Sungai Kianggeh 1960s
I thought I will take a break from talking about Pehinships today and go to my other hobby of being a deltiologist or postcards collector. Not many people know the word exist.
This is a postcard showing Sungai Kianggeh in the late 1960s. The postcard itself is postmarked 1968. Sungai Kianggeh has not yet transformed itself into today's huge drain. It was still a proper river. No tamu is built here yet. The tamu in the 1960s and 1970s was at the triangular shaped area near to today's Yayasan Building. There is no Chinese Temple either. The Chinese Temple was still at the Wharf area near the former Customs' House.
A couple of building take our attention. One is the building above the water. I have been told that this building used to be the abbatoir for pigs. Someone correct me. But I am definitely sure that this is the building and that is what it is used to be used for. The other building is the one opposite the road from it. That I remembered by the 1970s was the extension to the Immigration Department and I remembered getting my IC there.
Maybe someone out there can tell us the rest of the buildings in the postcard.
Its good to see old time pictures.
One picture I am looking forward is the pictures of the padians we had at the old Customs building which was now the new monument.
I remembered my parents always bring me there to see all the goodies those padians brought. Its a pity we lost those traditions and the padians now.
In your old postcard of the Sungai Kianggeh, is that the Brunei Hotel? Some bird told me that the Brunei Hotel is currently for sale. Another question is that can our government / BIA buy over the Brunei Hotel if it is really for sale, if I am not mistaken that is Brunei's 1st Hotel and was opened by our late Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien himself. It will be a heritage if it is preserve and maintained as an old building, rather than being bought by a non-local or a foreign investors.
Yes, the building over the river was the old pork market owned by the Lembaga Bandaran. It was probably not used as an abbatoir as well though as the slaughtering was done elsewhere. Being a non-Muslim, I recall visiting it as a child; it was cramp with only around 4 stalls. Later on the pork market was demolished and moved to Jalan Bukit Selilah, before eventually wet pork market was phased out.
As for the buildings on the left. I am not sure about the first set of squat blue buildings. What I know is that the existing government guest house building was around since at least 1970.
The next building is the Brunei Hotel (before it was renovated). The one in front of it is also still in existance, called the Khiau Lian building. The side facing the river used to bill itself as the Chinese Contractor's Association. The ground floor used to be "UMBC Finance" - which apparently often fall victim to bank robbery. Once I recall it was robbed twice in a matter of months and each time the robbers simply ran across the road and jumped into a waiting get-away speed boat.
The taller building behind it was the old PGGMB Building, often called the 'Guru Guru' building. I recall that it has a rather scary internal spiral staircase leading all the way to the top floor. As a child I was told to avoid the staircase because - rumour has it - that is where drug addicts sometimes gather and once an old lady was stabbed when she stumbled on a bunch of them.
Another memory of the 'Guru Guru' building is that it was one of the first buildings in Brunei to be equipped with lifts. It had 2 old-fashioned lifts where the passangers needed to close the accordion-like metal gates from inside the lift before it would move. As the lift move, one is exposed (through the gates) to the lift shafts and the swing doors on every floor. The lifts were a bit temperamental and I remember being stuck in it once.
At the top of the 'Guru Guru' building was a well-known Chinese restaurant called 'Rasa Sayang Restaurant' occupying one side of the floor and the PGGMB's auditorium occupying the other end.
Yes, you are right. The little hut was indeed a slaughterhouse for pigs in addition to functioning as a wet pork market. As a child, I would see open trucks carrying squealing pigs through the streets of Bandar, past the old Ang's Hotel, pausing at the traffic lights before proceeding up the road to Kianggeh.
What took place next is simply too horrible to think about. However I will supply the recollections of a friend working at the nearby Lucky Restaurant, who often heard gurgling screams from the direction of the Kianggeh River...
Makes you wonder about human nature, doesn't it?
I hope this little snippet helps.