Thursday, April 17, 2008

Savages of Borneo, 1853 part 2

Written by Arimi Sidek

Craufurd mentioned about Borneo superior quality of iron in his reference an adventurer's finding.

"The iron," says he [his source], "found all along the coast of Borneo is of very superior quality."

They (the Dyaks) have a method of working it which precludes the necessity of purchasing European steel, except for cock's spurs, which they steel, except for cock's spurs, which the prefer when made of a razor. I have counted in the kampung (village) of Marpow. Instruments mad of it will cut through over-wrought iron and common steel with ease.

Now, this is something about dyak skills. But the name of Marpow?

There are two other [suspected] places by the almost similar name, one in Sarawak and the other is in Kalimantan. Craufurd discussed about Marpow, and then Labuan.

Could it be Merapok – a shanty village adjacent to Sabah and Sarawak border?

Its possible, because Merapok is among the early native settlements in Borneo and traceable way back in old Borneo maps.

With one problem, of course. Merapok is not a Dyak settlement, at least not now. The inhabitants mostly are Lundayehs and Kedayans.

Wrong. Craufurd or his informant, like other European of their time just guessing. At the time Europeans simply called Lundayehs and Kedayans as “Dyak”.

Early European invaders love to play research game. They called themselves as adventurers while relied on wild guess on their thirst for Borneo.

They tirelessly made themselves looked great, so smart, so knowledgeable, intelligence, and full of confidence upon returning to their homeland.

Then they blow trumpets on every Dick and Harry on the street; their 'important' findings were the breakthrough to her majesty mighty empire.

Some converted travel log to became Ph.D thesis and were made available at Cambridge and Oxford University to the present day.

Back on Craufurd. He mentioned about the biggest lake in Sabah, which is actually none. According to him,

"The lake of Kinibalu, which, however, no European [yeah, not even Dusuns, let alone Kedayans] has visited, and of which of which even the very existence is not certain, is said to lie to the northern portion of the island, at the foot of the mountain of the same name, and is reputed to be 100 miles long.”

John Craufurd, 1853. A Sketch of the Geography of Borneo by John Craufurd, Esq., F.R.S. &c. read May 10, 1852. 11. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Vol. 23. (1853), pp. 69-86.

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