27 March, 2017

Borneo, my roots

I came from an island called Borneo which lies 400 km east of Singapore. 20% of this island were British colonies: Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak. I was born in Sarawak. 80% of Borneo belongs to Indonesia. When the British lowered the Union Jack in the Far East, the queen advised the three colonies to join Singapore and Malaya to form a federation and call ourselves Malaysia.

Brunei was a British protectorate. The sultan had lots of oil and gas which he refused to share with the other poorer colonies. Instead, he arranged to buy a battalion of Gurkha rifles from Britain, keeping them 24/7 in Brunei. Another battalion was arrange to be on stand-by basis; but stationed in Hong Kong.

In 1950, the secretary general of the united Nations, U Than, wrote a letter to Elizabeth, the queen of England saying that in this modern times, it is no longer considered polite to colonize any body. So, In 1963, Sarawak became independent and became part of a new federation called Malaysia. Two years later, Singapore left the federation in 1965.

The Malays in Malaya changed the constitution gradually over the years. We started as equal partners. Now Sarawak and Sabah are down graded to mere states in the federation. We jumped from the wok into the fire. Now we are merely colonies of Malaya who insisted that the national religion is Islam; the national language is Malay. So, I left Sarawak moving my family to New Zealand in 1995.

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