Monday, 28 February 2011

Realising my book on the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers

Writing and documenting the history of the famous Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers is closer to becoming my reality. About a year ago I had planned to make my researches in the archives in the UK. However, due to the H1N1 epedemic, the hugh cost and non-availability of good Samaritans / sponsors, the plan had been shelved. But my dream of writing the book lives on. My interest in the affairs of these elite warriors keeps me going in the direction I intended to move. What had happened in the last few months had definitely helped me in making a firm decision to go to Sarawak to meet and interview the remaining 60 of them still alive today. I must see them before they disappear completely from the face of this Earth. Looking at their ages, time is not on my side. Even now, a few of them are fighting for their lives in the government hospitals and two had died in the last few months. A few days ago, another body, Ex British Soldiers Association headed by Che Onn Neamat, has unknowingly joined me in looking after and highlighting the affairs of these elite fighters. I have about 60 names of the surviving members of the Sarawak Rangers living across Sarawak. God-willing I will see and meet all of them. I will be writing to the General Officer Commanding 1st Infantry Division, Major General Awie Subuh, based in Kuching for administrative and logistic supports. I am keeping the month of April 2011 in mind and meantime I am doing the necessary preparations required. Update No. 1 (12 March 2011). On 5 March 2011, in conjunction with the 78th Army Day celeberation in Kuala Lumpur, I met the Deputy Army Chief and the Chief of Staff and confided in them about my plan. They were supportive and had asked me to write to them officially which I did on 9 March 2011. Looking at the number of the ex-soldiers I would like to see and interview, and the locations they are in now, I will most likely spend more than two weeks in Sarawak. As they are stretched right across Sarawak, I will definitely need a 4 x 4 vehicle that the Army may be able to provide me. Accomodations and food in the camps certainly would help lessen my financial burden. I am excited at the opportunity to see and travel right through Sarawak - especially into the interior which are only accessible by long boat. I see plenty of amazing and beautiful sceneries for my camera. Update No. 2 (12 April 2011) I checked with the ADC to the Army's Chief of Staff yesterday as to the status of my letter that I had sent him a few weeks earlier, whereby I had requested for the Army's logistic support in my quest to locate and interview the 60-odd living members of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers living across Sarawak. I was told the letter is still with the C of S. Except for my concern that time may not be on the side of these gallant fighters. I'm not in a hurry to embark on the journey. A couple of days ago, I received a call from a FINAS (National Film Association) official who is interested to interview me on the Iban Trackers. Apparently, their search in the internet had led them to my blog PGBWARRIOR. Why not? I will contact them when I go to Kuala Lumpur on my next trip in a week or two. I told them about my intended trip to Sarawak and they sounded keen in tagging along. The more the merrier. Some of my schoolmates/classmates in Sarawak might be interested to come along as well.