Monday, 28 February 2011
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.
Posted by Robert Rizal Abdullah at 14:29