Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lunar New Year - World In The Gathering Gloom

When Sibu town is flooded these few days, the world market is also flooded - but with depressing news of gloomy economic outlook.

We did expect conditions to go seriously wrong - even as far back as two years ago when the housing bubble started to deflate. But little did we anticipate them to get that bad and deep.

Stephen Roach, Chairman of Morgan stanley Asia said yesterday that the current globalized recession will be worse than even he foresaw last year.

Describing this recession as ruthless, Roach further added that we have got a simultaneous recession in the U.S., Europe and Japan which we have never seen before.

Developing economies in Asia are suffering, too. Malaysia is certainly not excepted.

Roach warned: There is not a country in the region that is not in recession or declining sharply. "The region has been hit hard, and there is more to come," Roach said.

Due to his generally pessimistic forecasts, Stephen Roach has been described as a "perennial bear". His views have been widely disseminated in print and on television, making him widely known among market professionals and the investing public.


Anonymous said...

I borrowed this space to write to Sarawakiana, since her blog is for registered users and I am so lazy in creating an account for myself.

Thanks for telling us about the Book 'River of the White Lily.' But why is it called White Lily? Is it still the name these days?

I like these few sentences:

Sibu had no parks, public gardens, museums or interesting temples and its few cinemas, except one, were shockingly antiquated. It would have just earned the unenviable reputation of being the dullest and most featureless town in Sarawak, were it not for its coffee shops.....

sarawakiana said...

The river which drains the area of Bukit Lan and Twenty Four Acres is called River of the White Lily or Bai Hwa He.

If you ask Wong Meng Lei he will also give you a very good explanation. He is a true son of that area.

I have often wondered too why Peter Goullart chose this title. It gave his book a very aesthetic and cultured value in my opinion.
And I think Bai Hwa He must have deeply impressed him.

I thank Mr. Tony Hii for his great insights and writing on everything economic and everything interesting about Sibu.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Sarawakiana (and Tony Hii).
I have never been to River of the White Lily area, but I heard about the name. I have been to Kwong Hua School area when small.

A later edition of the book came out by the KL publisher. The one I saw was published in 1965 by John Murray.

By the way, is that area also badly hit by the flood?

sarawakiana said...

Hi Tony and Anonymous
I have a very old copy with a torn covern (beyond repair) which I picked up in a jumble sale. It has a few pages missing too.
In 2007 I bought the Malaysian Heritage Series of the book for RM 59.90 .
I have to ask a few friends about Bukit Lan and the flood conditions there.
Peter Gollart is indeed a good writer. Do you know that he is a Taoist? His good friend in Sibu was Rev Philip Jones. (there is a good historical trail there)
Thank you Tony for the use of your space.

Tony Hii said...

sarawakiana, anonymous, thank you for dropping by. You are more than welcome to use the little space here.

Just to chip in a bit more about River of the White Lily - The river flows through Sg. Empawah. a village before Bukit Lan if you travel down from Sibu town. Sg. Empawah is my home village, a place where I was nurtured and educated. During my childhood, the folks there used to tell me about River of the White Lily. It goes something likr this: Years ago, the river's banks were overgrown with Lily flowers, all white in colour. Seeing the beautiful flowers, an idea flashed across the minds of the folks to name the river "River of the white Lily", since no official name had been given yet to the little beautiful river then. Sg. Empawah has not been very much affected by the flooding this time. I went there to pay a CNY visit to my sister on the second day of Year of the Ox. When you come to Sibu, you are most welcome to visit Sg. Empawah.

sarawakiana said...

Dear Tony
Thank you so much for the invitation. I will give you enough notice to make the trip.

I used to visit Tien Chin School when my second uncle Lau Pang Kui was the headmaster there. I used to run all the way from the jetty to the school . I loved the hills and I do remember my first motorbike ride there.
The family has moved to different parts of the world now so I have not connection there now.
Do you still call the place Pam Mah Oh (Foochow equivalent of Bai Hua He)?
I hope Anonymous will visit the area too one day.
Is the Methodist Church still on the hill?

Tony Hii said...

Gee, sarawakiana, you are good at phonetic Foochow. Yes, Sg. Empawah is still locally known as Pam Mah Oh. You brought back flows of my childhood memories. Which church are you referring to? Ung Nang Methodist, if it is the one, is still at the same location - on the top of a hill.