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Recounting the Memories of the Past
Terusan or also known as Trusan are apparently not only located in Sarawak (which of course is a district and now part of Limbang Division) but also apparently found in Sabah which is a town with an approximate population of 818 in 2004 according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terusan).
Historically, Terusan in Sarawak was ceded to Charles Brooke in 1884 by Sultan Abdul Momin and then Pengiran Temenggong Pengiran Anak Hashim in consideration of annual money payments before the Amanat was introduced in 1885 with an perfect excuse of disturbances which they took advantage of and that the people of Terusan hugely support Brooke government for they would impose minimal taxation and would be better off under their control rather than Brunei.
Mukah was well-known for its sago production. It used to send its sago production to Brunei before it became part of Sarawak in 1861 when Sultan Abdul Momin ceded to James Brooke. Since then sago production became one of the most important trading exports of Sarawak particularly during the Brooke government. Nowadays, oil palm plantation has replaced sago palm cultivation as Mukah’s main agricultural crop.
Traditionally, sago has been the staple food for Melanau people in Sarawak. They make a variety of dishes and delicacies out of sago such as sago pearls, sago crackers and not to mention the nutritious sago worms.
Any comments or insights on Mukah are always welcomed.
When James Brooke strengthened his position as the Rajah of Sarawak and acquired Tanjung Datu to Samarahan river through a treaty signed in 1846 between Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien and the British, he knew that it was just the beginning to his relentless pursuit of territorial expansion and majestic rule in Sarawak.
From 1853 until his death in 1868, he remarkably acquired territories stretching from Tanjung Datu to Tanjung Kedurong from Sultan Abdul Momin in exchange of annual payment which later were passed down to his successor Charles Brooke.
James Brooke knew that by capturing these territories he could make Kuching the busiest trading port in Borneo. Apart from minerals such as gold and antimony, sago and other jungle products were exported to neighbouring countries such as Singapore that would help to generate income for Brooke government. As a result, much of the trade has diverted to Kuching and Brunei suffered trading losses in the long run.
Syarif Masahor or Sharif Masahor was a famous Malay warrior in Sarawak during James Brooke’s era. He was very influential and respected due to both his charisma in uniting the people of different races and beliefs and also due to his lineage (descendant of Prophet Muhammad).
Like Rentap, Syarif Masahor displeased on James Brooke’s encroachment in Sarawak which caused many locals to rebel. Though not many Malays supported Syarif Masahor and his resistance fighters because of their loyalty to James Brooke, he did his best to stop Brooke’s plan and attacked in Kuching. Unfortunately, his attack came to a failure and banished to Selangor.
Click here for further info on him: http://sarikei-time-capsule.blogspot.com/2008/11/people-sarikei-sherip-masahor-circa.html
Rentap was a famous Dayak (Iban) warrior in Sarawak during James Brooke’s era. Rentap in Iban means Worldshaker. He is a national hero and freedom fighter. Probably you heard his famous battle cry which was Agi Idup, Agi Ngelaban!! which means I will fight as long as I will live!! It later became Malaysia’s Royal Ranger Regiment motto.
So why did Rentap fight against James Brooke you might ask? It was because James Brooke’s action of eliminating the Ibans in Skrang (he thought they were pirates and could impede their trading development in Batang Lupar Area) and also destroying their village.
Though Rentap did in some occasion stopped James Brooke’s plan to control Skrang and Saribas, superior weapons owned by James Brooke’s side were too much to handle.That’s why James Brooke able to crush his opposition and spread his influence in Sarawak.
During the reign of Sultan Abdul Momin he gave up Batang Lupar to James Brooke 1853 simply because it was difficult to control the hostile tribes particularly the Iban population. In return the Sultan had annual payment and considered it as a good bargain.
Considering the problems James Brooke had to face in this territories (piracy, headhunters and resistance to his administration) and to encourage trade and development in Sarawak, he built a Fort on lowland named Fort James. However it was soon decided to dismantle and rebuild at a more strategic and more defensive site in Simanggang District. Thus Fort Alice was built.
Fort Alice was named after the wife of Charles Brooke, Ranee Margaret Alice Lili and built on a hill at Simanggang in 1864. It served as the Simanggang administration center and also a prison. Though the fort is still remains in tact, it is an extremely dilapidated and run down condition according to wikipedia.
As always comments are welcomed.