Wednesday, 29 April 2009
LCpl Ungkok ak. Jugam was a soldier of the elite Sarawak Rangers operating alongside the Commonwealth Forces at the height of the First Emergency in Malaya from 1948 to 1960. Attempts to find out how he died was unsuccessful.
However, it was believed that he died in a battle with the communist terrorists in the location where he was buried. His body was never found. The place(in the picture) was then thick jungle. Today, as you can see, it is part of a bustling City of Alor Setar (Km 4, Jalan Langgar).
The British Army tried to move the grave but was unable to because they couldn't locate his next-of-kin - a criteria which must be met.
According to some locals, the dual highway was built between 10 to 15 years ago. As the grave was smack in the middle of the highway, somebody had moved the headstone to the side of the road.
In November last year, I found a write up and the picture of the indignified grave you see below. Shocked, I vowed to take it up to the highest authority.
In conjunction with my book launch by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, on November 6, 2008, I briefed him about the case and at the same time suggesting that Sarawak set up a Heroes Memorial in Kuching and bring back all the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers killed during the First Emergency and buried in Malaya and Singapore. He agreed to this plan. However, he said, all the next-of-kins must give their written consent.
Sarawak, in particular, the Ibans, must remember the deeds of their forefathers who had been most courageous fighters and the greatest trackers in the world. This is a legacy that the Ibans must preserve for the future generation to see and remember by. Without this memorial, this piece of history will disappear with time.
Monday, 20 April 2009
Friday, 17 April 2009
The bathing place has been a part of my life. As kids in those days, we would spend hours there, swimming, diving and chasing each other, until we turned blue with cold. An early morning bath there would be unbearable as the water was almost as cold as iced water (our long house is near to the Klingkang Range and close to the International Border with Indonesia).
Today, a mountain stream is channeled to every homes by pvc pipes the long house dwellers had fixed themselves. This has made the bathing place less used and less popular. Nevertheless, every time I went back home alone or with my family, I would never miss going for a swim there. I felt I had left a part of me there.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
When I was transferred to KL in 1987, I brought three of the kittens, including Dottie. A month later, he died - he played and swallowed a poisonous frog. One more was attacked by a stray dog. Possibly heart-broken at the loss of his brothers, the third one disappeared and was never found.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Saturday, 11 April 2009
- It was not very long ago that we were very close to nature - about sixty years ago to be exact. We depended on nature for our survival. The rivers provided us the fish. The jungles provided us the vegetables and animals for our meat. But alas! Our greed was our enemy. Slowly, but surely, we were destroying the very environment that we depended upon. We over-fished the rivers and streams and even use poison (tuba) to catch fish. We over-hunted the jungles, until there were no more deer, wild boars, monkeys and even birds such as the hornbills. They were hunted into extinction.
- Will they ever return? I doubt it very much. Given the same pristine jungle environment that existed some sixty years ago, I might have given it some chances. Today, as more jungles are being cleared for development, the chances are remote.
- However, there is hope yet. A year ago, my brother Linggir said some of the animals such as wild boar and mouse deer had been sighted. With no big-scale hunting being organised, as in those days, I feel some of the animals might return.