The Borneo Blog
May 31, 2011 3:59 AM   Subscribe

The Borneo Blog - fascinating photographic journey from the late 1960s of life and culture in Kapit, Sarawak, Malaysia* via Mefi Projects. [slightly NSFW - some topless locals]
posted by peacay (11 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Hey I live in Sarawak right now! Thanks so much for this post.
posted by BinGregory at 5:27 AM on May 31, 2011

it's nice to see some white folks enjoying another culture rather than destroying it.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:50 AM on May 31, 2011

So many great images here. Thanks again for the post.

There's definitely a lot less native dress, the earlobe stretching is almost gone and toplessness is definitely gone. Tattoos are still really popular. Longhouses are still in use and sadly the infrastructure is still very poor the deeper in you go. Many communities are still without electricity or running water. You find some brick and mortar longhouses closer to the towns which is a kind of interesting adaptation. That mosque is still there in Kuching, though with a different coat of paint and more souls in the graveyard. Pythons are still the bane of chicken coops too, even right here in my backyard in the state capital. I was going to joke that we still have the same Chief Minister too, but I guess I'm off by a couple of years.
posted by BinGregory at 6:02 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

Sure wish there were more captions on those photos, or a place to leave questions for the author!
posted by BinGregory at 6:03 AM on May 31, 2011

So many fascinating photos. BinGregory, yeah more captions would be even better. I do see an "ask me anything" button on the right side of the blog (a project of Metafilter member puny human). It's great that you can click on the photos for higher resolution. Even something for the cat lovers! The photos of the sape led me to explore some nice music.
posted by various at 8:16 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cool! Thanks for the post peacay and thanks for the kind comments everyone. As I said in my projects post, this is my first stab at a blog, and I first meant it as an archive for my family, something that would be easily accessible on the web. I was hoping to add keyword tags -- jungle, family, iban, medical, favorite, etc... -- which would make the collection easier to search, but for some reason, tag search doesn't work on Tumblr. So I realize that it is a bit hard to navigate, being over 500 scans.

I am going to add more captions. My plan was to sit down with my dad so he could fill in the blanks on photos I wasn't sure about, but he had a recent sudden illness, and is actually in surgery today. So over the next couple of weeks as he recovers, I will fill in the missing info.

Great comments BinGregory :) We were there right on the cusp I think, just as things were beginning to change, from the old ways to the new. You can see it in photos like this, a son with his father. But Kapit was still very tiny, with only one car in town, but we did have a movie theatre, and electricity, and running water.

Re the python. Not only pythons, but one night I remember coming home from the hospital with my family, and as we were just about home, we heard a hissing in the bamboo trees beside our house. We thought at first it was our cat, fighting with something in the bushes, but my sister ran inside and got the flashlight, and as we got closer, we saw it was a King Cobra, raised up several feet, with his hood flared.

I do have hours of movies and also reel to reel tapes of jungle noises (the dawn chorus), Iban festivals and lots of sape music which I am saving for my next blog, but probably not Tumblr this time, though for a non techie like me, I have to say Tumblr is ridiculously easy to use, and if it had just a few more features, it would be perfect. The thing I like best, is the resolution of the slides, even at full magnification. The detail is fantastic.

starting around page 23 are photos from when we hiked to the top of Mount Kinabalu.

ps - special thanks to nickyskye who encouraged me on the early versions of the blog, and suggested I post it to projects.
posted by puny human at 11:30 AM on May 31, 2011

thanks for putting your pictures out there puny human, I look forward to when you get a chance to fill in more info about them. Best wishes to your Dad, I hope he's feeling better soon, he looks like a great guy.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:29 PM on May 31, 2011

I'm so glad you posted this peacay.

Such excellent images of a very exotic part of the world. I love the ikat textile background too.

Tumblr has not made it easy at all to put captions on or to arrange the images. But the photographs themselves tell such an extraordinary story. What an incredible place in which to grow up, to remember as part of your life.

The medical photographs of your father's work there are deeply moving even as they are graphic. Basically heroic and profoundly meaningful work.

I can't wait to post it to FaceBook for the enjoyment of the friends who've lived near there or visited that neck of the woods or wanted to.

The local people are so elegant. Living there must have been amazing for each of your family in different ways. Thank you for sharing this fantastic album. I'm so glad you've gathered this historical collection together, taken the time and effort to put it up on the web and share this treasure.
posted by nickyskye at 5:44 PM on May 31, 2011

@kitchenrat, The sarawakians are destroying the cultures of their own native people. Google "Penan", the last nomads of south east asia.

@BinGregory, Kuching is my hometown. Wonder how many mefites are in Kuching ?

@puny-human, What a treasure-chest of photos you've got. I run up Mount Kinabalu every year at the annual Sabah Climbathon.
posted by lahersedor at 6:58 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think probably two, counting when you're home on holiday!
posted by BinGregory at 7:28 AM on June 9, 2011

reel to reel tapes of jungle noises (the dawn chorus), Iban festivals and lots of sape music which I am saving for my next blog

I am chewing on the corners of my MacBook just thinking about this. If you need the tapes cleaned up, I'll remaster 'em for free.
posted by mykescipark at 12:54 AM on June 11, 2011

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