|Written by Arimi Sidek|
The present royal house of Bruni is derived from Arab, Bisaya, and Chinese. The coronation ceremony confirmed this account. On the other hand, Nakhoda Ragam was the 'creator' of Kadayan tribe.
Nakhoda Ragam & Kadayans
Kadayans of Bruni 2, 1912
Sultan Mohammed was succeeded by his brother Akhmad, son−in−law of the Chinese chief, and he was in turn succeeded by an Arab from Taif who had married his daughter. Thus the present royal house of Bruni is derived from three sources −− Arab, Bisaya, and Chinese.
The coronation ceremony as still maintained affords an interesting confirmation of this account. On that occasion the principal minister wears a turban and Haji outfit, the two next in rank are dressed in Chinese and Hindu fashion, while the fourth wears a chawat over his trousers to represent the Bisayas; and each of these ministers declares the Sultan to be divinely appointed.
Then after the demonstration of loyalty the two gongs −− one from Menangkabau, the other from Johore −− are beaten, and the Moslem high priest proclaims the Sultan and preaches a sermon, declaring him to be a descendant of Sri Turi Buana, the Palembang chief who founded the early kingdom of Singapore in 1160 A.D., who reigned in that island for forty−eight years, and whose descendants became the royal family of Malacca.
The Arab Sultan who succeeded Akhmed assumed the name Berkat and ruled the country with vigour. He built a mosque and converted many of his subjects, so that from his reign Bruni may be considered a Mohammedan1 town. To defend the capital he sank forty junks filled with stone in the river, and thus formed the breakwater which still bars the entrance to large ships. This work rose above the water level, and in former times bristled with cannon. Sultan Berkat was succeeded by his son Suleiman, whose reign was of little consequence.
Neglecting Suleiman, we come now to the most heroic figure in Bruni history, Sultan Bulkiah, better known by his earlier name, Nakoda Ragam. The prowess of this prince has been celebrated in prose and verse. He journeyed to distant lands, and conquered the Sulu islands and eastern Borneo.
Over the throne of Sambas he set a weak−minded brother of his own. He even sent an expedition to Manila, and on the second attempt seized that place. Tribute poured into his coffers from all sides.
His wife was a Javanese princess, who brought many people to Bruni. These intermarried with the Bisayas, and from them it is said are sprung the Kadayans, a quiet agricultural folk, skilled in various arts, but rendered timid by continual oppression. Some have settled recently in the British colony of Labuan, and others in Sarawak round the river Sibuti, where they have become loyal subjects of the Rajah of Sarawak.
1Just in case that you are not aware of, whenever you came across with the term 'Mohammedan' anywhere in this website - and also in most of western materials - it should be read as 'Islam'. Western researchers were too stupid to differentiate between prophet Muhammad (pbuh) own ideas and the saying of almighty God.
Hose, Charles & McDougall, 1912. The Pagan Tribes of Borneo. Borneo at the end of 19th Century, by Dr Charles Hose (1863-1929) and McDougall, William (1871-1938). The book is no longer copyrighted in the USA and now obtainable under Project Gutenberg.