Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sri Jaya(斯裡再也新村), Pahang

Sri Jaya, Pahang

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Seri Jaya(斯裡再也华人新村)is the small agricultural town between Maran(馬蘭) and Gambang(甘孟), along the Route 2, the old road to Kuantan; the East Coast Highway(E8) between Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan by pass the town. It is under the administration of the Maran district. The town is located at the T junction, a row of shop houses at both side of Karak- Kuantan old main road, and one road on the left is also having row of shop houses at both side of the side road, the main road of the town. The shop houses are all double storey wooden houses. But it should have converted to brick houses now. There is a Chinese primary school and a supermarket at the left side of the Karak - Kuantan main road(Route 2).

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The name of Sri Jaya

Sri Jaya may already existed before the resettlement of Sitiawan Fuzhou people to the place. There were report of people from Gambang planting paddy there. Orang asli or Malay settlement may be in the area. It may be just a farm or paddy field, with isolated villages around the area. During the Malayan Emergency when the place was chosen for new village, the old name was used, and the Chinese retained the Malay name Sri Jaya(斯裡再也). It slowly developed into a small village town.

Sri Jaya - Fuzhou New Village
Most of the population in the town are Fuzhou Chinese. The people of Fuzhou (福州人), also known as Fochowese and Hokchewese, usually refers to people who originate from Fuzhou region and adjacent Gutian County, Pingnan County in Fujian province of the People's Republic of China and in Matsu Islands of the Republic of China. Majority of native Foochowese are Han Chinese and are a part of Min-speaking group, who speaks Eastern Min language or specifically Fuzhou dialect. There is also a significant overseas Foochowese population, particularly distributed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, etc. In Malaysia, Fuzhou people are referred to as "Hockchiu". There are significant numbers of Fuzhou people in Malaysia, mainly in Sibu, Sarawak; Sitiawan, Perak; and Sri Jaya, Pahang. There is a saying that Sibu is the “small Hock Chew province”, Sitiawan is the “small Sibu” and Sri Jaya is the “small Sitiawan”. Today Sri Jaya is a small town.

Sri Jaya - Little Sitiawan

Most of the residents in Sri Jaya were mainly people from Sitiawan,Perak. They were forced to move to Sri Jaya from Sitiawan by the British, during the time of Emergency. The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960. Initially Seri Jaya is a new village. New Villages (新村), also known as Chinese New Villages (华人新村), the Malay called it Kampong Baru. They are settlements created during the waning days of British rule over Malaysia in the mid-1950s. They are used to move the communist supporters from their original home to other place, to cut off their linkage to communists in the jungle. This is to remove the supplies to the communist guerrilla army in the Malayan jungle. It was part of the Briggs Plan, a military plan devised by British General Sir Harold Briggs shortly after his appointment in 1950 as Director of Operations in the anti-communist war in Malaya.

During the Malayan Emergency, 450 new settlements were created and it is estimated that 470,509 people - 400,000 Chinese - were involved in the resettlement program. The Malaysian Chinese Association, then the Malayan Chinese Association, played a crucial role in implementing the program. Sri Jaya new village is one of them. Today the settlers should be IDP or Internally Displaced People by UNHCR. The Fuzhou people from Sitiawan were forced to move was mainly because there were many communist who are from Sitiawan area, the communist leader Chin Peng was from Sitiawan.

Sri Jaya- the transition

Sri Jaya is economically more active than Maran; but the state government decided to develop Maran as district capital, instead of Sri Jaya. Development was more focus on Maran as district capital, Seri Jaya have to depend on private investment for development.

Sri Jaya is famous for food, especially the "Pillow Pau". However I cannot fond "Gong piah", a Fuzhou biscuit there. Gong Piah can be found in Sibu and Sitiawan. There used to be a row of stalls selling fruits. There are few restaurants there, mainly cater for the travelers from KL to Kuantan or back, especially the lorry drivers. I do not know, when East Coast Highway by pass the town, will it affect the economy of the town?

I still remember the family of kind fruit sellers at the fruit stall along the Kuantan main route. A tragedy happen, when the parent went to attend the graduation ceremony of his son at Taiwan, husband and wife, his son and girl friend were all killed by the fallen rock in Taiwan Mountain area. I know her for many years, she was a hard working woman who have work hard for the family. The daughter must be taking over her fruit stall now.

Sri Jaya is a agriculture base for Kuantan vegetables supplies, many vegetable farmers in Sri Jaya on small scale basis. There is also a vegetable whole sellers beside the fruit stall. The family should be doing well by now.

The dilemma for Sri Jaya is like Seremban to KL; it is too close to the district capital, Maran. Sri Jaya will remain as small village town depending on its agriculture base.

Note: Fuzhou

Fuzhou(福州) also seen as Foochow, Fuchow, Fuh-chau, Fuh-Chow, Hock Chew or Hokchew in earlier Western documents, is the capital and the largest municipality of Fujian (福建) province, People's Republic of China. The city is also referred to as Rongcheng (榕城 or Ṳ̀ng-siàng) which means "city of banyan trees". Along with the many counties of Ningde(宁德), those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong (闽东, literally East of Fujian) linguistic and cultural area.

Fuzhou's core counties lie on the north (or left) bank of the estuary of Fujian's largest river, the Min River(闽江). All along its northern border lies Ningde(宁德), and Ningde's Gutian County(古田县) lies upriver. Fuzhou's counties south of the Min border on Putian莆田, Quanzhou泉州, Sanming三明 and Nanping南平 municipalities.

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