Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sarawak - History Repeats Itself

Is history repeating itself? For a glimpse into what is happening in Sarawak today, take note of the following, which was written by Alfred C Haddon in his book, "Headhunters, Black, White & Brown", of his travels between 1898-1899:

"The former sultans held nominal sway over a considerable portion of northern Borneo; but though the Malays brought with them a relatively high civilisation, they only affected the coastal population, no influence was exercised for the improvement of the condition of the interior natives. The Malay traders have always been adventuresome, and they introduced various trade goods up the rivers; but the up-river tribes, such as the Kayans and Kenyahs, do not appear to have acknowledged the authority of the sultans, or to have paid them tribute.

The power of the sultans and of their subordinates, from the highest to the lowest, has for a long time been exerted to extract the maximum amount of revenue out of those unfortunate coastal tribes who, by their propinquity, could not escape from their cruel and rapacious neighbours. Whatever it may have been in the past, the history of the Brunei administration for the last half-century has been marked by rapine, bloodshed, extortion, injustice, and utter hopelessness.

The fall of the power of Brunei is probably owing to causes that have hastened the fall of other empires and cities. The State was founded by a civilised and even a polished people, expert in the arts of life; but success and power became undermined by wealth, luxury, and sensuality, which destroyed the energy that created those conditions in which alone they could thrive. Strength of character sunk into aimless cruelty."

And further, "Owing to an ineffective and rapacious system of government, great dissatisfaction with the Sultan has for a long time been felt by the natives, and as a result the Sultanate has shrunk to the small triangular area which constitutes the drainage basins of the Balait, Tutong, and Brunei rivers. At the present time natives of the Balait and Tutong have hoisted the Sarawak flag, and are urging the Rajah to take them over. It is obvious that the days of Malay dynasty in Borneo are numbered."

"There would be a grave danger to the natives if Sarawak was "opened up" according to the desires of certain financiers or corporations whose sole idea is to make money. The "development" of a country does not necessarily mean the welfare of the original inhabitants; too often it spells their ruin or extermination. The hustling white man wants to make as much money as he can within the shortest possible time; but rapid exploitation is not development, and in many tropical countries it has meant that if the aborigines will not work as hard for the foreigner as the latter desires, their place must be taken by coolies from elsewhere."

Tell me, Sarawakians, is this not what Taib and the BN regime in Sarawak (and also Malaya) have become?

Their imminent fall from power at the hands of the people who have been victims of their aimless cruelty gets nearer by the day.

Sarawakians for Sarawak! Agi idup agi ngelaban!

2 comments:

tunabdulrazak said...

Splendid accounts. Well related. Get it Orang Batang? Amen. Amin.

Anglophile said...

Of course it is history repeating itself! Tyranny can hold sway over people for only a limited time.

The stranglehold Taib and his henchmen had over the parents, he does not have over the children who are better educated, have access to information and have seen a different world ... a more equitable one in which they have choices and a voice in what happens to their state.

If anyone has relatives or friends in this area, now is the time to bombard them with the truth. If it happens that "money" politics still speaks, then those people deserve the devil they have chosen.