Tuesday, January 19, 2010

History - Sarikei and Bintangor through an expat's eyes. Part 2

The book, Fair Land Sarawak, has been described in Amazon online store as:

"A personalized account by an expatriate of British colonial disengagement from Sarawak. Alternately light-hearted and serious, it is both personal narrative and history. Morrison explains the daily bureaucracy of colonial life from an inside perspective (he often criticizes the British bureaucracy which he is a member of) and details the changes that occurred during his years in Sarawak: the growth and expansion of Communist movements (and the reaction of British officials to this growth), the emerging modernization of the various districts Morrison visited, and the formation of Malaysia (and the negotiations that occurred to insure that Sarawak became a part of Malaysia). Throughout, Morrison displays a deep respect and affection both for the people of Sarawak and for Sarawak itself."

This portion narrated the census taking and his Iban long house visits. Click picture to enlarge and click back arrow to come back. All pictures were by the famous photographer, Hedda Morrison.

Page 22

Page 23

Page 24

Page 25

Page 26

Page 27


Daniel Yiek said...

You can buy the book online via www.amazon.com (click books and enter fair land sarawak; it's US$25 for new edition and $55 for old books plus shipment cost)


you can try the Indian bookstore (it has lots of out of print old books) inside Kuching's former Holiday Inn by the river (now called Margherita Hotel, named after Rajah Charles' wife just like the fort across the river).

sarikeikia said...

This is interesting as I notice similarity in the character of the two Iban Penghulu mentioned with that of earlier reader’s comment. That is Penghulu Andin and Penghulu Giman described by the author with that of Penghulu Ah-Nin and Penghulu Eman as described by earlier reader’s comment.

In the early days most natives do not go to school and neither do they follow a calendar, hence date and day of the week are insignificant to them. If you ask natives their age in those days and the answer would be “Naknimu”.

So how do you seek an appointment with the Penghulu those days? The officer in the Brook’s administration has a unique way by using a systematic way of knots, the colour of the cord can signify the purpose of the meeting. Imagine the Distric officer would ask Mr Siaw Ah Khoon to hand the cord with many knots to a runner who can bring it to Penghulu Ah-Nin in his longhouse up Nyelong river. When Penghulu Ah-Nin receive the cord he would be jumping in excitement as he understand the colour of that cord signify his presents on Coronation day in town. Every day break Penghulu Ah-Nin would untie a knot and by the time he untie the last knot he would put on his official warrior outfit and make his way to town. By the way Coronation day fall on 18 August, did you kept one such cord inside the time capsule? haha!

Daniel Yiek said...


I think you had a typo => "presents" should be "presence". :-)

Daniel Yiek said...

The bookstore at the former Holiday Inn (now Grand Margherita) in Kuching has less books now.

Fair Land Sarawak by Alastaor Morrison could not be found. The Iban-English dictionary by Tun Jugah Foundatioin is sold at MYR$69 there.

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