Notes from the editor.
The topics addressed by the Research Notes that follow range from linguistics and history, through politics and anthropology to indigenous art and cultural history. A final Note reports on cross-border relations along one small section of the highly porous border that separates Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo.
The first paper by Professor James Collins draws upon the results of recent research undertaken by scholars and students from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the Universitas Tanjungpura, Pontianak, to report on some socio-linguistic characteristics of the Iban-related languages and dialects spoken in West Kalimantan and to survey their present distribution. While the number of ethnic Iban in West Kalimantan is quite small, certainly in comparison with Sarawak, where the Iban number over 600,000, groups speaking Iban-related (or Ibanic) languages are numerous and, indeed, comprise, as Professor Collins notes, a significant proportion of the province's population. Again, compared with what we know of Iban, these languages and dialects are poorly documented and very little is known regarding their internal relationships or distinguishing characteristics. Professor Collins's paper is therefore especially welcomed.
In this connection, it might be briefly noted that, in terms of linguistics, West Kalimantan is one of the most poorly studied provinces in Indonesia. While there have been some recent publications by the Pusat Bahasa in Jakarta, the only major intensive study that I am aware of, and which, I would add, was brought to my attention by Dr. Sander Adelaar, is a Ph.D. dissertation by Sumarsono (La Trobe University, Melbourne) on Bekatik, a West Kalimantan Bidayuh, or, in Professor Collins's terms, Bidayuhic language. In addition, Dr. Adelaar himself has just published, as this volume goes to press, the first in-depth study of a West Kalimantan language to appear in print, Salako or Badamea: Sketch grammar, texts and lexicon of a Kanayatn dialect in West Borneo (Frankfurter Forschungen zu Sudostasien, 2005). In addition to a sketch grammar, the book includes 50 pages of textual data and a 100-page lexicon. Salako is a dialect of Kanayatn (Malay: Kendayan) and is spoken in the far northwestern corner of West Kalimantan, and in closely adjoining areas of western Sarawak where its speakers are generally known as Selako. Professor Collins, too, mentions Salako (or Selako) in his Research Note. As such, Salako is not an Ibanic language, as Professor Collins notes, but belongs to the larger category of West Kalimantan Malayic languages, which Professor Collins in his paper also touches on briefly, and to which Iban and other Ibanic languages are themselves more distantly related.
The second Research Note also concerns West Kalimantan. In this paper, "Captain Burn and Associates," Andrew Smith returns to a subject he first introduced in an earlier paper which appeared in Volume 33 of the BRB, "Missionaries, Mariners and Merchants: Overlooked British Travelers in West Borneo in the Early Nineteenth Century." In the present paper, he reconstructs the career and commercial activities for the last ten years of his life of one of these merchant-mariners, a British "country trader," Captain Joseph Burn, basing his reconstruction, in part at least, on Burn's own letters. As Dr. Smith notes, Captain Burn, who resided for part of this period in Pontianak, is of special interest to historians as a source of intelligence for Sir Stamford Raffles's invasion of Java. Equally important, information from his extended letters to Raffles on conditions in western Borneo was incorporated into John Leyden's often-cited "Sketch of Borneo," a major historical source for early nineteenth century Borneo. Until now, little has been written about Captain Burn himself. In addition to tracing Burn's career, the paper also conveys something of the eventful lives led by independent "country traders," fraught as these lives were, not only with physical perils, but also with the ever-present dangers of litigation, broken contracts, and financial ruin.
In the third paper that follows, "Turbulent Times in Sarawak," Vernon Porritt, a regular contributor to the BRB, traces the end of expatriate influence and the restructuring of politics in Sarawak along West Malaysian lines that occurred in the years that immediately followed Malaysian independence, 1963 to 1970. In retrospect, the outcome of the events described now seems inevitable, but that was hardly the way it appeared to Sarawakians at the time. The result was a radical shift in the balance of ethnic power that has only widened since and the emergence of a Melanau family dynasty that, in the breadth of its control over state affairs, and certainly in the immensity of its wealth, would come to far exceed anything that the Brookes might ever have imagined.
In the next paper, Antonio Guerreiro responds to an earlier Brief Communication by Herwig Zahorka, published in the BRB in 2001, describing a people known as the Basap, or Orang Darat, of the Mangkalihat Peninsula in East Kalimantan. As both authors observe, the Basap are perhaps the least known people living in the province. Zahorka's original Brief Communication, entitled somewhat ambiguously, perhaps, "The Last Basap Cave Dwellers in the Mangkalihat Karst Mountains, East Kalimantan," described the regular use of caves as shelters by Basap hunting and collecting parties.
Dr. Guerreiro, in his rejoinder, adds valuable information about the rapidly changing circumstances that have overtaken the Basap since the late 1960s, particularly Indonesian resettlement policies ostensibly aimed, more generally, at "stabilizing" indigenous populations, imposing "order," and re-housing so-called "isolated" (terasing) tribal groups, like the Basap, in fixed, accessible locales. While hunting and the collection of forest products remain important activities, it is clear from Guerreiro's account that the vast majority of Basap have, for some time now, subsisted primarily by cultivation. This development, it seems, occurred independent of government resettlement efforts. The latter, in fact, appear to have had little long-term impact upon the Basap, and one of the interesting points that the author makes is that, with the fall of the Suharto government, the very label "isolated societies" (masyarakat terasing)--and the government programs associated with it, including resettlement--have come to be resented by Dayak groups in East Kalimantan, including the Basap. Instead, these groups prefer to be called "customary law societies" (masyarakat adat), a label which acknowledges not only their cultural distinctiveness, but also, significantly, in light of logging and other forms of recent capitalist penetration, their rights to land.
Also of interest is the nature of Basap "society." Their small numbers, scattered distribution and tendency to intermarry with the members of other ethnic groups appear to result in their ready assimilation and, as Guerreiro puts it, in a tendency "to adapt their ethnicity to local conditions." Hence, it is no simple matter, it would seem, to say who is, or isn't, a "Basap."
Following Antonio Guerreiro's paper, Herwig Zahorka offers a brief reply. This is followed by some additional remarks by Guerreiro. Here, I would like to add that we, as readers, are indebted to both authors. Whatever their disagreements, they have raised some interesting questions and, in his final rejoinder, Guerreiro sheds additional light on contemporary social and economic change in what remains a still little known region of East Kalimantan.
In this issue we welcome a new contributor to the BRB, Paolo Maiullari, who offers us a fascinating account of the use of hampatongs, carved wooden images or sculptures, by the Ngaju Dayaks of Desa Telangkah, on the Katingan River, in Central Kalimantan. In addition to identifying the different types of hampatongs that are used locally by the people of Desa Telangkah, the author also describes two particular examples, each representing a once living person, showing how these sculptures convey aspects of each individual's life history and personal connections with the spirit world. Through the superb photography of his wife, Junita Arneld Maiullari, we are provided with an excellent visual record to accompany the text.
In the next paper, "Mystery of the Twin Masks on Megaliths at Long Pulung in East Kalimantan," the author, Herwig Zahorka, discusses, and offers a possible interpretation of, a set of sculptured designs that appear on a stone urn and pillar at what is believed to be a prehistoric burial site on the upper Bahau River in the present-day Malinau Regency. Zahorka likens these designs to anthropomorphic masks and compares them with others in Southeast Asia, in particular, with moko drum designs and with design motifs found on the famous Pejeng drum in Bali. On the basis of the similarities he sees, he argues that the Long Pulung stones may have once served as print molds for the production of bronze objects and speculates that the upper Bahau-Kerayan area, in addition to being a former center of megalithic development, may have once also been a metalworking center. In this connection, he stresses the need for an archaeological survey of the region. Finally, in concluding, he draws attention to what he sees as the persistence of similar design motifs in, for example, Dayak tattooing and building ornamentation, and even in the modern Dayak-inspired designs that adorn the Balikpapan airport building.
In the last paper, I Ketut Ardhana, Jayl Langub, and Daniel Chew provide an ethnographic account of cross-border relations between the Lun Bawang of the Kelalan Valley of Sarawak and the Lun Dayeh of the Kerayan District of East Kalimantan. Although divided from one another by an international border, the Lun Bawang and the Lun Dayeh are, in cultural, social, religious and linguistic terms, as well as by their own perceptions, a single people. On the other hand, as the authors show, the presence of the border profoundly, and in increasingly important ways, affects their daily lives and interrelations with one another. Moreover, population movements and cross-border disparities of income and economic opportunity now strongly color these interrelations and have created in some instances conflicts and divergent interests. In addition, the border highlands represents a distinctive and fragile environment, which, the authors note, borderland development increasingly imperils.
Concluding this issue, in an extended review essay, Eva and Roger Kershaw examine the recently published four-volume diaries and the earlier Stimmen aus dem Regenwald (Voices from the Rainforest, published in 1992) of Bruno Manser. They also touch more generally in their essay on Manser's life and conservationist legacy. Given the fact that almost five years have passed since Manser's disappearance and probable death, this review is especially timely.
Once again, from Sarawak, our resident man of letters, Otto Steinmayer, sends us, as a Brief Communication, another"Letter from Lundu." In this one, he relates events at his home in Kampung Stunggang during the recent rainy season, including Chinese New Year, two village weddings, and Christmas, ending with a reflection on the Sumatran tsunami.
And once again, I would like to thank all of those who assisted me during the year with article reviews, news items, announcements, comments, suggestions, and editorial help. The list is a long one and includes, among others, Sander Adelaar, George Appell, Dee Baer, Martin Baier, Jim Collins, A. V. M. Horton, Terry King, Jayl Langub, Heidi Munan, Vernon Porritt, Bob Reece, Bernard Sellato, Kenneth Sillander, Andrew Smith, Vinson Sutlive, Phillip Thomas, Reed Wadley, and Bob Winzeler. To all, my thanks. Special gratitude goes to my wife, Louise Klemperer Sather, who now, for a second issue, as our Assistant Editor, carefully read through all of the papers and reviews that appear here. As always, her editorial skills, patience, and close attention to detail have been an invaluable help.
Some Changes in the Borneo Research Bulletin
I would like to remind readers that Dr. A. V. M. Horton has taken on the job of Book Review Editor and compiler of our annual Bibliography section. Please contact Dr. Horton about book reviews or with bibliographic information for future BRBs. You may do so either by mail or by e-mail:
Dr. A. V. M. Horton
180 Hither Green Lane
Worcestershire B98 9AZ
Beginning with the last issue, Volume 34, we have initiated a new production process for computer formatting and layout. This process links the technical production of the BRB directly to the general publications operations of the Borneo Research Council. Mrs. Joan Bubier, the Council's Administrative Assistant, who oversees the production side of the BRC's publications (i.e., the monograph series, proceedings volumes, etc.) has assumed the task of BRB Production Editor. I am deeply grateful to Mrs. Bubier for all the work she did in preparing the present volume for publication and for overseeing its printing, distribution, and mailing.
Our volunteer Production Editor, Dr. Phillip Thomas, continues to assist us and helped in formatting the first three Research Notes in the present volume. He also offered invaluable editing advice. Again, our thanks to Phillip.
Beginning with this volume, a brief biographic note for each of our Research Note authors appears immediately following these Notes from the Editor.
Borneo Dissertation Website
Readers are reminded that Professor Robert L. Winzeler and his colleagues at the University of Nevada, Reno, have created a Borneo dissertation website (see "Notes from the Editor," BRB, vol. 33). I would urge you all to consult the dissertation list and add to it any dissertation that you may know of that is not listed, including, of course, your own. The website address is the following: <http:/www2.1ibrary.unr.edu.dataworks/Borneo.edu>.
The website is maintained by Professor Winzeler and is hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno, Library's DataWorks. Those of you with comments and suggestions are invited to write directly to Professor Winzeler at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
When the initial announcement of the site was made by your Editor in Volume 33, the site was then still in a pilot form, and, as of February 2003, it listed some 230 dissertation titles. Over the last year, Bob and his colleagues have added a large number of new entries, so that the current total number of dissertations listed has doubled to more than 460. The site, at the moment, Bob believes, is pretty much up-to-date and complete so far as the US, Canada, and the UK are concerned. But serious underreporting remains for Japan, Europe, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and anyone who can provide information on these areas is especially encouraged to contact Professor Winzeler at the e-mail address given above.
As a final Brief Communication in the present volume, Robert Winzeler and Duncan Aldrich provide a useful update concerning the Borneo dissertation website, its history and objectives, what it contains, and how to use it. They also offer some statistical information regarding the current status of dissertation writing on Borneo.
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|Publication:||Borneo Research Bulletin|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2004|
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