Jalan Oya renaming met with mixed reactions by Sibu folk


The photo showing the starting point of the portion of road to be renamed begins from Jalan Oya (KPJ Sibu Specialist) and ends in front of SMK Sacred Heart traffic junction including its eight lanes.

SIBU (Nov 27): The renaming of Jalan Oya to Jalan Brother Albinus has been met with mixed reactions here, with some local folk viewing the renaming as unnecessary.

A resident, Tieu Chiong Yii, 41, saw no point of the decision to rename Jalan Oya to Jalan Brother Albinus as he felt there were many ways to remember the contribution of the former Sacred Heart School principal rather than changing the name of the road.

“I do not understand the need to change Jalan Oya to Jalan Brother Albinus and I do not see the point either.

“I know that he was a principal of Sacred Heart School and many former students, especially those who were taught by him, would be very happy to have a road name after this principal, but I think changing the name of a road to his is unnecessary,” he said when met by The Borneo Post today.

Tieu, who has been staying at Jalan Oya for over 30 years, said it could create some inconvenience to operators and residents especially in regard to mailing addresses.

“Does it mean that my old address would be invalid soon and I have to change the address in my identification card and in my business license?

“Then, I need to change my mailing address? You see, I have to change so many things. Will the postman get confused of the address?” asked the former Sacred Heart student, who operates a Japanese restaurant called Grandpa Cafe at Jalan Oya.

He added that it was a pity that the name of the road had to be changed.

On the other hand, KPJ Sibu Specialist Medical Centre medical director Dr Wong Chya Wei believed that renaming a stretch of road to someone who has immensely contributed to Sibu was a good idea.

“Brother Albinus has contributed to the education level of so many prominent people in Sarawak that I personally have no objection to commemorate him in this manner. We cannot find such a dedicated educator in this era anymore,” he said, adding that the changing of the road name would not affect the medical centre as its licensed address is Brooke Drive despite being situated at the intersection between Brooke Drive and Jalan Oya.

He also opined that people might need time to accept and adjust to the new name.

Meanwhile, former student of Sacred Heart School Lawrence Teo said that the renaming of the road would remind him on the service of the late Brother Albinus rendered to the students.

“The sentiment of Sacred Heart boys especially those study in the 1970s and 1980s who were taught by Brother Albinus, they really appreciate what he did for the school. Those outside Sacred Heart School maybe not appreciate it because the service that Brother Albinus was for Sacred Heart School and we felt his dedication,” he said.

He said Sacred Heart Old Students Association (SHOSA) had been fighting for the renaming of the road for many years.

Another former student Eddie Chung said believed renaming to Brother Albinus is a good move to commemorate his contribution to the people of Sibu.

“Leaders and successful individuals were born during his service here at Sacred Heart, although I was way too young then, but he was a legend,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang felt that the renaming of the road might pose some inconvenience to the residents living along there as they would have to update their addresses.

“It would also cause inconvenience to the postal agencies as they have to update their data not only for correspondence purposes but also all records related to their addresses like in land titles, inland revenue records and insurance records,” she said when commenting today on the renaming of the particular stretch of road.

She opined that most of the local people have known the road as Jalan Oya since they were born, as it was one of the earliest roads in Sibu and to a larger extent, holds a lot of memories and history for a lot of people.

“However, I understand the desire to commemorate the names of those who have made huge contributions to our society in the past. It is good that we want to keep their memories of contributions alive for our future generation.

“Brother Albinus was someone whom a lot of this generation people have a lot to be thankful to. But I think there are other ways to do this rather than changing the names of our roads, which to a large extent also mean erasing history for some people of their lives at that road.

“Other ways being like building a memorial bench with a brief inscription of the person’s contribution to be placed in a strategic place. Without the inscription, the purpose of keeping the memory of the contributions alive might be lost. This is because in time and generations to come, it would be just the name of a road, for example Brother Albinus Road, without knowing anything about Brother Albinus,” she said.

Chang opined that a memorial bench or something similar, if done properly and placed in a strategic place, might offer better significance and might even contribute to tourist industry as part of the heritage for that particular road.

She added that she has no strong feeling against or for the change, for it is just the temporary inconvenience which it would cause to a lot of people as well as the erasing of history associated to the name of Oya road.

Meanwhile, Political secretary to the Chief Minister Michael Tiang admitted Jalan Oya here is a long established name for Sibu residents collective memory.

Nonetheless, he pointed out the road name Oya remains despite the change of name after Jalan Brother Albinus.

“The renaming after Brother Albinus only applies to the part from Jalan Oya (KPJ Sibu Specialist) to the traffic lights junction in front of SMK Sacred Heart School,” he said.

A retired educationist, Wong Soon Hiik said Jalan Oya was the first trunk road leading to other part of Sarawak outside Sibu.

‘We know the name of Oya but we don’t know where it is, far or near in the early days. it is historical.

“During my childhood days in the sixties, Jalan Oya was also one of the few roads linking from Sibu town to the suburban areas (similar to Lanang Road and the ex-Queensway Road). At that time, Jalan Oya ended at the army camp.

He said his assumption at those days was Jalan Oya would eventually lead to the Oya township, which is presently the administrative centre of the subdistrict in Mukah Division.