Recounting the Memories of the Past

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Vote – Is History a hard subject to learn?

Feeling the frustration?

Comments welcome.



The word means as quoted in the Merriam-Webster, “an error in chronology especiallly a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects or customs in regard to each other.” or in other words, a person or thing that is placed at a wrong time.

Take for instance: Sultan Bolkiah was engrossed on his I-pad while looking at the sea in hope for more land to conquer. The anachronism here is the I-pad was not invented until the early 21st century. Such anachronism sometimes happen by mistakes well in this case i purposely put it into context for better understanding.

Here is another example, try to spot the anachronism in the picture below:


Lidah Tanah – one of the past capitals of Sarawak.

According to wikipedia, prior to the founding of Kuching (originally Sarawak more than 150 years ago so essentially Sarawak was Kuching it’s like saying the capital of Singapore is Singapore) the two past capitals of Sarawak were Santubong, founded by Sultan Pengiran Tengah in 1599 and Lidah Tanah founded by Datu Patinggi Ali in the early 1820s (as you may know  in the textbook it stated in 1824, Pengiran Indera Mahkota Pengiran Muhammad Salleh was appointed as the governor in Sarawak which he had to face rebellion against Datu Patinggi Ali’s huge supporters for his abusive power and exploitaion on Antimony for personal gains).

Even though Lidah Tanah now has been downgraded its status as merely a kampung, its name and historystill remains a significant part in the history book of Brunei, for it was the first place (and many more in years’ after – act as a catalyst) where James Brooke got his hands on the lands used to be controlled by Sultan of Brunei.

Sultan Muhammad Kanzul Alam

He was the 21st Sultan of Brunei, the son of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien I and ascended to the throne from 1807 until 1826. He succeeded Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin and was famously known as ‘Pengiran Di Gadong Ayah’.

Some of his contributions to Brunei were as listed below:

  • in 1821 he issued pitis coins to the Padian.
  • he strenghthened the relations between Brunei and Spanish Manila

He was an open-minded and diplomatic Sultan who wanted to established good relations with Europeans. In 1809 for example the British troops headed by ‘Si Merah’ was well recieved by the Sultan and accepted his challenge to allow any Bruneians  who can beat the huge fierce dog owned by ‘Si Merah’. Consequently, this dog was beaten byPengiran Muhammad Daud and that achievement earned him the title Pengiran Pemancha. Amazingly he was also the saviour of his Majesty when a free loose tiger (agift from Sultan Terengganu) was put back into the cage.

The turning point of Brunei’s history was when he promoted Pengiran Muhammad Salleh to become Pengiran Indera Mahkota (Cheteria) and appointed him  as the Governor of Sarawak. Even though he was considered to be a wise noble (he who wrote Syair Rakis voicing out his concerns over the exploits of the British in Brunei’s territories), his attitudes and actions (the textbook seemed to protrayed him as the culprit) has caused troubles in Sarawak and internal conflicts within the royal family which gave an opportunity to James Brooke to intervene (i.e. the beginning of  Brunei’s lost territories).

More information and pictures where Sultan Muhammad Kanzul Alam buried peacefully click this link:



What are wharfs, sir?

A student asked me the question while pointing to the extract text written by Thomas Forrest called ‘A Voyage to New Guinea and the Moluccas, 1774-1776′. I did try to give a good description of it..’it’s like a bridge or jetty’ i said. Well, a better description is a landing place where ships or boats may tie up and load or unload (Free dictionary by Farlex).

Rozan Yunos happened to write an article in regards to wharf in Bandar Seri Begawan, here’s the link http://bruneiresources.blogspot.com/2008/12/historic-role-of-bandar-seri-begawan.html very informative and in fact he argued that there was no ‘actual’ wharf at Kampung Ayer even though many ships dropped anchored at that area. The ‘actual’ wharf was built around 1920’s or 30’s based on the age of the photos he had.



Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien I

SOAS I, the 18th Sultan of Brunei was the son of Sultan Muhammad Alauddin and Pengiran Babu Seri Banum. He had 3 wives all of which were the princesses of Sultan Husin Kamaluddin. He had 6 princes (namely Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin and Sultan Muhammad Kanzul Alam) and a princess.

He was believed to be one of the longest serving Sultan (55 years – 1740-1795 cf Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar 58 – 1598-1659). He was known for his just rule and wisdom who simply followed the footstep of his father-in-law Sultan Husin Kamaluddin. In fact when his father-in-law was still alive, he recieved good knowledge, advice and experience from him during his reigning period.

In 1775, Sultan of Sulu sent a troop to Brunei headed by Dato Teting to settle the issue of North Borneo (or Sabah) which was a promise made between Sultan Muhyiddin to Sultan of Sulu after the Sulu helped him to a victorious battle that ended to his favour. The two sides confronted each other that resulted the  surrender of Dato Teting and his troops retreated to Sulu as they found out Brunei’s warriors led by Pengiran Temenggong Ampa ibni Sultan Muhammad Alauddin (17th) were too superior for them to fight.

In the same year according to the textbook Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien I offered the British Labuan in exchange of protection against Sulu. Thus also explains why Sulu failed to defeat Brunei (the might of British weapons) even though Sulu and local pirates managed to destroyed the British’s trading post in Balambangan in 1773.

SOAS I passed away peacefully on 10 July 1795 at Royal Mausoleum. His posthumous name given was Marhum di Makam Besar.  For pictures and additional information please refer to the link below:




Plasticine Project – What a splendid art!

Most of the project done by year 7 history students were indeed attractive, splendid or shall i say a MASTERPIECE! Well done!

Topical Test Review

Next week please be informed that there will be a topical test for 25 minutes. The test will be scheduled to the classes as follow:

7T – Tuesday 9/8/11

7R- Tuesday 9/8/11

7U- Tuesday 9/8/11 (change to Thursday 11/8/11)

7E- Wednesday 10/8/11

7L – Wednesday 10/8/11

The test will include four topics:

The arrival of Spanish

The Castille War

The Separation of Sulu

The coming of the British in the 17th to 18th Centuries

Here some hints and topic review that should be noted:

Key Dates to know:



14 April 1578

26 June 1578

Mid of the 17th Century






Key people to know

Antonio Pigafetta

Dr Francisco De Sande

Sultan Saiful Rijal

Pengiran Seri Lela

Pengiran Seri Ratna

Pengiran Bendahara Sakam

Alexander Dalrymple

John Jesse

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin I

Thomas Forrest

Studying Questions:

When did the Spanish ship Victoria reach Brunei?


Who wrote about the visit to Brunei when the Spanish arrived in 1521?

Antonio Pigafetta

Who was the Spanish Governor in Manila in 1576?

Dr Francisco de Sande

What were the 3 terms demanded by the Spanish Governor in Manila to Brunei?

The Spanish wanted to have good relations with Brunei

They asked to be allowed to spread Christianity in Brunei

The Bruneian Missionaries stop spreading Islam in the Philippines

Why did the Spanish attack Brunei on 14 April 1578?

Sultan Saiful Rijal did not agree to allow Christian Missionaries coming to Brunei

He also did not agree to stop Bruneian Missinaries from spreading Islam in the Philippines.

How did the Spanish attack Brunei and managed to capture Brunei’s capital?

They brought a fleet of 40 ships and many soldiers

They were helped by two Bruneian nobles who turned traitors

How many days did the Spanish capture Brunei?

72 days only

When did Sulu break away from Brunei’s control?

Mid of 17th century

Who left Brunei and started to work for Sulu?


Which lands of Brunei were attackedby Sulu?


Who made an agreement with the Sultan of Sulu to allow the British to use part of the North Borneo and some nearby islands for trade?

Alexander Dalrymple

What does EIC stand for?

East India Company

Where did the EIC set up trading post in Borneo in 1773?


Who did the EIC sent in 1774 to Brunei to buy pepper from Chinese gardeners?

John Jesse

Which Island was offered to the British in 1775 by SOAS I in return for Brunei’s protection against Sulu?


Why did the British leave Brunei in 1777?

They were losing money on their trading operation in Borneo.

Who visited Brunei in 1776 and described Brunei Town?

Thomas Forrest

Why Balambangan Island was chosen by English EIC?

I browsed through an old textbook A History of Brunei Lower Secondary Schools and found there were several reasons (5 to be exact) why the British traders (namely Alexander Dalrymple) chose Balambangan Island as the trading centre which are as follow:

1. The problem of sailing in the East Indies would be overcome. At that time sailing ships trading in the East Indies had to wait for the monsoons before they could sail home. A trading centre would enable ships to anchor while awaiting the change of winds.

2. Two good harbours at Balambangan Island, protected by hills. The island is situated in the middle of an area which produces good likes gold, pearls, tortoise shells, camphor, gum, birds’ nest, pelantin cloth, civet-cat furs, spices and sugar. Apart from the products mentioned, Balambangan also has products for everyday use like wood, cocoa, peanut oil, padi, honey and ropes.

3. A trading centre at Balambangan Island would facilitate East India Company’s ships sailing to and from East Indies and China.

4. Attract foreign traders especially from China who usually made long voyages to Batavia (Java). If Balambangan were made the trading centre, Chinese traders would not have to go to Batavia. They would go direct to Balambangan through Palawan and Luzon.

5. Attract Bugis traders and these traders came from Passir (i.e. Eastern part of Borneo Island).