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Recounting the Memories of the Past
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.
The Royalist (is not to be confused with many Royal Navy ships of the same name) was a 142-ton topsail schooner. She was probably built in Cowes in 1834 as a gentleman’s yacht for Rev F.T.Lane, but purchased by James Brooke in 1836 with money he had inherited from his father. He intended to use it for an expedition to the East Indies in the course of a circumnavigation of the globe, in preparation for which he cruised in the Mediterranean in 1837. As a vessel of the Royal Yacht Squadron it was permitted to fly the White Ensign and be accorded the same rights as ships of the Royal Navy.
When armed, with ’6 six-pounders, a number of swivels, and small arms in abundance’, it was effectively a private warship and was instrumental in Brooke establishing his foothold in Sarawak from his first visit in 1839 until becoming the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841. Without this Schooner it would hardly be possible for James Brooke to force Pengiran Muda Hashim to fulfil his promise of giving him the administration of Sarawak after he had successfully defeat the rebels.
The Royalist is last heard of in Brunei in September 1843, and is said to have been sold early in 1844.
A few weeks ago i asked my history students to write a persona poem or also known as dramatic monologue. It’s a poem which the students have to write a historical character (in this case James Brooke) and they have to mask his identity and character in relation to what they have learned.They only have to write the poem and not required to utter it to the whole class.
It’s not a surprise that only a few have chose the TIER 3 free verse dramatic monologue. Mostly preferred to do the standard and basic tier with writing frame given. Anyway, here are some products of their terrific work:
Comments are welcomed.