The reason being that the sultan of Brunei had many Mercedes , so amongst his friends, Chen's name became "sultan" in Miri. Later I discovered that one of the reasons that Chen drove a Mercedes was because he needed the extra large booth for carrying all the long handled changkol and rakes used by his workers. He transported his workers to the work site, the Miri Golf Course in his Mercedes. The other Pujut golfer was Kam Soon Kee, a wealthy contractor whose family held the monopoly of the grass cutting contract with the Miri Golf Club for the last 40 years!
One time a Foochow business man under-cut Kam by tendering a much lower bid. He won and lost the contract all in a day, because he could not start mowing the fairway and greens for the coming weekend competition because he did not have the special equipment needed or the trained staff. Kam refused to sell him any old machinery or let him have his landscaping, green-keeping staff. He got the contract back at his higher bid price and he is still mowing our greens and fairways today. No one tried to win this contract from him after that incidence. It would be stupid to jump the gun by buying a whole lot of expensive new machinery, just in case you won the golf course maintenance contract next year and had to start mowing the greens yourself. It does not compute!
In Kuching, I cycled every morning all the way from Nanas road, passed the golf course, Tabuan road and Padungan road and all the way along Pending Road to sungei Priok power station. Jun Siong and I had our evening meals together at the open air market opposite the Electra house. He worked at Land and Surveys and owned a very old 50 cc Suzuki motor bike which he took apart almost weekly to repair the engine. On the golf links road, the pillion rider, me, has to jump down very often to push the motor bike up the hill! It was great fun and we had a great time together in Kuching. The rest of our room mates were Chin Fook Leong, Yong Soo, Leong Ka Wan and Lim Peng Huat. I hardly saw them at all as they were surveyors working in the Sarawak jungles with theodolites and chains and they all contributed a share to the rent just to store their stuff in town and also to save on hotel costs on their infrequent trips to Kuching. They visited every two months or so to report back to HQ and also to stock up on provisions. Then it was back into the jungle again for another few weeks.
I went to Kuching because a friend in Miri informed me that Sesco was looking for applicants for scholarships to study overseas for diplomas in mechanical engineering. They needed three people with sixth form certificates to take up these bonded offers. On completion of the 5 year course, the candidates must work for at least five years with Sesco as generation engineers in charge of the power stations in Kuching, Sibu and Miri. It was perfect. Bonded means there was even a guarantee of a job with Sesco when we return with our diplomas. However it also meant that we pay back $5000 for each year spent overseas if we gave up the course half way. Of course if we didn't "give up" and continued studying...
Alphonsus Sia, Sylvester Lim and I were awarded these Sesco sponsored scholarships funded by the Australian government under the Colombo Plan scheme. These schemes were provided by rich nations to help under developed countries in the British Commonwealth. Every year Australian technical colleges and universities set aside some places for these overseas students to come to study. The external affairs department met our planes, arranged home stays for us, took care of enrolments and arranged regular outings for us to visit the countryside to get to know some real Ozzies. Most important of all: they paid all our fees and gave us a generous living allowance for four years. Scholarship holders were each paid a fortnightly living allowance of AUD126, quite a generous sum in the 60's. My friend, who was a private student, received about 45 AUD per week from his father in Sibu. During the long x'mas holidays we were all encouraged to find a job to earn some money for buying our text books required each year.
Ten young men from Sarawak, flew to Singapore in early February 1966, stayed a night at the Raffles hotel and caught a Qantas Boeing 707 flight for Sydney the next day. My sister, Rose was right. I did need a suit! Without one, I would not be able to come down for dinner at the Raffles hotel in Singapore. They allowed people inside the dining room with minimum dress code of: coat and tie only. I have no jacket until Rose brought me to a Padungan tailor and bought me a new suit. Later I wore this suit at her convocation in Armidale. After that I wore it to go to Sunday mass in Melbourne. Later, I wore a jumper in winter. That suit must be still hanging in a cupboard somewhere.