上了全國英文報:星報The Star

Wong a well-known authority on Chinese migration to South-East Asia
The Star Online
這是該報詩巫記者Philip Hii

Monday April 4, 2011

Wong a well-known authority on Chinese migration to South-East Asia

Sarawak Spotlight

A former reporter with a local Chinese daily, Malaysia Daily News, has become a well-known authority on the spread of Christianity and migration of Chinese from southern China to South-East Asia, particularly to Sibu, Sarawak.
Wong Meng Lei, 53, has compiled and authored more than 15 books since becoming the chief editor of The Chinese Methodist Message in 1994. He is also respectfully regarded as a historian by both local and foreign researchers and scholars.
Question: How long did you work as a reporter?
Answer: Almost 14 years, between 1980 and 1994.
Q: What made you quit reporting and join the church?
A: Our family has a long association with the Methodist church. My grandfather was a pastor in Fuzhou, China, before serving with the Methodist church in Sibu in the 1920s. I was greatly influenced by my parents who were very faithful Christians and also an elder brother who was once a pastor.
Q: Is The Chinese Methodist Message an official publication of the Methodist church and how many copies do you print?
A: It is the official Chinese magazine of the church. About 8,600 copies are distributed in Sarawak and Sabah. The inaugural publication rolled out in 1951. We will be celebrating our 60th anniversary this year.
Q: Who are your readers?
A: The Methodist church in Sarawak and Sabah has about 140,000 members. Our own members form the majority of the readers. They can buy the magazine at RM1 a copy or subscribe to it on a yearly basis.
Q: You have written many books. What are the contents of these books?
A: So far I have published more than 15 books which are mostly related to the history of the early Foochow migration to Sarawak and also the development of Christianity and Methodist church in Sarawak. Two-thirds of the 1,118 early Foochow settlers brought to Sibu by pastor Wong Nai Siong were Christians and the development of modern Sibu after 1901 was in one way or another related to Christianity and the Foochows.
Q: What are your latest publications?
A: Recently I published two books entitled The Kutien...Nanyang Migration Story and Taste and Flavour of Foochow. The second book which documented all the major Foochow snacks and street food was co-authored with two other writers.
Q: I understand that many researchers, historians and scholars have come from many parts of the world to seek your help in their work. What kind of assistance have you provided them?
A: I assisted them by providing useful and correct information and statistics. Besides, we have a good collection of history and historical books. The recent examples were a visit by Dr Anne Pang who wrote about her great grandfather Wong Nai Siong and the other was Dr Yamamoto Shin of Tsukuba University who wrote Early Chinese Migration To South-East Asia. I was also invited to give a talk on the history of Sibu at Tsukuba University last month.
Q: What is your next project?
A: I have been commissioned by Sibu Foochow Association to compile a book on the artworks and artifacts of the Foochows. The book is expected to be published by the end of this year. I hope to publish more history books in future to preserve valuable historical facts for the future generations.
去年2010年,Philip Hii就因為衛理報前電線被剪來訪問過,

Friday August 27, 2010

Rampant cable theft


THE theft of electrical cables from shophouses in Sibu is so rampant that it has caused losses amounting to almost RM500,000 in just three months.
These cables, which bring power to the main switchboard inside buildings, are fixed above the five-foot-way in front of the shophouses.
The price of RM30 per kg for the copper wires in the cables is the reason why thieves are willing to risk their lives to steal the cables.
Power is necessary: Methodist Chinese Message magazine chief editor Wong Meng Lei pointing to new electric cables fixed outside his office in Tuanku Osman Lane 1, Sibu.
Statistics from the Mechanical and Electrical Association of Central Region Sarawak reveal that 225 shops were affected by thefts from May 6 to August 10 this year.
In May, 11 cases affecting 47 shops and causing losses of RM94,000 were reported while in June, 14 cases were reported affecting 42 shops with total losses of RM84,000.
In July, the cases jumped to 24 and affecting 79 shops. The losses were estimated at RM158,000.
In the first 10 days of August alone, an alarming 20 cases were reported with 57 shops incurring losses of RM114,000.
Sarawak Mechanical and Electrical Association Central Region chairman Hii Hua Hii urged the police to strengthen patrols in areas where the thefts occurred regularly.
He said there were many repeat cases in the same areas and some were committed in broad daylight.
“The black areas include Ling Kai Cheng Road, Keranji Road and Tuanku Osman Road,” he said, adding that shophouses in many other areas in Sibu were also affected.
He believed the thefts were committed by the same gang of people.
“They seem to be very mobile and commit the offences in different parts of the central region,” he said.
Hii, whose company is one of the main Sesco contractors in Sibu, said his workers needed a whole day to fix new cables when the thefts affected many shops in several areas.
“A day without electricity would mean no income for some businessmen,” he added.


Saturday August 15, 2009

Reminder of the struggles of early settlers

THE Rev James Matthew Hoover Memorial Garden is shaped like a cross, discernible only from the air.
It was built at a cost of RM1.2mil, solely funded by the Methodist Church of Sibu (SMC), on state land gazetted as a park by Sibu Municipal Council which pays for its upkeep.
Pillars of light: The nine pillars represent Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.
Some distinctive features of the garden include:
·A huge saucer-shaped white funnel with a small pool at the centre of the park, signifying God bestowing his grace on Sibu through Hoover. The flowing water produces a continuous wave of ripples. At night, under red lighting, the water resembles drops of blood. There is a trilingual poem engraved on the pillars supporting the funnel. In English it reads: A drop of water, A ripple ruffling the Rajang basin, A drop of blood, His life selflessly given to the people of Sibu, He, James Matthew Hoover, The Missionary
·In contrast to the white funnel is the 100ft Black Marble Wall on the west side. It is a record of Hoover’s life in pictures and writings in Chinese, English and Bahasa Malaysia. There are also 1,118 white stars engraved on the wall symbolising the first Foochow pioneers.
·Eight urns of different sizes and shapes on the eastern side of the garden called Widow’s Oil reflect the story of the Prophet Elijah and the widow, taken from the Old Testament (1 Kings 4: 1– 7) as a reminder of Hoover’s life-long dedication to the people of Sibu.
·Another monument is the Pillars Of Light. Arranged like soaring wings, the nine pillars represent Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control – biblical qualities that were evident in Hoover’s life.
Plans are underway to extend the Hoover Memorial Garden by half a kilometre to link it to the Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden which honours another of the town’s founding fathers.
It is understood that the Methodist Church is also keen to relocate Hoover’s grave from Kuching to a piece of land beside his memorial garden in Sibu.
“Only when that is done, will we feel that the mission is completed,” said Wong Meng Lei, chief editor of the weekly Chinese Methodist Message.
Wong is also the executive director of the Board of Christian Literature of Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference which has published six volumes on the life and work of the Hoovers.
SMC deputy chairman Daniel Ngieng said the memorial parks served to educate and remind the younger generation about the struggles of the pioneers and their roots.

下列是新海峽時報New Straits Times

The great Foochow factor

By Lian Cheng

  The statue of the founder of Sibu,  Wong Nai Siong,  at the entrance of the World Fuzhou Heritage Gallery in Sibu. The Foochow people first landed in Sibu in 1901.

The statue of the founder of Sibu, Wong Nai Siong, at the entrance of the World Fuzhou Heritage Gallery in Sibu. The Foochow people first landed in Sibu in 1901.

CHINESE politics in Sarawak has, in recent years, taken place along the lines of the different clans here.
This is unlike Peninsular Malaysia, where the personality of a leader plays a more prominent role than clan affiliations.

And in the Land of the Hornbill, the biggest and most influential clan is the Foochow -- an adventurous, hardworking and resilient lot -- who first landed in Sibu in 1901.

Their natural characteristics impressed Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke, who described them as "assets of Sarawak".
Since then, the Foochows' entrepreneurial spirit has seen them rise up to become the state's most influential dialect group, with participation in fields as diverse as education, small businesses, timber industry and politics.

"Because life was difficult as they were farmers when they first came to Sarawak, the Foochows place great emphasis on hard work and education. And they pay back the community by helping their own people," said Sarawak Chinese Cultural Association executive secretary Chua Chen Choon.

It is then not surprising that a century later, out of the six major timber industry players in Sarawak, five are owned by the Foochows -- KTS Group, WTK Group, RH Group, Shin Yang Group and Ta Ann Group. The sixth company, Samling Group, is owned by the Cantonese clan.

Despite spreading their wings to other parts of Sarawak such as Bintulu, Miri and Kuching, and to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah as well as overseas, the Foochows remain a closely-knit community through their involvement in churches and Foochow associations.

Currently, there are about 120,000 Foochows in Sarawak, of which 60,000 are Christians, estimates Wong Meng Lei, the chief editor of Chinese Methodist Message, a monthly publication of the biggest church in Sarawak.

As such, it is not surprising that politics within the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) -- Sarawak's oldest political party and a major component of the state Barisan Nasional -- is taking place along clan lines as well.

The influence of the Foochows was prominent after the 2006 state elections.

SUPP Sibu chief Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh made an attempt to unseat party president Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, a Hakka, under the slogan Kan Nan Pu Dao, Ren Lian Pu Pao (If you don't overthrow George Chan, you cannot keep SUPP).

The campaign, which started due to the grassroots' unhappiness with Chan for leading the party to its worst performance when it lost eight out of 19 seats in the 2006 polls, was supported by the Foochows of Sibu.

However, it fizzled out as Wong failed to get the support of the Foochows in Sarikei, headed by treasurer-general Datuk David Teng.

Wong also failed to get the "blessings" of other branches. Thus, Wong has to put his ambition on the backburner, for now.

Political pundits point out that because the Foochows are usually aggressive and yet closely-knit, it is only natural they want a leader to represent their interests.

"Since the past SUPP presidents have come from Kuching and Miri, they feel that it is time for someone from Sibu to represent them because of the four presidents, only one came from Sibu -- Tan Sri Wong Soon Kai," said a party insider.

The other presidents were Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui (Kuching), Tan Sri Stephen Yong Kuet Sze (Kuching) and Dr Chan, who is from Miri.

Read more: The great Foochow factor http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/4foo/Article/#ixzz1IeQiOyvO

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John L Yong
Wow, pride of Sibu, Sarawak.
Yesterday at 8:13pm · Like

George Ngu
When are you guys coming to Foochow? Looking forward to meeting you in person. :)
23 hours ago · Like

Peter Sam 感谢你啦!
21 hours ago · Like

吳常健 thanks, keep it up~
21 hours ago · Like

Tang Sie Hing
It's time you are appointed visiting professor of history in university(ies).
21 hours ago · Like

Yi Chang
You are putting Sibu on the world map...and making Foochows proud!! Jia Yiu!!
14 hours ago · Like

Sun Yong 红了,就请吃红酒福州寿面吧。
10 hours ago · Like

Liew Kek Ming 为你感到骄傲!
7 hours ago · Like