FESTIVE cheers were visibly etched on the faces of thousands of less privileged individuals from different groups in the Brunei-Muara District as they...Read more
DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH BORNEO BULLETIN ARCHIVES
|Compiled by Lance Thoo Sin Lin|
Swapping spears for rice
PELUTAN (Jan 4, 1975) – The nomadic life of the jungle no longer appeals to a tribe of Punan from Pelutan, tributary of the Middle Baram, Fourth Division, who gave up their spears and poisoned darts for the stability of rice cultivation.
A few years ago their headman told them it was time to settle down and to till the land for a living.
Their willingness to give up their traditional nomadic existence won the Sarawak Government’s approval and they were given housing materials. Now the tribe has settled permanently in Long Sengayan, Pelutan.
First farming venture was in tapioca, which was planned in 1968 in the settlement clearing. It was not until 1970 that hill padi farming was introduced but, like other natives of the country, they now specialise in it.
Their headman believes that in a few years time, they will cease their jungle wanderings.
He feels strongly that his people have a good future on the land and there will be a better life for the children.
Passenger pulls knife on cabbie
BINTULU (Jan 12, 1985) – A quick-thinking taxi driver coolly talked his way out of danger when he was held up at knifepoint.
He persuaded the knifeman to let him out of the taxi to negotiate how much money to hand over – then he ran for his life.
The incident happened late last month when the cabbie was taking three Iban passengers from Bintulu to Tanjong Kidurong about 9.30pm.
About 9km outside town, he was told to turn into a narrow side road by Bintulu vocational school.
When he hesitated, the front seat passenger pulled out a knife and ordered him to stop.
He demanded money from the cabbie while a back seat passenger removed the ignition key.
The driver asked them to discuss the amount outside the car before fleeing. He hitched a lift with a passing car, which took him to the police station.
Boom in foreign labour
JANUARY 4, 1995 – Brunei’s foreign labour boom is to continue well into the next century to maintain the country’s ambitious development projects, according to an official Economic Planning report.
But the supply of local labour force will also see a considerable increase.
By the year 2011, Brunei will have nearly 100,000 foreign workers as compared to 45,175 in 1991, according to the population projection estimate.
In the next year’s projection, foreign workers stand at 57,000. In the year 2001, Brunei will need 70,000 and by 2011, the estimate is 99,000 workers from outside.
“Sharp changes in economic growth performance and/or gover-nment immigration policy would alter these proportions,” cautions the report published by the Economic Planning Unit, Ministry of Finance.
According to the report, the labour force requirement is increasing “greater than available local labour” and therefore the number of foreign workers will grow steadily.
But the labour requirement could grow even more if technological process does not bring about reduced demands for labour, it warns. – Ignatius Stephen
Brunei’s mercy mission fully operational
JANUARY 15, 2005 – Brunei Darussalam’s mercy mission to provide urgent and much needed relief to the tsunami victims of Indonesia became fully operational yesterday, hardly 24 hours after their arrival in Sabang on the island of Weh, where the scale of death and devastation appeared to be very high.
Brunei’s relief operation in Aceh aptly carries the codename “Ops Badai Berlalu”.
By last evening, the contingent had established what will be known as the Regiment Aid Post (RAP) in Panga Pocok manned by a team of medics. It is being headed by an RBAF medical officer and assisted by other medical personnel from the team.
Two Blackhawk helicopters were being used to ferry urgently required medical supplies and other relief material to the RAP.
Due to the collateral damage to the infrastructure, accessibility by land is impossible, thus leaving air access the only mode of contact.
Brunei’s relief team could only access some of the remote areas where aid is vital only after the Indonesian military had secured the areas apparently in view of the current separatist activity in the area.
So far progress made by the Brunei contingent had been extremely good. But much needs to be done when one sees the scale of damage and misery that the people of Aceh have endured following the tidal catastrophe.
What I saw in Panga Pucok were horrific scenes of human misery.
Dead bodies are still being retrieved and the debris that floods left behind is left unattended while the search of decay pervades the air.
Most people I spoke to were grateful to Brunei for the valuable assistance.
Over 700 refugees have already crowded into a refugee camp where Brunei’s team is in operation. More are streaming in by the hour from the hinterland, sources said.
By nightfall yesterday, long lines of people needing medical help were seen outside the RAP.
Some of the destitute are still searching for their loved ones. One 70-year-old man said he is still looking for his missing daughter and grandson.
A five-year-old boy who had lost both his parents walked about in a daze outside the camp, totally traumatised. – M K Anwar in Sabang, Indonesia
© 2013 Borneo Bulletin Online - The Independent Newspaper in Brunei Darussalam, Sabah and Sarawak