Lest We Forget

DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH BORNEO BULLETIN ARCHIVES

Compiled by Zainul Akmal Zaini

Happier days for the Wong orphans

MARCH 15, 1969 – Do you remember the Wong family of Seria? When their widowed mother died in August 1966, Borneo Bulletin readers contributed BND9,668 to help the eight children.

The Belait District Community Service Council used the money to set up a trust fund for them, and now they have a brand new home.

The oldest brother, Wong Soon Onn, now 20, is still the mainstay of the family but instead of winning a meagre living from a vegetable plot, he is now a painter working for a Seria contractor.

The second brother, Soon Siong, 19, is an apprentice to a Brunei Town electrical contractor and cares for a young sister, Soon Nyun, 10, there. She goes to St Andrew’s School.

The oldest sister, Soon Len, l7, keeps house for the family. She has also learnt dressmaking and makes her own and her three younger sisters’ clothes.

A happy line-up on the balcony of the Wong orphans’ new home in the resettlement area at Kampong Sungai Piera. From left: Soon Hin, Soon Kong, Soon Lan, Yik Yin, Soon Len and Soon Onn
Next to the Wong orphans’ new house is the shack (R), which had been their home since their father died in 1965

Her sisters Yik Yin, 15, and Soon Lan, 13, and brothers Soon Kong, 11, and Soon Hin, six, all go to Seria’s Chung Ching School.

Interest pushed the total in the trust fund up to BND10,651. The family has been drawing BND100 a month from it.

In consultation with the fund trustees, they decided they would like a new home, built on a land their late father had owned at Kampong Sungai Piera.

A two-storey three-bedroom house was built for BND6,200 by a Seria contractor, Chen Shak Fatt. It was handed over this week.

To save money, Soon Onn will paint it himself. He expects to finish the job by next week.

After paying for the house, they still have a balance of BND1,600 in their trust fund and Soon Onn has already saved BND1,000 out of his own wages.

They look forward to happier days now but Soon Onn has not forgotten the people who helped them when their mother died.

“We are all very grateful,” he said. “Those people were so good.”

Longest python ever caught in Brunei

MARCH 24, 1979 – The longest python ever caught in Brunei – a massive reptile measuring 21 foot and eight inches, and weighing 300 pounds.

It had just swallowed a barking deer, horns and all, when it was shot during an expedition of naturalists into the Temburong District late last year. The picture is included in a display at the Brunei Museum. From left,

Salam Beruang from the museum’s natural history section, Corporal Berayam and Private Yusof Amor of the Royal Brunei Malay Regiment, and Moksin Damit, a taxidermist at the museum.