Sunday, March 13, 2011

Anthony Brooke, the last Heir to the Throne of Sarawak, Dies

Anthony Brooke was an heir to the throne of Sarawak, the last link to the power of the last White Rajah of Borneo.  So much has been written about the 100-year dynasty of the Brooke rule in Sarawak, but yet there was always that confusion after the war, the wrangling of the British government, the increasing lack of interest of the third Raja, Vyner, and the intrigues surrounding Anthony Brooke, who as designated heir to the throne, kept falling in and out of favor, and how the rights to Sarawakians was rather underhandedly usurped in favor of the British.

Here's the link to the article in The Telegraph with a brief overview of Sarawak's rather romantic history and the demise of Anthony Brooke, but it barely scratches the surface.  I do know that my wife's family and the Bidayuh community were extremely grateful when James Brooke stepped in and saved them from both tyranny and persecution. Every night they risked having their village raided, their heads taken, their wives and children used or sold off as slaves.

Yes, I also know that it all smacks of colonialism, but there are many perspectives to consider, to write about: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Men are still men, and power in the wrong hands, no matter the race, can be bad for everyone as despots have proved time and again.  Someday I plan to write more about Sarawak; already I have a couple of novel ideas, but for now my work is still mostly Penang based, rewriting novels that I started before moving to Sarawak. Sadly, so far, I've only written one feature article about Sarawak, mostly about Kuching, for a US publication, a couple of blog posts about my walks with Jason in Quop or 7-Mile, in addition to what I wrote in the Sabah and Sarawak section of Spirit of Malaysia.  Then there's the section I wrote about ten hotels including the Royal Mulu Resort in the soon to be released Guide to Sarawak.

I will definitely write more about Sarawak.  Sarawak is such a huge story to be told and countless stories lie within each story, but the more recent ones, about the ongoing logging battles, rain forest destruction, and land rights disputes, is not a pleasant one and does not bode well for the future of Sarawakians living in the interior.  Hopefully, like colonialism, that too will come to an end for a better Sarawak for everyone.

***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.

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