm…

    But the kampua looks very good, maybe the color? This look very “original” kampua. Sedap!! And the pian sip in soup, heaven! Now i have to think what to have for lunch!

    Can make a trip there when you come back… Nice pleasant drive…. The town proper, not muchhas changed but they’ve made the place look a lot nicer than when I was there.

  13. Looks like a pleasant and laid back town. The local council took effort in preserving the history of the town by maintaining the fort…
    It’s nice to walk down memory lane and revisit places that are dear to our hearts. I think it’s a pity any school, especially a missionary school, has to be moved to a different premise to house new developments. It may have spanking new labs and library and air-cond classrooms. But all those history and memories of the old coloniol structures are torn down..so sad. I guess those memories can only be held in our hearts…
    Sorry, Arthur, feeling a bit nostalgic here…..thinking about my old school, when I saw what you wrote about the school where you taught.

    This wasn’t the one where I taught …and at least, they are using the old buildings as the boys’ hostel so they’re still standing. The old wooden blocks in the Chinese primary school where we (secondary school) were squatting the 5 years I was there were in very bad shape – on sunny afternoons, I could see twinkling stars in the classrooms – all the holes in the roof…and imagine the leaks when it rained. Thank goodness they’ve replaced those – no love lost! Well, time passes, things change…nothing stays the same forever – like how I found out that some people I knew way back then had passed on… 😦

  14. wah the kampua noodles does look very nice. Like the colour.

    They’re very nice…and some more, I love them for sentimental reasons! 😉

  15. Hubby and I love to cruise from town to town just to look see…but weather’s too hot in Msia.Oh, and we can stretch an hour’s journey into 5-6 hours..lol. It would be a treat to look at all the little shops to see what they sell.
    In NZ, that little room of yours would be a hit with renters as we love any place that is warm…brrrr…so cold these few days!!!

    LOL!!! So cold there – certainly can do with a naturally-heated room like mine. 😉 See tomorrow’s post – if you all are interested, I can arrange for us to go on one of the days while you are here. No problem at all… We can’t jolly well be eating all the time. LOL!!! 😀

  16. My mum grew up in Kanowit and I remember going there via ‘express boat’ then by car as we grew up. My grandpa (maternal side) used to have a shophouse near the river side and Buddhist temple and it was sold and my grandparents moved to Sibu.
    I miss Kanowit a lot as it was always one of our holiday destination when we were young and we always went there for a few nights’ stay with my cousins to visit my mum’s relatives.
    Your photos of ‘pian sip’ always make me drool. No ‘wantan’ here can be compared with them. I can only ‘devour’ them when i can back to Sarawak. My parents do ‘ta pao’ when they come here but those reheated ‘pian sip’ is not as nice as those freshly cooked and served at the stall.

    Was it the last shop in the block? Now the temple is right after it? The family’s surname is Yii. One of the sons was my student – Cheng Ting. That the one? What’s the surname of your maternal grandpa – I might have taught some of your relatives? Of course lah – how to tapao piansip…tapao kampua maybe but not piansip – all stuck together in the end in one big lump.

    1. It was not the last shop but second or third from the last. You were there in 1978 and I was born in 1979 in Sibu, so my mum’s siblings have all moved away from Kanowit and my grandparents soon after that. Their surname is Ho by the way.
      ‘Pian Sip’, haih….. beggars can’t be choosers. Those one big lump of pian sip stuck together can also satisfy my cravings. I miss kampua also but not as much as pian sip especially those with pig’s liver added to the soup….delicious. I am not really a ‘noodle’ person so I will have kampua only once in a while even when I was back home then..

      I had some Ho friends staying around the shops you mentioned – Su Boh ( who became a teacher, passed away already) and his sister, Bee Yong. Your uncle and auntie, by any chance? Hmmm…perhaps you should just buy the dry pian sip skin and cook your own…but of course, the minced meat cannot be wrapped inside.

      1. You are right, Su Boh is my uncle who had passed away due to cancer many years ago just before he managed to get a degree from a local university (long distance learning), leaving his widow (also a teacher now teaching in Sibu) and two boys less than 5 years old at that time. Mee Yong is my auntie now staying in Bintulu and she will go to Sibu occasionally to visit my mum. Small world, huh?

        Small world indeed. Su Boh was a good friend of mine – such a nice man, so sad he passed away so young. I taught one of his sons – Ming Chong…and the younger one, I helped him with his testimonial to apply to go for further studies in the UK, I think….under the Bank Negara scholarship. I did not know they were Su Boh’s sons until the mum told me when she called about the testimonial and asked if I could help. Of course, I would – for Su Boh’s son, anytime at all… Mee Yong used to be in my rosary group – I think she attended my wedding way back then…

  17. Trip down a memory lane huh? With the old school buildings. Somewhat you’re showing the suave side of you. It’s classy I reckon. But what’s with Kampua noodle all over your blog. Hahaha.

    It’s the staple food of the Foochows (the predominant Chinese dialect here)…so there’s no running away from kampua…whichever way you turn. LOL!!!

  18. Kampua noodle and pian sip…learn new things here. The way you have been ranting about them is making me dying of curiousity..die die must go Sarawak and taste them 🙂

    Come, come on over…most welcome. Would love to show you around…and let you try the best we have to offer. 😉

  19. That’s a beautiful place and it really holds lots of memories to you, it seems! And, not forgetting your kampua noodles!!! Thanks for sharing, really a nice place!

    Don’t miss tomorrow’s post. I’m sure you’ll love it too… 😉

  20. 1978.. i was ONE year old 😛

    The pepper on da soup wud make william’s eyes pop out! haha.. he’s no fan of pepper 😀

    Oh? That’s good. Can save money…good pepper is so very expensive. You were 1 then? Aiyor…I could have sworn you’re only 16 now… Hehehehehehe!!!! Now, don’t I deserve a special treat? 😀

  21. That noodle looks delicious… just my kind of food. To answer your question on my blog, I haven’t been to Sibu. I’d love to visit someday. When I do come to Sibu, I’ll be asking you for places to eat. Have a great day.

    No problem… Hop over anytime and I’ll be glad to take you around to try the best in town. 😉

  22. wow reminiscing? i want to go back and visit those places in our province too where i was born … missing my cousins too

    Ya, I always have fond memories of this place…where I first started off as a teacher.

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