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Power, passion, politics. The sleepy state of Sarawak is stirred up as never before by the arrival of Gerald McBryan. An unscrupulous adventurer, he soon has the Rajah and Ranee eating out of his hand. The eminence grise of Rajah Vyner, he forces through decisions that have shaped what Sarawak is today.


Twilight of the White Rajahs is set in the Sarawak of the interwar and immediate postwar period. Vyner, like Henry VII of England, has inherited a tightly run ship of state. But his own playboy nature, the antics of his wife and – most important – his failure to produce a male heir, threaten the dynasty into which he was born. Outside forces also increase the pressure on his regime. War clouds in the Pacific and the South China Sea. The desire for self-determination. The bullying of the British Colonial Office. The turbulent wave of anti-cession created by the Rajah Muda, Peter Brooke.


A war of hot tempers, cunning and deviousness ensued; a war that everyone was determined to win at all costs.


Twilight of the White Rajahs recounts in fascinating detail the lives of the chief actors during this period. Twilight of the White Rajahs continues the saga of Golden Dreams of Borneo as the tough pioneering spirit of the 19th century gives way to the more sophisticated politics of the 20th.

Power, passion, politics. The sleepy state of Sarawak is stirred up as never before by the arrival of Gerald McBryan. An unscrupulous adventurer, he soon has the Rajah and Ranee eating out of his hand. The eminence grise of Rajah Vyner, he forces through decisions that have shaped what Sarawak is today.


Twilight of the White Rajahs is set in the Sarawak of the interwar and immediate postwar period. Vyner, like Henry VII of England, has inherited a tightly run ship of state. But his own playboy nature, the antics of his wife and – most important – his failure to produce a male heir, threaten the dynasty into which he was born. Outside forces also increase the pressure on his regime. War clouds in the Pacific and the South China Sea. The desire for self-determination. The bullying of the British Colonial Office. The turbulent wave of anti-cession created by the Rajah Muda, Peter Brooke.


A war of hot tempers, cunning and deviousness ensued; a war that everyone was determined to win at all costs.


Twilight of the White Rajahs recounts in fascinating detail the lives of the chief actors during this period. Twilight of the White Rajahs continues the saga of Golden Dreams of Borneo as the tough pioneering spirit of the 19th century gives way to the more sophisticated politics of the 20th.

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Publish date: Mar 13, 2013
Added to Scribd: Mar 18, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781479791675
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  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11
  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13
  • Chapter 14
  • Chapter 15
  • Chapter 16
  • Chapter 17
  • Chapter 18
  • Chapter 19
  • Chapter 20
  • Chapter 21
  • Chapter 22
  • Chapter 23
  • Chapter 24
  • Chapter 25
  • Chapter 26
  • Chapter 27
  • Chapter 28
  • Chapter 29
  • Chapter 30
  • Chapter 31
  • Chapter 32
  • Chapter 33
  • Chapter 34
  • Chapter 35
  • Chapter 36
  • Chapter 37
  • Chapter 38
  • Chapter 39
  • Chapter 40
  • Chapter 41
  • Chapter 42
  • Chapter 43
  • Chapter 44
  • Chapter 45
  • Chapter 46
  • Chapter 47
  • Chapter 48
  • Chapter 49
  • Chapter 50
  • Chapter 51


Twilight White Rajahs
of the

Alex Ling

Copyright © 2013 by Alex Ling. Library of Congress Control Number: ISBN: Hardcover Softcover Ebook 2013902462 978-1-4797-9166-8 978-1-4797-9165-1 978-1-4797-9167-5

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Rev. date: 03/04/2013

To order additional copies of this book, contact: Xlibris Corporation 1-800-618-969 www.Xlibris.com.au Orders@Xlibris.com.au

This book is dedicated to the memory of my beloved mother. . Puan Sri Datuk Amar Ting Pick Ding.


life would definitely be incomplete. And to set in the scales against censure. I proffer gratitude without measure. Though I have unwittingly neglected her in some ways. to write.To my beloved wife Ivy For years in patient silence she did suffer Giving me the time to golf. With her loving understanding. But only to put me on the path that’s right— Wrongly to equate the beliefs of metaphysics with true vision Is to believe David Copperfield’s magic as not illusion. and free from tension I’ll swing smoother like Tiger Woods to 2020 Vision. Her temper’s occasionally quick to light. Yet she has shown me the right family scores and fairways. to prosper. Bringing up four dear children is no mean feat— Without them. .


Contents Foreword Author’s Note Acknowledgement Prologue Part One: 1918 – 1941 Part Two: 1942 – 1945 Part Three: 1946 – 1952 Epilogue xiii xv xix xxiii 1 171 223 361 .

Illustration Kuching Town – Water Front. 1949 xxiv List of Maps Map of Sarawak Kuching Town Map of Batu Lintang Camp xx 10 162 .

and illustrate some outstanding personalities and characters. Bertram. and history without politics bears no fruits. places of historical importance and interest and Sarawak’s rich cultural heritage. amidst protests of anti-cession streaming mainly from the Abang class of Malays—some radicals too—some Ibans and of course. kampongs. longhouses and tropical virgin forest. In fact most people did not understand what cession would entail except that the King of England would replace the Rajah and the Governor would actually represent the King in Sarawak. it is true that politics without history has no roots. All that will whet the palates of foreign xiii . Despite the popular allegation of colonial exploitation by a colonial master—to a certain degree true—the peoples of Sarawak have benefited especially from the British legal system. Indeed. Anthony Brooke. So it was true too in Sarawak when the beat of the war drum of cession from a century of Brookes’ rule to the British government echoed through the towns. the trading relationships.Foreword A historical novel set in Sarawak is always fascinating to read. Nobody can alter the past except historians and writers. the financial system. Many young people in the country do not know the history of their own country. especially if it depicts the historical watersheds and momentous events that made Sarawak what it is today. the professional training and education at home and in Great Britain and the tradition of the civil service. On balance. and his son. the Tuan Muda. Such a historical novel written by Alex Ling—easy to read and digest—will enlighten and bring awareness of the perspectives and the critical issues and turning points at different milestones in Sarawak’s history. the results of the cession of Sarawak so that it became a Crown Colony were not altogether without blessings.

negative ideas and influences of those trying times. dedications and self-sacrifices or the frustrations. one can feel the pulse and comprehend the background of the momentous events and decisions—right or wrong—at various times made by various personalities which many young Malaysians would benefit from knowing. nightmares. dreams. intrigues. Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud Chief Minister of Sarawak Kuching May 1997 xiv . As Maitland once said “The importance of history is not what happened but what people thought or said about it. aspirations.visitors as well as locals. Through this historical novel. during which some people suffered while others prospered or built new destinies or fortunes for themselves or Sarawak. In it are the hopes.” I hope more local people will take up the challenge of writing stories of their own people and culture in order to let others enjoy the fruits of their research and thoughts and in the process bare the hearts and souls of the living past. and a tradition that all Sarawakians would justifiably be proud of at all times. All history tends to throw light on the present and point to the future. It would be a great tradition for Sarawakians to build up.

however. Whether the truth of the legends of the Brooke family. By some. This little book is a sequel to the previous historical and semi-romantic novel titled Golden Dreams of Borneo. during and at the end of the romantic era of the White Rajah Brookes. in Oxford or in the historical debris scattered between Sheepstor. as one could say history is past politics and politics present history. its legacies and intrigues were written in the sand of Santubong Beach or in the waters of Sarawak River or even in the Brooke files in the Bodleian Library. cession to Britain for financial and practical reasons was labelled as a ‘sell-out’ and a betrayal of trust by the Brookes. ambience and issues. In general the period encompassed in the book does portray to a great extent the moving spirit. and the Sarawak Museum. That century-old dynasty was prematurely ended by the devastating Japanese Occupation of Sarawak and the Far East during the Second World War and the hasty British colonisation of Sarawak—ending perhaps sadly the dreams of many Rajah’s servants and sentimental supporters and fellow-travellers. Any similarities to any living characters are purely coincidental. the most important and fascinating facets of the Brookes’ legends and history lie in the interpretations of and extra-polations from historical events or the private lives of people that have breathed life and soul into this historical novel. Understandably. Some of the characters are real while others are fictitious. Some events are fictitious but those momentous events that did take place could have occurred quite differently from how they are described in this book. before.Author’s Note L egends have always haunted the shadows of history. Devon. the philosophy. the extremely able but unstable Private Secretary of Rajah xv . characters such as Gerald McBryan. the feeling.

the dream of the would-be fourth Rajah. indeed. Sarawak has clearly benefited from the transitional rule of the British Colonial Government before it achieved independence within Malaysia in 1963—that is after 17 years as a Crown Colony after the end of the Second World War. Was Sarawak lucky? Yes. I hope readers will get as much joy from reading as I have had in writing this historical novel. the fruits of its vibrant economy.Charles Vyner. in a way that gives an insight into the depths. Worst of all. It’s a romance and a legend that had to end—if only because Sarawak had to move forward with the times. had created a web of intrigue to force cession through in the Council Negri and Supreme Council of Sarawak—by threats of classifying the anti-cessionists as Japanese collaborators. Gerald McBryan. Peter Brooke. Indeed. progressive. although academically one may argue whether the means did justify the end on the issue of cession. Sarawak has always been a land of raw virgin beauty! A pristine beauty that never fades. understanding and enrichment to the readers who want to share Sarawak’s experience. never fails to radiate freshness. the third Rajah. the story is basically a Sarawak story. But then the unexpected and violent reactions of some Sibu Malays sent the country reeling—far beyond the imagination of Sarawak’s peace-loving and good-natured inhabitants. a sense of newness and the deeper meaning underlying the harmonious confusion that is the chaos of nature and. with such a tolerant. In the end. Whatever one’s view may be on the Brookes’ history and legend. It was a success story decked with thorns. though there were other reasons too. by bribing the Malay chief with money and the title of Turtle Island and by sending officers opposed to cession on furloughs. I hope the novel will provide enjoyment. was shattered beyond hope. today. Indeed. Stephen Young and their important clashes are shown against the historical backdrop of this turbulent period of the sunset of the Rajah Brookes dynasty. its kaleidoscopic colours and fresh tropical air. investors and eco-tourists can share and savour its delightful sights and music. agony and ecstasy. Sarawak’s struggle and how the path was chosen to ultimate independence. of the whole universe. however. Rajah Vyner. strengths and weaknesses of the peoples and the government involved in making the decision to cede Sarawak to the British government. If a higher level of understanding of Sarawak’s people. the legacies of the Brookes and the British Colonial Government had laid a solid foundation for Sarawak’s local leaders to build Sarawak to what it is today. In this historical novel. Stephen Young did what he thought was best for Sarawak and the Brookes. All well-wishers. multi-racial and unique cultural heritage. xvi . Why? Sarawak was given independence while Indonesia had to fight for it. Peter Brooke.

The story of Sarawak’s unique past with its proud tradition and cultural heritage—and its successes and achievements—will leave behind indelible impressions in their minds. I cannot ask for more.history and cultural heritage is gained by readers. My effort would not have been in vain to make Sarawak proud. xvii . as a Sarawakian author. then. as well as entertaining them. I hope.


familiarly known as the white Rajahs. Datuk Adenan Satem. For this novel.W. contributed to my more perceptive understanding of the period.H. in no small way. administered Sarawak on the north-west corner of the Island of Borneo from 1841 to 1946. Reece. The romantic era of the White Rajah Brookes and the dynastic dreams of the Heir Presumptive and Heir Apparent ended when Sarawak became a British Crown Colony after a fierce battle between the cessionists and anti-cessionists. Tan Sri Datuk Amar Bujang Nor and Denis Chang Kheng Lee. Lord Tanlaw.Acknowledgement T he Brookes. Any errors of interpretation are my own. Twilight of the White Rajahs—sequel to Golden Dreams of Borneo—I am indebted to my learned friends who have. Professor R. xix . I should particularly like to acknowledge the following for their assistance in this respect: Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud. Theirs was a unique dynasty.




the second a luxury.’ ‘I say . . man is the basic cause for women’s dislike of one another.’ ‘Bah! marriage is but a tomb of love.’ ‘Gerald. Bernard Shaw once said: “Marriage is like a fortress.” In the end both parties are disappointed when the curiosity or the so-called romance wears off.’ explained Gerald. the third suffering. I may be a born cynic. bald-headed man looking across the table at a fat grumpy woman behind the unfinished potatoes. drinks when he is not thirsty. and the fourth punishment. The book of marriage begins in poetry in the first chapter and ends in prose.’ xxiii . it ends up with a fat. It’s like a bloody romantic novel in which the hero dies in the preface. you do have weird ideas on love and marriage. In real life it seems to begin with Prince Charming kissing an alluring angel. . Stephen imagined Gerald to be a fallen god who still remembered the heavens . that goes to sleep when he is not sleepy and gets up when he is.Prologue ‘I mean there are several fringe benefits. The Malay ladies are pretty and dainty. But I can tell you this: Allah is great. I think the world is not safe with you around. I would imagine that the first one is a necessity. We are the only animal that eats when he is not hungry. ‘Stephen. For a moment. merciful and understanding. After a while. especially the women. You can have four of them at any time or different stages of your life.’ ‘That’s a matter of opinion. Those who are in want to come out and those who are out want to go in. After all. . and makes love in all seasons. you are already a married man. . and unwashed plates and grubby glasses.

Kuching Town—Water Front. 1949. .

tidal mud-flats.’ 1 . divided by a network of tea-coloured rivers. sipping at their drinks and waiting patiently for the battle. as they were generally known. From a distance. with the sun obscured by layers of cumulo-nimbus clouds. was drifting aimlessly in the Batang Lupar estuary in the Second Division of Sarawak. short stretches of sandy beaches and riotous tropical rainforest. Chinese. the Triso Rock. the Sri Sarawak. on a smooth sea. of the Rajah Brookes of Sarawak. Orang Ulu and others. Malays. sculpted since the beginning of time by tidal bores and waves. of marshy swamps. Two mad dogs—or more precisely two Scots. manned by four Sea Dayak braves. Melanaus. ‘I couldn’t agree more. dwelled colourful and diverse races of mongoloid origin—Ibans.Chapter 1 O n a cool afternoon. a long wooden boat. ‘I must be mad to come fishing with you out here on this dangerous estuary—it’s not just the frequent tidal bores but they say the biggest and fiercest crocodiles in Sarawak lurk round here. Sarawak. The two men sat utterly relaxed on the forty-foot longboat.’ complained Stephen Young. from time immemorial. officers or ‘servants’. in the north-west of the island of Borneo. I would not have chosen it any other way. On the far horizon stood a lonely granite rock. not Englishmen—Stephen Young and Gerald McBryan. In this rugged belt of Borneo. A sporadic breeze gave some relief from the oppressive humidity. the boat appeared to be just a speck in the boundless South China Sea. Land Dayaks. the sea which has washed the shores of the Land of the Hornbills. twitched their fishing lines intermittently as if challenging the fish to a mini tug-of-war. a patchwork. It’s that vein of madness and risk-taking in my blood that drives and inspires me to reach greater heights of achievement—an urge to challenge—a reason to live.

’ ‘Incidentally. hantu ghosts and apparitions were normal.’ ‘Come.’ Stephen surmised that that explained a lot about Gerald’s Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde behaviour. was a Machiavellian to the core. I suppose madmen think the whole world is mad except themselves. Do you know something? Once my father told me that he had to dye half his hair black and half white so as to gain the trust of his mental patients and get them to confide their real personal problems in him. hungry enough to achieve great things. All Brooke’s officers by then knew that Gerald. to put it mildly. the Bujang Lapuk and Bujang Senang.’ ‘Really? That’s interesting.Twilight of the White Rajahs replied Gerald McBryan philosophically. doing the mundane things. A mad genius.’ Yes. ‘You don’t believe that nonsense. He shared the local Dayak and Malay belief in hantu ghosts. you know my father. I perform better under pressure.’ Stephen decided to fish for more details. metaphysical dreams and nightmares. not his wit and intelligence. who suffered lapses of dementia and who was. Gerald’s medical history was public knowledge—a man with a complicated soul and plainly demented.’ ‘I’m afraid my heart is not that strong. For the first time Stephen felt a slight fear of what Gerald might have up his sleeve—he was liable to do something reckless. all Scots are tough cookies.’ added Gerald. But his insanity only destroyed his reason. find out what sparks off their madness and where possible to take necessary preventive or remedial actions. In life. ‘I am not sure whether I am a chip off the old block. versatile and resourceful. ‘That’s interesting. For him. only take Sea Dayaks according to the legend. come. ‘Besides. highly strung. that explained it. though brilliant. we stay in harsh environments which many fainthearts would leave within twenty-four hours of arrival. It must be quite an experience to be able to delve into their minds. 2 .’ ‘I can tell you a lot on that subject. we have to be mad enough. Surely not!’ ‘God knows what better instincts other creepy creatures have compared to humans. the famous crocodiles. The discordant music of nature of the jungle surrounding him at night would cause him to close all the window shutters and sweat feverishly under his pillows.’ ‘I hope you are right. an eminent neurologist—if I may be boastful about it—owns and runs a private mental hospital in Bath. dangerous or just plain stupid.’ ‘I don’t doubt it.’ Stephen thought perhaps Shakespeare was right: a madman and a genius is almost the same. ‘Life is too short to be complacent. They go to places where no other races dare to go.

 . insanity is hereditary: you can get it even from your children. He said I would have great success with people—especially women. etc—before we can achieve something great or successful. but one shouldn’t be a slave to fortune-telling like Gladys and Peter [The wife and son of the Tuan Muda. I met an Indian astrologer in Singapore some time ago.’ ‘Certainly I do . but only what’s your score”. . . our planet earth is the mental institution of the universe. Perhaps there is an element of truth in it . but thinking makes it so. It’s all relative. . ‘The damned fish has just stolen the bait. ‘Were you frightened?’ 3 . He said my career prospects were terrific. I must say. the wife of the D. . His face was a picture of boyish anxiety. . He sweated. struggled to be free—not from a hook in its mouth but on its tail.O. Gerald reeled in his line. except I will have to contend with a lot of troublesome petty people around me. Every now and then we need a few mad people around to see where the sane ones have landed us. He told me that I must act on what I believe to achieve power and success in life. We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds. Wait! Maybe not. I think it was Nellie Boult. in Limbang. pain or loss of money. . as his fishing line twitched.’ grumbled Gerald with slight exaggeration.’ ‘Someone. Sorry. Stephen burst into laughter.1918-1941 ‘Yes. in a manner of speaking.’ ‘Do you believe all that?’ ‘Sometimes and to a certain degree. . ‘Who cares? Like the proverbial golfer: “Nobody asks how you score.’ ‘I guess it’s my lucky day then. I have to be circumspect at all times. you know. . . .’ Gerald gestured with his hands and eyes to demonstrate. told me that you have always believed in ghosts . just now you wanted to say something . Except that the ups and downs will come thick and fast. Damn it!’ suddenly Gerald cursed. It was that high . He kept reminding me about my health. It’s a sort of Karma. . Somehow I believe that sometimes we have to suffer—whether sickness. Sort of like Jesus coming to suffer and die for us and mortals doing penance to get spiritual grace . Aha! What have we got here!’ Quickly.’ ‘Sometimes it’s useful to know something about it.’ ‘I don’t know about that. I once saw an enormous ghost rising from the sea as I was taking my watch . . Just as Shakespeare says: There is nothing either good or bad. a four-inch long fish. He would not have believed if he had not seen Gerald struggling to unhook that fish by the tail. ‘It must be a mad fish! Unlucky too!’ ‘That’s a most humiliating experience. You know. And worst of all. Slowly. possibly a black pomfret. Bertram Brooke]. . speaking of luck.

They toasted each other with Scotch.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Initially but not after a few seconds. he made no effort to conceal his veins of unscrupulousness. Lawrence of the Far East instead of Lawrence of Arabia. who incidentally taught me Malay and Jawi. He looked like a Arabian prince in his white robe and eigal. Dark-haired Gerald was handsome. They indicated that once he knew what he wanted. You know something.’ A little dash of flattery would not do any harm. complicated and difficult tasks. I have studied quite a lot about Islamic laws and practices with my guru. looking towards the far horizon where several round-headed Irrawaddy dolphins were looking for their meals. British North Borneo. Brunei. That’s exactly what I mean. I constantly dream of becoming the White Rajah of a pan-Islamic Empire stretching from Morocco to Sarawak. wild ambition and a curious mental instability.’ ‘You mean like a T. and curiously compelling. I’ll take it even if it’s a fulsome compliment. were restless but resolute.’ ‘Yes. Oh yes! I’ve just remembered that Ranee Sylvia wants to ask you on something. His glittering grey-green eyes. Indonesia and the Southern Philippines.’ Stephen recalled what Nellie Boult had said of Gerald—a charming and exquisitely mannered young man but highly-strung and quite unbalanced. you look more handsome than him. Malaya. Even with his pallid skin he was extremely good-looking.’ ‘Really! That’s terrific!’ ‘Not at all.’ teased Stephen. something about female succession under Salic and Islamic law and precedents.E.’ ‘Thank you. According to the Chinese art of face reading Gerald had a ‘mu’ face—longer than most and rectangular—signifying a man who would be resourceful. ‘I must say His Highness Rajah Vyner is rather impressed with your achievement at Kapit in bringing together the Kayans and Sea Dayaks to “smoke pipe” after your intervention. a man of great personal gifts and utterly persuasive.’ ‘I must say. narrow and bright. tall and slim. Abang Morshidi. It might happen sooner than you expect. endowed with pianist’s long fingers and a prominent nose like that of a King’s Counsel. I can read the Quran backwards. his was a classically devious face but Gerald had a hearty laugh that charmed every one he wanted it to. ‘Thank you. I hope the Rajah will entrust me with more important state matters. more challenging.’ ‘That’s interesting! I am sure I can make a great impression on her. no matter how much it cost him—or others.’ ‘Don’t worry. 4 . In fact. You are most kind. yes. He was a brilliant linguist. he would go on until he got it. thought Stephen. however.

The redeeming feature was his ‘dragon mouth’—forming a straight line. ‘Every man must be a history of the world for himself. I’ll have none of this negative idea that the history of mankind is little else than a narrative of designs which have failed. promising long life and strong support from his friends and associates. old men shall see visions. history never remembers the middlings but only the great and the good or the bad and the ugly ones.  .’ ‘That’s a matter of opinion. I would like to unite the fragmented Muslims of this region in a new.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Well.’ ‘You are an incorrigible dreamer! Aren’t you?’ ‘I suppose you could say that. life should be action not defensive contemplation. albeit with a tendency to be emotional at times. He had elongated ears with well-defined lobes.’ ‘In that context what are your dreams?’ ‘Really.’ ‘I thought there were two kinds of men—the deadly and the dead. it’s stated in the Bible that young men shall dream dreams.1918-1941 creative and very domineering—a very assertive. loose but powerful confederation. His straight ‘tiger’ profile nose—slightly pointed at the end—belonged to one who could achieve fame and wealth. But only up to a point. But I have no time for the latter. ‘Like Thomas Jefferson. However. his brilliant ‘wolf ’—sharp and cunning—matching eyes with ‘yue mei’ eyebrows—refined and slightly arched—showed brilliance. In contrast. But like Julius Caesar his fa Ling and hollow cheeks would indicate that he might meet a violent death.  . if you want to know  . ‘Stephen.’ Gerald proudly confided. promising a disciplined and resourceful person who would have the quality of leadership and enjoy a successful career.’ ‘I see you are out to create history at all costs. firm and well defined—that would depict a person with the luck to acquire high office and some fortune.’ 5 . One cannot discover new oceans unless one has the courage to lose sight of the shore. Stephen had a ‘wang’ face—slightly rectangular—with a prominent forehead and chin. and beneath every gravestone lies a world’s history. and hopes that have been disappointed. in this world there are two distinct orders of men—the devoted advocates of power and the lovers of freedom. when it comes to the crunch. I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. strong character. I am sure you have heard that new ideas rarely originate from someone who is scared of being wrong. the ensemble was only marred by the profile of his lips with the upper lip set back and lower lip protruding. which would portray selfishness and inconsiderateness.

 .’ ‘That accused possessed tegal. I think it must be the Islamic faith which had made him—like many Malays—have an inner strength. I really believe that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ‘Do you remember the case of Junit bin Ongre. Then “krissing” started: they inserted a long kris downwards from inside the collar bone to the heart. I captured Junit. Yes . courage and calmness in the face of danger and adversity.’ ‘Good heavens! You can’t be serious! Gerald.’ ‘Yes. and with a piece of chalk drew a circle of six inches radius upon his dark brown chest. That’s what I’ve learned from my native officer. Then the ranger stretched out his arms and legs and strapped them to the cross bars.’ He replied gravely as if he meant it. and was prepared to meet his death and Allah with fortitude and composure.’ 6 . ‘Why on earth do you entertain such radical ideas? It’s just like someone in the Brooke regime embracing the communism of Stalin and Lenin. tell me. there are a lot of things you don’t know about Islam. Junit winked a few times as the bull’s eye was drawn over his heart. Stephen. a Bruneian Malay who slaughtered two Chinese servants of the former Resident of Limbang living at Bukit Emas. but not exactly the details. There are no short cuts. I noticed something that fascinated and inspired me about Islam. some sort of power of invulnerability. Indeed. ‘But how on earth do you plan to achieve your vision?’ ‘I am seriously thinking of embracing Islam one day. . .’ Now Stephen was convinced that there were definite streaks of madness in the brilliant linguist and political animal. During the execution. I have been thinking about it for a long time. Everything you want you have to plan for. . the most amazing thing was that although exhausted from the long march Junit stayed completely calm. Good luck!’ ‘Nothing is easy in life. Therefore.’ ‘I grant you that but . to try and try until you bloody well succeed. . the father of Haji Mustapha. ‘However. . Great men are almost always bad men . my fellow Scotsman.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘The difference is that I am doing both. Haji Moasili. [His Highness Rajah Vyner] since then has directed that a firing squad should be used. In fact. all power tends to corrupt anyway . ‘I can tell you that was totally unnecessary and H.’ ‘That can’t be easy. . there is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. to fight for. I can. After they reached the tree near the execution site. we had better accept that. . the corporal removed Junit’s prison-coat.H.’ ‘Well. a place my dear friend Banks called a “green desert”?’ ‘Yes.’ He was grinding his teeth as if to reinforce his statement vehemently.

you are already a married man. I believe she is not only pretty but also a very good singer.’ ‘That’s a matter of opinion. For a moment. You will always try to get even with your enemies and ahead of your friends. the second one a luxury. The Malay ladies are pretty and dainty. Gerald. You can choose four of them at any time or different stages of your life. ‘I mean there are several fringe benefits. But I can tell you this: Allah is great. your best friend is likely to be another you. Mind you. man is the basic cause for women’s dislike of one another. The book of marriage begins in poetry in the first chapter and ends the remaining chapters in prose. my dear friend. that goes to sleep when he is not sleepy and gets up when he is. It’s like a bloody romantic novel in which the hero dies in the preface. I don’t need any enemies. and the fourth one punishment.” In the end both groups will be disappointed when the curiosity or the so-called romance wears off.’ ‘I can’t deny my infatuation. it ends up with a fat. merciful and understanding.’ Stephen concluded that Gerald wanted to be the dark horse in the race for the trophy of Sarawak’s succession. I think the world is not safe with you around.’ ‘Bah! marriage is but a tomb of love. In real life it seems to begin with Prince Charming kissing an alluring angel. Sarinah. endowed with many hidden talents.1918-1941 ‘Come on. and makes love at all seasons. the third one suffering. Stephen imagined Gerald to be a fallen god who still remembered the heavens. you do have weird ideas on love and marriage.’ ‘Well. We are the only animal that eats when he is not hungry. ‘I hear that you are very keen on the police commissioner’s unofficial Nyai.’ ‘I say . Bernard Shaw once said: “Marriage is like a fortress. as far as I can see. especially the women. unwashed plates and grubby glasses. if I have friends like you. And. bald-pated man looking across the table at a fat grumpy woman over the unfinished potatoes. ‘My dear friend. Those who are in want to come out and those who are out want to go in. .’ 7 . ‘Stephen. I would imagine that the first one is a necessity.’ ‘Gerald. drinks when he is not thirsty. certainly you have good taste. I hope you will be an enemy of my enemy as Abraham Lincoln would say. I am sure that’s not the only reason why you want to convert to Islam. After all.’ ‘I love people and especially womenfolk. .’ Gerald replied with hearty laughter. However. After a while.’ ‘Well. I may be a born cynic. great men have greater sexual appetites than ordinary people.’ explained Gerald. what are you exactly implying?’ A slight irritation was audible in Gerald’s tone.

Let’s get back for tea.’ suggested Gerald. ‘That’s the most sensible thing you have said the whole day. the sky suddenly darkened. Everyone was racing towards the right river bank for cover. . and the white crests of the waves were surging continuously. As Stephen was just about to jump into the water. and men. ‘Let’s get back to the shore. ‘Jump! jump!’ cried Gerald. and wondered why in nature there are neither rewards nor punishments—but only consequences. bolts of lightning shot across the gloomy sky and claps of thunder followed one after another. the rolling tidal bore smashed the helpless long boat and tossed it up and down and overturned it mercilessly. and the waves started to surge and roll. swelling higher and higher with angry roars. making for the river bank. Even the crocodiles were mercilessly tossed up and down. are dreams and fables. Poor Stephen was stranded. Within fifteen minutes when the boat was about fifty feet from the right side of the Batang Lupar bank.” Gerald let slip a contented sneaky smile and left the matter there and then. Heroes are lonely people. but they were smart—they suddenly dived below and disappeared. and the rolling grew to a mighty roaring. such as we desire. steamrolled and damaged every object along its path like a whirling hurricane. 8 . relished the soothing music of the waves.’ As they paddled the long boat towards the shore. The four oarsmen struggled for the shore. ‘Lekas sekit—faster .30. his leaping motion pushed the bow of the longboat outward. top pugilists are the loneliest people in the world of martial art. Under that benign blue sky Stephen watched the sea birds fluttering against the breeze. a howling wind sprang up.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Great men are basically loners walking alone in the world.’ bid Stephen. faster. Gerald was standing at the front of the long boat. listened to the soft wind brushing the deep sea. leaving behind trails of pearly bubbles. Two crocodiles were swimming towards the same river bank. recalled his raptures on the lonely shores in bygone days. Crocodiles on one side: tidal bore behind. bracing himself for the pounding of the surging and rolling tidal bore which slapped. It was too late. the roaring and rolling tidal bore locally called benak was only about hundred yards behind. fishes and reptiles fled the frightening tumbling bore. Stephen managed to get hold of a small tree on the river bank. . “Friends. The fear in the eyes of the Sea Dayak oarsmen confirmed that a tidal bore was coming to a head. As he jumped on to the muddy shore. I think it’s about 4. The rumbling of waves grew to a rolling. fully realising the impact of the turbulent tidal bore.

Three oarsmen made it to the shore safely. He survived and made his way safely to the shore. No fish to show. lost everything except the longboat. Tidal bore struck: One dead. Gerald was already on dry land watching the whole episode in awe but made no attempt to rescue Stephen or the others. Later in the evening. 9 . Stephen entered in his dairy: A tragic fishing expedition.1918-1941 Stephen prayed fervently while taking the beating of the lashing tidal bore. thought Stephen. Date: 18th March 1925. The fourth one was missing. Perhaps the legendary crocodile called Bujang Senang got a free meal. Gerald is a madman. worse than I heard or imagined—some lucid intervals and a few happy pauses.


the Astana. as you may know.H. Stephen had to keep a close watch on the bizarre moves of Gerald who was known to play aggressively—sacrificing several pawns to check mate his opponent. I hear that you are quite an authority on the subject of female succession under Islamic law in a Rajahship where there is no male heir. high forehead. Leonora.’ Gerald had done his homework already.’ ‘Now. Do you think you can do that?’ 11 . gestured to her guests.’ The Ranee got to the point quickly after an exchange of pleasantries.’ Gerald stood up and bowed graciously.’ The petite Ranee Sylvia. Ranee. ‘Although I am not an expert. Tuan Muda Bertram has Peter. Gerald made his opening gambit on the political chess-board. his sparkling but sharp eyes and infectious smile. ‘Ranee.. ‘Tell me. this is Mr Gerald McBryan who is currently on furlough. and for the Committee of Administration [CA] and Administrative Service [AS] in the Brooke government. In his own interest. Elizabeth and Valerie while Vyner’s younger brother. Ranee took an instant liking to his good looks.H. I do know quite a lot on that subject. what I want you to do is simply to come up with an idea as to how to put up a case for Leonora becoming the future Rajah of Sarawak in the event of H. the residence of the Rajah Brooke of Sarawak. Mr McBryan. dressed immaculately in black. I am sure one day Peter will be disobeying and causing problems for H. a troublesome and hard-headed type of fellow—totally unsuitable as a future Rajah of Sarawak. ‘Stephen.’ ‘Yes.’s death. I am aware of that. ‘Well.Chapter 2 I n that grey and stately monument. Vyner and myself have only three daughters. sharp nose. why don’t your guest and you sit down.

he was succeeded by his daughter.’ replied Stephen cautiously. ‘In Aceh.’ ‘I know for sure that our Chief Justice is a stiff-necked snob.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Well. Similarly. Gerald. In that case what do you suggest?’ ‘I could help to spread the idea if I am transferred to Kuching.’ ‘Ranee. in Perak a daughter was allowed to succeed and her husband became the ruler. speak to the Chief Secretary. You’ve really made my day. normally. Needless to say that was the case also in Patani.’ The keen eyes of the Ranee widened gleefully.H. All right then.’ 12 . I will do everything within my power to make your dream come true. females generally do not come into the succession under Islamic law and practice. Ranee.’ ‘Why?’ ‘I need to lobby that idea among the Datus and in the Malay communities.’ For a moment. though.’ ‘That’s excellent. During the sixteenth century.’ ‘I see. and the other senior expatriate officers haven’t got a clue on this subject. it would be more proper for you to speak to the Rajah and then let H. I think I have found the right man for this job. could you see to that?’ ‘Perhaps. The Rajahship is basically a Malay institution. on this splendid news.’ ‘But it won’t be easy. since you speak and write Malay and Jawi well.’ assured Gerald.’ ‘Right. There were four female rulers during the 19th century. I believe. I’ll inform H. there was another precedent. by the name of Sharif Ali Bifakih who became the third Sultan of Brunei by marrying the second daughter of the Sultan. ‘Thank you. I’ll make sure you get transferred to Kuching. ‘But I dare say that the word impossible is not to be found in my dictionary. ‘Ranee. do some research on the relevant Islamic law and history.’ ‘Are you married?’ ‘No. Sumatra. Have some tea and kueh. And when another Sultan died without a male heir in the later part of the century. ‘That will be simply marvellous. Ranee. Stephen. the megalomaniac Gerald imagined he was Napoleon talking to Josephine. could be of use to you and bolster your case. there was an Arab.H. it’s not that simple. However. I promise you. Stephen recommended that you could enlighten me on this matter and perhaps.’ ‘That’s wonderful. The Dayaks and the Chinese will be indifferent. I can quote you two precedents which.

Sarawak is different from Brunei. Try your best to convince them.                             Two months later. Mr McBryan tried to convince me. Datu Bandar replied meekly in Malay. Rajah Vyner and the Ranee invited the Datu Bandar. Rajah Muda. Actually I think he has other ideas of his own. but I totally disagree with him.’ the Rajah sighed. Gerald had a charisma that warmed the hearts of Vyner and the Ranee. Furthermore. I know you can convince them. We have the unique Brooke traditions. That suited the Rajah admirably. your brother. I don’t think it’s a good idea. Needless to say. always recklessly confident of his achievement. A devil incarnate—almost. but only what’s acceptable to the Malay community and good for Sarawak and the Brooke family. Vyner failed to resist Gerald’s persuasive tongue and appointed him his private secretary. Ranee’s words bore fruit too. The Ranee could not hide her feverish excitement while Gerald’s smiles bespoke a hundred devilish schemes. No hanky-panky. No disrespect. Secondly. You know your humble servant speaks what he thinks and I don’t beat about the bush. I believe Mr McBryan might have influenced you both.1918-1941 At once. Rajah and Ranee. Gerald had made a name for himself in 1924 at Kapit. he brought peace to the Kenyahs. I have talked to the kampong leaders and they agree with me. Rajah Vyner remembered his involvement in the Kapit Peace ceremony. First of all. Stephen thought that Gerald was moving too fast and was potentially dangerous—mad in his aims and ruthless in their execution. no ulterior motive.’ ‘I see you are not keen on this wonderful idea. Aceh and Perak in many ways. ‘It’s not just me. In fact. I don’t think the Malays and other races in Sarawak will welcome a female Rajah.’ ‘I see. hated to make decisions. and the subject of female succession cropped up. A few months later. ‘Tuan Rajah and Ranee. Tuan Rajah. the capital of Sarawak. Abang Haji Abdillah. please accept my apology.’ ‘No way. Kayans and Sea Dayaks during the Bunoh Babi ceremonial pig killing. Gerald loved to make firm decisions and was always able to put convincing arguments. lying and boasting seemed indistinguishable. Gerald was transferred to Kuching. regardless of the truth. Rajah Vyner. is the Heir Presumptive and he has a son Peter already.’ 13 . tempests would wrack Kuching town. One day. You need a man as Rajah. the weak aristocrat. For Gerald. Stephen realised that if this smooth and slippery python were to leave his lairs in Limbang and Sibu and set up a new one in Kuching.

‘That’s certainly within my power.’ The Ranee’s ego swelled.’ ‘How? Apart from the normal role of the Ranee. we have big problems. Gerald. ‘Besides . Act.’ It sounded like a royal summons. it’s too bright and come closer and sit beside me.’s arm. ‘You can provide beautiful young women to take care of H. I don’t have to tell you how to tickle him pink. If H. William Tan. of course. let him choose first and you just concur with his excellent choice. rented from a Teochew merchant. in Pisang Road. She was absolutely thrilled at Gerald’s compliments. She gulped down the drink.H. Barrie were quite impressed with your work. You could even be a playwright.’ She flashed a wicked smile.M. I have read your book Left Ladies. Still. the Ranee paid a surprise visit to Gerald’s house.Twilight of the White Rajahs The Ranee’s raised expectations were suddenly falling to pieces. He was very well informed. both when he is in his bed at the Astana or travelling.’ ‘I see you know his habits. able to advise and influence on native affairs: but. ‘Gerald. There seemed little hope of nominating Leonora as Presumptive Heir. mixed with a few drops of love potion prepared by his ‘bomoh’ medicine man. were to appoint me as the Secretary for Native Affairs in addition to my present post. I know how to fix Datu Bandar and the other Datus. . I know for sure they will beg me for favours. . Ranee.’ She really admired his sharpness and quick presence of mind. I’ll be sitting in the chair. ‘Put out that light. And you will choose the best one for him. Gerald prepared a third stengah for her.H. . I believe you have great talent in that field. we could be the real power behind the throne and I can pull a lot of strings among the Malays. . . What a god-given ally! She’d hate to be his enemy. . I heard from somewhere that George Bernard Shaw and J. maybe this will work. Something else had to be planned. In fact. Ranee. she would not completely give up her idea.H.’ Gerald stopped. ?’ Her eyes brightened and sparkled. you are a good writer. .’ ‘I see . Vyner went to Simanggang and that evening. 14 . He can borrow my house. She was constantly dreaming of being a Hollywood actress or writing a script or producing a film of the romantic story of Rajah James Brooke. .’ ‘The difference this time is that I’ll arrange a few of them. you have to do the pillow talk and I know for sure you can twist H. Pretend to be angry and get hurt. ‘Besides what . The following day.’ ‘Kick up a fuss in front of him. That nincompoop and obstinate and arrogant Datu Bandar Abang Haji Abdillah has strongly objected to female succession on various grounds .

Now I am the real power behind the throne—I am in the hot driver seat. . quickly. he looked at the mirror. ‘Yes . an Errol Flynn. Your humble servant doth protest strongly . She felt power in her hand when the Rajah told her which wives of the officers had slept with him. A new smell of mankind: a new manhood. and rubbed and twisted his chin to the left and right and then told himself. Gerald wanted to befuddle. The urge surged deeper and deeper with their bodies’ rhythmic thrusts and retreats. Needs quenching. ‘Not bad. For that moment. Then the Ranee tidied herself up and shortly after left in her car parked inside the hidden garage for the Astana. Trembling hands followed his deep breathing. ghosts and the discordant music of nature were totally forgotten as far as Gerald was concerned. .1918-1941 after pulling Gerald nearer to her on the cotton-filled couch. An Edmund Burke. Now. my humble servant.’ She rubbed and grabbed him hard between the legs.’ ‘Enough. wicked man. Squeeze me. she made a list of officers she fancied too. In her own way. You are a lovely. Both holding tight. Needs release. A legend in his own time. Flesh against flesh. A dream. A name to be remembered in the annals of Sarawak history as the Machiavellian who condemned duplicity in others. The Ranee who was much older than Gerald touched his smooth skin. Gerald’s riding lesson brought a memorable and pleasurable night to the Ranee who scratched Gerald as they reached the bursting point of crescendo. hairy chest and inside the naked body of delight. No more. He already knew about the Ranee’s sexual appetite from the other officers! ‘Kiss me. Tongues circled against each other sending uncontrollable electrical impulses through their bodies. he wanted to show that he was in a class of his own—without a peer. His libido was on fire. a Machiavelli—all in one. 15 . When Gerald returned to his bed. You are the object of my desire. It was like an Arabian night for both of them. gasping for breath before their sweat turned cold.’ commanded the Ranee. touching lightly. relishing the last few drops of the greatest joy and seeds of sin. She could feel the pressure on her groin begging for conquest. driving her over the edge.’ Like the Ranee he had the curious notion that Sarawak was a land of uncensored free love and there was very little violence or rape. bedazzle and brainboozle the Rajah. They fell on their backs. Like a pent-up stallion. Gerald’s libido woke up in delirious excitement. the Ranee and all those Malay Datus he favoured. a Solon in the Rajah’s government. ‘Oh! Oh! I can’t stand it. After dipping with his finger into her mouth. Gerald. I adore your brain. kissing and fondling her breasts became too routine. Oh!’ echoed through the night. Silence for a few moments. . So lie down or climb on top of me. The rhythmic creaking of Gerald’s bed was highly audible in the middle of the heat of the night. .

’ enquired Gerald patiently. his wife thinks and acts as if she is the Ranee of Sarawak. Adrian is a conscientious Christian. Isn’t that correct?’ While Gerald was pondering on the propriety of such religious practice. I want Adrian Owen. . . we should give him a warning and instruct him not to do it again.’ demanded Ranee Sylvia as she paced up and down the verandah of the Astana overlooking the Sarawak River early one morning. [District Officer] in Kapit removed or transferred to Lawas or whichever is the worst station in Sarawak. Adrian was the only officer who brushed off the Ranee’s advances and refused to reply to her letter professing her love for him.Chapter 3 ‘G erald and Stephen. ‘I just don’t like them. ‘Perhaps. who knew the Ranee’s antics and outright jealousy of Mrs Owen. ‘Surely you know that that damned arrogant man is allowing his wife to invite a Catholic priest to conduct Mass service within Fort Sylvia at Kapit on Sundays. Would that be reasonable. even if it is irregular to conduct Mass inside the fort except perhaps 16 . acting as if he were the best counsellor or ‘eunuch’ of the Ranee. ‘What’s the real problem. He could celebrate Mass inside the Catholic church nearby. It is a good model for a District Officer to go to church every weekend.’ ‘Ranee. I am told that it is highly irregular. and so is his wife. that arrogant D. Ranee? I’ll find a solution that will be quick and decisive in removing the irritation from your eyes. Adrian is stubborn.O. Ranee?’ ‘Stephen. Stephen quickly jumped in to defend Adrian. a Catholic. if I may . if not illegal to have Catholic Mass celebrated inside the fort. what I need is stern action not a warning.’ ‘What religious crimes have they committed?’ asked Stephen.

’ Stephen was angered by Gerald’s presumption as he was the Resident while Gerald had only recently become District Officer in Kuching. Equally. even very well liked in Limbang.H. Preferably removed. I just want him to be removed: is that clear?’ This was an occasion when Stephen would agree that the late Rajah Charles’ fear of his daughter-in-law interfering in the administration of Sarawak was justified. himself as well as the Chief Secretary. I’ll see that it is carried out.1918-1941 on special occasions such as funerals. But because of the special relationship between Gerald and the Ranee. Sibu and Bau where he had previously served. Gerald appealed directly to the Rajah contrary to the procedures of the Committee of Administration. the Brooke tradition and protocol. is in total agreement with my recommendations. ‘Either will do. Mind you. and the Chief Secretary personally. Sure enough. you drop a hint too.’ 17 . just drop a hint.’ ‘Stephen. ‘In that case. a conscientious District Officer. Stephen had to speak to H. Transfer him only if he still insists on celebrating the Mass inside the fort. and Secretary for Native Affairs. is in a good mood. The Ranee’s mind was already made up: a thousand correct words would not be better than golden silence in front of her. The whole establishment was hopping mad that the mad Scotsman had the cheek to bypass the Chief Secretary. and of course.’ ‘You do have a point. Don’t overdo it—I am sure Stephen. give Adrian a warning and a chance to explain himself. I know how you feel. ‘Removed or transferred?’ Gerald cut in.H. under the circumstances Stephen was between the devil and the deep blue sea. when H. Gerald’s memo request for the immediate transfer or dismissal of Adrian was turned down by the Chief Secretary. I don’t care about that.H. But Stephen had spoken a day earlier to the Rajah imploring him not to destroy the basic structure of the Brooke tradition and rule of law as administered by expatriate officers to the local population. give him a stern warning. Thereafter. I’ll speak to H. It was a totally uncalled for action. Justice must be seen to be done in all cases—be they in the Committee of Administration—equivalent to the Secretariat—or the Administrative Service which looked after the outstation officers and related matters.’ As Stephen was about to reply. etc. He is after all. to put undue pressure on the Rajah and worst of all consort with the Ranee in scheming the removal of Adrian from Kapit purely because of the furious jealousy of the Ranee. As far as Gerald is concerned. I will use my judgement even though my wife is very persuasive most of the time. ‘Your Highness. We need to give him a chance to explain and if his conduct is found unjustifiable. Gerald raised his right hand signalling to Stephen to hold his tongue. A hint will do. though now he was also appointed as the Private Secretary to H. as Resident. blessings of the marriage.H. I know my wife.

if we do not do the same for our fellow officers who have to administer justice in the eyes of the locals.’ A sigh of relief for Stephen as he descended the staircase of the Astana. but he has served under my father and also me for many years. due to pressure from his wife. Two days later. have allowed the Mass to be conducted inside the fort. ‘I know Adrian might.H. Celebrating the Mass inside the fort would only make the fort a holier and more peaceful 18 . It’s important for the esprit de corps. Under no circumstance dismiss him. And if he does. he started to resist by writing to the Chief Secretary explaining the good effects on the morality of both expatriates and local people.’ Vyner paused. Adrian knew that Gerald or the Ranee must have poisoned the Rajah’s mind. never act in haste. I know what to do. That’s the source of the pride I take in being an officer of the Brookes.’ ‘Anyway it’s H.’ After a few seconds of hesitation. He is a good and loyal officer. Instead of complying with the order in the usual way. How can we administer justice. Your Highness.’ implored Gerald passionately.’ That was the terse reply from the Chief Secretary. I hope justice will be done and be seen to be done. Your Highness. Vyner made known his intention. I know he is a bit stiff. he is not even celebrating SPG rites but Catholic Mass inside the fort. The Chief Secretary although disagreed when Gerald wrote to Adrian and told him to stop celebrating the Mass inside the fort. Gerald came to brief Rajah Vyner in his office on the same matter.’ ‘But. it is my humble and honest opinion that Adrian should be transferred or removed. Still Adrian was left disgusted. That’s against our standing order. I know you are afraid that Gerald will persuade me to take a rash decision or action.’ ‘Don’t worry. then. However. ‘Your Highness.’ ‘What if he refuses?’ ‘Well. Is that clear?’ That was all Gerald needed. I don’t know how the other officers feel. Trust me.’ ‘In that case.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Thank you. It would be a great pity and totally unjust to punish and then lose such an upright man and officer of the Brooke Administrative Service. I leave the matter in your good hands. in the case of Adrian. ‘transfer him to another station. Therefore.’ ‘Your valid points are well taken. tell Adrian to stop it. He knew the most likely reaction of Adrian. knowing in advance that Gerald and Ranee were behind this executive and administrative victimisation. ‘Gerald.’s directive. As far as I am concerned. Furious and desperate. ‘The Mass is a spiritual fulfilment and remedy for the deficiency in the morality of fellow white officers who are often subject to hostile comments in the newspapers in Singapore. that’s the end of the matter. Stephen.

a hundred victories. I cannot stand this treatment any more. my career and my life. He believed the forts all over Sarawak were full of different types of evil forces.H.’ ‘Perhaps. The whole storm-in-the-tea-cup upsets my wife. is nothing compared to a golden silence.1918-1941 place. That’s already in the standing order anyway. Don’t do it. Your outright rejection of Ranee’s “affection”.’ ‘Yes. You know the cause of all these unpleasant directives.H.’ ‘That bloody scoundrel and our vicious and spiteful Ranee.’ Adrian’s anger flared again. ‘I have.’ ‘I know that. my Catholic upbringing and religion do not permit me to emulate the loose morality of the Ranee. a hundred battles.’ ‘I am afraid you are right.’s ear?’ pleaded Adrian. You are the one who will lose eventually. when he met the latter in Sibu two weeks later on a special assignment to discuss Foochow immigration matters with the Resident of Sibu. She is such a manipulative and revengeful bitch. before I resign from the Administrative Service. Give her some face. Adrian.’ ‘Sorry.’ ‘Everything has a limit. I am up to my neck.’ 19 . We can fight Gerald on another front. But. Stephen. That was the trap set up by Gerald. It was not very polite to reject her outright. I want it out of my system. Apologise and undertake to celebrate the Mass outside the fort in the church itself. I wouldn’t use such strong language if I were you. I think I have had enough of such nonsense and I’ll write and talk to H. who had been a friend and colleague of Stephen’s for a long time.’ ‘You have to if you want to serve under the Brookes. you know. could you put a word in H. ‘Stephen. Don’t adopt such an uncompromising attitude.’ ‘Don’t be silly. But Gerald and the Ranee will certainly think of various ways of getting me out or transferring me from one station to another more remote station until I have to give up anyway. God is no less near to you if you celebrate Mass outside the fort.’ ‘Be patient. That’s all they had requested you to do. I would implore you to do the same. A bit of diplomacy could have prevented all these schemes of victimisation. ‘My dear chap.’ ‘What cannot be prevented must be tolerated!’ ‘But isn’t it true she is a real bitch or Medusa?’ ‘You should know better—a thousand words. you are absolutely right.’ ‘Come. if I may call it. my work. Stephen.’ ‘I just can’t take it. But you know who are behind all these intrigues and victimisation. a thousand words correct.

We’ll stop Gerald somewhere. the right place and the right weapon. you will fall into the emotional trap set up by Gerald. I am waiting for the right time.’ 20 . otherwise. Now can you do me a favour?’ ‘I know what you want. We’ll put on a brake. whether I am booted out or forced to resign. you will understand why.’ ‘I’ll try. Whatever happens don’t resign or react. Stephen.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Remember.

my analogy is certainly more accurate.’ ‘What the hell does it matter?’ ‘Don’t muddy the expatriate water here.’ protested Gerald mildly. I bet she will follow me like a bee to a melting pot of honey. ‘Forget it. Walking gracefully on to the stage in front of the Malay musicians came a vivacious Malay singer. ‘Yes. she flashed her eyes. I’ll put on my charm. Gerald’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets and he couldn’t stop staring at her alluring eyes. Her name is Sarinah isn’t it?’ Gerald pretended. She is a nyai. So what? It’s unofficial anyway. I am sure you know what I mean. lips and body. But. Gerald. You know it.’ ‘You mean like a fly chasing after a piece of rotten meat. she will make a perfect nyai. ‘Well.’ ‘Absolutely incorrect. I would have thought you.’ Stephen wagged his finger disapprovingly.’ commended Stephen. would be more refined than that. While rendering her melodious air. singing a Ronggeng—a piece of traditional Malay music.’ 21 .Chapter 4 A t one of the traditional Malay Bangsawan shows in the evening. Sarinah. ‘What a beautiful lady! What a beautiful voice!’ he praised. For a moment. ‘I would like to know her better. that’s our police commissioner’s nyai mistress.’ Gerald flashed a sarcastic smile and continued. ‘Yes. Gerald and Stephen sat in the front row under a big raintree off Jalan Jawa. slow down. ‘Anyway. I couldn’t agree more with you. as four dancers performed a traditional dance with a samba beat. a graduate from Cambridge. That’s a wrong analogy.

You really captured my heart. ‘All right. a dignified lady with a sweet cheery smile. a rare ‘shen’ oval fair face. may I?’ Gerald turned on his charm like Valentino. shivers shooting down her spine.’ After the show. pulled her red shawl over her mouth. the Commissioner of Police. Somehow she was fascinated by his reputation and appearance—he was wearing a long loose Indian cotton shirt. all the Rajah’s officers were scared of 22 . I didn’t know that you could speak English. ‘Saya ada . Gerald approached Sarinah. If only Gerald could sing. a man one was advised not to cross swords with. pulang can I offer to take you home?’ Gerald put his Malay to good use. ‘I can go home by myself.’ She replied in English. were to find out? But. in lust no woman. a senior police officer. sudah I have transport already. there and then he would be down on his knees serenading her with a Malay Dondang Sayang duet to the accompaniment of a traditional Malay band.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Go slow. ‘Puan Sarinah boleh bawa . slim with a curvaceous figure behind the red Baju Kurong dress. Sarinah. She hesitated for a while. . she had heard from Tuan Mustapha. a sweeter voice from such a pretty face. Gerald was closer to Rajah Vyner. ‘Sarinah. lover boy. . Besides. you’d better be circumcised first. as many onlookers were staring at the star of Bangsawan. Forget the trishaw. a man who in his anger spared no man. fair for a Malay. With shivering cold hands.’ ‘But I insist. watching bemusedly as the great Romeo courted Juliet. She had heard of Gerald’s reputation.’ ‘Never mind . But only after the event. . then. Never have I heard a sweeter tune. What if her man. . It’s simply perfect. . her hands trembling. She could not think straight.’ ‘I beg your pardon.’ Gerald put on the local accent. that Gerald was a very powerful man. You sang beautifully.’ ‘Not very well lah!’ ‘Let me take you home lah! I’ll take you in the motor car. she looked up and down shyly at this Scottish charging bull and then at Stephen who was standing ten feet away. Her heart was beating fast. blushing like the colour of the pink April rose. Earlier on she had seen how Gerald had fixed his bright and piercing eyes on her. ‘Oh! That’s wonderful. .’ Gerald was a honey-tongued and at times an exquisitely mannered young man.’ She tried bravely to conceal her inner shivers and get out of the embarrassment.’ ‘That’s exactly what I wanted to do. you may take me home.

she felt she had missed a beat. ‘Who is your father. He imagined that if Gerald were ever a Captain.’ After a slight hesitation. . In addition. Once inside the house. as if he was the lord and master of the house. photographs and personal items. The servants and neighbours will eavesdrop and gossip. Gerald already knew that it was safe for him to be there. Have no fear for Gerald is here. Selamat jalan—drive carefully. Stephen wondered how long he could put up with Gerald’s selfish. I’ll fix that. Have a nice evening. At the doorstep of the house where Sarinah was staying.’ Stephen shook his head and walked home. another officer of the Brookes in the middle of the night! However. Her heart throbbed and raced. His influence and connections among the Malays and the Rajah’s court was a passport to any house. I am sure you can make your own way back.’ Without any visible irritation. good-night. So vulnerable. lecherous and scoundrelly antics. Selamat malam good-night. visiting Sibu.’ ‘The night is still young. But it’s too late.’ ‘No problem. he would abandon his sinking ship at the first opportunity.’ ‘Never mind. Gerald held her hands gently and kissed her right hand tenderly. ‘I’ll see you tomorrow. So useless. about a mile away. heart palpitating. Totally unable to resist his charm. arrogance and daring or reckless disposition intrigued as well as frightened Sarinah. Stephen. Somehow she felt helpless. unable to defend herself. he feared no enemy nor any rumours. Puan Sarinah aren’t you going to invite me into your house for a drink?’ ‘Yes. In any event. penetrating eyes and inviting lips. Without warning. Sarinah. facing the wall. I hope you will excuse me. Gerald pulled her closer to his chest and gently kissed her. But . Gerald admired the Malay culture and often spoke of the Quran and of wishing to be converted into Islam. His confidence. Gerald took Sarinah to a small car he had borrowed from the manager of the Borneo Company who was on leave. ‘But what?’ ‘Nothing. . It was totally unexpected and she was unable to fight back. ‘Terimah kasih thank you. He turned the photograph of the Police Commissioner in uniform around.1918-1941 him. He already knew that the Police Commissioner was out of town. Gerald walked around the sitting room of the whitewashed wooden bungalow—which as far as Gerald was concerned was just another asset of the Rajah’s government—and touched the trophies. Sarinah?’ 23 . she smiled and gave in. What if the Police Commissioner were to walk in at that very moment? What if the servants talked?—Entertaining another white man.

More intermittent moans and groans of ‘Oh yes. I feel so good there. yearning and passionate desire making her voice quiver. ‘Oh! Gerald. Gerald’s smell and breath only excited her sexual desire all the more. Better than you can ever imagine. absolute torture of restraint.’ she breathed.’ She was dying for penetration and fulfilment of sexual bliss. All the sporadic and faint murmurs of protest died in her mouth. While kissing her. I’ll give him a promotion. He just loved squeezing the intimate parts of her body. Gerald kissed her lips.’ he moaned ‘Sama sama datang. Thunder in their blood throbbed. what do you know? I am in charge of that rubber estate. Torture it was for him.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘He is Kassim. In no time both were stark naked. the pure. groaning against her lips. tidak tahan lagi I can’t stand it any more.’ With lusty groans. ‘Oh Sarinah. moister between her legs. kissing her with a desperate hunger. Gerald swept off her feet and laid her gently on the couch. He rotated his taut arousal against her moist womanhood. Somehow her sexual instincts reached to breaking point—nipples firm and taut. his heavy breathing intensified. Tidak tahan lagi I can’t stand it any more. 24 . She nearly fainted. slowly and gently he stripped her from top to bottom. but gently.’ she begged feverishly. Gerald read the expression on her face well. Don’t worry. You are so beautiful. her neck and squeezed her buttocks. Without warning. have me. with a few more kisses and gentle biting of upper and lower lips. Tuan. ‘Sarinah. Happiness all the way for her who could bring on such incendiary sensations which in turn produced similar electrifying impulses between her groin and breasts. yet so gentle. he like a mad man riding on a well-trained horse—for which he had the Police Commissioner to thank. rubbing between her hips. I’ll treat you well. let’s come together.’ Her hands were trembling. Murmuring her name. I will not mention it to your father.’ ‘Well. ‘Then sit down on the bed or chair. She was mesmerised by the reflection of fevered desire in his grey-green eyes as he commenced the first joy experienced by Adam and Eve. So skilfully done. Now. Gerald could tell her father. You serve me well. sexual needs like hot showers flowed through their tense veins.’ Oh! No. What do you say?’ ‘I think my father will be very grateful to you. O Sarinah feel me. So irresistible.’ he mumbled while keeping body contact all the while. weak at her knocking knees. working in the Sarawak Government Rubber Estate. Riches and fame. soothing and assuring. His touch was demanding.’ ‘Don’t worry. Trying to calm her down. Gerald’s hands started roving around her firm breasts and thighs. ‘Sarinah.

She knew it was wild animal passion on both sides. for an uncertain future. No . and gave themselves a self-induced inferiority complex. Then he trembled with thrusting joy. . Stroke for stroke. Tears oozed out of her ashamed eyes. but deep-seated instincts and emotions. All their muscles were tightened. Why did she have to give herself to him so fast? So cheaply? Yes. yelling: ‘No . . The galloping rhythm and music of moans grew faster and louder until she burst out. She had to wait patiently. Then they collapsed in a sweaty embrace. The powerful sweeps drew them deeper and deeper into each other until they tried to reach the impossible depths. Completely relaxed. overwhelmed her reason. once stirred. ‘One day you will be my Ranee. . . ‘I shouldn’t have done it.1918-1941 Slowly he withdrew. yes.’ Gerald shivered and galloped like a mad horse-rider or as if he were running a four-minute mile. More tears oozed out of her eyes involuntarily: she was not sure it was shame or the joy of sex. Oh! I am so weak.’ She said nothing but felt the sting of shame. then returned at a faster pace. She had better morals. She had forgotten her own name by then. especially white men—be they Brooke officers or just white men. The locals looked up to the white men with a sense of awe. surrendering at the first encounter—she cursed herself for being a weak woman. yes. the toys of passion for men. It dawned on her that the local women were like chattels. 25 . her tears touched his heart. drawing him deeper and deeper inside the most private part of her body—tighter and tighter too. respect. though with the pangs of the guilt of infidelity. Their minds drifted beyond the Santubong Mountain bathed in the silvery light.’ He thrust into her. she met him and matched him. ‘Don’t worry. to Gerald. big and powerful he might be—on equal terms and footing. confusion and betrayal rang in her head. He was a megalomaniac with grand ideas and schemes—a man born with great mission and for better things in life and with unstoppable ambition. She lifted her hips. The shame of sinful lust for the flesh. women were but toys of passion and men the tools of his mission.’ Somehow. I will reward you handsomely. Indeed.’ ‘Yes. It’s so good. destroying her power of resistance.’ consoled Gerald as if he meant it. This was the only place where any woman could take on a man—however strong. ‘Yes.

anybody can.’ ‘Why is that important?’ ‘In normal cases only the Perabangan or Abang can receive Datu titles. Now.’ ‘In what way?’ ‘You see. The other is to put Talang Talang and Satang Islands under a special Turtles Trust Board so that all the Malay Datus and their children and successors can share the turtle eggs equally. if I may so call it. This will be of historical importance. Their descendants have assumed the rank of Abang and Dayang. the Datu Bandar and the Datu Temenggong. One has no control over one’s birth.’ ‘Wouldn’t Datu Patinggi object . And the title Datu Shahbandar probably derived from Brunei’s Pengiran Shahbandar.’ ‘I am sure you know fully well that our Datu titles in Sarawak are different from those of Brunei. I suggest we quickly set up this Turtles Trust Board. I know that. the ordinary Malays and other natives or locals would be forever grateful to your Highness for awarding them the new Datu titles for long or meritorious services. . I wish to make two strong recommendations: one is to create three new types of Datuship—Datu Amar. Now as the Rajah you have absolute powers to create new levels of Datu or other titles for ordinary citizens.’ ‘Your Highness. From Datu Merpati came the three noble chieftains and their descendants—the Datu Patinggi.Chapter 5 ‘Y our Highness. If the Datu Bandar Haji Abdillah disagrees with the female succession. strongly to that?’ 26 . All these formed an aristocratic class generally called Perabangan. Datu Menteri and Datu Bentara. It’s a matter of chance. in order to pursue the female succession. In return you can democratise the institution of Datu. .

except on the question of female succession.’ ‘Tuan McBryan.’ ‘I see . Thank you.’ ‘Datu Bandar.H.’ ‘What do you intend to do with the Datu Bandar. in the meanwhile?’ ‘Promote him. Award him the title of Datu Shahbandar. personally. I hope you can help the Rajah in some way. They will do as I tell them and they have promised me support on the female succession issue.’ ‘That sounds reasonable. With the three combined together we can pack the Supreme Council against Datu Bandar and influence the kampong Malays’ thinking.  .’ ‘In fact. for example. and Datu Bentara to Haji Hashim. Tuan McBryan. I’ll also thank H. . and you very much for the proposed title of Datu Shahbandar. our Supreme Council member.’ Datu Bandar was already wary of Gerald’s visit.H. on the issue of succession. Your Highness. More ordinary Malays will be happier now that they can also receive titles of Datu .’ ‘May I know why these three deserve these honours?’ ‘For a start.’ ‘Sure. though I thank the H. Abang Haji Abdillah. in recognition of your loyalty and service to him. sure. commanding the highest respect. ‘Only if you can agree to help the Rajah and Ranee on this issue can he make progress on this matter. ‘The Rajah intends to award you the highest title so far awarded. Datu Shahbandar. to support Your Highness against Datu Patinggi. though I know that it is a very delicate subject.’ ‘Who do you suggest should get these three new Datu titles?’ ‘If Datu Bandar disagrees on the female succession issue.’ ‘Besides.H. it was I who strongly recommended that you receive this title.  . .’ Gerald spoke in fluent Malay. ‘His humble servant is honoured and most grateful to Tuan Rajah’s generosity. they are on extremely good terms with me. Thank you for bringing this good news. Datu Menteri to Tuan Mohd Zin. we can count on the support of this new class of Datus from among the ordinary people—people of merchant background  . after all he is the most senior of the Malay community.’ Quickly Gerald met up with Datu Bandar at the latter’s house.’ ‘Consider it done. I would strongly suggest to give Datu Amar to Abang Haji Suleiman from the Lands Office. . it must not be used to bribe me or force 27 . That will make it easier for me to work on him. . Then make all the necessary arrangements.1918-1941 ‘That doesn’t matter. Please convey my gratitude to H.’ ‘Terimah kasih. one of the wealthiest Malays belonging to the old Nakhoda (merchant) class although not one of the Perabangan Malay aristocrats.

with a pair of penetrating eyes and thick lips. . A man of few words.’ ‘Besides. ‘I am saying that it is still not too late. I am quite happy to share the turtle eggs with the families of other Datus. I could advise H. the mongoloid oblong-shaped facial features of Datu Bandar.H. I shoot straight. I am a straight person. The Rajah asked me to check up with you whether you have any objection to the appointment of Tuan Abang Haji Suleiman as the Datu Amar.’ ‘That scoundrel eloped with my sister years ago. What I think of him is of no consequence. I have been advised by H.H. let me be blunt on this matter.’ ‘Incidentally. They will not respect a female Rajah. The kampong people are simple but not naive on such important matters. I’ve just remembered something else. It’s seasonal anyway. . The Rajah has approved the three new titles created by me: Datu Amar. I can still abort or delay the setting up of this Turtle Trust Board depending on your wishes.’ ‘What are you really hinting?’ Under his white Haji cap. that all types of Datus and their families will be entitled to share the turtle eggs equally rather than leave it completely to your discretion as to how many eggs each individual Datu and his family can take.’ ‘Please go on . I am considering to propose to H. I don’t eat that many turtle eggs anyway nor need to sell that many turtle eggs at the market. we don’t know whether she would marry someone from England who would not want to stay in Sarawak at all.H. You know very well under Islamic practices we have to share our Allah-given resources with others. suddenly tightened with uneasiness. Ma’af . to form a Turtle Trust Board to look after the harvesting of turtle eggs in Talang Talang and Satang Islands.’ All the hidden threats and arm-twisting tactics planned by Gerald were neutralised at one shot. Too many turtle eggs like too much coconut is not good for my health. . a new title to be created by the Rajah with my advice. your family enjoy the sole right. I don’t care two hoots!’ 28 .Twilight of the White Rajahs me to change the community feelings of the Malays here who are totally unreceptive to a female Rajah. There are just too many uncertain areas. sorry if I offend you and the Rajah. He is a disgrace to our Malay community.’ ‘Tuan McBryan.’ ‘On the other hand. . Under the new arrangement. At present. Datu Menteri and Datu Bentara. I’ll not change my mind on the female succession issue even if I should lose the monopoly on collecting the turtle eggs on those islands. ‘Before I go. to leave him out as Datu Amar if you can assist the Rajah in return.’ ‘Don’t bother. Tradition and Malay culture play a critical role in their thinking and their simple lifestyle.

terimah kasih .’ Gerald’s instinct was correct. will not support us on the female succession issue. I must say that it would be a terrible shame if Haji Suleiman became the Datu Patinggi before you. Datu Bandar tried to be diplomatic. thank you Datu Bandar for your invaluable time.’ He stretched out and pressed the Ranee’s right hand. And tradition. You know that. It is our custom that the Datu Patinggi always has to come from the Perabangan.’ ‘Not exactly what you are thinking. we would like you to reconsider these matters with your immediate family and friends and give me a reply in a few weeks time so that I can get the feedback from you for the Rajah. try her out if you think fit. Bribe him. Ranee. both the Ranee and Gerald appeared formal and cordial in order not to arouse any suspicion of their intimate relationship. But the chances are that we will not change our minds.’ Gerald knew his offer would show his sincerity. my dear Ranee. we’ll leave him alone for the moment.’ ‘Sama sama. That would be malu—great shame—to you in the eyes of the Malay community. Helping me to carry out your plan. Perhaps. Datu Patinggi. we’ll persuade other Datus to put pressure on him. That’s the Rajah’s prerogative. Trap him somewhere or somehow emotionally. Sexual relationships for a bachelor like 29 . custom and respect for the elders are very important in the Malay community. you can think of something.’ ‘Anyway. He has a clean-living record. on him first although he is not a member of the Perabangan. Thank you for dropping by my humble abode.’ She motioned her hands with frustration and semi-resignation. Datu Bandar Haji Abdillah. I’ll consult the elders too.’ reported Gerald who was sitting alone with the Ranee on the verandah of the Astana. Anything you can think of. ‘Really?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘It’s not easy to blackmail him. Publicly. .1918-1941 ‘What if the Rajah should decide to confer the highest title in the land.’ ‘I know you are resourceful enough to think of something. I’ll do anything to please you.’                             ‘That stubborn and sneaky old man. I have plans to use her one day. ‘Well. Snare him. ‘I heard you have a crush on Sarinah. ‘You can bet my life on it. our Police Commissioner’s Nyai mistress. . Already he had guessed the Ranee would spy on his private life. ‘We’ll consider it. I can send her to you and let H.’ ‘Perhaps.H.’ In no mood to discuss the topic further and hoping to get rid of Gerald. Surely. ‘I don’t care.

‘Are you trying to steal her from our Police Commissioner?’ ‘That idea never crossed my mind. Every person is different.’ ‘I see you have exerted a certain pressure on the Police Commissioner to retire early and go back to England. ‘That’s a matter of opinion. Ranee. she is much younger than I am. . . Different personality. have terrific rhythm and powerful rotating hips. But we must be more discreet. Come come. ‘I may just consider that. different qualities or feelings. It was just coincidental.’ ‘But. all the Brooke’s officers were one way or another having Nyai or something equivalent.’ ‘I wouldn’t do that for a moment.’ ‘Being younger and fresher. Gerald. In fact.’ ‘I see you are getting some fringe benefits or applying some undue pressure due to your position. Shake! Shake! Shake! .’ The Ranee gave a jealous grin. it’s difficult to say.’ ‘Sexy and pretty too from what I gather.H. is away. You are quite wicked and daring in many ways. Gerald. ‘I’ll go and see the Chief Secretary on certain matters as instructed by H. The Malay women. She is a marvellous singer. language and culture.’ ‘For a start.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Really? I am not that naive.’ ‘That’s very difficult to answer. if you must know. Come now. I wouldn’t know. I am sure she is good in bed. Ranee. I know you better. Please spare me the inquisition.’ ‘That’s entirely his own decision. I don’t know how to answer you. Romeo.’ ‘I’ll let you off this time.H. I’ll drop in your place some time when H.’ In a way she expected Gerald to be ruthless—so long as the end justified the means.Twilight of the White Rajahs Gerald were understandable. She must be a terrific performer with her gyrating hips.’ ‘Well.’ ‘My dear Ranee. so to speak. I am sure you enjoy her company much more. like those in the West Indies. swear by my father’s grave . honestly. Tell me the truth. .’ ‘Come. I love Malay music. her father is a foreman in the Sarawak Government Rubber Estate presently under my charge. You must be the biggest Romeo or Valentino in Sarawak. and having no children yet. I. come. . I am sure you can tell me more about it.’ 30 .’ The Ranee lifted one eyebrow and cast a wicked and incredulous smile and said no more.

’ ‘Well. I received a letter from George Bernard Shaw. He can promise me a son. Maybe more mad than you in many ways. we all know he has a cynical sense of humour. make the necessary arrangements. who never stop teasing me.1918-1941 ‘All right. that wicked playwright.’ ‘I think he is mad.’ Poor Gerald could only smile philosophically. 31 .’ ‘He suggested that it is still not too late for me to divorce and marry him. He will make the best Rajah Sarawak ever had or will ever have. Do you know what he said?’ ‘I can’t even guess.

Adrian Owen replied immediately that he would resign. ‘I told you I would remove him by hook or by crook.6 on the Richter scale. Everyone knew that that meant Gerald McBryan—the de facto Chief Secretary. On the grounds of breach of the standing order. the Ranee now felt a tinge of sadness in her victory: she knew she would never see Adrian again.Chapter 6 T he first casualty of the ‘purge’ was the Chief Secretary. I knew you could do it. All of them poured out their discontent and fear 32 . Everyone knew that a transfer to Lawas was a demotion in the eyes of the Administrative Service.’ Gerald felt so proud that he could get rid of him. and other senior officers came to Stephen’s house one evening for a drink. he was to be transferred to Lawas with immediate effect. in addition to Private Secretary. It was tantamount to sending someone to the salt mines in Siberia.’ Ironically. and it was best to remove him. until the next Chief Secretary should be appointed. On receipt of the directive. The purging of the most senior officer of the Brooke’s Administration rocked the Committee of Administration and Administrative Service and the country—a political earthquake. Gerald convinced Rajah Vyner that he was useless. Gerald then wrote to Adrian Owen ordering him to cease using the Kapit Fort as a place of worship. Christopher Cromwell.’ ‘You are an angel.                             The Police Commissioner. 9. Vyner told the Committee of Administration that he would personally take over the administration. here is the resignation letter of Adrian Owen. ‘Dear Ranee. a piece of dead wood.

sooner or later he will cut his own throat. Bertram. refused to make decisions and was weak.’ To this they agreed. to put a stop to Gerald’s diabolical influence over the Rajah and Ranee.H. he found Gerald very convenient. for him. they knew they could be removed at any time by ‘Baron’ McBryan. Even an evil genius will surely create scandals or bring about his own downfall with the three all—powerful evils—lust. ‘Stephen.’ ‘Stephen. as co-participant with Vyner in running Sarawak. 33 . At once. because of bad health.. anger and greed. and the Ranee thoroughly approves it and helps him to select them. Since the Rajah. he supplies beautiful young girls to H.’ It was known to the officers that the Rajah would often in the afternoon take a horse ride with Gerald along the Matang Road.H. He is like “Jesus Puss” or a Rasputin figure to the Ranee. Open your eyes and ears and I’ll make a move when the time is right. how to spend more out of state coffers on personal benefits. They called Gerald ‘Baron’ after the powerful German jester Baron von Munchausen. I am not sure how Gerald could blackmail or has such a hold over H.’ cursed the Police Commissioner. spending too much time abroad. We all know he has a wide mouth but a narrow heart. He has such a sharp tongue.H. Gerald would reward the girl and her parents with money and favours such as land grants. making all the decisions. and Vice President of the Council Negri and Supreme Council of Sarawak.’ ‘Well. ‘That rogue is trying to tell H. From time to time. don’t beat the grass and frighten away the snake as the locals would say. John Peterson. the Ranee praised Gerald’s ability and decisiveness in front of the Rajah. I am sure the kingmaker will soon make some big mistakes. the Heir Presumptive.’ feared John. I hope it will not be too late—one day too late and the kingdom is lost. I have no doubt he takes a cut of at least 10 percent. big or small. gentlemen. Gerald knew the Rajah fancied that particular lass and Gerald would ask his henchmen to negotiate and bring that young maiden to the Astana for the Ranee to view and approve as the chosen companion of the Rajah for the night. you know our positions so well.H. Gerald was good in humouring the Rajah who often felt bored by the administration of Sarawak. In return. He was the President of the Advisory Council. it’s time you also tried to persuade H.1918-1941 of Gerald. ‘Be patient. as an aristocrat. ‘Perhaps. seldom came out to Sarawak although he had been designated by his father. the late Rajah Charles. The Rajah would raise his whip then wave and point to a house if he had seen a pretty young maiden watching him pass by through a window or door. I doubt if it’s a case of blackmail.

She blushed and stammered. But he slowly drew her to him and kissed her on the forehead. barely in her teens. Stephen. ‘Oh my God! Look. I am not sure I believe it. just like in the Arabian Nights!’ Gerald turned on his romantic charm. attended the final party held at the Astana for the expatriates. It’s terrific. Her hands shook as if she had Parkinson’s disease. Isn’t the moon so round and romantic? You know the full moon and the sea make people fall in love so easily. trying to seduce our “Princess” Elizabeth. She was frightened. just call me Gerald. the second daughter of the Ranee. ‘I am sure the local ladies must be falling in love with you head over heels. ‘You look good too!’ she giggled. talking to her as if drawing her attention towards the jetty unconsciously.’ Stephen walked away and subtly drew Ranee Sylvia’s attention to what was going on. Mr McBryan. Elizabeth.’ ‘I expected it.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             After the Annual Race Week organised by and for the Brookes’ expatriate officers. you are so sweet and pretty. Gerald softly encouraged her to hold his arm. ‘Look. Mei Ling. ‘Hello. Bessie. Stephen walked with the Ranee to the verandah of the Astana. Gerald could not restrain his urges and put his searching hands on the shoulders of this innocent girl whose only understanding of life came from Victorian romantic novels. the wife of Stephen. at your great Romeo hero.’ Elizabeth blushed and stammered. At that moment. cheek and stole a kiss on the mouth as if in jest.’ ‘Don’t call me Mister. why don’t I take you for a walk in the Astana grounds?’ ‘Sure. .’ ‘I have read that in novels. ‘How do you feel?’ ‘Fine. Gerald.’ ‘Do something!’ ‘Wait here. nudged Stephen.’ ‘Not exactly.’ ‘You are so young—as dainty as the morning rose.’ ‘How I wish I could sweep off her feet a beautiful princess like you .’ As they walked along to the jetty. ‘Thank you.’ As they stood on the jetty. Pangalang Sapi.’ ‘If you say so.’ ‘Enjoying the party?’ ‘Yes. . That rascal Gerald! That baby snatcher!’ ‘Where?’ 34 .

Stephen commented. ‘You are really too much! I can put up with a lot of your nonsense. but you have no limit. .’ ‘Rubbish. I know you were going to seduce Elizabeth.1918-1941 ‘Over on the Pangalang Sapi jetty.’ 35 . ‘I’ve got to put a stop to his madness. after witnessing the full spectacle of Gerald trying to seduce Elizabeth.’ cursed the Ranee.’ ‘And Gerald. Leave her alone!’ came the thunder. . ‘You are so sweet and adorable. His damned hand would never leave any dress unruffled. At that moment. ran back to the Astana. But how dare you touch my daughter with your filthy hands! From now on. He wants to seduce every woman on sight. the Ranee spat her venom. Isn’t it enough that you had slept with her mother?’ ‘Please give me a chance to explain. she was nervous and confused—so much affection and attention from an eligible bachelor who fitted the image of the handsome hero in romantic novels. . the Ranee marched down the jetty.’ ‘There is a rumour rife that he gave land and jewellery to Dayang Haji Ramona.’ Gerald pretended to belch. ‘Don’t put on that act. I don’t care.’ ‘Yes. For God’s sake leave her alone. She is only a child. With the fury of a typhoon. He just can’t keep his filthy hands away from her. and being frightened. it’s all a misunderstanding.’ ‘Gerald.’ ‘Console her! my foot! I know your bloody body language. If you sleep around with Sarinah. ‘I see.’ ‘I am sorry. Gerald and Elizabeth suddenly pushed each other away. Dayang Haji Ramona and a host of others. the beautiful daughter of Datu Menteri Moh Zin. If you could. I am not going to see you. Our incurable romantic hero can’t keep away from your lovely “princess”. He always imagines that all women find him irresistible and are born to this world to satisfy his needs.’ ‘Damn him! Gerald is a sex maniac. With an accusing finger pointing at Gerald. How I wish .’ Stephen thought the right moment had come to checkmate Gerald’s audacious and wild ambition. You damned fool! Get out of my sight!’ ‘Perhaps. Elizabeth blushed.’ Pointing to the jetty Pangalang Sapi. Partly petrified and partly enjoying the full-blooded embrace which created a tingling sexual feeling in her from head to toe. I had one drink too many. You were caught in the act. I know you too damn well. That’s my daughter Elizabeth. . Gerald was still murmuring sweet and romantic words into Elizabeth’s ears. you would have tried to lay her on the top of the jetty.’ ‘I was only trying to console her .

You’ve failed to seduce Leonora . Mummy. .’ ‘I didn’t know about it. I couldn’t scream for help.’ ‘Did you enjoy the romantic encounter?’ ‘No! no. go to bed. ‘Why did you let that maniac touch you?’ ‘He came on so strong to me. Forget about that “Baron” before any further harm comes to you. Ranee screamed at her. One day you will. I am sorry. .’ ‘All right. I swear.’ After berating Gerald she kicked him hard in the groin. went and sat down next to her and wiped her tears. now go to sleep. Nobody else in the party witnessed this spectacle except Stephen and Mei Ling who stood behind a pillar and watched the whole ugly scene in dismay. ‘That lecher deserves it. . . You are still very young. Mummy. you bloody well keep your libido under control .’ 36 . . But I feel like giving him a Kongfu kick.’ commented Mei Ling. I could barely breathe. . . I tried to resist him. Thank you.’ ‘I know it’s not your fault. Gerald quietly left the party. everything will be fine . damn you . ‘From now on. Before he dozed off. They had always expected that his pride would take a fall. He has only one thing in mind—sex. .’ Stephen quickly cut in. Even if I could have.’ Ranee after calming herself down. Is that clear?’ ‘Yes. to make him sterile forever. Is that clear?’ ‘Yes. you need to be castrated . . now you’re trying to seduce Elizabeth . Gerald had gone too far and was over-confident. Good night. I don’t want you to go near him. crossed the Sarawak River and went home. it would have created such an unsightly scene. Tomorrow. The bruises in his groin gave him a pulsating pain. . . Mummy. he consoled himself—‘I just had a bad day.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Forget it! . . He was pushing so hard on me and grasping me so tightly that I could not escape. ‘I don’t doubt that. Back in Elizabeth’s room. . ‘All right. If I were the Ranee I would throw him into the Sarawak River. Bessie. ‘Ouch!’ cried Gerald with his hands clasped over his groin and turning his crouched body sideway in agony. . you bloody sex maniac . . For once Gerald realised every woman has her lethal weapons. .’ she wept and the Ranee sat behind her back and hugged her.’ She kissed her and left her room and rejoined the guests. before she walked away fuming.

we all said that he is a strange and mad guy—always showing off. If I were to kick him in his groin.’ Mei Ling smiled. That’s his reputation.’ said Stephen. ‘What happened?’ ‘Nothing.Chapter 7 ‘Y ou should have seen Gerald’s face last night. My Malay friends in school says he is looking for women all the time in the kampongs. Is Uncle Gerald chasing women again?’ ‘What do you know about Uncle Gerald and his women?’ ‘Quite a bit.’ ‘I am not too young. You are too young to understand. he would have been impotent forever.’ replied Mei Ling who was quite an expert in Chinese Kongfu which she had learnt from her Uncle Liu who had died a few years earlier. listening attentively to her bright son who seemed to understand more about life than other boys of his age. Try me. ‘Anything else?’ ‘The boarders from St Thomas School saw him going to Museum Park—Lovers’ Lane by night. And probably he would have fallen into the river and died of pain. they call it. with an inquisitive mind and Eurasian look—brown hair. that lecherous beast deserved the kick.’ ‘Who are you talking about.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes. ‘Uncle Gerald. darling. Handsome too. blue eyes and fair complexion. ‘Well. Dad?’ asked George. In school.’ commented Stephen.’ 37 . Stephen’s son. now also a teenager. ‘I don’t doubt it.

’ ‘Well.’ ‘Well.’ Mei Ling warned. Right. along. The Tuan Muda. ‘Did you see them?’ ‘Not yet. Bertram. There must be a lot around in this water. the Tuan Muda. Bertram. George!’ Mei Ling proudly stroked his hair recalling her own romance with Stephen over a decade ago before their marriage.’ 38 . ‘Look at that crocodile. Gerald sent a formal invitation to Penny to have a Sunday picnic at the yellow Pasir Panjang Beach opposite Santubong. The government boat took Gerald and Penny down the meandering Sarawak River.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘What’s he doing there?’ ‘Well. it’s a horrible ugly-looking creature. In fact there was no invitation to Stephen and his wife. Mum?’ ‘Be a good boy as always.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I mean they will not bite a white man. consented to let her go provided Gerald would bring her back the same day. sometimes he goes there just after dark to date women. Penny!’ ‘Where?’ ‘There. they only go for the Sea Dayaks. Surprisingly.’ ‘Don’t worry. He will have a bad influence on you. brought his slim and well-dressed daughter. keep away from him!’ ‘Why?’ ‘He is not a man of good character. arrived in Kuching while the Rajah. after hearing from Gerald that Stephen and his family would join them. ‘Some of my friends say that he has class and good taste: proud like a peacock and likes to show off.’ ‘Yuk. don’t get into trouble with him!’ cautioned Stephen. ‘I will Mum. Trust me. Penny.’                             Three months later. ‘I know what to do if I meet him. She wore colourful hats and walked with a sexy sway to match her magnetic roving eyes which fascinated Gerald at their first encounter in the Astana. the brother of Rajah Vyner. Being the most eligible bachelor holding such a high position in the Brookes’ Administration. One day perhaps. Ranee and Elizabeth were having a holiday in England.

’ ‘No. Yet she is so lovable and charming. I admired the couple. compared to Elizabeth who every inch looked like a schoolgirl. ‘That’s not true. They couldn’t come. thought Gerald—how beautiful it would be to pluck the blooming flower of youth. where are Stephen. A fresh face.’ ‘I do see some merit in what you say. A lady after my own heart. I am serious.’ There was slight jealousy reflected in Gerald’s eyes but he covered up well.’ 39 . maybe the crocodile is not hungry or the creepy reptile may find white man’s flesh too bland. I will jump into the river and prove it to you. It’s lovely out here. Much more sexy and sophisticated too. Who knows?’ ‘Is this your first trip to Sarawak?’ ‘Yes. Gerald. so innocent-looking and so fresh like a spring primrose. ambitions and interests in life. I wouldn’t mind coming here more often. A fresh smell. They are like fragile parts of old furniture.’ ‘Gerald. because George caught a cold. They sent their apologies. I must say you do have the smooth tongue of an Indian. you are prejudiced. Somehow.’ Her blue eyes met his grey-green but dissimulating eyes. Gerald. I am yet to find a compatible lady. ‘Mei Ling is such an elegant and beautiful lady.’ ‘Well. A new life too. You seem to have brought a waft of spring to this land of perpetual summer.1918-1941 ‘You are funny. If you don’t believe me.’ ‘Well.’ Gerald was quick to come up with this white lie. Mei Ling and his son?’ ‘Oh! I forgot to tell you. If it’s true. If it is not true it will be too late for you.’ She laughed. A lady who shares my dreams. The world will go to the dogs if the world and governments are run by unambitious officers. Penny. ‘Some are born lucky. Her beautiful skin.’ ‘I must say you sound like a very ambitious man. ‘Incidentally. Who knows? You or I could be that lucky too!’ ‘You are right. A real lady in the way she dressed. aren’t you?’ ‘That’s what the locals and the legends say. an unambitious man is a useless man. he felt Penny was more witty and congenial than Elizabeth.’ ‘No. There is so much to live for.’ Penny chuckled. So many mountains to conquer leaving trails and achievements behind for historians to interpret and interpolate.’ ‘I’ll always look forward to seeing you here. ‘I am surprised that you are still not married.’ ‘You are pulling my leg. so they cancelled the trip.

’ ‘That’s not exactly true. It’s their feelings. ultimately. Good aristocrats and ambitious officers with practical ideas of reform are required to make the Brooke’s government more adaptable and better than the British Colonial government.’ Penny started to admire his brain. The sky is the limit. I am a bit of a naturalist too. plants for Kew Gardens in England. who was as famous in his lifetime as Darwin.’ ‘Now. thoughts. duplicate another five of myself doing different things at different places. When life becomes a bore. Not Charioted by Bacchus and his pards But on the viewless wings of poesy . came to Sarawak. your impression of the people and places of Sarawak. But. I will need to purge a lot of them with the approval of H. Gerald. one rots in the East.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Take for example.’ ‘You do sound a bit abnormal.’ After the boat had grounded on the beach. The numerous haunt of flies on Summer eves. Decadence sets in.’ ‘May I ask what other interests you have?’ ‘Well. How about that?’ ‘Gerald.’ ‘I am happy you are enjoying the beauty of this place. I am sure you can get to where your heart leads you to once you are inspired. emotions and reactions that make life meaningful and challenging—otherwise life can be a bore. bees. let us get down to the Pasir Panjang Beach. full of dewy wine. You see.’ ‘Wow! You are quite impressive. how I wish I could by the stroke of a magic wand. Perhaps I should do a special feature on your visit in the Sarawak Gazette. flowers. ‘It’s beautiful—wow! the sand under my bare feet feels really good . I am the editor of the Sarawak Gazette and Sarawak Government Gazette. that would be simply wonderful! What would you write about?’ ‘For example. Sometimes. The coming musk-rose. or your uncle. the dead wood in the Brookes’ Committee of Administration in Kuching and the Administrative Service at the outstations. The glorious history of the Brooke family in founding Sarawak. yet I have so little time. I want to do so many things. I hope to write poetry like the romantic poets: Away! Away! for I will fly to thee. The future role of the Brookes in the world. . The trials and tribulations.’ 40 . Low had made a name in Kew Gardens already. Or you can talk about birds. I would like to do bigger things in life.’ ‘Not abnormal but special. if I may say so. Penny jumped out.’ ‘That’s wonderful. ‘That’s nothing. it’s the people that make the difference.H. . . . Alfred Russell.

savouring the salty mist. grew up there. day in. ‘Let’s have some curry lunch. then. I am looking for bigger and better things in life.’ Penny was barely seventeen. whereas Gerald was already twenty-seven.’ ‘No. no. I will find much more happiness. I wish you’d stay longer in Sarawak.’ added Gerald. you are incurably romantic. But that’s how I feel. Do I look that old? I am only twenty-five. ‘Wake up.’ He lied by a few years. day out.’ Gerald changed his tune slightly—understandably. Malays and Dayaks roaming around. work satisfaction here and life will be more tolerable.’ she widened her enquiring eyes. Just as Ulysses says: “To find. .’ After lunch. . In many ways. But I can’t really decide until I am at the bridge. and I would fight and die for Scotland. dreamer. It’s my natural home. ‘Any particular person in mind?’ ‘Still seeking high and low. 41 . Gerald. cooled down by the gentle breeze and coconut water each was drinking. Has anyone ever told you that?’ ‘No. ‘How I wish life were always like this and never ended.’ ‘Yes.’ Gerald thought it was too early to express his real thoughts. Nevertheless. What I meant was that you are much older than I am. ‘Nothing.’ Gerald put his arm around Penny’s shoulders.1918-1941 ‘An element of truth. Penny did find him attractive—that disarming smile and chatty character.’ ‘So what are your plans now? Are you going to make Sarawak your base?’ ‘I was born in Scotland. ‘How I wish I could marry someone as elegant and beautiful as you. But I would be damned if I stayed there. It’s just part of my natural makeup.’ ‘That’s fine with me. blue sky.’ ‘Gerald. Happiness embraces all facets of life. ever ready to please the whole lot of you—the white tin gods. Not really. walking and kicking the sand. You are old enough to be my uncle. to seek but not to yield”.’ ‘What I mean is .’ ‘I am sure the officers know how to take care of themselves with so many pretty and tanned Chinese. nevertheless.’ ‘I beg your pardon. it would be very much better if I were to marry someone back in England. I don’t mean to hurt or insult you. they lazed around watching the blue seas. So sophisticated too!’ ‘Thank you for the compliment. ‘No. as they took a morning stroll along the yellow beach. I love Sarawak.

‘Cheer up. Dad expects me for a walk before six o’clock in the evening. After the experience with Elizabeth and Ranee. Now Gerald made up his mind: Penny was the perfect stepping stone to becoming a part of the Brooke family in order to achieve his ultimate ambition.’ ‘Do you really have to go now?’ ‘Really. He tried to convince himself that he was in love—love at first sight and love is blind anyway.’ Gerald pretended to be at a loss and saddened. I have to otherwise next time he may not let me out again.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘I’d better get back now. We’ll see each other before long. 42 . You may take me to the Museum one day.’ ‘That would be really wonderful!’ Gerald couldn’t refrain from kissing her on her rosy cheek. he decided to keep his libido in check in case he misbehaved again with disastrous results.

H.’ ‘I hope you give sound and fair advice to the Rajah. I would not be here today. But I can’t control what the Ranee tells H. Mr Cromwell. The Tuan Muda had come to Sarawak to deputise while the Rajah and Ranee were holidaying in England. If I may be permitted to add—one could say that the words were mine. I am ever grateful to you for recruiting me. purged?’ Bertram abruptly asked when both were inside the Rajah’s office after the meeting. to do or not to do. I acted purely as his private secretary. I am always mindful of that. why was the former Chief Secretary.’ ‘Well.Chapter 8 D uring the Supreme Council meeting. He was probably looking forward to retirement as one does at his age and he had already reached the top of the ladder in the Brooke’s Administration. I can give one. Cromwell was becoming inefficient and stubborn. but the actions were the Rajah’s. ‘H. For the first time at such a meeting. in drafting that letter. If I may be allowed to venture an opinion.’ ‘Tuan Muda. Gerald’s mind wandered as it was filled with romantic notions of how to win the heart and soul of Penny. He was totally unamenable to constructive reforms of the Administration.’ ‘Did you have anything personally to do with the purge?’ ‘I swear to God! I acted only under instruction. In fact.’ ‘Go ahead by all means.’ ‘Yes. always hates to make decisions. Yes.’ ‘I hope you can still remember that it was I who recruited you and sent you to Limbang in your early years with us. Without your kindness.H.H. he looked bored—it was clear he was daydreaming. is the best person to answer that. You know H. ‘Gerald. always. So I have to present both sides 43 .

It was H.Twilight of the White Rajahs of an argument and urge H. Let’s get down to other business .’ ‘You collect artefacts don’t you—aren’t these fascinating?’ ‘Yes.H. You can bet on my life that I’ll do nothing to disgrace and sully the reputation of the Brookes. He was simply beside himself. The Ranee is partly responsible for his mood. Of course. when H. distraction and fresh air in England and Europe. Why? Just like Napoleon. I haven’t a clue what they do there. I last did it as a part of the routine work of instructing the Land Office.’ ‘Gerald. One evening. But you know staff often tend to gossip and exaggerate. What a stroke of luck! ‘I am so happy that you still remember me. Tuan Muda.H. officials would have to see me in my capacity as his private secretary.’s outlook on life. I am not that heartless.’ 44 .’s instruction that he was not to be disturbed for two weeks.H.’ ‘Have a drink? Scotch? Stengah? A soft drink?’ ‘A soft drink will do. H. I would then brief H.’ ‘You can count on me for that. he believed that there could be no established principles in politics. that’s our Rajah’s and the Ranee’s personal affair.’ ‘I heard a lot of young girls were sent to the Astana. accordingly when convenient. After all. He needs rejuvenation. instructed me to give lands to certain people.’ Gerald preferred to be a man of talent without principle rather than one without talent who stuck to one basic principle—serving his superiors faithfully and boringly at all times. laid it down in black and white that if there was anything urgent.H.H.H. I am sure you are fully aware of H.’ ‘You’re making this up. . totally indifferent to what’s going on outside his own world. I had to wait until he was in a good mood or felt better.’ ‘No.’ ‘Tuan Muda. plus all the other peoples’ advice which he receives from time to time. he just keeps to himself and reads. . He hates to stay in Sarawak for too long.’ ‘Is it true that you prevented Cromwell when he was Chief Secretary from seeing the Rajah for two weeks on matters of Administration?’ ‘I don’t know what you have heard from others.’ ‘Good. Where is that one with a lush synthetic beard from?’ ‘From Asmat.’ ‘I am glad you think like that. I can get the letter of instruction for you. politics to him was the art of governing the Sarawakians by deceiving them as long as he could. to make a decision based on the arguments I put forward. I swear. You know when the Rajah gets bored or feels unwell. Penny dropped by Gerald’s house without warning. I beg you to hear the truth from me. I only heard rumours from the staff.

a few centuries ago.’ Gerald quickly got down on his knees to woo the object of his desire. I have been thinking about you all the time. ‘Look at my eyes.’ ‘Previous life? What on earth are you talking about.’ She pushed her hair back. I’ll talk to you on another occasion on those matters. he believed that the surest way to win a woman’s heart was to kneel down—hoping to fall into her arms without falling into her hands.’ ‘Are you serious?’ ‘Cross my heart on my mother’s grave. I have a very serious matter I want to talk to you about.’ ‘Oh really! Gerald! You are weird. Gerald?’ ‘It means we have been reborn. I want to tell you about something that has never happened to me before. I think we must have met in our previous lives. You should have been a preacher in the SPG church.’ ‘Penny. Penny. I am looking. enjoying the compliments all the while. We must have been lovers. Perhaps. things beyond philosophy and religion.’ “Is that really true? I am flattered. Even in the Supreme Council meetings. Not at all. Surely he couldn’t be as mad as other people said. You should have taken up theology or Islamic studies from what I gather. Naturally Penny was deadly curious—wondering whether Gerald was a mystic or simply performing black magic. ‘I can swear that what I say is absolutely true. I want you to share my deep feelings with you. It’s just fairy tales.1918-1941 ‘Where on earth is that?’ ‘In New Guinea. Please sit down on the couch. you are a stark raving bonkers if you believe all the stuff you read.’ ‘I hear it’s more uncivilised there than Sarawak. there are so many things no mortals really know. I have been thinking of you day and night. that is our Karma or fate. ‘No.’ ‘I wouldn’t say so.’ Gerald raised his right hand. I am sure you say that to every girl you come across and like. Right now. Little did she realise that Gerald genuinely believed that truth might influence scores of men. Are you going to hypnotise me or seduce me?’ ‘Concentrate. Perhaps.’ ‘Yes. I beg you. metaphysics and spirituality. we met but as different people.’ ‘Never before like this.’ ‘I am sure you are trying to please me.’ ‘Gerald. please concentrate. 45 .’ Gerald looked deeply into Penny’s eyes and then closed his eyes for a minute. missing you so much. but mystery can pull millions by the nose. He was known at parties to disappear through the door and reappear through the window dramatically like a magician. For some unknown reason.’ ‘Anyway. Penny.

That’s all I can promise. But our interests and philosophy of life are quite different. Penny. Everyone is different from each other. My father is expecting me at the Astana. We can be engaged for a while to let love blossom. I have no doubt about that. ‘Say no more. You are much older than I am.’ Gerald rose up and put his finger over her lips. she turned her face sideways.’ ‘Penny.’ ‘But keep it a secret. But we are poles apart.’ Without resisting his advance. Indeed.Twilight of the White Rajahs She grasped his hands. if music be the food of love. I know. There are so many eligible bachelors knocking at my door. If you agree.’ ‘I know. then play on. It’s getting too hot and humid here now. Please. and therefore marriage is an institution of the blind. if you think positively and let a wish enter your subconscious mind and repeat it often enough. I have to leave now. Anyway.’ she giggled teasingly. I have no feelings for you. ‘I really missed you. I have problems in turning down dates. a dream will often come true.’ ‘I am really serious. I am leaving next week.’ Gerald pleaded with tears flowing from his reddening eyes as he rubbed them ever harder and harder.’ 46 .’ ‘I hardly know you.’ ‘Why?’ ‘I want it to be a personal matter between ourselves. After all. ‘Really. How can you kneel before me? I am not conferring a Datu title on you. I am not that ugly.’ ‘I don’t know about all this wooly stuff.’ ‘Well. she could feel he had a hard on. . ‘Come on. Gerald. I think I must take my leave now. Gerald. She broke away from him. I want to marry you. I’ll remember your proposal.’ ‘Go on. You don’t have to agree now. I’ll be playing a very important role in the Brooke’s Administration over here. Will you marry me?’ ‘Marry you? Gerald! How can there be a marriage without love? You know that what they say: Marriage is love. Let me hold you for a second as this may be the last time we see each other in private. please don’t mock me. Incidentally. Bye. Gerald held her and his libido got all excited for nothing. I haven’t got a sword of honour to dub you with. I will ask your father.’ ‘You are charming in your own way. Consider it again and I am sure you will change your mind. It could never work . I want to stay in London enjoying a high society life. . and love is blind. since you are so incurably romantic. ‘I insist that I kneel so that I can express my true feelings.’ ‘But I am different!’ ‘I know you are different.’ ‘I am sure love will grow if given enough time. You embarrass me. Please get up. mad and so insistent.

‘Now Gerald. you deserve a Datuship. and put on a grin and said to himself.” Slowly you will catch the heart of the monkey! Yes. Remember your father’s oft-repeated quotation: “A woman is only a woman but a cigar is a smoke. adjusted it in front of the mirror on the wall and left.’ 47 . What a relief! Gerald looked at the mirror. I swear I am going to make Peter Brooke [the brother of Penny] pay for his father’s inquisition of me.1918-1941 She picked up her straw hat. look at yourself. Who knows? You will be part of the Brookes sooner than expected. one day.

right below the bench on top of two pieces of brown paper were the clothes of the lovers including their underwear. Together with George they climbed quietly over the fence of St Thomas boarding house adjacent to the back of Museum Park at its highest point. ‘Hey George. their view partly obscured by three large trees.’ George signalled to his friends. One evening just before dusk. The three peeping Toms got excited too! Crouching behind a thick bush. flat face. Gerald was already back to his old habits of dating and mating in all seasons. George and Jim crawled as quietly as they could to the side of the bench not visible by the lovers because of its three-foot high wooden back. eyes and then her lips. both Sea Dayak boarders and schoolmates of George. Let’s get a closer look at this exhibitionist. Nobody saw them except three St Thomas boarders who watched him walking up to a wooden bench. in the light of a silvery moon. The music of love was drowned by a passionate ‘Hmm’ sound made by the girl as Gerald took her blouse off. Slowly. he was strolling along Lovers’ Lane in Museum Park with a local girl who had long hair. On the ground. So worked up was he that he started breathing more deeply and licking her body all over. Gerald was kissing the girl on her neck. the three schoolboys were soon able to see. slender legs. big breasts. along 48 .Chapter 9 T wo weeks later. He started kissing one of her breasts moving up and down. The groans and sucking noises of kissing. from the shadows about twenty yards away. and big eyes in her sweet.’ said Jim Johnson who was with Melvin Jones. Penny left Kuching by boat. ‘Shh! Be careful. two naked bodies moving up and down on the bench. ears.

‘Let’s wrap the paper round us and walk there after putting on our shoes.’ 49 . The unexpected. Gerald kept turning from side to side and wondering who the hell had taken away their clothes. you are so strong—push harder—harder—oh . Oh God. Lying on his bed and looking at the ceiling. higher.’ Both stealthily tip-toed to the car. over the fence. ‘Oh yes. ‘Gerald darling. the boarders of St Thomas. Nothing spiritual. Damn it! Some prank by some mischievous fellows. They found them missing. . I do.’ Putting his right hand underneath the bench. ‘Let’s get dressed before the mosquitoes make a meal out of us.’ Suddenly he slapped his left arm. ‘Let’s finish it fast so that they stop biting us. Fear suddenly dawned on them and the question: How to get to the car naked? With his presence of mind still intact. had come.’ she replied.’ ‘Yes. It’s the best. ‘Hey! that’s funny. For the first time. faster . . love me.’ ‘Let’s get out of here fast. so powerful and satisfying. . oh . Soon afterwards.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Yes. Watch out even though you get it free. she left Gerald’s house. God knows what would happen. higher. Gerald groaned.’ As this erotic scene progressed. You’d better believe that. . We are getting there. you are so good. Perhaps. . Both checked. More. . He now recalled the words of his fortune-teller: ‘She is the mistress of somebody. yes—I am coming. ‘These mosquitoes are making a feast of me. If the news were spread to the town.’ Came the burst of the animal passion. ‘Oh! you are really good. he feared. those breasts of yours could kill a whole battalion of Dayaks. Faster. he started feeling that events were going against him no matter how he planned it. it’s beautiful. and back to the boarding house. Oh Gerald. Please love me . They bit my legs but the excitement made the bites stings bearable. .’ ‘Yes. . I want more. Gerald suggested. yes. The other two made as if nothing had happened back inside the boarding house. I’ll follow. damn it.1918-1941 with the heaving of bodies on the top of the creaking wooden bench grew louder and louder. Steadily and quietly they crawled back to the bush. Oh. George slowly took all the clothes away leaving only the paper behind. you go first. yes .’ ‘Yes. they had a bath. On his way home George threw the clothes into the Sarawak River. more. you are wonderful. . Move up. . Jim signalled to him that the coast was clear.’ He killed another one on his right leg. Once back at Gerald’s house after driving back at top speed. Where are our clothes?’ ‘They should be underneath the bench.’ She groaned and murmured. She will bring you bad luck.

but they look genuine.’ ‘My dear Tuan Muda. I swear by my mother’s grave. I’ll show you the details. rumours of a very senior Brooke officer and a woman in Lovers’ Lane losing their clothes were all over the town. After all. Gerald was summoned by the Tuan Muda to the Astana. ‘Now. Somehow.’ ‘There can’t be smoke without fire.’ ‘Gerald. your suggestion. He brought a petition signed by more than one thousand individuals asking for your resignation.’ ‘Well. Stephen hoped that George had had the good sense to cover his tracks and that his friends would keep their mouths shut. If he can canvass one thousand signatures demanding my resignation. Who says that it was me? Ask them to prove it. It’s an atrocious and malicious lie spread by my enemies in the Administration and people like Datu Bandar Haji Abdillah who have reasons of their own to fan the fires of hatred against me. I mean. It sounds quite convincing. there are not many roads in Kuching. what sins have I committed in the name of the Rajah who after all appointed me as his private secretary and Secretary for Native Affairs?’ The Tuan Muda used Gerald’s services only if he had to.’ ‘The rest of the signatures could be from the friends or relatives of Datu Bandar. it was not me. this is not a popularity contest. Late that afternoon. rumour has it that your car was parked in the small lane inside Museum Park.’ ‘But.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             The next day. It’s impossible to tell from shadows and silhouettes. 50 . Gerald.’ ‘Talking about Datu Bandar. at dusk I did pass the Museum Park. it’s very difficult to tell the difference between one officer and another or a local from an expatriate.’ ‘Well. Tuan Muda. I can’t check out all the signatures.’ ‘You mean they could identify me in the dark?’ ‘Not exactly. What’s this I heard of a high-ranking officer naked with his lover losing their clothes in Museum Park? Was it you?’ ‘It wasn’t me. he came with a whole delegation to see me yesterday. Totally inconceivable. Stephen and Mei Ling had an inkling that George could be involved. Either you trust me or trust the rumour. It could have been some other officer of the Brookes. In the dark. I can canvass two thousands signatures petitioning me to stay. except that all the circumstantial evidence seems to be pointing to you.’ ‘They were certain that it was you. How could anybody recognise me in the dark? That’s fishing like a blind man using a stick hoping to hit something. If he was.’ ‘Tuan Muda. it’s not true.

’ ‘In what ways?’ ‘Giving alienated lands and lands under OTs—Occupation Tickets—with a fixed period of tenure only to those you favour and none. ask her. Don’t you agree?’ ‘I am sure it was more than that. I am not denying that.H. trying to put Leonora on the throne. Datu Menteri. Tuan Muda. Datu Bendara.H. You know well.’ ‘May I explain. act under my influence? Are his choices subjective or objective? So many grey areas. the pros and cons of the issues involved and ultimately H. that he carry out your idea. I gave H. You made them on his behalf. Besides. to divide and rule. wants to “divide and rule” as Datu Bandar was getting too powerful among the Malays.’ ‘That’s the Ranee’s decision. that’s an inherent part of my role that cannot be divorced objectively. One certainly does not want too strong a Datu Bandar.’ ‘And you suggested to H. That’s a family feud that I played no part in. to any Malay families recommended by Datu Bandar and his close Malay associates. seldom likes to make decisions unless it is absolutely necessary or he is forced to do it.H.’ ‘The Turtle Island issue.H. I am like the Permanent Secretary to a Minister.’ ‘That’s not quite true.’ ‘But you are in a strong position to influence him. since he had the proud nose of a typical King’s Counsel.1918-1941 ‘Well. they complained about you interfering in native affairs. appointed Haji Abang Suleiman as the Datu Amar was because H. as his private secretary. The reason why H. You have deliberately created friction among the Datus on sharing the collection of turtle eggs.H. Don’t you remember that the Brookes’ rule started with the support of the Malays?’ 51 . But you advise him to whom to give land. as Datu Amar had eloped with Datu Bandar’s sister many years ago. I know my brother well.H. she decides who should serve the Rajah.’ ‘But it was all your idea to create these titles: Datu Amar.’ ‘That was H. you may or may not be aware that I don’t make the decisions.’s decision? What’s my decision? What’s influence? How far does H. for example to the families who provide their daughters for H. What’s the meaning of advice? What’s H.’s pleasure. H. You were canvassing the female succession of the Brookes in Sarawak. I should have the benefit of the doubt. for a start. Tuan Muda.’ ‘Yes. had to decide the course of action. The creation of all these new Datus and setting up the Turtle Trust Board were to put pressure on Datu Bandar who commands the largest following among the Malay community in Kuching.’ ‘Well.H. for example.H.H. ‘That may be true. there was no love lost between them. Don’t ask me about it.’ The Tuan Muda expected Gerald to fight like a King’s Counsel.’s idea again.H.

It has got nothing to do with me.’ ‘Since Datu Bandar is so powerful H. I was carrying out my orders.’ ‘Yes. As the private secretary and Secretary of Native Affairs. From what I know. but by the Ranee. H.H. I am fully aware of that.’ ‘It shows that you do not like him. he knew for sure that the Tuan Muda would not raise issues that would lead to personal conflict. with his elder brother. For example Adrian Owen and the former Chief Secretary. there is also a petition by the Committee of Administration and Administrative Service asking for your resignation. Besides.H.’ ‘Now. I am bound to offend some people one way or another.H. Her father always listens to her. or his son Peter would most likely be the successor when the Rajah died. On the other hand. There are so many complaints against you. as the Heir Presumptive. I have no personal interests at all. Datu Menteri’s daughter is very intelligent and is her father’s favourite. whatever private opinions I may hold are not relevant. and Ranee yourself. I acted on 52 .H. I act on orders. I wonder why you antagonise so many people. being the Private Secretary. the succession is the Brooke family’s internal problem. So she plays an important role in ensuring loyalty to the Brookes’ government. I was asked by the Ranee and H. That’s life. the British monopoly of the trading world within the Commonwealth is also dependent to some degree on the success of “divide and rule”. In Adrian’s case. ‘I heard that you are very generous towards the pretty daughter of Datu Menteri.’ Gerald knew the Tuan Muda. The British empire is kept alive also by “divide and rule”. Tuan Muda. and his support is vital in Kuching to keep the peace and harmony among the Malays. so that’s that. It’s alleged that you have a personal interest. I was asked to study the historical precedents and give a professional opinion based on Islamic history.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘I know that. to talk and persuade all the Kuching Datus to support that idea. There are always different camps in the community or even in a government.’ ‘In the process of carrying out the duties and orders of an officer. And a series of other victimisations including your predecessor. such as female succession. Since I read Malay and Jawi.’ ‘Honestly. wants Datu Menteri and his family to be grateful to the Brooke government so that they support him on the female succession issue. But the female succession issue was not started by me. giving her lands and jewellery. I am asked to advise and I act accordingly. You can check with H. That’s the reason we need to neutralise his influence—clip his wings wherever and whenever possible.’ ‘You know that Datu Bandar could do a lot of harm to the Brookes. wants to “divide and rule” inside and outside the Council Negri and Supreme Council. Mind you.

’ ‘Is she serious?’ ‘Perhaps.’ 53 . yourself and your son. You assured her and her father that you would protect her and would have the Police Commissioner removed. ‘Now. It’s simply not my decision. The Ranee may have influenced the Rajah or have breached protocol and hated your father.’ ‘What do you want to know that I know?’ ‘Apparently.’ ‘The father of Sarinah worked under me. my daughter?’ ‘Nothing that you would not approve of so far. I hear.1918-1941 the Rajah’s order. I did think of suicide at that time. disobedient or incompetent. That was to be expected and the Tuan Muda found it hard to nail him on specifics.’ ‘What’s her reply?’ ‘She might consider it. maybe you can enlighten me about the dismissal of the Police Commissioner who had a nyai called Sarinah. Why did you ask her to do that knowing full well that sooner or later I’d know about it or have to approve it.’ ‘You don’t mind me asking a personal question?’ ‘No. Tuan Muda. what’s your relationship with Penny. You asked her to keep it a secret. dismissed the former Chief Secretary on the grounds I have mentioned already. H. “If you don’t reciprocate. You did. Nonetheless. you may be better informed.” Is that true or a romantic bluff trying to seduce an innocent heart?’ ‘As a matter of fact I did propose to her. I am in love with her.’ ‘Really! Well. the Tuan Muda moved to a specific incident. That’s not my concern. After your involvement with her you told Sarinah to leave the Police Commissioner who then threatened to arrest her for stealing. you have had an affair with Sarinah. Absolutely not. You recommended that to H. But I cannot be blamed for the so-called purge of officers who are found to be inefficient. I promoted him because of his ability and performance.’ ‘Have you made Sarinah your nyai?’ ‘No. I didn’t know if you would approve my proposal. Gerald. tell me truthfully. Through him I have learnt much about Islam and the Malay mentality. It’s your duty to investigate thoroughly. He is the foreman in the Sarawak government Rubber Estate.’ It seemed Gerald had a defence for every charge laid against him. I will commit suicide.H. she accidentally left behind in a drawer your letter to her declaring your undying love.’ ‘Now. although I am no less human than other officers of the Brooke regime. please go ahead. no. I drafted the letter in my capacity as private secretary. She did.H.’ ‘I stumbled on this matter accidentally.

It’s my duty to protect the good name of the Brookes at my own expense or misery. her cousin. But.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Well.’ ‘That was all a misunderstanding. at least it wouldn’t hurt anybody if the proposal wasn’t made public. Damn the Brookes. But I am madly in love with her. I hope you and your wife can persuade her to accept my proposal even if I have to stay in England. 54 . he had had to lie and that maddened him. Damn Sarawak. Anyway. knowing Penny and you. Faced by exposure and the cross-examination. I was holding her. Was that what his astrologist had predicted for him? ‘Damn the world. When H. otherwise. But I’ll be back with a vengeance. I’ll leave for greener pastures. He drank half a bottle of whisky and smashed the bottle against the wall.’ Gerald’s answer sounded reasonable. and the Ranee reprimanded you on that account. That’s all. ‘Now. so to speak. living a high society life while you enjoy the lifestyle of the East.’ Gerald consoled himself that wedlock would be a padlock—although when in love he would feel incomplete if not married. he dozed off to a sound sleep. don’t you think Penny is a bit too young for you?’ ‘I am not that old either. you will be failing in your duty. Tuan Muda. in the end it entirely depends on her.’ ‘Anyway.’ he cursed casually. if I may say so.’ ‘Frankly. I gather you long to embrace Islam. But the Tuan Muda knew of his high ambition and deviousness and intrigues in court and that his brother loved his company—the court jester in the sense that he knew how to humour H.’ ‘Please do so.’ ‘Well. all you little people—useless country bumpkins. I am not sure whether you approve of it or not. ‘Damn it. worrying when the axe was going to fall on him. It’s their personal family problems. I have cleared up the matter with Ranee already. returns. ‘Why am I so unlucky? When will my luck change? When will my Karma change?’ For the first time.’ ‘I thought you were also chasing Elizabeth. I have to give this matter some serious thought. he was full of nerves. but after marriage he knew he would be finished. Besides. There is no point printing it in the Sarawak Gazette or Sarawak Government Gazette or announcing it to the world. giving her a shoulder to weep on when the Ranee misinterpreted my intentions and compromising position.H. Being so drunk. I will brief him on these events. she likes to live in England.H. She has accepted my explanation. Tuan Muda.’ ‘I can’t comment any further.’ Gerald took his leave and went home. He felt he was no more a tin god on wheels. Just you see. may I ask you whether Penny has made any declaration of her feelings towards you?’ ‘We remain very friendly. Actually.

‘I will be all right. It’s just my bad luck—one thing after another since my meteoric rise. Gerald was a compulsive intriguer. A new opportunity may knock at your door one day. H.’ ‘I thought about it but that will lead me nowhere too. Have some fresh air.H.’ ‘Don’t worry. I need a holiday to recover. but he amuses me. is always such an indecisive type. The Rajah once told Stephen—“I know McBryan is a complete crook. I am doing my best to push through things for him. keep life simple. Use your talent in the right way.’ Stephen knew the Rajah was fascinated by Gerald’s charms.’ ‘I don’t know where I went wrong and why I went wrong. his wheeler-dealing and deviousness. Like Baron 55 . though he was a pain in the ass as far as the Committee of Administration was concerned. May be it’s just my Karma.’ ‘Maybe you should go into the commercial world.Chapter 10 S tephen felt sorry and thought he should counsel Gerald. This particular meteorite seems now to be crashing.’ ‘The key word is moderation.” Gerald’s high position was like putting a cat among the pigeons. Anyway. Everything is so uncertain. I’ll think of something. I have developed unexplained headaches making me sometimes hot and quick-tempered. my dear friend. although at times I may have offended people in my zealous pursuit of my duty. live and let live. Play straight. I enjoy watching him and trying to work out his next move. Do something different.’ ‘If I can offer a word of advice it is simply this: Gerald. Change your environment. Stephen.

It’s up to you.’ ‘Yes. He has an excuse for doing everything. who refuses to marry him.’ ‘Well. I’ll think about it. We can’t have that—all the issues of female succession 56 . He took Sarinah and made it known that one day he would be a Haji. The Committee of Administration and the Datu Bandar have even petitioned that he should not be allowed to return to Sarawak in future.’ After Bertram had left. next minute my daughter Penny.                             The Tuan Muda returned to England and met up with the Rajah. ‘My dear Vyner. I know he is a crook in certain ways.’ ‘Give me a few days. But he has his usefulness up to a point too. your daughter. Stephen felt sorry for the Rajah who depended too heavily on McBryan. ‘Well. or some other disability. He is the type who would like to sell his story to the press. he put the blame on you. a private secretary carrying out instructions. I am sure he will try to embarrass us. I can’t argue with you. One minute he is chasing Elizabeth. saying basically he was a civil servant. When I asked Gerald about various issues.’ ‘Well.Twilight of the White Rajahs von Munchausen. I hold no feelings of personal enmity towards McBryan who can’t help indulging in scheming and meddling and petition-suggesting any more than people can help having a clubfoot or arthritis.’ ‘Anything else?’ ‘He blamed the Ranee too for various matters. I think Gerald is creating too many problems. what’s your opinion of how to deal with McBryan?’ ‘Don’t let him return to Sarawak. In any event the Rajah spent far too much time away from his responsibilities in England. The Committee of Administration requested me to tell you not to take back McBryan to the service due to his unruly style of running his private life and government. who made up to some extent for the boredom he felt in Sarawak when he would rather be in England enjoying life. He is a devious schemer. ‘Baron’ McBryan was a good storyteller and the Rajah loved the political chess he played. He never told the truth even when I confronted him. The Datu Bandar is particularly upset and had petitioned him to resign from the commission.’ ‘Is it really that serious?’ ‘Yes. In brief he is a compulsive schemer. I know I recruited him in the first place. the Rajah mentioned to the Ranee the discussion he had had with his brother and asked her how to tackle Gerald’s behaviour which seemed to be out of hand.

’ ‘Well. They got 57 .’ ‘Good. did you hear or know about a European officer losing his clothes in Lovers’ Lane in Museum Park one night?’ ‘No. .’ ‘Oh. have the habit of being peeping Toms. I seem to remember that evening—sure. I’ll cable him to come and join me for the Colonial Office Conference in London as an observer. Mention the sum.’ ‘I haven’t a clue. Why don’t we pay him off and get his voluntary resignation in black and white. They told me once before—I think about a year ago—that some boarders went out to catch frogs and toads. Dad. although in certain ways I admit that life in Sarawak will be less colourful and more boring without him. Two of the boys took a small oil lamp and looked for it behind the tree.’ ‘Really? Tell me what you do know about the incident. Stephen casually asked his son. the boarders told me that an expatriate officer of the Brookes had been up to no good with a woman in Museum Park at night.’ ‘Forget that. during dinner. But what has that got to do with me?’ ‘I just keep wondering whether the mischief wasn’t carried out by the boarders. One night. and forbid him to return to Sarawak. I mean the boarders.’ ‘Thank you for making this difficult decision for me. get the letter of resignation. I agree he is too dangerous to be lurking around Sarawak. He does talk too much at times. . spying on unsuspecting couples who go to the Lovers’ Lane next to the boarding house?’ ‘I couldn’t tell you. As long as Datu Bandar is still alive there is little hope of Leonora being accepted as the future Rajah. According to my diary you returned unusually late giving the excuse that after a football game at St Thomas School.’ ‘I do.’ ‘You have some good Dayak friends in the boarding house?’ ‘Yes. Yes. ‘George. you stayed late with some of your friends there.1918-1941 and the women sent to the Astana.’ ‘On a Friday night .’ ‘I agree with you. didn’t you come back late?’ ‘I can’t remember the exact date.’                             Stephen suspected at once something was afoot when Gerald was suddenly summoned to London after the Tuan Muda’s return to England. In the process one of the frogs jumped behind a big tree.’ ‘Do the St Thomas boys. that will solve the case. that evening.

the teachers and some of the big bullies at school who were punished by the teachers.’ Somehow Stephen knew that George was probably involved.’ ‘Why were you late that evening?’ ‘Boys.Twilight of the White Rajahs the shock of their lives when they saw an expatriate officer lying naked on top of a local woman making funny heavy breathing noises. I’ll tell you.’ ‘George. ‘we talked about the football game. but no proof was available.’ ‘Did those boys steal the clothes?’ ‘I can’t tell.’ ‘Then what happened?’ ‘One day they saw the same expatriate officer coming to school to see the principal.’ ‘I can always try to find out.                             58 . ‘Why are you asking me all these questions.’ Stephen and Mei Ling looked at each other—at least it confirmed what a witness who had seen Gerald before in Museum Park had said. and quickly covered the lower part of their bodies with their clothes which had been lying on top of some papers.’ ‘Did they tell you anything about that incident?’ ‘Only subsequently to that date. So they told you and pointed him out at school. The couple panicked.’ ‘I see.’ ‘Did you go with those boys to steal those clothes that night in the Museum Park?’ ‘I didn’t.’ George kept a straight face. Dad. It was most likely that Gerald was the victim who lost his clothes.’ ‘Yes.’ George shrugged his shoulder. Suddenly they identified him as the same man they had seen in Museum Park. ‘Did you go with those boys sometimes to catch frogs and toads?’ ‘No. are you sure your friends or some boarders were not guilty of that mischief. That morning . So frightened were they that my two friends ran away from the shocking scene. especially those fierce blue eyes and pointed nose and those stares. . indirectly or directly. On the corridor. Dad?’ ‘To test your involvement.’ ‘If I do something. And you recognised who he was. you know.’ ‘Who was he?’ ‘Uncle Gerald McBryan. my friends recognised his face. if not your honesty. .

he had tasted his own medicine—it was bitter.’ ‘Gerald.—of all things. was in Sarawak recently. don’t you?’ ‘Let me explain. Only the day before he had been the kingmaker.’ This was mentioned in case Gerald might go the press and wash dirty Sarawak linen in a London tabloid. My hands are tied. With a heavy heart.’ ‘Yes.H. I have had several lengthy discussions with Bertram who. as you know. Your Highness.’ ‘I will. You can trust me. ‘Gerald. He gave it to H. coupled with other personal incidents.’ Gerald left. I am sorry that all these matters have come to a head. As compensation the Rajah paid him $500. Leaving some rays of hope behind was prudent.’ That was the saddest day for Gerald.’ ‘You mean the Committee of Administration and Datu Bandar. We both concluded that it is best that you should resign from your commission as my private secretary and Secretary for Native Affairs. it was the best thing for you to resign. Tuan Muda thought that under the circumstances. personally. it would be better for him to forget Sarawak and send his letter of resignation from abroad. He even created a new title ‘Star of Sarawak’ for Ong Teng Sam. For once. I can reconsider your services again. ‘I trust you will keep Sarawak affairs including the Rajah’s family matters secret under the Sarawak Official Secrets Act.1918-1941 At the end of a forestry conference in London. Gerald prepared his last letter for H. For the first time. Knowing the Rajah’s indecisiveness.H.’ ‘Thank you. if an opportunity arises again at an appropriate time in the future and if I consider it right and proper. enjoying the display of power and putting fear in the hearts of all those who worked under the Rajah. and he was full of boiling anger. it’s no use now. I have seen them. unbearable. including the Administrative Service. he knew he had been made a scapegoat. he was a spent force. Now. Bertram has minuted your explanations already. Datu Bandar and the Committee of Administration and Administrative Services 59 . the Chinese Kapitan in Kuching. he knew he had blown his chances. Perhaps. Adrian Owen was overjoyed when he heard of Gerald’s resignation. You understand that. his own letter of resignation. Your Highness. the Rajah invited Gerald to his house. The Datus have petitioned for your resignation. Bertram as the Heir Presumptive shares the same power as me in governing Sarawak under my father’s will. a fallen star—‘malu’—and had lost face. ‘Gerald. vowing vengeance against those who had purged him.

Mark my word. ‘Well. he will return with a vengeance. equally. Sarinah. I think that’s the star he was born under.Twilight of the White Rajahs were delighted. He is clever enough to find a way of coming again. Stephen remarked.’ ‘I am not sure that is the end. 60 . Call it a woman’s instinct if you will. Datu Amar.’ Stephen did not rule out the possibility. He is quite a character. Datu Menteri and others were very disappointed.’ ‘How can you be sure?’ ‘His connections and new found roots in Sarawak have not totally disappeared. But. so ends a chapter on the most colourful and intriguing period of Sarawak’s history. He fears no mortal. From the ashes will rise the phoenix. He will rise again. darling.

For years after 1930. He worked a year in a jewellery shop in London. They are quite civilised. Australia.’ ‘You mean the place where the men hunt for heads and where women run around naked hunting for their men?’ ‘Not quite. But as well as frustration luckily he still had patience. I am still a bachelor. ‘Say. Gerald had begun and ended one stage of his career. Adelaide is the only state that never had any convict or convict settlement. And I just came here recently looking for greener pastures. whatever your name is . a year in South Africa. then left for Adelaide. aren’t you a foreigner?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Too long in the tropics. I am from Scotland. he was in the political and social wilderness. . his landlord had threatened to chase him out unless he could pay up the rent. Mr . .’ ‘How come you are here? You are still very young. None of the jobs he tried.’ ‘Are you married then?’ ‘No.Chapter 11 F rom the pinnacle of glory.’ ‘Really?’ 61 . Early that morning. he liked. An old man sitting next to him started the conversation. . .’ ‘You couldn’t have made a better choice. Not at all. I used to work in Sarawak on the northern side of the island of Borneo. After a while he became ill and then destitute until one day he was sitting on a bench in a park wondering where he was going to get his next meal. unexpectedly down to the abyss of agony. As Kipling said too long in the tropics you decay and if you marry a local you are dead—getting worse in health and luck.

Where are you staying now?’ ‘In the Pine Lodge at Melrose Street. You got me there!’ Meanwhile.’ ‘I say. come along.’ ‘How about those who escaped from elsewhere and sneaked into South Australia by night?’ ‘Well . my name is Evelyn Conner. stop barking and fidgeting.’ The dog ignored her.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Yes. Down here unemployment is quite high.’ ‘Don’t mention it. with its tongue hanging out pensively.’ ‘Do you write well?’ ‘That’s my speciality. I don’t understand.’ ‘Thank you. the second class was shipped to most parts of Australia.’ ‘You don’t need to mention it at all. Bibi was resisting a male dog looking for a free copulation. all the other states had convict settlements. She cried out. Gerald stood up and chased away the intruding dog which barked a few times and then disappeared into a garden in the park.’ ‘Maybe one day I’ll explain it to you. May I have the pleasure of your acquaintance?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation just now. I am Gerald McBryan. . Come along. Are you interested in finding a job here?’ ‘Yes. ‘I would be most grateful if your father could offer me a job. Do contact him. thank you very much for chasing that crazy dog away.’ ‘All right then. ‘Bibi. that’s the best piece of news for a long time. I am. . With one hand she was holding the paper while the other held to the leather of a dog collar. as a matter of fact. That’s my downfall too. The old man left.’ ‘Here is the name and address of my father’s office. I’ll be eternally grateful to you.’ ‘Perhaps my father can find a job for you.’ ‘That’s interesting. It was a white poodle. I am sure you know. er . yes. Miss Conner. Goodbye.’ ‘How cruel!’ She really felt sorry for him. whose yapping and snarling grew louder and louder. my father owns a big farm—cattle and sheep. The first-class convict stayed in Brixton. . ‘Oh. and the worst class to the West Indies.’ 62 . there was an attractive lady sitting nearby reading the morning paper who overheard the whole conversation.’ ‘Sorry. just say that I was framed.’ ‘Why did you leave your last job?’ ‘Well. I’ll put in a few good words for you. . Bibi.

She was a bit plump.’ ‘As for the remuneration. he started work again. The following day.’ ‘Now. they have been civilised now. Evelyn found herself in love. You know the case: “damned if I do. He was promoted to manager of the farm. What job are you thinking of?’ ‘Anything in the office will do. damned if I don’t”. my good man. Goodbye.’ ‘Just call me Evelyn. Evelyn dropped in her father’s office and suggested that Gerald have a doctor’s check-up.’ ‘All right. The headhunters with tattoos who like to keep good friends’ heads for souvenirs.’ ‘Sorry to hear that. I was the private secretary to the Rajah Brooke of Sarawak. How about being my private secretary? I presume you write well?’ ‘Quite well.1918-1941 ‘Thank you. After shaking hands. Besides. tell me why have you left such a prestigious job?’ A heavy South Australian accent was evident—an accentuated British accent.’ ‘Now. Miss Conner. always with a sweet smile. 63 . I thought it best to resign.’ ‘I am sure I can make myself useful in your business. slightly fleshy-faced but with a cheerful disposition. The wife of the Rajah made my life miserable—I was caught between personal loyalty and duty to the state. Mr McBryan.’ The hearty and kind-hearted owner of the farm took an instant liking to Gerald. Gerald married her amidst great splendour and pomp. sir. Evelyn. ‘The Rajah and his brother don’t get along. The next day Gerald met Mr Conner.’ ‘Sir.’ ‘I remember now. Soon.’ He shook her hand while she gave a winsome smile and left. I’ll discuss it with you over the next few days after you get the hang of it. with the blessing of the parents of Evelyn. ‘That’s quite all right. ‘Yes. I speak and write Malay and Jawi. my daughter mentioned your name yesterday.’ ‘Where is Sarawak?’ ‘Northern part of the island of Borneo. Gerald’s health began to improve. His grey-green eyes and King Counsel’s pointed nose made him an impressive character.’ He stood up and Gerald followed. Gerald left a happier man. A few days later. She fixed up an appointment. let’s see.’ ‘That’s wonderful! Maybe one day I can sell lamb’s meat to the Middle East and other Islamic countries. Evelyn found new digs for him near to where she lived. Love started to blossom again for Gerald.

They ran for cover. She did not know what to expect or to do. He missed. ‘for better or worse . ‘There’s a bloody mad man on the rampage. in sickness and in health . darling. Gerald. After a while he would be back to normal. No.’ ‘I’ll be all right. Other morning strollers in the park ran. ‘Why are you bringing your gun?’ she asked. All the dog owners let go of their dogs as sacrifices in order to save themselves. He then began to shoot at dogs. From now onward.’ someone shouted. This is a municipal park not a hunting ground. ‘Are you sure you are all right?’ A trace of fear was detectable in her voice. ‘Gerald. Gerald aimed at it and fired. for God’s sake. ‘It’s about time I made a trip to London. Finally. Get him to the hospital as quickly as possible. . Even as she was taking off in the car. he told Evelyn. So I will leave next week. ‘I’ll let you know. Although she had been warned by him it was her first encounter of his relapses into insanity.’ 64 . . Soon after this exchange. you are the greatest trouble-shooter in the world. looking frightened and pale as a ghost. He had been treated for mental disorder before. early one morning.’ ‘That will be all right.’ she cried out. . you have been fully recovered for so long. . She assured him that she would take care of him. the future Rajah of the Pan-Islamic Empire. ‘Damn it! I missed! My hands are shaking! I can’t believe age is catching up with me so early. The Rajah wrote a letter to me asking me to see him there. Keep away from jungles—they are unhealthy. She was alarmed. But look after yourself. No. After alighting while she was still inside the car he pulled out the double-barrelled shotgun and suddenly began blasting away at the pigeons in the park. She was at sixes and sevens. His father owned an asylum in Bath.’ She didn’t quite understand all that he meant.’ They drove off to the park. she told herself as she remembered his previous warning. Surreptitiously. However she still managed to escape in the car to seek police help.Twilight of the White Rajahs Gerald confided to Evelyn that from time to time he got severe headaches and would then fall into severe depressions doing mad things and she should send him on such occasions to a hospital.’ He replied vaguely. Gerald asked his new wife to take a walk in the park. ‘Yes.’ One day. of course. you must take care not to be infected by malaria. I hope you will forgive me being absent from your birthday party next month. I am as fit as a fiddle. Now. I know how to look after myself and fend off all those “mosquitoes” and creepy worms of society. ducked and screamed with terror. Gerald began shouting at the dogs and birds. His wife was in total shock. she climbed into the driver’s seat while he was walking off into the park looking for more targets.

  . she walked towards him. all the people. yes.’ She decided to be brave. ‘Hey. She wants to talk to you. we won’t harm you. Then lucidity returns. doggie? doggies! Let me see your heads. ‘Here I am. Slowly. ‘There you are. yes . He relapses into temporary insanity. He whistled and whistled. Please put down your gun. lay down your arms. Soon. ‘Darling Gerald. ‘This is the police. Mr McBryan. sometimes. I should go and see an optician to rectify my eyes. With a few minutes.’ whispered a police officer. Now I think I know how to handle him. Yes. Promise me.’ He blamed himself. . Oh yes. come yes  . ‘Yes.’ ‘Don’t worry.’ ‘He went there and got treated. officer. dogs and birds had disappeared. Perhaps. .’ ‘My wife?’ Then he remembered that he had come with his wife to the park.’ A police officer shouted.’ ‘It’s too dangerous. Please lay down your arms. He was fine and got discharged.1918-1941 He fired at a lamp-post and missed it too. your wife. . stengah! And then take you to the hospital. You love me don’t you.  . Mrs McBryan. Don’t shoot. I am taking you home to get you your favourite drink. ‘Let me see her first and come to me before I put the gun down. . this is Evelyn.’ ‘You should confine him to an asylum. He told me that before. Don’t worry.’ ‘Good  .’ ‘Stengah! Did you say stengah?’ ‘My word . Your wife is here. yes. your grandfather’s grave. Please don’t shoot me. when he looked around. . yes . put down your gun. where are you. I will be all right. but be careful.’ 65 .  . ‘It’s OK. . Ha! Ha! Ha!’ He walked as if he was drunk or going to collapse like a ‘drunken fist’ martial artist. she was with you a little while ago. I’ll walk towards you. of course. darling. darling. I know you care for me.’ ‘All right! You know better.  . I’ll be all right. come over your grandfather’s grave. sirens announced the arrival of the police and some police marksmen. She wants to see you. Gerald?’ ‘Yes.’ The police were crouching behind cars.’ ‘Where are you. Eve?’ Gerald shouted. very much—over my grandfather’s grave.’ He let off another shot in the air. ‘Oh shit! my eyesight must be bad too to miss that bloody lamp-post. telephone booths and bushes. ‘Let me see her.

Gerald was thoroughly questioned and then sent to an asylum for further checking and treatment after his wife’s pleas.’ She was relieved to see the gun on the ground. although her body was trembling and voice quivering. darling Gerald?’ she asked sobbing. .’ ‘All right. Let’s walk back.’ ‘Why are these people here?’ ‘Nothing really. Carefully but resolutely.Twilight of the White Rajahs Somehow the swearing by the ‘grandfather’s grave’ calmed him down like a tranquilliser. I promise you. ‘Let me put down the gun and clean the tears from your lovely eyes. She had accidentally stumbled upon the secret of that psychopathic mind of his. ‘Are you all right.’ He returned to his normal self. . as she wiped tears from her eyes. I hate people crying .’ ‘All right then . 66 . don’t cry. When they reached their car. . ‘What are we doing here?’ ‘Nothing. she walked and then ran towards him and collapsed into his arms. the police took both of them to the police car and went straight to the police station. .’ ‘Thank you. all right.’ ‘I won’t cry.

now a man of means. there will be disorder even in heaven. ‘Oh no? Is he crossing the Rubicon?’ ‘Maybe. ‘A letter from St Thomas School concerning George?’ ‘No. You must be joking!’ ‘A letter from a nyai.’ ‘Is he really returning to Sarawak?’ ‘I haven’t got a clue unless he had made enough money or H. The minute he touches Sarawak soil. or Ranee has again been sucked in by him with his tearful. Nothing like that. sad stories. had stopped at Singapore for a few weeks trying to find out the latest information about the Rajah and Sarawak. ‘It’s from the “Baron”. I am not sure.Chapter 12 ‘D Mei Ling.’ Stephen smiled. ‘The resignation of an officer from the outstations?’ guessed . look what I’ve got here. wrongly addressed to you or a nyai in the wild catching up with you or even perhaps.’ ‘I give up.H.’ Stephen could not understand why women by nature always think another woman must be involved and always put the worst construction possible on any innocent situation.’ Stephen was surprised to receive a letter marked ‘Private and Confidential’.’ ‘A letter from Siew Fong?’ ‘No.’ Gerald. ‘No.’ ‘Why does he write to you?’ 67 arling. some lady you know that I don’t?’ ‘No. Perhaps he is hoping for a second chance.

Wait and see.’ ‘No. and Sarawak officers.H.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Probably because he knows he can trust me not to tell anybody on the Committee of Administration or in the Administrative Service.’ ‘What are you going to do?’ ‘Do nothing.’ ‘What will he achieve?’ ‘The outstanding confusing and conflicting issues of female succession still give him a chance to make himself an eligible candidate for the seat of future Rajah of Sarawak by converting himself to Islam. That’s the information I received.’ ‘I thought Peter had grand ideas to shape up the whole Brooke establishment—improving education. I am more concerned with the intrigues he will create again for H. transportation and the communication system.’ ‘I feel a chill down my spine whenever he is near me. I wouldn’t go that far.’ ‘We’ll see. I tell you.’ ‘But where is the money?’ ‘I hear he is full of ideas and an incorrigible idealist. disarming smiles and the tinge of madness that can trigger him to do irrational things.’ ‘Yes. Perhaps this is the time for me to consider accepting the post of Manager of The Borneo Company and resigning as the Resident. I just have the feeling that Vyner might sell out his interest in the Rajahship to the British government. Somehow I have a hunch that by hook or by crook he will make all sorts of promises to H. I want to see what moves he makes first. there will be a lot of fireworks. the health service.’ ‘Well. now that Gerald is likely to come back and Peter is heading like a steamroller for a collision with Gerald and the Rajah.H. He thinks that all women are born to serve him and that that is a service or blessing for womankind.’ ‘You ought to stop him. It’s not my duty to stop him. and Ranee to get a passport to Sarawak. He knows I am quite discreet.’ 68 .’ ‘Really? I have that feeling too.’ ‘What on earth gives you that feeling?’ ‘It’s perhaps his penetrating grey-green eyes. Now Peter Brooke is coming to Sarawak after a year’s training in the Straits Settlement. Anyway all these matters are incidental. You just watch!’ ‘What does Shenton Thomas [the Governor of Singapore] think of Gerald and Peter?’ ‘He doesn’t trust Gerald but he likes Peter on the face of it. Vyner is different from his father who was an empire-builder.

I know he is a compulsive intriguer and complete crook. . I just want to see my old friends there and see what developments have taken place there since I left. and a royal command a formal proclamation. a fact a royal command.’ ‘Are you sure you can keep your promise not to join or upset the establishment?’ queried the Rajah sceptically. ‘Cross my heart over my mother’s grave. but nuts as usual. There was really 69 . he had sold a big portion of the stocks and bonds left to him by his father-in-law. How’s life?’ ‘Could be very much better if Your Highness would allow me just to visit my old friends back in Sarawak. I know he is ambitious and unscrupulous.’ However at the back of her mind. ‘Your Highness. he was ready to re-embark on his political adventures in Sarawak.’ ‘Your Highness and Ranee. I will not dabble in politics or rejoin the establishment.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘We will consider it and let you know by the end of the month.’ ‘Thank you. with Gerald you can’t put your finger on him. . Secretly. ‘I am not sure if that is judicious. An appointment was made to see them. Through Bertram.’ ‘Good to see you. He will get those who are in good terms with him to canvass support for his stay in Sarawak. he learnt of Rajah Vyner’s and the Ranee’s arrival in England. ‘What do you think.1918-1941                             In early 1935. He is very unpredictable like English weather. A flippant whim might become a fact. I will not join the service. Evelyn was told by Gerald to go back to Adelaide from London to settle some outstanding matters on her father’s estate. badly. he has less reason to be ambitious. she thought perhaps Gerald would make himself indispensable to the Rajah who one day might make him his successor since they had no son. He is wonderful. Sarinah.’ Her instinct told her. Mip?’ asked Vyner. Gerald. I bet he wants to see his lover. Now. ‘Perhaps you are right. I swear to God. he looked sincere. I promise you that. I sincerely hope that I will not be disappointed. but he amuses me. Sarawak will always have a special place in my heart. I gather now he is quite well off. I enjoyed watching him and trying to work out his next move. ‘Well. welcome back to England.’ Then the Ranee joined in the conversation.’ Gerald then left.’ ‘Maybe . But on the other hand he will play politics with Datu Bandar and the other Datus. Perhaps.

This time I am going to stay. Gerald asked Datu Amar and Datu Menteri to request the Rajah to let him reenter the Sarawak service. Honest to God. the Datu Bandar on learning Gerald’s moves went to protest to the Rajah again.’ He was trying to placate her. so much. his former residence. Don’t worry. Do you trust me?’ ‘Of course. while they were back between the sheets after a heavy session of love-making. but instead in the Rajah Arms Hotel. H. Sarinah came to see him and spent the night with him to resavour the long-awaited delights of the reunion of body and soul. Now I am quite well off. I needed money and a place to recover my health. In the Sarawak Club. Gerald was careful not to stay in ‘Bedil’. . ‘It’s so nice to be with you. who continued to trust and rely on him. despite her past relationship with Gerald.H.’ ‘That’s good. under the influence of drink. I’ll do anything you want me to do.Twilight of the White Rajahs nothing to stop Gerald’s intrigues and political ladder-climbing.                             On his arrival in Sarawak.H. No doubt. I promise you that. sometimes. Her family provided me both. I missed you for so long . By the end of the month. Being faithful to you. Thinking of you everyday. I always will. Gerald was heard to say that he would convert to Islam and one day he would be the Rajah of Sarawak and the Pan-Islamic Empire. immediately asked Gerald to be brought to his office. Perhaps. Very sick too. she did not have the heart to disillusion the Rajah. otherwise I would have died in Adelaide. 70 . Marry you if you want. the Chief Secretary. But you must follow my instructions whatever happens.’ ‘I am sorry that I have made you suffer on my account.’                             Incorrigible and itching for power.’ ‘What happens to your wife in Australia? ‘I have filed divorce papers in Australia through my lawyers already. Roger Parker. Somehow. . I swear to you. I can take you away. On the following day. Gerald was told he could come as a personal guest of the Rajah to Sarawak. next to the Astana where he had stayed briefly before. That’s my girl. about this incident and the unhappiness of the Committee of Administration. Things will change for the better now. I was destitute. the Rajah just feared Gerald in opposition or that he might get friendly with Peter Brooke.’ ‘It’s a long story. I needed that break. informed H. ‘Why did you marry an Australian? You never told me that.

former Private Secretary to Rajah Vyner Brooke. The following 71 . I can promise you that. Thank you for attending this farewell dinner.’ ‘Under the circumstances with so much pressure from Datu Bandar. this morning. a Singapore paper. Your Highness. Even Datu Bandar can confirm that. May all of you enjoy serving under the Sarawak flag and H.’ Gerald knew he had no choice. I have been thinking about it.’ ‘Can’t I stay a bit longer?’ ‘No. converted to Islam and took a Muslim wife”. what I do hear about your moves to get support to reinstate you in the Service through the Datus as well as your intention to become the future Rajah of Sarawak. Datu Iman can confirm that. The news flashed across the Straits Times.’ Next morning. Gerald.1918-1941 ‘Now. news of this speech aggravated the Rajah and Ranee all the more.’ ‘That’s all hearsay. Indeed. I told them that I had a dream of being the Rajah or Sultan of a Pan-Islamic Empire. Yes. he invited a few of his friends including Stephen to a farewell dinner at the Rajah Arms Hotel—which Mei Ling called optimistically the ‘Farewell to the Baron’. I’ll be on the next boat from Kuching in two days’ time with Sarinah. You have abused my hospitality. He was married the following week.’ ‘Did you say you wanted to convert to Islam. dressed in royal yellow robes adorned with sparkling jewellery. It was pretty clear that Gerald was playing games. The only redeeming feature was that Gerald would be married again but luckily in Singapore. my dear friends. If the Datus want me back. if you insist. Sarinah and I will be married in a few days time in Singapore. they do so on their own accord. playing with political fire. Gerald. he knew too well his own motive for conversion to Islam and marrying Sarinah—it was another way of getting sympathy and support from the Malays then and in the future.’ ‘I’ll go. the Committee of Administration and Administrative Service.’ ‘It’s a possibility. which carried the headline: “Gerald McBryan. otherwise he would have been barred or deported immediately. ‘This is my farewell dinner speech. But I will return one day. On the following night. Yes. ‘Farewell my friends. The article mentioned that he had set up a humble Haji fund to sponsor poor and needy Malays for their pilgrimage to Mecca. I have no choice but to request you to leave Sarawak when the MV Rajah Brooke sets sail in three days time. I have just been converted to Islam today. As for the future Rajahship. Pray for our happy marriage. I cannot have your political intrigues creating so much unhappiness among the Malay community and our establishment.H.

72 . He screamed like a madman. banging the table and kicking the door. not to show up at Pending Port. In no mood for compromise at the insult thrown at him. Just you wait. I’ll create history in Sarawak. What sensational news Gerald. notwithstanding his past service to the Sarawak Government. Gerald decided to test his resolve. Kuching. had created! Swearing and cursing at the police officers were useless. Shortly afterwards.’ The captain of the ship restrained him from creating further fuss and nuisance on board the ship. I want to let you know that the Sarawak government will deport Gerald upon his arrival in Sarawak. Datu Menteri and Datu Amar were instructed by H. Now. Gerald went ahead. I’ll have to remove or neutralise all the Datus there. despite the Rajah’s opposition. Sarawak still needs me. But even Mustapha was unable to calm Gerald down. The Rajah needs me. Sarawak still needs me. I swear to Allah. ‘Allah is on my side.H. I’ll return. I am Abdul Rahmat the Great. Shenton Thomas’ telephone rang. a senior officer who was an old friend. No white officer wanted to be there and so the duty fell upon Mustapha. At last. He has created such friction among the harmonious Malay community and he is trying to use Islam as a political issue over here.Twilight of the White Rajahs week. he wondered why fate had been so cruel to him. He told Gerald to stay on board the ship and leave when the ship set sail for Singapore. I’ll get even with those who oppose me. Publicly he declared that he would go to Kuching to select worthy Sarawak Muslims to go to Mecca to do their pilgrimage. On his arrival a police officer served him with a Deportation Order promulgated overnight by the Council Negri [in 1936] forbidding his entry at Pending Port. Your Excellency. Why such a meteoric rise and gigantic fall? Would that be the vicissitude of his life? Is Gerald McBryan history? No way. Gerald shook his right fist threateningly over the rails of the ship. imagining that he was a sultan leading the Saracens in challenging the infidels and Rajah of Sarawak. threatening to throw him into the South China Sea if he failed to behave.’ Despite the Governor of Singapore’s warning. Please advise him not to proceed to Sarawak. inside his cabin looking at the calm sea through the portholes. now better known as Abdul Rahmat. I’ll wait for the right time to return triumphantly like Julius Caesar to Rome. You bunch of chicken-brained nitwits. ‘This is Vyner.’ ‘I’ll do my best to convince him.

and a certain length of service. To convince the public McBryan wrote a critical feature article on the self-serving and inefficient Administrative Service and Committee of Administration of the Brookes. The ideas and details came from previous colleague of his: ‘The last thing on God’s earth that I want to become is a typical Sarawakian. pig-headed. is a very definite type. You may think that’s balls too.Chapter 13 A week later. ignorant and ill-mannered. or other countries. knows nothing of events in England. both of which vary of course with the individual. Without being too hard on him. he will show up just as badly as 73 . He had threatened to expose their private lifestyles in serials. If England is ever involved in another major war. Banning his re-entry to Sarawak was tantamount to the Brooke regime’s infringement of the freedom of religious worship. he’s narrow-minded. The slant of the article bore McBryan’s imprint: The reason why the Brookes were afraid of him returning to Sarawak to do a charitable work—to sponsor and select suitable Muslims for pilgrimage to Mecca—was that they were afraid that he would become the next Rajah of Sarawak one day because of his popularity. He has no interest in anything outside his immediate surroundings. but if you think a bit more. and cares less. you’ll agree with me that the Sarawak Government official of a certain age. the Straits Times reported that Gerald McBryan would disclose the ‘low downs’ of the Brooke regime.

Shortly afterwards. he schemed. He is against the British Government stepping in (not that they ever will. The Ranee published in the London Times. Having put up with a great deal of inconvenience.H. ‘ungrateful bastards’ were new labels for the Committee of Administration and Administrative Service. did they do so. he set off to Mecca with Sarinah. & because H. ‘villain’.. By 1939. is more easily gulled than any other man I ever dreamt of. lest he himself should become involved! Altogether. Day and night. even forgoing his leave at home. is also ‘wet’. he’s a very nasty bit of work—though he may superficially appear a rattling good sort. He knows he’s on a soft job. the eldest illegitimate child of Charles Brooke. that he would succeed as 74 . he had patiently waited for four years hoping for an opening. had written in the London Times claiming that he was next in line to inherit after the demise of Vyner. Gerald heard that Datu Shahbandar Haji Abdillah had been awarded the Datu Patinggi title. and he knows that H. Gerald found out that the Rajah and Ranee had returned to England for a brief holiday. during his service!’ ‘Traitor’. does at last see them in their true light. he would be out on his neck before he could even dispose of the money out of which he had swindled H. in our time at any rate) not because he thinks that the present regime is best for the native (an incorrect assumption even if it were genuine) but because he knows that.                             Meanwhile. and that he doesn’t stand a chance anywhere else.Twilight of the White Rajahs he did in the last. Immediately Gerald contacted Esca. and they know that even if H. though charming. he won’t be too hard on them! The final conclusion I reached long ago is that the senior official in this country is a time-server. Somerset Maugham’s books on the East. and in a great many cases he’s only here because he’s not fit to be anywhere else. However. A month later. he was financed and supported by a Canadian woman in league with an international oil company seeking to get oilfield grants from the Rajah of Sarawak. One morning he read that Esca.H. which are too true to life out here to be taken seriously by those he describes so well).H. Apparently. the Mecca authorities thought he was a fraud. That only infuriated him all the more.H. the grandson of Vyner. after the birth of Simon McKay. he vowed to have his revenge and create havoc for Sarawak. especially in the Club (cf. refining his master plan for returning to the Sarawak political arena. until they received telegraphic confirmation from the Iman in Sarawak that he had indeed been converted into Abdul Rahmat.

’ ‘What makes you so confident that he will change?’ ‘If I may suggest.’ ‘What?’ ‘The alternative is that if you don’t agree that Peter becomes the future Rajah. But there is an alternative. That’s the carrot. . How the Tuan Muda might react was something the Rajah dreaded to imagine. It’s an opportune time now to nominate Simon as the future Rajah. ‘I don’t know if the timing is right. In the meantime. A meeting was set up between Vyner and Esca and Gerald. Somewhere. ‘Your Highness. a lump sum settlement was music to the Rajah’s ears. Apart from which. One evening the Rajah and Ranee invited him again to their house.’ ‘How interesting! What’s the catch?’ ‘No catch. And the Datu Patinggi will imagine that he or other Malays will have the chance of being the Rajah one day. Your Highness. . That problem was temporarily solved. telling her that he could help them in solving the thorny problem of Esca and promised not to write a serial for The Times on the private lives of the Brookes. Gerald rang the Ranee. the son of Bertram.’ ‘I see . The Rajah and Ranee were impressed. what are your plans?’ Despite his outward objections. ‘Lord Inchcape supported the idea after he asked me for advice. you cede Sarawak to Britain for a lump sum in due course.’ said the Rajah. you’ll put a clause in the constitution declaring that “a Malay or a British subject shall be eligible to become the Rajah of Sarawak”.’ The Rajah and Ranee knew that the converse was the truth. as totally unsuitable and too hot-headed to be a Rajah of Sarawak. Gerald advised beforehand that a sum of £500 would shut the mouth of Esca.1918-1941 the next Rajah while completely writing off Peter. 75 . that only makes this alternative all the more attractive. ‘I have heard that Peter is arrogant and stubborn with too much self-confidence. it seems that war will break out again with Germany and of course the Japanese are being extremely aggressive in China. give Sarawak a constitution and Your Highness will surrender certain rights in exchange for a lump sum of money.’ ‘Yes. It helps that Datu Patinggi is one of those who believes that he can live up to 100 years old. notwithstanding Charles Brooke’s will. I think this time we can convince Datu Patinggi. In the meantime.’ advised Gerald.’ ‘That would be unthinkable! That’s alien to the Brooke tradition and way of thinking. Gerald had acquired some social stature in London. having made some more money on stocks and bonds.

I always wanted to do that. You are already spending more and more time in England.’ ‘If H. I apologise for my emotional outburst at that time.’ ‘That’s an excellent idea. The female succession is still uncertain.’ ‘And don’t forget that war seems imminent. Please do put them in touch. Yes $1.000. All of them were very appealing—even if he knew Gerald was an evil genius. ‘I don’t know if it’s a good idea.’ 76 .’ ‘That’s good. Sarawak hardly has that sort of money. No more impulsive actions otherwise I will be forced to take similar action as in the previous case in Pending Port in front of my officers and people of Sarawak who look up to the Rajah. I am serious about these conditions. ‘Besides.’ These proposals warmed the Rajah’s heart. And allow me to take Sarinah. I have grown out of that.H.’ The Ranee seemed very pleased that at last Gerald was thinking of making some financial arrangements in Sarawak for their future retirement. incidentally.’ Ranee was elated. both of you already realise that the golden years of your life in Sarawak are over. you can depart for New York next month by plane. my wife. to Sarawak to see her parents. I guarantee you that that’s a winning point.000. Your Highness and Ranee there is a time for everything. Your Highness.’ ‘That’s a lot of money indeed. ‘Ranee. say $1. agrees.’ ‘That’s quite true.’ ‘Yes. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. giving away your day-to-day power and certain rights as Rajah-in-Council in exchange for a financial settlement. Gerald added.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Please clear my name in Sarawak so that I can return there to visit my friends. Strike while the iron is hot.’ ‘So long as you assure me that you will not create any trouble with the establishment—no political involvement—no more religious incitement—then I can allow you to visit Sarawak. They are interested in making a film about the adventures of Rajah James Brooke in Borneo.’ ‘Can you expand?’ ‘It is quite simple. I am glad to hear that. we can ask the British Government also for a financial settlement for the surrender of the Rajahship. As I have already mentioned—propose a constitution for Sarawak. we can set up a Sarawak Trust Fund in England for selected poor Sarawakians to further their studies here.’ ‘There is another very attractive financial angle to your future “retirement” from Sarawak. Moreover. I have certain powerful Hollywood friends who are directors and actors. But Vyner resisted.000.000.

 .’ Gerald then left a happier man. it would not be a bad idea for the Ranee to stay for a while in New York or Hollywood.’ ‘Now put that in black and white. which relates to affairs of other than a strictly personal character.’ The Rajah gave him some blank paper. . Your Highness. the Rajah nodded approvingly. . Furthermore. .’ ‘I swear it. ‘I will clear your name in Sarawak and Singapore. could deliver the package for his retirement.’ ‘Gerald. thank you for your brilliant idea. ‘On second thought. Your Highness. you agree to my humble suggestion.’ ‘Thank you. I undertake to reside in Sarawak as a private individual and shall not take part in political affairs or hold any official post.’ ‘Your reentry to Sarawak is conditional to your strict undertaking that you reside there as a private individual and do not take part in political affairs or apply for any official post. ‘What do you make of Gerald?’ The Ranee asked. do hereby enter into this solemn and binding obligation of my free will and accord and furthermore I undertake to refrain from conducting correspondence with anybody living in Sarawak. either native or European.1918-1941 ‘It’s a pretty good idea. I also undertake to refrain from writing in books.’ Vyner knew the reason for Gerald’s suggestion—to keep the Ranee away from Sarawak so that they could have a wild time together. Signed Gerald McBryan’ After reading the letter of undertaking. the evil genius. Gerald wrote his own undertaking: ‘I. journals or letter anything which is in any way detrimental to the interests of yourself or Sarawak and which is calculated to disturb or confound the public policy of the Rajah of Sarawak. ‘I am glad .’ Rajah Vyner knew that only Gerald. Gerald McBryan. And further. Ranee could write another book “Queen of the Headhunters”.’ ‘Before you leave can I have your letter of undertaking?’ ‘Certainly. 77 . .

Indeed you may. But little did he realise that in real life Rajah James Brooke was never interested in women. But I must change the basic story.’ Brushing his hair with the tips of his fingers and sitting directly opposite her on a beige velvet couch and turning on his charm. He had never married. ‘The Ranee of Sarawak. I know what Hollywood wants. may I give you a piece of advice?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Ranee.’ 78 . you may know how to write. James Brooke the Buccaneer. I have the first draft of the script. Flynn continued. Flynn’s proposal was unhistorical. we can use Gerald to neutralise him when the need arises.’ Of course. and they collapsed at his feet . I will not allow that. .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Well. it would be an insult to the Brooke family and tarnish James’s real image as a romantic hero.’ After a few introductory pleasantries. now with Peter Brooke struggling for power and position. In a Beverly Hills white-painted sitting room. But this is a historical novel and story—at least the film must be based on a great degree on a true life of the First Rajah of Sarawak. Something like this. ‘I hear that you write well and plan to produce a film on “The Adventures of Rajah James Brooke”. Is that true?’ ‘Yes. Errol Flynn. ‘I have read the basic theme of your story from your agent. the lights suddenly brightened dramatising his grand entry. The late Rajah James’ spirit would rise from the grave to haunt Sylvia for the rest of her life if she were to change the basic theme. To do otherwise would be an insult to the Brooke family and the people of Sarawak. was a stowaway in the ship before he landed in Sarawak . . He was the hottest item in Hollywood then.’ ‘I doubt the leopard will ever change its spots. . also the romantic hero. Mr Flynn. Errol acted as if he was the director. he had such sexual prowess and appetite that no woman could resist him. producer and scriptwriter of a Hollywood movie. the light was dim. As Errol Flynn walked down the circular staircase. I presume.’                             Hollywood agents arranged a meeting for the Ranee with Hollywood’s sexiest male heart-throb.’ ‘Now. it was the sort of Casanova role for which Errol Flynn was famous and popularly known at that time. Now we always have a ready weapon to answer Bertram and Gladys and even Peter with. Never a stowaway! ‘No. what people expect from Hollywood movies and actors. he showed his legendary asset glaringly between his legs inside his tight white trousers. . He had been an adventurer in the heroic mould.’ ‘That I agree.

Mr Flynn.’ Finding no opening in Hollywood.’ ‘Give me a call tomorrow.’ ‘Sorry.’ ‘Goodbye. I understand the movie business better than you.1918-1941 ‘But let’s not forget that this is Hollywood. 79 . I can’t act in that pathetic role. I’ll not act in it. the Ranee returned to England much to the chagrin of the Rajah and Gerald.’ ‘I’ll do that. under these circumstances I think there is nothing more to discuss.’ ‘The story stays as it is and no script is to be written with a different storyline. Your story will not sell. Maybe you will find other actors and movie directors who agree with you.’ ‘If you stick to your story. not a museum nor a documentary film archive. Let me think about it. it will be a failure. Good luck.’ ‘Well. I can’t be of much help.

snatched the topee. Gerald became restless.’ After slight hesitation. I do find it difficult to make ends meet. ‘Your Highness. This was clear on a visit to the Astana. I have to do my part. Your Highness. if my wife’s Malay relatives come for help. 80 .’ ‘I am not sure. ran towards the raintree and held the topee by the leather strap while climbing up. ‘Come down. ‘Thank you. Be obedient.Chapter 14 A few weeks after arriving in Sarawak.’ Gerald suggested to Stephen.’ the Rajah commented. financial or otherwise.’ ‘How about letting me be the assistant curator of the Sarawak Museum? That’s strictly not a political post. Your Highness. You know the local custom very well. ‘I know how to fix him. The minute he became the Assistant Curator. Gerald invited Stephen and Mei Ling to his house for afternoon tea under the raintree in the garden of his house on Rubber Road. with Peter Brooke now entering Sarawak politics. Biba. But without work. the Rajah agreed to his request. Kuching.’ Within a few minutes. I did promise that I would not enter into politics or rejoin the Brookes’ service.’ ‘It won’t be easy.’ The monkey grinned with his teeth while swinging the topee with its right hand on the branch. ‘Let me put your topee on the other chair. bring down the topee. you naughty wawak. a wawak monkey called Biba came around. it’s time I offered my services to handle him until his life becomes so unbearable that he will resign on his own accord.

’ ‘I have no doubt about that. He is young. Biba.1918-1941 ‘Throw it down. give him a chance.’ ‘No. Why have you not invited me along?’ ‘I thought you were too busy. He needs to knock his head against the wall for a while before he finds common sense. Soon Gerald came out wearing his white topee. You will find me very useful. Mei Ling suggested to Gerald that he get his own topee and throw it down on the ground. both for the AS [Administrative Service] and CA [Committee of Administration]. There are of course complications. Come down. mentioned it a year ago. .H. Gerald ran to catch it. Muruts.’ Stephen knew that Gerald was fishing to see how closely their ideas conformed. I can speak Kenyah. and the Tuan Muda to resolve their working relationships and future succession. It’s up to H. ‘Now let’s have some tea in peace. Gerald took a banana and gave it to Biba and patted his head. A rough diamond needs time to be polished.’ ‘Well. After a minute. Well H.’ Gerald sighed. Biba also threw down the topee.’ Biba complied and climbed down and walked towards the table.’ 81 . After all. changes his mind very often. if you like.’ ‘I haven’t a clue.’ ‘What do you think of drawing up a constitution for the Rajah which delegates certain authority with limits to the Supreme Council and Council Negri?’ ‘That’s would be part of a logical evolutionary process. Datu Patinggi with a big section of the Malays would strongly oppose cession. I stayed there for many years in Limbang and the surrounding region. Quickly. ‘Biba look!’ He took his topee off and then threw it on the ground. ‘Throw it . Biba walked away smiling. ‘I hear you are organising an Oxford—Cambridge trip to upper Baram for biological-anthropological studies.’ Biba looked and shook his head. ‘Good boy.’ Still the monkey shook its head.’ ‘I hear Peter is creating a lot of problems. going from partially to fully representative government or semi-responsible to fully responsible government. I can be free at any time. .H. Kelabits. I’ll give you a banana.’ ‘I doubt he will ever change. ‘Do you think it would be a good idea to cede Sarawak to the British government one day?’ ‘I have heard H.H.

He can come out with ten ideas within ten minutes. It was all a misunderstanding and wrong judgement on my part.’ In Stephen’s heart he knew their interests were quite different. I was too emotional always wanting fast results. would Gerald remember his friends—until then they were merely stepping stones on his ambitious path towards becoming a kingmaker. he will clash with Gerald.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘That I know.’ ‘That is not a problem. he does have a lot of practical ideas about the future for Sarawak. On grounds of poverty and boredom. Who knows one day perhaps I can do something for you. There are no permanent enemies or friends.’ ‘I know that. I see your point. And.                             ‘Stephen. Only in an hour of dire need. would go a long way.’ ‘That’s what I am afraid of. he has undertaken not to write in the foreign press anything bad about Sarawak.’ ‘I agree absolutely with you.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Yes. sooner or later. You know. there was never anything personal between us on your previous dismissal and deportation. he is now asking for a return to his previous post of Private Secretary.’ ‘Peter and Tuan Muda would be deadly opposed to it too. Isn’t he happy with the museum job?’ ‘He seems restless.’ ‘A word from you would help. especially from you. as a friend of McBryan do you object him joining the Service?’ asked Rajah Vyner over the afternoon tea on the verandah of the Astana. If you can make use of his talent under control.’ ‘I appreciate that. I had the whole establishment against me.’ ‘I see you are serious in rejoining the Service again. it’s quite useful at times too. Life goes in circles sometimes. but only permanent interests.’ ‘I think you are right. However. I’ve borne that in mind. Third party support.’ ‘That’s a matter within Your Highness’ discretion. ‘I have no personal quarrel with him.’ ‘That will be good if he keeps his word.’ ‘With Peter going so strong against the establishment. he can serve you well.’ ‘I know.’ 82 . although I will not be popular with the establishment. You need to curb his instinct and tendency to overstep his power and to step on other people’s toes unnecessarily.’ ‘On the other hand. I agree.’ ‘Will you support me in rejoining the Service?’ ‘I see no objection personally.

Sibu. Mei Ling.’ ‘Don’t you see that it is also odd to have such heavy and continuous rain in July which is always the hottest month in Sarawak?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Don’t be ridiculous. according to Chinese belief. Simanggang and Kuching towns were flooded. Some even have yellow. But I’m going to keep them in the museum. Kuching was flooded and the flood didn’t ebb until three red turtles were released near Muara Tebas. the Chinese Kapitan in Kuching has seen me many times about this matter. the flood may rise to the Sarawak Museum level if these turtles are not released. The Japanese keep them as pets and the people in Hong Kong cook them with ginseng to be taken as a aphrodisiac.’ ‘Suit yourself. there’s a ceremony that the Chinese Buddhists would like to conduct in a Buddhist manner. I promised him that I will try my best to release them to appease the gods they worship—I believe especially the Heng Hua fishermen. one with red and other with albino colouring had been caught by fishermen and sent to the Sarawak Museum where they were kept inside a special tank. generally in terms of eras or decades. told me the same story.’ ‘That’s is absolute nonsense!’ ‘Strange as it may sound. Gerald requested Banks to release them. Edward Banks. Don’t you know that. green and golden marks on their heads with red eyes. ‘Why? They are rare turtles. yet it rained for seven days and seven nights.’ ‘Yes. About forty years ago. Don’t you agree?’ ‘But the whole thing just looks so preposterous. Callagur Borneensis. why offend local sentiment? Mr Ong Teng Sam. the weather in Sarawak should have been hot and dry. so that they can swim free by themselves.’ 83 .1918-1941                             By July. wanted to keep these rare turtles for study.’ ‘Even if the flood level doesn’t rise that high. weather does change from time to time. The local people learnt that two rare turtles.’ ‘The Buddhists and the Chinese in Kuching town have appealed to the Rajah to release those turtles to reduce the floods. Stephen’s wife.’ ‘That could be pure coincidence. turtles are relatives of the Sea God?’ ‘Couldn’t they use some other turtles? There were plenty on the Indonesian Borneo Kalimantan side as well as in Sumatra. I agree it might just be superstition but why don’t we play it safe? The cost of releasing these turtles is negligible but the good publicity and goodwill it will generate is tremendous. the Curator of the Sarawak Museum. The Chinese there take them as gourmet delicacies. I’m sure those would do just as well.

He created a name for himself. . . Gerald went to Muara Tebas to release the turtles personally supervising the Buddhists’ charity and burning of ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ underworld paper money. our society and the accumulated tradition and cultural heritage of an historic past. Sure enough.’ ‘That may be true but . To the Chinese it was the most popular public deed ever done by Gerald.’ ‘But if Mr Ong appeals directly to H. It was one of the few good and selfless deeds that Gerald had ever done. there are things in metaphysics beyond mortal comprehension. Religious belief is philosophy touched with emotion and the metaphysics of the people. there are things in religion.’ Edward finally gave in. then we will be in the shit-house if we resist their request. belief and philosophy that are beyond mortal knowledge and comprehension. 84 . It’s a phase of a people’s total interaction with the objective world of nature.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Edward.H. the rain stopped and the flood subsided. as soon as those two turtles were released back into the Sarawak River.

these features signified that he would be intelligent. According to the Chinese art of face reading. Peter Brooke. But that pear-shaped face was associated with the element of fire and the planet Mars (Fire Star) and the eyebrows too close to his eyes would signify that he would have a tendency to flare up at times apart from being stubborn and egoistic. 85 . a ‘shen’ pear-shaped face with prominent cheek bones. an idealistic and stubborn young man. Gerald knew Peter would make errors through his stubbornness and steamroll his way through the Committee of Administration—the modern secretariat. with firm and well-defined lips. the land of the sago. denoted a man who would attain high office at a certain time of his life. full of ideas and with the expectation of being the logical next heir to the throne. As Gerald knew too well already. his ‘dragon’ mouth.Chapter 15 O ut of the dark clouds overhanging the horizon of Sarawak came the sun shooting through with rays of hope. six months of running Sarawak would give enough rope for Peter to hang himself sooner or later. bald at the front. compassionate. he was made Rajah Muda and assumed the mantle of the Administrative Service just before the Rajah and Ranee went on holiday to England. To make a mark in the Brookes’ history with ideas formed during his undergraduate days in Cambridge was his aim. Peter Brooke had a high forehead. but also emotional and domineering. fleshy at its tip with no visible nostrils. His pointed long ears indicated that he would have a long life but also be a sensitive and determined person. made an impressive entry into the Sarawak political fray. After six months serving as the District Officer at Mukah. The romantic idea of decentralisation according to the Brooke tradition was what Peter wanted to achieve—to reverse the Chief Secretary’s centralisation policy in the face of a weak autocrat. ‘yue mei’ eyebrows—refined and slightly arched—and a ‘goat’ nose.

Your Highness? This is the most ridiculous suggestion I ever heard. We would be a laughing stock. Disciplinary action is an internal matter. The advance payments of $40. ‘But it is quite unusual for the Brooke Administration to bail out the private debts of its officers. Calling outsiders in will compromise the sovereignty of Sarawak. Bintulu.000—however good the intention—were totally irregular and against standing orders. This is especially true for officers serving in the Administrative Service in the outstations in Simanggang. He reinstated him.’ Peter protested to the Rajah in the presence of the Chief Secretary. The Colonial Office loves to see us weak and looking stupid.000 to pay off their debts on the undertaking that deductions would be made against their future salaries. ‘It’s about time I restored some dignity and pride to our officers—but not with empty stomachs.Twilight of the White Rajahs All the Brookes’ expatriate officers in debt were given loans amounting to $40. 86 . Chief Secretary. Absolutely no. Their positions could be compromised. Miri and Baram.’ defended the Chief Secretary. always surrounded by the sycophants who cling to the coat-tails of power. ‘Your Highness why don’t we engage some independent judges from Singapore to be advised by Shenton Thomas to head the enquiry into Jenkins’ case?’ requested the Chief Secretary.’ ‘Fine. and the Chinese merchants extended credit to them using their indebtedness as a security. Almost all the expatriate officers are in debt. No way. ‘Why should we.’ Rajah Vyner could not tolerate Singapore nor the British government being involved in any sensitive issue which might compromise the sovereignty of the Rajah. All the other senior officers of the AS as well as of the CA made bitter complaints against Peter—he was too superstitious. No.’ The Rajah put Gerald’s proposal to them. Sarawak should resolve Sarawak matters internally as far as possible. The CA apparently has challenged my authority and they wrongly dismissed Jenkins.’ Rajah Vyner clarified. considering the sacrifices they make in the wilderness. A close associate by the name of Jenkins had been sacked. Sarawak is an independent country. ‘This is not exactly regular. He thought winning a little bit of popularity with the Administrative Service (AS) would not do any harm. you will act as the Chairman of the Investigation Committee. Sibu.H. As for Jenkins. Peter had anticipated that the Chief Secretary would make that fatal suggestion. Roger Parker. promoted officers on the basis of their horoscopes. Rajah Muda.’ ‘Quite right. Peter. he would not take advice from anyone and he. We must not allow Singapore to interfere in what is basically a minor domestic problem. the Chief Secretary will give you all the files pertaining to Jenkins’ case. ‘I demand an enquiry from H. That was Peter’s first salvo.

at the Astana. that’s in the past. why don’t you be the judge?’ Peter suggested.’ retorted the Chief Secretary. including the Chief Justice who was given the option of becoming a Judicial Commissioner if he so wished. and all motor cars.                             One evening. an old-fashioned Brooke loyalist. That I admit. ox carts and rickshaws were ordered to be drawn to one side of the road at his approach.’ 87 . when they were alone together. the Ranee spoke to Gerald. your memo on the same issue to me is puerile and farcical.’ ‘Thank you. you can say it’s a bit irregular. the office of Chief Justice in Sarawak was abolished and the office of Judicial Commissioner was created. changed his testimony during the enquiry and curried favour with Peter and subsequently was rewarded with the post of Chief Secretary. ‘Gerald. Discretion is the better part of valour. reversing the CA’s previous policies and changes. ‘That is a special case. let me draw your kind attention to the fact that it is against standing orders for the Tuan Muda to leave Mukah without permission from the Committee of Administration. Only if the Rajah is out of the way and when the time is right and if you have the right cards. Peter started to display blatant symptoms of folie de grandeur. the whole CA resigned. you could act as the advisor or eminence grise to him.’ The Rajah interjected: ‘Chief Secretary. not wrong in anyway. without asking help from judges from Singapore. Now I am more circumspect. One of the CA members named Matthew Cable. I made some terrible mistakes. To think of six grown men—senior men in the government. Perhaps in an attempt to outdo the ‘Baron’. at the “Bedil”.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Your Highness. On the issue of succession. Worst. a junior officer. I am also acting in the capacity of the Rajah Muda too. Your Highness. Expecting the worst. The whole situation just looks too ridiculous. you were too ambitious claiming yourself to be the next Rajah of Sarawak in that press release. Under his instructions a gold cardboard crown was mounted on to his car. who have sat and deliberated together for many years not having the courage to face a single boy. since he is also the Rajah Muda. now that Leonora has Simon McKay. he criticised the whole Brooke government and canvassed for ‘reform’—decentralisation with more powers given to the Administrative Service in the outstations. At one sweep. but. I think that Peter is totally unfit to be the next Rajah. Ranee.1918-1941 ‘Mr Parker. will you be able to stay next door. I just don’t quite see how Singapore judges—learned men though they may be—can adjudicate on the future policy of Sarawak.

Twilight of the White Rajahs

‘You’ve hit the nail on the head. Shall we fry him?’ ‘Tell H.H. that he stood on ceremony. I have concrete proofs.’ ‘I bet H.H. will dismiss with him on that ground alone. H.H. hates that most. Besides, by popularising himself with Datu Patinggi and certain sections of the Malay community he is canvassing support as the next Rajah. That’s dangerous. We must stop him at all costs, Gerald. We must discredit him at all costs. Isn’t that right?’ ‘Yes, I’ll arrange that, Ranee. Trust me. It will be worth your while to advise H.H. to retain me say, as Private Secretary again, otherwise I have no capacity to act and help you. Peter has created a new situation for me where I can render my humble services again. If I resumed my position as Private Secretary, any time you were in need of my service, I’d be around.’ ‘How do you propose to fix Peter?’ ‘I hear that he has ordered some expensive furniture for the British General Adviser who might take up a post in Sarawak. He stood on ceremony. His public behaviour on the roads make him look like some tinpot dictator. I am sure the Rajah will be furious. And I hear Peter is going on honeymoon soon after marrying one of the junior officers’ daughters.’ ‘Good. I know Peter has no class and absolutely no taste in marrying such a commoner! What else?’ ‘You will see later. H.H. will know what to do.’ A week later, while Peter was on his honeymoon trip to Bangkok, unexpectedly he received a letter of reprimand from the Rajah who demanded the order for the expensive furniture to be cancelled. Further, he requested Peter to take up extended leave. Fury and curses were all Peter could think of. He suspected that Gerald, the Ranee and unhappy senior officers in the CA who were more qualified than him to head the Administrative Service were behind this humiliating censure. Datu Menteri and Datu Amar complained to the Rajah that Peter was dividing and ruling the Malay community, befriending the Datu Patinggi and making Mustapha the Deputy Commissioner of Police without the Rajah’s prior consent. Mustapha was in Datu Patinggi’s camp at that time. Three months later, Peter was summoned to the Astana and given the grounds for his dismissal. ‘My dear Tuan Muda, it breaks my heart that after I returned from holiday I discovered that you had created such a mess: First of all, I asked you to cancel the order of the furniture you ordered for the British General Adviser. You refused. Secondly, you would not take advice even from the new members of the CA except from your cronies. You promote people based on their horoscopes. And you stood on ceremony. You have ordered that all carts and trishaws to be moved to the side of the street before you pass. And you have requested the


Singapore Government to provide you police motorcade because you are the Rajah Muda. Are these allegations true?’ ‘Yes, but not exactly in the way you presented them.’ ‘I only want the answer “yes” or “no”, none of this “yes but”.’ ‘As the Rajah Muda, I act in the way I think best for the administration of Sarawak.’ ‘Didn’t you criticise my way of government?’ ‘Yes, but only to improve it.’ ‘You reversed your previous proposed reforms with your new reforms namely centralising power again to the top?’ ‘It’s my opinion now that the powers of administration should always be held by the Rajah himself, and he should act on what he thinks is fair and just.’ ‘You are asking the administrators to go back to the Dark Ages. One minute decentralisation, another minute centralisation.’ ‘I beg to differ. The soul of the Brooke tradition must be kept at all costs.’ ‘But we must move forward, and be consistent too.’ ‘With respect, I have different ideas for running the government now.’ ‘I see. It sounds dictatorial. You don’t need anybody else’s advice. Very soon, even my advice. You change procedures in government departments without consultation. You sack people who disagree with you. This is just too much. You even filled the important post of Assistant Commissioner of Police, always held by expatriates, without my consent. I can’t do anything else now. Should I reverse your decision, I will have all the Kuching Malays on my back. You don’t know what you have done. If what you have done so far is anything to go by, God help us all! Brooke rule will die of terminal cancer. Therefore, I will write to your father on the grounds that I have to relieve you of your duties and take away the Rajah Muda title by proclamation.’ ‘I protest strongly at this high-handed action. I will complain to Sir Shenton Thomas and the British government.’ ‘You can do what you deem fit and proper as a member of the Brooke family. The rest I leave to your own good judgement. You have to bear the consequences of all your actions. You may leave now. Your father will explain everything to you.’ On the following day, there and then, unceremoniously Peter was stripped of his title of Rajah Muda by formal proclamation. Shenton Thomas so far had been supporting Peter who suggested a British General Adviser could be a useful link between the Brookes and the British government. On hearing of this proclamation he telegrammed the Rajah that it was ‘malicious and libellous’ to promulgate an order stripping Peter of his title. Gerald was the villain behind it, as far as the Governor in Singapore was concerned.

Twilight of the White Rajahs

The Rajah’s explanation was simply not acceptable to Shenton Thomas. Standing on ceremony and the other alleged offences committed were not serious grounds for the dismissal of Peter. But the governor did not want to be entangled in Brooke family feuds. He could not do anything. Peter was a sad and lonely man. Matthew Cable and Gerald drafted the proclamation stating that Peter was ‘not yet fitted to exercise the responsibilities of his high position’. Peter found that to be the most humiliating allegation—a mortal wound even to his soul. On his speedy return to England, Peter went to see his father, complaining bitterly against the Rajah. But his father advised Peter: ‘Least said, soonest mended’. Indeed, Gerald helped to draft a letter for the Rajah to Bertram and Peter, before Peter left Sarawak:
.  .  .  no one could have started off under fairer auspices than Peter did! I blame myself for putting too much power in Peter’s inexperienced hands. What it all comes down to, Peter, is that you are not fitted for the position. I don’t say this from any feeling of jealousy, vindictiveness or anything of that kind, as I was quite ready to resign, at no distant date, and give over to you. But this would now be impossible. Rumours of my impending resignation have got about the place and I have stacks of petitions from everyone asking me to stay as long as I possibly can, to which I have consented. I hope Peter will return to Sarawak, work his way up in the Service and regain the position of trust and honour he once held.

Bertram explained to his wife, when queried. ‘Vyner hasn’t done it just for fun. He is fearfully perturbed by the idea that Peter with what amounts to dictatorial powers, even temporarily, might suddenly see fit to use them—with the best intentions—in a way which might be injurious to Sarawak, or antagonise those with whom he is working.’ Gerald’s plan had worked. ‘Now, Gerald, I’ll make you my political adviser,’ smiled Rajah Vyner. ‘Thank you. Thank you . . . Your Highness. I’ll never fail you.’

In the spirit of the centenary year of 1941, on the issue of the Annexation of Sarawak, with Gerald as his political adviser, the Rajah went to see the Sultan of Brunei on Limbang annexed in 1890 by the late Rajah Charles Brooke.


Gerald knew the background very well as during his early service there he had met several Pengirans of the Brunei Sultan who were now good friends of his. Gerald spoke on behalf of Vyner. ‘On behalf of the Sarawak government, there will be an offer for the settlement of Limbang on the following terms and conditions: (i) $20,000 to be paid to the Sultan of Brunei for Sarawak sovereign rights over Limbang for the previous fifty years and thereafter $1,000 per annum in perpetuity. (ii) A cash payment of $60,000 and $6,000 per annum in perpetuity to the Pengiran for their surrender of tulin rights. (iii) Pensions amounting to $4,000 per annum to the descendants of Rajah Muda Hassim. (iv) A wedding present for the Pengiran Muda Omar Ali, the Sultan’s younger brother.’ All the while in Brunei, Gerald used his name Haji Abdul Rahmat and dressed like an Arab prince. Despite the British Residents’ contrary advice in Brunei, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, who had the same problem as Rajah Vyner, having no male heir, wanted his daughter, Tuanku Ehsan, to succeed him instead of his younger brother, Pengiran Muda Omar Ali. It was secretly agreed that the Sultan would emphasise to the British government that Sarawak originally belonged to Brunei and that under the laws of Brunei the succession could pass to the eldest daughter if there were no male heirs, and therefore the Rajah’s eldest daughter, Leonora, should be allowed to succeed her father in Sarawak. After a week’s stay, Gerald went back to Sarawak with the Rajah basking in his diplomatic success. The CA was happy until Singapore intervened. Sir Shenton Thomas forced McBryan and Rajah Vyner to beat a sheepish retreat and cancel the agreements signed with Brunei. Gerald was charged with transmitting illegal messages from Brunei to Kuching as under the Treaty of 1888 between Sarawak and Brunei, Gerald had breached military regulations. Gerald had overlooked that fine legal point. The defence before the Governor at Singapore that it was merely a personal matter between the Rajah and the Sultan was not accepted by Sir Shenton Thomas. ‘Besides, I would like to remind you that Gerald has to go back to England to serve in the war against Germany.’ ‘Your Excellency, may I suggest a deferment since I am in charge of the centenary celebrations in Sarawak,’ pleaded Gerald submissively. ‘Yes, that’s absolutely correct. I would like him to be in Sarawak,’ supported the Rajah.

Twilight of the White Rajahs

After a momentary hesitation, Sir Shenton Thomas replied, ‘All right, in that case serve after the centenary celebrations in Sarawak.’ ‘Yes, Your Excellency . . .’ Gerald agreed. What a reprieve! What a narrow escape! My whole political career could be short-lived! thought Gerald. In the next round he had to come up with some better excuses. Sir Shenton Thomas installed an intelligence officer to monitor Gerald’s movements from then onwards. The Chief Secretary was furious and threatened to resign as this was perilously close to giving an excuse to the British government to interfere with the Committee of Administration. Gerald was becoming ever more dangerous and had too much power now as the Political Secretary. He could cause further damage to be done to Sarawak. Rumours that he had a fortune were all over Sarawak. With the jewellery and antiques given by the Sultan to Sarinah, Gerald was quite well off after selling these antiques abroad. Still, Gerald didn’t blink an eye. As far as he was concerned, his conscience was clear. Those were personal gifts. To Gerald, as far as Limbang was concerned, it was a de facto recognition and acquisition of territories under international law. At worst, it was better than British North Borneo, ceded or ‘leased’ by the Sultan of Sulu under the Treaty of 1867 to Baron Overbeck and Alfred Dent and later transferred under the British Charter arrangement. British high-handedness rankled, especially as the whiff of duplicity was not entirely absent from all Britain’s actions. But it was just a temporary setback to the progress of Gerald’s career. He felt he was creating a mystique around himself that suited his long-term aims and the rumours reflected what he wanted them to—he wanted to be feared rather than loved.


Chapter 16


he trip to Baram was tedious and long. In the remote and isolated uplands dwelled the Kayans and Kenyahs. During the day, Gerald helped the Oxford—Cambridge Expedition team to catch Brookes’ butterflies, birds and other reptiles. One evening Gerald asked Stephen to go on a night of adventure. ‘Remember the lass so fair and pretty this afternoon whom we saw in the field near the longhouse?’ ‘Yes. You always have a keen eye for pretty women.’ ‘I found out that her name is Lika. She is a Kenyah.’ ‘Really? How did you manage that?’ Stephen acted as if he was surprised when in his heart he knew Gerald would never to pursue anyone or anything he had set his mind on. He recalled distinctively the character of Disraeli ‘who saw through everybody and everything; and when he had detected their purpose, discovered their weakness or their vileness, he calculated whether they could contribute to his pleasure or his convenience in a degree which counter-balanced the objections which might be urged against their intentions or their less pleasing and profitable qualities’. Gerald was the same. ‘It’s easy. I speak her language. I know how to get vital information through my local agent.’ ‘Of course, now I remember . . . you were up in this part of the world for a few years bedding all the virgins, I bet in the name of learning the local lingo.’ ‘Anyway, we’ll have an escapade tonight when the rest of the team have gone to bed.’ ‘What’s exactly in your mind?’ ‘I am going to woo Lika.’ ‘You must be mad.’

Twilight of the White Rajahs

‘In love and with pretty women, every normal man must have a tinge of mad courage to achieve his goal.’ Soon after ten o’clock that night, Gerald took Stephen and Adeng, their local guide, to visit the longhouse about a mile away. Under a silvery moon and with a cool breeze in the Sarawak highlands, Lika was already waiting by a padi field just behind the longhouse. ‘I am Gerald, the most famous officer of the Brookes, coming to pay a visit to you, the lovely princess of the Kenyah tribe.’ Gerald tried to open the heart of a sweet smiling Kenyah lass in her own language. The guide translated it for Stephen’s benefit; what Gerald had just declaimed was a local pantoon—a semi-classical couplet. ‘Yes, I heard your famous name before. Why do you seek me out?’ ‘I am a widower from afar looking for a suitable partner in lands afar.’ ‘How do I know you are sincere in your profession of love?’ ‘I cross my heart, you can feel my heart and hear the truth beating in my heart. Never doubt a Scotsman when he says “yes” from his warm heart.’ ‘It all sounds too good to be true.’ ‘Truth is stranger than fiction.’ ‘Why do you want to see me?’ ‘To share the beauty of the night with you alone. All alone.’ ‘That’s not love but wild passion in the wilds like that of the roaming animals of the forest.’ ‘I have a soul; I have a conscience. If we find that we are compatible, we could be bonded forever.’ ‘Will you be here for the night?’ ‘Yes. Pity me, let me into your room! The mosquitoes are feasting on me for the night.’ ‘My parents are here. So you cannot stay here.’ ‘But that’s not a problem. Light the lamp, I know the coast is clear.’ After a while, she replied, ‘I’ll try but no promise.’ She went back to the longhouse. Stealthily, Gerald tip-toed after her for about thirty feet until he was hiding behind an avenue of trees. Soon, a light in the first door of the longhouse sent the awaited signal. After seeing the signal of the kerosene light at the door, Gerald signalled to Stephen to come closer. ‘Yes, what now?’ Stephen asked. ‘I’ll climb up the wall and go to her room when she is ready.’ ‘You will wake up the whole bloody longhouse, mate. Are you mad?’ ‘Don’t worry I have done “Ngayap” before in Kapit and Limbang. I am not that green. I’m quite good at scaling walls—you are no match for me.’


It’s too bright. I’ll reward you in my own way. She pretended to resist.’ ‘You always were the worrying type. ‘Let me prove my love. But if you get caught. I want to have a good look at your beautiful body.’ ‘Oh well. he briefed Stephen on the ongoing session. The very illegality and risk pumped up his adrenalin as did his libido and the smell of woman. What the hell!’ Gerald said to himself. Suddenly. The guide stood outside and heard every word uttered by the lovers.’ declared Gerald. Stephen went up to the longhouse to see whether Gerald was just a bluffing Romeo. Gerald made his way to the longhouse and with the help of the guide he climbed into Lika’s bedroom. She turned away from the light. Relax. .’ ‘Please turn down the light. I beat you everywhere.’ ‘Oh shit! That must be the bloody Dutch Shell blooming geologists . You’ll create headlines in Singapore and an honourable mention elsewhere. . On it was a tattoo which read as follows:‘The Flying Dutchman was here.’ ‘Don’t worry. there was a cultural problem. Stay here and wait for me. I’ll accomplish the mission impossible within one hour. ‘Have faith in me.’ Gerald ran his fingers over her belly and breasts.’ Stephen could see that risk-taking was Gerald’s second nature—forbidden fruits would always taste better. Her long metal earrings were clanging and jingling—a complete nuisance that could wake up the whole longhouse. 95 .1918-1941 ‘I agree. she twisted and turned to accommodate the thrusting and pushing and pulling back of bodies covered by a film of sweat. We still have a lot of things to do tomorrow. sexy body. Don’t go away. I don’t know why I get involved with you. At once. ‘No. ‘Better to ride on a horse that has been broken in than a wild horse. He climbed up on her and started to rock the longhouse. I’ll pretend that I was never here.’ Stealthily. He removed her hands from over her navel. you’d better get on with it so that we return earlier.’ That would wake up the whole longhouse. the reason for her modesty became clear. ‘Turn around.’ She resisted. Wow!’ ‘No.’ ‘No.’ Slowly Gerald stripped her pants off. Let me look at your lovely. ‘Don’t come too strong on me.’ ‘Later on. You are going to have me and leave me to pine for the rest of my life. God help you.

Twilight of the White Rajahs Stephen whispered through the wall. a Brooke officer. I didn’t know you were handicapped and having so many problems. like a belly dancer. Gerald. When she rotates her groin. The whole longhouse shook violently before tranquility set in. Then he collapsed after the fleeting moment of sexual outburst that every man hopes will be eternal. he climbed back to the verandah and quickly sneaked away from the longhouse with Stephen and the guide. ‘Gerald. . his head light. by thinking of the executions of criminals. quivering spot. faster . why didn’t you ask around and find out what she really is?’ 96 . and suddenly he put his hands over her mouth in case she screamed. she was like a rudderless ship dipping up and down helplessly in the tempestuous waves of wild passion. . Gerald. More sweat. Umh! Oh la la! She is really something! She is fantastic. ‘Good. or ever imagined. thank you. With the white man. Their love-making sounds would arouse even an eighty-year-old couple. sweating. Their bodies started to vibrate violently. heavy with desire. You sure know how to torture a guy in a horny mood. he prolonged his thrust before climax. Gerald suddenly grasped her earrings with his hands and continued to ride on the trained horse at a furious pace and solved the earring racket problem. Stephen decided to leave him alone.’ ‘Sorry. You just don’t know what you are missing. She wanted more of his raw primitive power which was like nothing she had ever felt. you wish that dance and moisturising music would never stop. greedy thrusts driving her deeper and deeper into a smoke-filled netherworld. I must concentrate.’ ‘I am coming. sweaty flesh on sweaty flesh. You should try her. I’ll solve the noise problem right away. Her body was hot. You don’t know what handicaps I am encountering. Good. more passionate kisses.’ she moaned again and again. After dressing. my dear fellow. man. You’ll wake the whole bloody longhouse. for God’s sake keep the volume down.’ There was no reply.’ Gerald couldn’t resist restarting his activities and a further thrust brought the rider to a height he had never experienced before—a series of strong. It seemed as if every nerve ending in her body was focused on that vital. They were still entangled together.’ ‘No. Don’t distract me. this night she would feel no shame. Go away! Leave me alone. Under his thrusting power.’ ‘You must be getting old.’ ‘Shut up! what do you think I am trying to do?’ ‘Keep the volume down. ‘Oh God! It was so beautiful.’ ‘I am trying. ‘Hurry up.’ ‘Now you do. Not satisfied.

Walking back to the camp.’ ‘You have all my sympathy.1918-1941 ‘What do you mean?’ ‘The girl with whom you just had a steamy session. I am tired. Gerald dipped in the river for twenty minutes until the guide brought him the lotion and towel. Stephen inwardly smiled and shook his head. you have only one thing in mind. Besides. . it’s about time you changed your bloody dangerous motto—where there are holes. ‘I think you’d better leave here tomorrow. . Adeng explained. Tomorrow morning I will set off for Kuching. why didn’t you tell me beforehand?’ ‘But.’ 97 . Stephen! How can you laugh at my misery.’ ‘It’s too late.’ ‘You silly guide.’ ‘You bodoh—stupid . Gerald felt better. Everybody here knows that. tuan. I was afraid that might spoil your mood. it could be too late now!’ jested Stephen.’ ‘Gerald.’ ‘Damn you. Say that you have been poisoned by a noxious plant. I will make your excuses. That’s why she is so fair. Let’s go to sleep. I’ll send the guide back to fetch the antiseptic lotion. you had overlooked the white spots and deformed toes. You have been infected already. After administering the antiseptic lotion.’ ‘Gerald. How about that?’ ‘I can trust you on that account. You’d better get an injection at Kuching Hospital before it’s too late.’ ‘Let’s go! Quick!’ Soon. Now you have lost your nerve. Maybe in the hurry and in the dark. after taking his clothes off. A moment ago you were in such a blissful mood. trying to make me envious of your delight. ‘Tuan. The river is only two hundred yards from here. so keen to have her. Stephen warned Gerald. she is a leper. my dear friend. All this while. you are so sex hungry.’ ‘What is she?’ He looked worried. ‘Where is the nearest river? I’ll take a bath there. they must be drilled before somebody else does.

  . who were ‘Custodians of the Rights of the people of Sarawak’ should decide who the heir should be—not necessarily Peter. Who else? Before the centenary celebration in Sarawak of September 1941. indicating that personally she had enough of Sarawak and was planning to move to the West Indies. ‘I have always been positive. Should there be any dispute. as was my father. Gerald drafted the speech that the Rajah was to make to the Council Negri. then the matter was to be referred to the British Government. though happy with the prospect of getting a large sum of money in exchange for surrendering some of the inherent constitutional powers of the Rajah was leaving the hot potato of cession of Sarawak to Great Britain instead of looking for a successor in the Brooke family. the Committee of Administration. The Ranee had sold the Sylvia cinema.Chapter 17 B y 1940 the Brookes’ rule had almost run its course. Absolute Rule By A Form Of Government On A Broader Base And Facilitate The Gradual Development Of Representative Government On Democratic Principles. Peter was the only member of the family who wanted to be the fourth Rajah. were concerned. Peter was at best an outsider in the race for the fourth Rajah. What he set out to do was to protect the natives of Sarawak. Enough was enough. the Rajah proclaimed that Sarawak was to have a written constitution ‘to replace  . Only one man could help the Rajah to destroy that dream. then the advisers. But if Bertram were to predecease. He simply wasn’t suitable. the Rajah was advised by him to designate Bertram as his heir. The Rajah. Therefore. the real but backward owners 98 . that it was never the intention of Sir James Brooke to establish a line of absolute rulers. Simon McKay.  . That was clear.’ Gerald saw the writing on the wall as far as Leonora and her son.

although out of fear 99 . . Even if we allowed Peter to return to Mukah or Bintulu and gave him more experience what guarantees do we have that he will ever live up to your expectation?—or for that matter. But Sarawak owes something to the Brooke family. I don’t mean being greedy. He knew a Japanese invasion was imminent. Your Highness?’ ‘Well. laid down by the Rajah as the terms of his policy. until such time as they could govern themselves. who was charged with fraud and was found guilty by the Rajah’s Court which then had to acquit him because of pressure from the Governor of Singapore and the Colonial Office in London. and incurring mounting debts. you are now in the best position to make an irreversible decision on the Brooke succession issue. as you have said. the thorny issue of succession is still troubling me as far as the Brooke family is concerned. Your Highness. the expectations of Sir James Brooke and your beloved father! ‘I know you hate Colonial rule. you have said yourself that you did not share your father’s ambition to “die in harness” and would like to spend your declining years in a more agreeable climate. He is headstrong. The Ranee was spending most of her time in New York hoping to enter Hollywood. Don’t you agree. Elizabeth and Valerie—Vyner’s daughters—had married a musician and a boxer respectively but were now divorced and badly needed financial support.’ ‘Whether Leonora acts as the Regent for Simon until he is of age or whether Bertram and Peter have other crazy ideas. . The reasons which I had mentioned before for devolving your power in exchange for cash of $1. didn’t you?’ ‘Did I? Perhaps I did. What would the Colonial Office and public say in England?’ ‘Your Highness. is as “yet unfitted” to rule. You know Bertram’s and Peter’s grand ideas of perpetuating the Rajahship. You must cast the die. He hasn’t the strength to conquer others nor to control himself.000 are—I repeat—as follows: .’ ‘I wonder what the natives and my officers will say. from exploitation and oppression.’ ‘Yes . but appointing King George VI your heir and handing over Sarawak to the British government in the near future under the terms I propose would serve you and others well.000. . you should look after yourself and your family.1918-1941 of this land. And now I am taking a step forward to realise the ultimate aim. a Borneo Company staff member. .’ Gerald was in secret communication with Japanese intelligence. of a self-governing community and country. ‘My dear Rajah. I doubt he will ever be fit. That’s the situation. Your Highness. Then there was the bizarre case of Scott. moreover Peter. at the golden age of 67.

The price I mentioned is fair compensation. She wants you to spend less time in Sarawak. The most precious legacy of the Brookes—as far as any pragmatist is concerned—is surrendering the constitutional power of the Rajah to a certain degree for a justifiable handsome reward before the romance of the Brookes runs its course. strike while the iron is hot. I am listening. That’s fine. I still don’t feel comfortable having the constitution tied up with personal money considerations.’ ‘How about Bertram and Peter?’ ‘Don’t worry  . If Japan is defeated.’ ‘Go on. the additional effect will be that even if Peter should succeed you. and then from 100 . who had a breakdown in 1937. . Trust me.  . So does she herself. Everything has a life span. especially when Germany and Japan are embarking on foreign territorial conquests.’ ‘But you know Sylvia is still bent on implementing her dream of a female successor. That fact alone may deter him from becoming Rajah. This golden goose comes once in a million years.’ ‘Now that can be solved too. though. I’ll help you to make the right decision. That’s basic to all cultures and political legacies. Everything has a price.Twilight of the White Rajahs you may hesitate to act or find it distasteful or be unenthusiastic to name a successor right away. his power will be greatly curtailed. the Brookes’ rule will be terminated abruptly.’ ‘Your Highness. where will the Brookes or Sarawak raise the money after the war to repair the inevitable war damage and to run the country?’ ‘I see .’ ‘In addition. going via semi-representative to fully representative government. is only a year younger than you—the British government will sooner or later intervene. Just imagine—if the British government revoked the 1888 Treaty in respect of Sarawak’s defence and foreign affairs or if Japan wins and rules. The further away from Sarawak—as she is spending most of the time in New York and Hollywood—and the less she thinks of Sarawak. The only practical solution is for Your Highness to make a quick constitutional show in the name of democracy. you will still have Great Britain with an established foothold in Sarawak since they are so determined—short of duress—to put a British Resident or Adviser in Sarawak. .’ ‘You’ve got a point there.’ ‘Now tell me why do you think the Brookes have run their course?’ ‘With so much trouble and with the absence of any suitable successor in sight presently—even Bertram the Heir Presumptive. Somehow.  . That’s just perfect.’ ‘Then again. how many eligible members of the Brooke family will survive the war? Enough is enough. the less chance she will harass you and me and put out outrageous press releases from time to time.

 .’ ‘When?’ ‘Sometime in March. Any problem or foreseeable repercussions?’ ‘No .000. may I request something else?’ ‘See. to fully responsible self-government in line with the popular concepts now gaining ground in the world. the Rajah asked casually.000. if it is within my power.1918-1941 semi-responsible. Nobody else could really represent his interests. in order to have the status to talk to the Malays and all the senior officers.000 for surrendering certain aspects of your constitutional power to the Rajah-In-Council in most areas of jurisdiction.’ 101 . The British Colonial system can take care of that. And it’s up to Your Highness to re-award a percentage of the enlarged sum of $2. Perhaps only Stephen could be relied on. ‘What’s exactly in your mind?’ ‘Since you also mentioned the sum of $1. six months before Sarawak’s centenary celebration. I am always at your humble service. with all the other Malay Datus. Gerald’s interests also coincided with his wishes. loyal officials will appear. I can fix that with the British government.000.’ ‘What about the tension created if the Malays feel that the curtailing of the Rajahship may mean the curtailing of the Malays’ influence in the future government of Sarawak.’ The Rajah thought to himself that the converse would also be true. Your Highness. it will greatly reinforce my position during negotiation if I am also made a member of the Supreme Council and have the title of Datu to go with it—to be on a par. and if the Dayaks resort to force again when the Brooke tradition dies out?’ ‘That shouldn’t be a problem. knowing Gerald.’ ‘That’s not a bad idea. though he needed Gerald’s keen analysis. .000. When the country is confused and in chaos. ‘I humbly suggest that a Secret Agreement is drawn up and signed between the Rajah and the Committee of Administration. service and action-oriented advice. his advice and service would be indispensable in the tedious task of negotiating with the Committee of Administration on the proposed 1941 constitution.’ Rajah Vyner knew that even though Gerald was a crook. I can assure you that there will be no trouble on that front.’ After considering it for a moment. ‘Would 10% commission for your successful negotiation do?’ ‘I’ll be most grateful for your generosity. so to speak. I would suggest you ask for $2.000 for my service and my retirement.’ ‘Have you got any plans for yourself?’ ‘Well. Your Highness.’ ‘Your Highness.

in order to calm down the Committee of Administration and Administrative Service.?’ ‘Certainly. Will you do that? I am sorry that you have to give that undertaking in writing. One more insolent word or act against me makes no difference. Your Highness. $2. let them blame me. Mr Hill. Cecil Hill. I am sure there are two Brooke loyalists in the CA.’ ‘Isn’t the order of Rajah good enough. you must write a letter now which categorically states that you would resign your position as Political Secretary when asked by me. the soldier fights.000. with a written note from the Rajah authorising the transfer of £200.000—the sovereign queen of all delights—for her the lawyer pleads. Gerald strutted with obdurate arrogance to the office of the Acting Treasurer.’ ‘I beg your pardon.000. Peter and the British Colonial Office. I will. this is not the Bank of England.’ ‘Sell the bonds and securities that the Sarawak government owns in London. ‘Can’t you read. What are you thinking? You know.000. Your Highness. I would suggest strongly that you withdraw capital from the state reserves and deposit it in England as a trust fund—the interest alone will be enough to provide for the needs of the Ranee and your daughters. ‘Now.000 to the Rajah’s account in London. I have to consult the Chief Secretary and the rest of the CA.’ ‘There will be a tug of war between us and the whole CA. you blockhead?’ 102 . We simply haven’t got that amount of cash here. I am not. a dapper man. However.’ ‘Of course.H.’ ‘You heard me.’ Within twenty minutes. On the following day. I can take it. Gerald handed to him a letter to that effect. Your Highness.’ ‘I am only the Acting Treasurer. wore small spectacles and had the owlish face of a bank manager. Mr Hill?’ ‘This is outrageous.’ The Rajah suddenly felt proud of Gerald who was willing to take the blame for the first time and plan the Rajah’s retirement with a lump sum of cash amounting to $2. It’s perfectly all right. ‘What’s this for?’ demanded the Acting Treasurer.’ ‘I’ll do it here straight away. and the family quarrels. provided it’s within the scope I have agreed. for you to resolve the outstanding financial problem.’ ‘Fear not. Cecil Hill. But I have to check with the CA whether I have that authority vested in me to effect that transfer of money. The most important thing is that you have to back me up one way or another.’ ‘Are you countermanding the order of H. and that you will accept and vacate appointments as required and that you would do everything to further certain political objects which I will make known later. Yes.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Well. that is not unreasonable. As for the rest I am ready for them.

But.’ ‘I’ll ask the Rajah to do it.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘It seems the CA will oppose the transfer before the promulgation of the Constitution.’ With disgust and anger.1918-1941 ‘That remark is totally unnecessary. You can keep this directive. Your Highness. get the drafting of the constitution rolling as soon as possible and. I am not authorised to proceed under any circumstances. I will take the keys to Singapore with me. They will change their minds after I have drafted a Secret Agreement to be signed between Your Highness and the CA.’ ‘That’s an excellent idea.’ ‘So. if necessary.’ ‘The Rajah knows exactly what he is doing. Meanwhile. ‘In the meantime. Gerald. You are most kind and considerate. ‘To protect the office of the Treasury and its standing order. I hope you can see that my hands are tied.’ Somehow. I’ll tell H. I don’t want to stir up a hornet’s nest. I’ll withdraw that personal remark. Until then. Let the Chief Secretary speak to me before I do anything. I’ll write to the CA and tell them—as I have promised you—that I have appointed you as a member of the Council Negri and Supreme Council with effect from today and that you are also to be paid $2.’ ‘Please by all means. You can write that down.’ ‘Without the CA’s approval.’ ‘Then change the standing order. that I am going to resign. ‘Cool down. ‘Thank you. I can’t.’ ‘You do it.’s order.’ Cecil knew the Rajah was under the control of Gerald.H. meanwhile delay the transfer of money. But effect the transfer.’ ‘Perfectly understood. I will report to the CA for action. I’ll get you transferred. I am also asking the Chief Secretary to make all the necessary arrangements for the ceremony of awarding you a Datuship.’ 103 . That’s H.H. meanwhile. the transfer you requested cannot be effected. But tread carefully with them.’ threatened Gerald.’ ‘You just do that.’ ‘It’s my business to make sure that money is paid to or transferred from the Sarawak government to every party properly according to the standing order. Gerald left Hill’s office and reported his reception to the Rajah.000 a month for life in the event of my abdication or death. I demand an apology. The rest is none of your business. Your Highness. Why don’t you speak to the CA or ask the Rajah to tell the CA or address the note to the CA. despite his defects of character and unstable but brilliant mind. the Rajah felt he owed Gerald a few favours.’ ‘If you refuse to effect the transfer.

 .’ ‘Whom do we talk to?’ ‘In theory the Rajah. Datu McBryan. even if Peter wants to decentralise it like in the good old days of the Brooke tradition. In practice. Times have changed. Peter had the idea that the officers administrating justice should use their own perception of justice in each case rather than following rigidly stipulated laws—a sort of flexible dispensation of equitable justice rather than strict legal justice . We must move forward to meet new challenges. The document should be secret. that’s precisely why we must set out those terms under an agreement with the Rajah and also spell out those points in the Constitution. the British government. He is still living in the past. and Stephen as the new Financial Secretary. Go negotiate with him. Bertram. it will create a mess in our treasury. and outsiders are looking critically at us. as. addressed the CA. after a pompous ceremony in the Astana. Gerald was installed as Datu McBryan. spelling out the terms of the Rajah’s wish to transfer some of his powers to the Rajah-in-Council in exchange for cash. ‘We’ll ask for a constitutional guarantee. Datu McBryan has become his financial and political adviser. we need reforms—centralisation of administration. Stephen. Matthew Cable.’ ‘But we can’t allow Datu McBryan to draw out cash at any time on ad hoc basis.                             The new Chief Secretary. ‘Now that the “Baron” is back in the Rajah’s fold bearing also the title of Datu. if you insist.Twilight of the White Rajahs When the CA received the directive about Gerald’s appointment and payment of $2. Our treasury is not a bank by any means. Now. Its members knew Gerald had absolute control over the Rajah now.’ ‘Who should talk to Datu McBryan? I suggest you.’ ‘You should. A week later. . then I’ll ask him for more detailed constitutional guarantees and a private agreement to be signed between the Rajah and the CA.’ ‘Will that agreement be an open or secret agreement?’ ‘It depends on what the Rajah or Datu McBryan want. what effective measures can we devise to prevent him from raiding our state coffers and putting us in the doghouse?’ Stephen proposed. It’ll be tough. But.’ ‘Yes. For example. Peter. you are the Financial Secretary and you get along with him quite well.000 monthly. it knew something was afoot. apart from failing to do our duties in the CA. I admit it’s not the best 104 . on account of the large sum of money at stake. We recommended appointing a new Chief Justice after Boyd was purged by Peter. But we have to do it.

He changes his mind more than a woman can in a minute—18 times per minute. and his family commensurate to their dignity and standard of living. That would throw a spanner in the works. envy and swearing unprintable language.’ ‘You don’t have to be so formal.                             Stephen set up one of the most important meetings with Datu McBryan officially. Congratulations once again.’ ‘I fully understand your problem. The CA would always be a convenient scapegoat. we are looking into that. The CA feels that some provision ought to be made for H.1918-1941 way. a week later Gerald was known as Datu McBryan. we can devise a mechanism or procedure to tackle this type of problem of ad hoc advances of money to H.’ ‘I know all that.’ ‘As I understand the Rajah wishes to get an advance of money amounting to £200. since you are the Treasurer now. perhaps.’ ‘Thank you. In order to make it a smooth transaction. That’s why I have suggested changing the procedure. but it’s the only way to deal with Gerald. otherwise chaos will reign and the British government would be more than willing to interfere with our mode of administration. Not even our local Charter Bank can do it.’ ‘It’s easy to say “change the procedure”. jealousy.’s personal account.’ The CA burst out laughing despite its anxiety and fear of wheeling and dealing with Gerald.’ ‘Certainly. The CA and the Treasury have to answer to Bertram and Peter if they choose to ask questions. he will throw sand or mud at your face. We all know he always has something up his sleeve.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘That’s the proper salutation. call me Gerald as you always have done.H. ‘Datu McBryan.H.H. We have to be careful with our answers. Now what do you want from H. or from me?’ 105 . but this must be done in a proper manner and certainly not via large sums of money on an ad hoc basis. always a battlefield for the Brooke family: and always a convenient target too! Amidst the CA’s and AS’s fear. But it more difficult for the person in that office to execute his duty on a proper basis. Even if he falls down. Stephen—Let’s get on to business. it’s a bit unfortunate about the incident with Mr Hill who was merely doing his duty under the standing order. you’ve got to change the procedure and standing order.000 from the Treasury but the Treasury is not equipped to provide that type of speedy service as if it were the British Treasury or the Bank of England.

Somehow after receiving the Datuship. H. ‘Well. give not to make further demands for cash from the Treasury?’ ‘Since you are the clever one. 106 . Stephen received a terse note from Datu McBryan: ‘Dear Stephen. Datu .’ ‘That’s fine.’ ‘A constitutional guarantee?’ Gerald expressed a shade of surprise. Straightaway he knew that he would always be able to blame the CA for initiating the constitutional government which inevitably would bring Bertram and Peter into collision with the Rajah. The following morning.  . Gerald became ever more like a Pharisee.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Well what kind of guarantee can H.  .’ So began the chapter of the ‘constitutional monarchy’ in Sarawak. . agrees that you can have your constitution  . I will consult the Rajah and inform you tomorrow. I am sure you must have thought it out already—a constitutional guarantee. you tell me. ‘All right. .’ Gerald smiled and walked away from the Treasury. . .’ replied Datu McBryan with a tinge of sarcasm.H. and its guarantees .H.

if it seemed to Rajah Vyner and a majority of the Supreme Council members during this period of time that Peter ‘was unfitted’ for some good reason to succeed.000. A memorandum drafted by Gerald was given to him spelling out the following: (i) Peter was to be appointed heir. pensions. and other special payments authorised during the Rajah’s lifetime. But they knew that dealing with Datu McBryan was only the beginning of a long and protracted political and constitutional nightmare.O.000 in cash from state reserves on 15th April. (iii) The Treasury would pay the Rajah $2. In consideration of the Rajah taking a large sum of money out of the country. Peter was asked by the Rajah to come to the Astana. (iv) Peter must pledge allegiance to the Rajah and to maintain all allowances. However.000 to $84. And the Rajah would continue to receive the interest from the Trust Fund in London.Chapter 18 E veryone in the CA was delighted. then he would have the right to set Peter aside. after he had been reinstated as the D. in Serikei. the Rajah’s annual salary would be reduced from $120. 107 . on probation for a period of five years during which he would have to serve as an officer in various parts of Sarawak. ‘Your Highness may I ask who is the author of this draft?’ asked Peter. (ii) The Rajah would appoint a commissioner to make recommendations on a constitution establishing a form of democratic government.000.

No way could he believe Gerald to be that innocent. I am not blaming you. ‘I agree.’ Shortly afterwards. caught in between. Yes. he has put a charm on the Rajah. through his bomohs.H. Thank you. send my regards to your father.’ thundered Peter. gentlemen . .’ replied the Rajah. We must tell H. . . ‘I cannot agree to this arrangement.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘The Committee of Administration and I myself. I am sure my father will scream and probably have a heart attack if he sees this memorandum.” That’s all bullshit. ‘Let me take it away and study it .’ ‘Well.’ ‘Since it relates so much to the internal matters of H. I fully appreciate your delicate situation. the idea of a constitutional guarantee . that’s how the constitution originated. has to act purely in the interests of the Sarawak government. . So Datu Patinggi said. originated from the CA. Perhaps. How is life in Serikei?’ ‘Not too bad. I believe you all have a copy of the memorandum. Well. I am telling you. ‘I know Gerald is behind this. and the Brooke family. the CA. And you know.’ ‘Good. for some good reason”. Something is very odd. However. I know the Rajah and a majority of the Supreme Council can terminate my succession if I seem to be “unfitted.’ said Stephen. Although Datu McBryan helped me in the drafting.’ Peter went to meet the CA. I am hopeful that I shall be making a worthy contribution in the public interest and for the future happiness and well-being of the people of Sarawak. Peter left for Serikei planning his next move against Gerald on the political chessboard of Sarawak. we have tried to prevent Datu McBryan from rejoining the service.’ ‘I agree. . I would like to keep this matter in abeyance. You know H. let’s wait and see.’ ‘That’s perfectly in order. that Datu McBryan’s continued presence is certain to cause unrest and deadly confusion in the whole state and that McBryan must be removed from the Advisory Council at all costs.’ ‘Well. I am on the same side as you. Look at the wording: “By voluntarily abrogating certain powers vested solely in the person of the Rajah.H. I object to the payment of a large sum of money out of the country. Datu McBryan is only window-dressing. Datu McBryan has designed it so as to bring things to a head immediately between my uncle and myself. . 108 . I’ll write to my father. Peter knew his uncle was lying through his teeth.’ ‘I will.H. simply kept him over at the Astana and carried on all his business through him.

Datu McBryan was appointed as the Secretary of the Supreme Council. It’s occupant knew too well that the Chief Secretary would be an old-fashioned Brooke loyalist—loyal to the Rajah to the end. draft after draft of the proposed constitutional terms began to fill up the waste paper baskets. we must devise some constitutional guarantees to prevent any further raids on the state funds. Indeed Bertram was 109 .’ At a furious pace. and an official order transferring most of the Rajah’s power to the CA until the constitution is enacted.                             The Rajah cabled his brother Bertram as to whether he wanted to be the next Rajah. We’d better draft the constitution. ‘Now in exchange for what H. we must draft our two agreements: a sort of semi-official Secret Agreement between the Rajah and the CA incorporating a financial settlement. opposite the Pangalang Batu.’ Gerald knew that the constitution would be anathema to Cable although Cable personally feared him and so could be bent to his will. Besides. seeing the colour of Sarawak’s money and revenge were the prime objectives.H.’ Gerald knew the day of sweet revenge had come.’ ‘That’s splendid but . Stephen briefed the CA.                             ‘Please sit down. That took the CA by surprise. But in Gerald’s mind. In recognition of the good work you have done. ‘Please do that then.’ The Chief Secretary still looked worried. the Chief Secretary was quietly called up by Datu McBryan on the pretext that the Rajah wanted him to do something. It had been the dream of his life to attain it. How about that?’ ‘That would be wonderful! I’ll let the CA know. I thought it would be most proper for me to recommend that all of you receive the Star of Sarawak Award. I’ll prepare the preliminary draft for you to amend and refine. but you also have to report their “plots” against the Rajah to me. .’ Cable simply could not turn down the honour. ‘Yes. Gerald’s office was next to the Rajah’s. I’ll do it. While the Secret Agreement was in preparation. You are the most loyal officer of the Brookes. is asking.1918-1941 On the following day. . Dragging his feet was all Bertram could do. Let’s get started on the drafting. ‘I know the biggest problem is still Datu McBryan. Since you are the Chairman of the CA naturally you have to go along with it. The Rajah agreed to award the CA the Star of Sarawak. my dear Chief Secretary. The Rajah expects your full loyalty. Mr Cable. I mean the entire membership of the CA.

’ ‘Damn him. What else does he say in his cable?’ ‘And what would the critic say?’ The Rajah of Sarawak has sold Sarawak for a song . I suggest convening the Supreme Council for a sitting in two days time and I will draft something for Peter. . about eighty of them.’ ‘Good. for the second time. I consider that the abovementioned measures of putting forward Simon McKay Brooke . You know.Twilight of the White Rajahs interested in protecting his position and his son Peter’s position with regard to the future succession to the Rajahship of Sarawak.’ The Rajah addressed the Supreme Council two days later. This ‘curse’ pricked the conscience of the CA and AS. And if the Rajah were to choose a successor outside the line of succession laid down by the First Rajah. .’ ‘He seemed to suggest that I was the author of the scheme. What the hell is his reason?’ demanded the Rajah. And I feel it will be my foremost duty to Sarawak and its people to prevent the possibility of him ever being a Rajah who is unprepared and unwilling to defer to the opinion of a majority of his advisers and to accept discipline. the Colonial Office was bound to invoke Article II of the 1888 Treaty. . . would cause its end—never to be reversed. as they were accountable to God one day after death—if any one of them should betray their trust by agreeing to the constitution. and gave his opinion of Peter. Succession was the heart and soul of the Brookes’ rule. . given two great opportunities by my goodwill. ‘According to his cable he said that the new terms governing the succession had caused the Rajah to break his Accession Oath. It merely means that the problem of succession will blow up and the British Government will have to intervene. breach of trust .  . ‘Now. .’ Meanwhile. he refuses to accept it on so many nonsensical grounds. yet the succession issue was still unresolved even after consultation with the Malay leaders. for the Brookes’ selfish reasons . Sir James Brooke. has proved himself irresponsible and unfitted to become Rajah of Sarawak. He warned all the Brooke officers. my brother still refuses to accept the Heir Presumptive. they would be punished with disease. . . I asked him to accept it. are necessary because of the opinion I have formed that my nephew Peter Brooke. to be proclaimed Rajah if he comes of age . ‘  . he and his son always blame me. if unresolved. . Ranee Sylvia rushed back from New York to England and broke the news to The Times that Simon McKay had been nominated by the 110 .’ ‘What else did he say?’ ‘The constitution can’t be adopted with Sarawak continuing as an independent state. that each of them must act according to their individual consciences. Yet. . Succession. Datu McBryan.  .

started dancing. Political consciousness and formation of vested interest groups along racial lines and eventually the formation of political parties would soon come to pass. thinking it was just his antics. . In 1930. Rumour in Sarawak had it that had it not been for the adamant refusal of Datu Patinggi. One evening at the Sarawak Club. Then. The aristocratic Malays worked in the government. ‘I am the White Rajah of the Pan-Islamic Empire. ooh . he took off his tie. All this would soon be changed though not drastically. That paper heightened the political awareness of the Malays through raising issues about their social and economic conditions compared to those of the Chinese and Ibans. To what extent would be a matter of circumstances. the Malays had started the first Malay paper. and fight their actions and opposition with no holds barred. Datu McBryan and Stephen knew the end of Brooke rule was in sight while Bertram and Peter were hoping against hope to perpetuate it. he appeared drunk. Bertram deliberately told the press ‘I am the next Rajah under my father’s will’ and unless the present Rajah announced that in the Supreme Council this year more confusion would follow. with some representation in the Council Negri. the Dayaks in the Rangers and junior posts. . A Dayak co-operative society was founded while the China Distress Relief Fund was started by the Chinese who remitted money to China through Singapore. and started screaming ‘ooh . Suddenly. He took up the role of the ‘historian’ too. I am . The headline read: ‘Nine year old boy Heir to Sarawak’. For that he must cut out Bertram’s and Peter’s role. due to the opposition of the perabangan Malay aristocracy and lack of public support. perhaps it was the heat. . . Simon would have been made the successor. . Fajar Sarawak (Sarawak Daily). Indeed. only the historian. All the signs indicated to the Rajah and McBryan that soon participation by the locals would be different from hitherto.                             The Rajah. The newspaper folded after a while. then he took off his shirt. . The ‘divide and rule’ of the old philosophy was still necessary. performing flamenco footsteps while clapping his hands. Stephen suspected dementia had reappeared—a complete disorientation of mind and personality. Just to get rid of the reporters and vent his anger.1918-1941 Rajah as his successor. ooh’ like a Red Indian. and pants.’ 111 . Gerald was giving a dinner to his friends. Ong Teng Sam headed the committee. The guests followed suit. development and how both of them could change the course of history. After a few whiskies and ports. he climbed up on to the table. and the Chinese in the business world. the Private Secretary believed that God could not change the past. At once.

All of you are mad! Ha! Ha! Ha! All of you are mad!’ For a moment the Rajah took pity on him—a wasted genius succumbing to his periodical attacks of insanity like a Thai elephant. ‘Get me out! Get me out . .’ ‘Yes. You have fits and tend to get over-excited. I’ll do that.’ The Rajah came in the following morning and saw him. ‘I am fine. .’ A week later Datu McBryan left the hospital—sane again. he wanted to scream and tried to release his hands from the straps holding him to the bed. For a moment.’ They took his clothes with them and dragged him out to a car and sent him to Kuching Hospital. . while Gerald was still shouting. He thinks he is somebody else. We’ll come and visit him tomorrow. Why do you strap me up?’ ‘Oh! You are not feeling well. To him. . . I am the White Rajah of the Pan-Islamic Empire. Slowly. relaxed and fell to sleep. he calmed down. Another season of madness in the animal kingdom.’ ‘I am perfectly all right. It’s bad for your heart. McBryan was still like a vegetable. There is a complete change of personality now. Your Highness. Stephen passed his hands over Gerald’s eyes.’ said Doctor Nelson. ‘Let’s go. There a doctor strapped his hands and feet to a bed and gave him an injection. they looked like aliens. we’ll make a move. ‘I am White Rajah . take over his duties in the meantime. but the pupils reacted slowly. ‘He is suffering from withdrawal symptoms. 112 . . This is just another relapse.Twilight of the White Rajahs Stephen and his colleagues dragged Gerald down. ‘Good. Stephen. probably due to the after-effects of the tranquilliser. ‘Just let him sleep—he’ll be all right for a while. you . The madman suddenly had the strength of Samson. Thank you. On the following morning. . Gerald just stared into the eyes of his visitors—he recognised none of them.’ ‘How do you feel now?’ The doctor asked. It took five men to pin him down. .’ Stephen replied. It happened to him before. I’ll suspend him from his duties until he recovers .

’ The Rajah felt his own misgivings. ‘Your Highness. came to the Astana for an audience with the Rajah. I have already told him that all of you are willing to accept them. Cable. ‘No.’ explained Stephen. gentlemen . I’ll withdraw the awards. Now Datu McBryan told me that you might want to scrap the whole thing. I can’t tell him that. .’ Stephen insisted. He himself wanted it badly. ‘In that case. personally. Cable had been fooled due to his personal interest.Chapter 19 ‘M r Cable.’ The Chief Secretary. and Datu McBryan—now recovered from his dementia—signalled to him what he had agreed to say. I am afraid that almost all the members of the CA would be highly offended if the investiture were to be called off. We are declining them. ‘Your Highness. For some time now Stephen had suspected Datu McBryan had ‘bought’ Cable. Let’s hear what the Chief Secretary has to say. to scrap the general award of the Star of Sarawak. for God’s sake go and ask H. that would be an insult to H. .H. Datu McBryan had been careful to warn the Rajah that some members of the Committee might turn it down. except for Mr Stephen Young who has declined it. to show off the medal at ceremonial occasions—the height perhaps of his lacklustre career. I certainly will decline and explain why to H. He knew Datu McBryan was up to some mischief. though he thanks you for the honour and will explain to you personally why he cannot accept it. please wait.H. the CA members are very grateful for your proposed awards. People outside the government’s 113 .H.’ ‘You can have yours. No. Cable thought it was too big an honour to forgo.

(ii) In order to safeguard against Datu McBryan’s or Colonial Office intervention. in that case.Twilight of the White Rajahs administration already know of the intended awards. had something up his sleeve. Under the Secret Agreement to be signed between the Rajah and the CA. (i) For twelve months. Neither he nor his family members would make any further claim on state funds than those set out under the Secret Agreement. Deep in his heart Stephen suspected that Datu McBryan must have something up his 114 . (iii) The only prerogative remaining with the Rajah is the power to disallow any specific order contrary to H. Perhaps.’s obligations to Great Britain under the terms of the 1888 Treaty. The basic idea of the signing of the agreement was to safeguard the CA’s position while the Constitution was being drafted. Withdrawal would be unthinkable. Between the Astana where Datu McBryan helped the Rajah to vet and make necessary changes and the CA in the Kuching office. namely. Others also demanded (not Stephen himself ). as an informal and unwritten condition. Eventually. although at the back of his mind he suspected there were other reasons. to be advised from time to time by the CA.’ ‘Well. our Chief Secretary has done so much work on the Secret Agreement and he has promised that the Proclamation can be ready by 31st March this year.’ Stephen saw the Rajah and explained that he did not want the award to be tied in with the drafting of the Secret Agreement. make an appointment for Mr Young to see me then.H. Your Highness. In fact. he has been most cooperative and helpful. Datu McBryan. drafts with amendments shuttled to and fro at a furious pace to meet the deadline. the Rajah would undertake to issue an Order authorising the transfer of certain legislative powers from himself to the Chief Secretary. Now. So do the other CA members. He deserves an award. that Datu McBryan should no longer remain in the Sarawak Service. These terms were accepted by Datu McBryan and the Rajah.’ ‘Yes. we will fix the investiture right after the Proclamation on 31st March. the Rajah accepted his reasoning. Stephen insisted that three additional clauses be inserted. the sole power of revoking orders is to be delegated to the Chief Secretary who is to be retitled as Officer Administering the Government acting on the advice of the CA. as usual. only the Chief Secretary can dismiss from and make appointments to the CA.

during the investiture ceremony at the Astana lawn. ‘Well. an embarrassed Rajah thrust the awards at equally embarrassed members of the Committee—Cable heading the list.000. (2) Provision was to be made in the new constitution for the payment to the Rajah of: (a) $60. ‘Thank God for that!’ Stephen whispered to his wife. Meanwhile. By then. Datu McBryan inwardly smiled contentedly like a King’s Counsel.000 per annum for the upkeep of the Astana (b) the interest on the Sarawak Advisory Council Trust Fund (c) $21. Mei Ling. Cable’s duplicity was clear as daylight.000 per month by way of salary and his right: to the sole possession and use of the Astana and the yacht Maimuna to dispose of all his personal lands in Sarawak to confer or refuse titles on members of his own family and all other titles and decorations to visit any part of Sarawak and ‘to exercise his customary prerogatives in accordance with the advice of his responsible advisers’ to maintain existing annual payments from Sarawak funds to members of his family and to Datus then in office. after the Order had been signed by the Rajah and four members of the CA. Stephen’s integrity was greatly admired by the Rajah. On 31st March 1941.000 from Sarawak funds within two weeks and a loan of $32. In the event of Bertram dying before the constitution was enacted. Eventually the main terms of the Order were thrashed out at the eleventh hour: (1) The Rajah was to receive a cash payment of $2. Datu McBryan has the brain of the monkey. the Committee would appoint an heir. Other unimportant terms were included too. But I bet he gets a clean and handsome cut too!’ ‘How would you know?’ 115 . the Rajah understood the reason why Stephen had declined the award. Datu McBryan kept his cards close to his chest. the heart of the serpent and the mental instability of a mad dog.000 towards his Cameron Highlands house was to be written off. chuckling and cracking his knuckles. Sitting at a far corner in front of the Astana. you know a leopard never changes its spots.1918-1941 sleeve for him to agree to the last condition.000 per annum for charitable purposes (d) $7.

Hill suspected that Cable might have a cut in the deal. have already signed the Secret Agreement and approved the amount. Mr Young has already approved it. ‘I will. This shocked the CA which had expected the payments to be staggered. now the Assistant Financial Secretary.’ Datu McBryan was whistling and laughing all the way to the bank. That’s my understanding. is getting more powerful and ambitious. I’ll take full responsibility for it. ‘Well. if you insist.’ Cable replied nervously. ‘No way. Well done. How about that?’ Datu McBryan struck the iron while it was hot. bestowed on you the highest order. Now please transfer the money to H. . That very afternoon. the Rajah wants the transfer today—I mean today!’ ‘We simply cannot oblige H. pay H.000. no wonder H. ‘But spread over several payments. I will have to ask the CA. .H.’ Grudgingly Hill obeyed. .’ Datu McBryan stuck to his guns.H.H.’ Stephen raised an eyebrow and smiled winsomely. please sign the authorisation.’ ‘That’s enough.’ replied Cable who by that time had enough of the bureaucracy of this little man. the Financial Secretary.’ ‘I am the Chairman of CA. and convert it to US currency. ‘That’s fine.                             ‘Oh! bloody hell Stephen. in that case.’s account in the Chartered Bank Singapore . You damn well know it! Why do you make life difficult for everybody?’ ‘I totally agree with you .H.  . . Datu McBryan brought a letter from the Rajah. Cable who was also present instructed Hill.’ ‘Yes. asking the Sarawak government to pay the $2. ‘Well. . today. We haven’t got the cash!’ replied Hill.’ Datu McBryan smiled gleefully. The Rajah and the CA including Mr Stephen Young.’ She glanced complacently at him. Now I have become a scapegoat  .’ ‘Well done.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Call it female instinct.’ complained Cable who 116 . Just do it as I tell you.  . ‘Then instruct the broker in London to sell the government’s stocks and investments.000. Mr Cable. the Star of Sarawak. ‘He is a savvy politician with a killer instinct.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes as deadly as Chou Chou in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. But every dog has its day. Mr Hill. if you can.  . our Datu  .’ ‘I’ll try but I can’t promise that. out of the Currency Fund deposited with the Chartered Bank in Kuching. ‘For God’s sake.  . . Mr Chief Secretary . Why did some people have all the luck? Hill thought to himself.

you nearly made a fool of me. On account of Cable’s irresponsible handling of the Currency Fund. However drafting of the Constitution itself proved to be a herculean task. The only loser was Cable. Paul Gilbert was nominated by the CA a few months later to replace him now under the new title of Officer Administering the Government. I must admit you are not an ikan baloi. You must look at the likely style of Peter’s running Sarawak. All along the CA knew the Secret Agreement to be a hollow victory. Can you believe that? Besides. the Rajah a big sum of money. His fellow officers were getting at him.1918-1941 suddenly found the magic carpet had been whisked from under his feet. we want to take away his weapons of revenge for the various slights he has suffered from H. Cable shook his head and felt like a Sarawak ikan baloi—stupid fish. Datu McBryan got his ten percent commission. He wants to divest it. ‘No way. and nearly offended the Rajah when I refused the award of the Star of Sarawak. I was aiming for that stupid Chief Secretary rather than the CA or you personally.’ ‘You can say that again!’ ‘You are really cunning .H. which is totally based on emotional and self-centred opinion. I am sure you will agree that my fear is well founded.’ ‘I am sure there is no love lost between you and Peter. ‘What do you expect. Between you and me. the other day.’ Datu McBryan abruptly dropped a bombshell. aren’t you?’ ‘One needs to be a cunning fox to survive in the jungle of politics. I just want to live and stay here a bit longer. the Rajah doesn’t want to retain any more prerogative power. It depends on his horoscope from day to day. I don’t think you are going to deny me that. .’ ‘Frankly. this is purely a means of limiting the scope of Peter’s future powers and actions—if he ever gets to be Rajah. my dear Chief Secretary?’ Stephen knew Cable had been used by Datu McBryan. and Stephen was mildly astonished. the CA and his relatives. Several drafts were sent by the CA to Datu McBryan who advised the Rajah to accept the best possible terms agreeable. Stephen was asked by the Rajah to meet with Datu McBryan. .’ ‘Not necessarily . are you?’ ‘Well. who being a Brooke loyalist was sacrificed as a pawn and driven into the administrative wilderness for a while afterwards.’s friends. . ‘This is most odd! I must say. . the CA got the Secret Agreement and a scapegoat and a reason to replace Cable with a new Officer Administering the Government. Stephen. looking down the Brooke line of succession.’ replied Datu McBryan 117 .

 . the terms of the Constitution will not provoke adverse reactions and create wrong impressions of my position. Stephen knew Datu McBryan was fishing for votes and favours from a certain mutual ‘friend’. there are changes of concepts in the running of government. I am sure the CA will accept our suggestions. This is just awful! I hope you realise that.” ‘That’s fine . Relax and be happy. Don’t worry. . who were almost all members of the Supreme Council. . ideas of democracy are becoming the vogue.’ ‘Let them come. You know that the Secret Agreement and proposed Constitution did not strictly originate as a quid pro quo for the $2. For suggesting the second clause the Datus.                             However. “the person who shall have been proclaimed Heir” will be proclaimed by the Supreme Council subject to the 1888 Treaty.’ ‘However. We all know the promise of self-government is intended to be only “window-dressing” of Sarawak democracy for outsiders’ consumption.’ Immediately.’ ‘Nothing like that. I can handle them.’ 118 . Stephen knew perfectly that they were scratching each other’s backs. but because the ruler is in need of money and could not obtain it by other means”. ‘I am not sure . I had pressed for two additional clauses to be included. . . Your Highness. already agreed by Your Highness. Trust me. .’ ‘Your Highness. Even Datu Patinggi agreed that Datu McBryan could be his adviser should he ever become the Rajah of Sarawak. I would expect violent reactions from Peter and his father. as I have explained to you already. for the final version of the Constitution you must include these two clauses: (i) When the Rajah dies.000. There are so many factors: times change. ‘Now. I’ll put them into your pocket. (ii) “No person who is not a British subject or a native of Sarawak shall be competent to be or become Rajah . By then. everything will be smoothly handled. I’ll take all the blame.000.Twilight of the White Rajahs without compunction.’ ‘But rumour is rife that the Constitution is being introduced “not because the people want it. . and the Brooke rules are running out of steam in our modern era. Blame it on my lapse into insanity . . would forgive Datu McBryan for all his past sins and treacheries. where a White Rajahship is becoming an anachronism. it was difficult to trust the Datus or the Supreme Council’s members either. the Rajah still expressed certain concerns over the Constitution to Datu McBryan.

‘I will . We must be circumspect. now you should relax and enjoy a semi-retired life more in England. ‘We can support you on that count. leave that to me. ‘I have given this matter a lot of thought and I hate the idea of what might appear to be taking a hefty kick at a lame dog. . Let him come. Knowing his character. ‘But be careful . let me read to you what I have written after talking to Mr Hill and Native Officer.’ That sounded like sweet music to a bored Rajah. . rules or procedures.’ ‘Let’s see what else our Rajah Muda wants us to do. .’ ‘I will. demanding a meeting with the CA. Thank you. Stephen?’ 119 . wanting to see me. ‘After studying the proposed Constitution. I can put him in my pocket if he is caught breaking any standing orders. I have prepared a series of questions and answers for Your Highness which I expect Peter will raise with you.1918-1941 ‘With or without approval Peter can appear at any time.’ ‘What do you think.’ The Rajah loved watching the cat among the pigeons. But McBryan is not lame—he is waiting for the crash so we must strike first and hard. he chuckled and cracked his knuckles. It’s in the best interests of the state and of the British Empire that he should be removed immediately (this weekend) from Sarawak. . . more accurately. knowing Peter—so please read them and memorise them. ‘Besides. on the Constitution.’ warned Stephen. There is a cankerous worm crawling around . . Maybe. We shall find grounds to demote or dismiss him again. Don’t worry. he will be a bull in a china shop.’                             Without approval from anybody Peter arrived in Kuching on the following Monday. a lame fox. I agree to support the CA’s action on the condition that there is a strong collective demand that Datu McBryan who is the brain behind this Constitution should be removed. Yes.’ ‘Fine. Your Highness. even though he had certain objections to the erosion of the Rajah’s powers. I hear Billy John is the favourite for this year’s Ascot Race. Tuan Abang Openg.’ Again. I know he will.’ Peter wanted the support of the CA. I tell you there is something rotten in the state of Sarawak. as a defence measure. Now. ‘Good. Cable who was still the Chief Secretary then replied.

Save yourself. don’t push your luck. There are two basic issues here. . . I am a realist. you will simply be ambushed politically by Datu McBryan and incense the Rajah. ‘Notwithstanding all that. .’ ‘My dear Rajah Muda. Rajah Muda. The other concerns Datu McBryan. Short of Datu McBryan becoming temporarily insane and hospitalised or repeating his old mistakes. You have to put up with him otherwise you are looking for trouble.’ The Rajah Muda preferred to look only at whether his horoscope predicted a good and lucky period in his life for making critical decisions. . The Rajah has made up his mind already on both of them. You can bet on it. that’s unparliamentary language. if I may offer my humble advice. More light less heat. You are really pessimistic and soft. He is a crook through and through. if I were you. Being vocal and showing temper or anger will only irritate H. son of . There is a Chinese saying. I beg you to tread carefully to safeguard your own interests and position.’ Peter ignored all Stephen’s caution. and Datu McBryan all the more.’ the Council chorused. Please believe me. without disrespect. You’ll get nothing out of it. ‘You mean it’s dangerous. sure . the CA is fully involved in drafting the various documents. After all. Rajah Muda. I take it that all of you will support me in my dealings with the Rajah.’ ‘I am not being pessimistic. “The clay Buddha may find it impossible for himself to cross the fast moving river”. ‘But beware. who had been fully brainwashed and rehearsed by Datu McBryan. 120 .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘It’s confrontational all right. Rajah Muda. you have no chance of removing him. With Gerald.’ ‘I can’t stand that bastard . It could boomerang on you. my dear Rajah Muda. I dread to imagine the consequences. He threw caution to the winds. . Please don’t fall into the Datu’s trap.’ warned Stephen.’ ‘Sure. Like a little heifer quite ignorant of how a tiger’s jaws really look Peter rushed to the Astana to protest to the Rajah.H. My humble advice is restraint and self-control. you cannot treat him as a gentleman. It could be libellous too! Watch out. If you rush in. One is on the terms of the Constitution. . Go slowly and avoid direct confrontation.

Whom will they see in the CA or Rajah-in-Council? They may rename the Rajah as Rajah kosong—impotent Rajah or Rajah kurang kuasa—Rajah without power. I am fully aware that you think differently. as if he had been staying in the Astana for a while. .Chapter 20 ‘Y our Highness. one just tells them what’s good for them in the long run. Datu McBryan.’ 121 . To me that is part of the legacy of the Brooke tradition. making himself at home. thank you for granting me an audience at such short notice to discuss the proposed Constitution.’ That actually referred to the devil behind the Rajah. At present. . they can visibly see the Rajah and have access to him. ‘Please sit down and have a cup of coffee. soon they will lose that respect for the Rajah.’ said Peter. ‘Now.’ ‘Thank you. for a start. ‘Why. Sure. Your Highness. that power and ultimately that great dignity that the natives and locals expect and have learnt to respect. what’s your view on the proposed Constitution?’ The Rajah went straight to the point.’ ‘Agreed. the institution of the Rajah carries with it that authority. ‘Well. But if they see that the Rajah now has no powers in routine matters and the Rajah-in-Council has the final say. Peter. they will listen and obey.’ ‘When one is the Rajah. if I may ask?’ ‘You see . I strongly believe that the basic powers of the Rajah should not be transferred to the Rajah-in-Council.’ Peter eased himself on to a couch on the verandah of the Astana.

The locals do not understand autocracy or constitutional monarchy. Now. the essence of the Brookes’ rule is that the Rajah and his officers in each of the outstations are there with unfettered rights to dispense justice and render help according to the needs of the case or place. which these natives do not understand presently. Read them. The basic tenets of the Brooke Rule and traditions are clearly set out in the Preamble of the proposed Constitution. That hard-earned respect. if you can recall. They don’t know the cultural background of any constitution. we are talking about constitutional principles and the beginning of a parliamentary democracy—concepts. But we have to begin somewhere. they will accept it without question. It’s all too illusive for them.  . here is a copy—read the Preamble which carefully incorporates the Nine Cardinal Principles of Brooke Rule. Don’t you agree?’ ‘Yes.’ Reluctantly the Rajah Muda took the copy and studied it for a while. I agree. Go ahead. came from the Brookes’ victories against the Chinese in the Chinese Rebellion. You yourself have changed your mind from decentralisation to centralisation. the duties of 122 . The Preamble states as follows: (1) That Sarawak is the heritage of Our Subjects and is held in trust by Ourselves for them. some time. (3) That never shall any person or persons be granted rights inconsistent with those of the people of this country or be in any way permitted to exploit Our Subjects or those who have sought Our protection and care. my dear Rajah Muda. However. but  .  . if the Rajah tells them to do this or that in their own interest.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Listen here. against Sherip Masahor and Rentap in the 1860s. Peter.’ ‘Times have changed. A lot of people just gloss over that part. (4) That justice shall be easily obtainable and that the Rajah and every public servant shall be freely accessible to the public. (5) That freedom of expression both in speech and writing shall be permitted and encouraged and that everyone shall be entitled to worship as he pleases. of course. (6) That public servants shall ever remember that they are but the servants of the people on whose goodwill and co-operation they are entirely dependent. (7) That so far as may be Our Subjects of whatever race or creed shall be freely and impartially admitted to offices in Our Service. (2) That social and educational services shall be developed and improved and the standard of living of the people of Sarawak shall steadily be raised.

somewhere. albeit a very insignificant portion. and that continuous efforts shall be made to hasten the reaching of this goal by educating them in the obligations. But what is envisaged in the Constitution is that we will have some degree of native and local participation and representation in the Council Negri and government. Peter. “That the goal of self-government shall always be kept in mind. That’s all hocus pocus! Blackstone’s obsolete idea that the King can do no wrong. . That’s absolute nonsense! We are heading for a degree of democracy. ‘Now tell me—am I not right in that respect?’ asked the Rajah pointedly. Anyway. 9. ‘Yes. . it says. (8) That the goal of self-government shall always be kept in mind. whether the natives and locals understand the subtle difference has no practical consequences.’ ‘That’s the whole idea. This is just as good a time as any other. (9) That the general policy of Our predecessors and Ourselves whereby the various races of the State have been enabled to live in happiness and harmony together shall be adhered to by Our successors and Our servants and all who may follow them hereafter. the responsibilities and the privileges of citizenship. the Rajah-in-Council means the Rajah acting with the advice and consent of the Supreme Council.’ ‘Wake up . agreed.’ ‘That’s only in Shakespearean drama and according to the erroneous Jacobean concept of kingship and its powers.’ ‘I am sure you have heard before that if there is a change in the divine right of kings—the heavenly order—there will be chaos and disorder on earth. the Brookes never intended to rule Sarawak for their own benefit—only for the benefit of the local inhabitants. that the people of Sarawak shall be entrusted in due course .” This 123 . in general terms. . You are still dreaming of the obsolete concept of the divine rights of kings.’ ‘They may not understand it fully. they will accept my word. some time. this is the twentieth century. But the absolute right of the Rajah must be maintained at all times. After all. . In practice.’ ‘But the natives are not ready for democracy!’ ‘Not in the sense of fully self-responsible government. The basis here is simply that when I tell the people here that from now on the Rajah-in-Council will look after you and the country. We must begin to educate them on constitutional monarchy somehow. Look at Cardinal Principle No.1918-1941 which they may be qualified by their education. I mean the Rajah shall have the right to reject advice from the Rajah-in-Council or the British Adviser. ability and integrity duly to discharge. that the people of Sarawak shall be entrusted in due course with the governance of themselves.

it’s my considered opinion that the Constitution will breach the Accession Oath of 1918 namely because it deviates from possible types of government and the line of succession already laid down. . There is still a lot of uncertainty on future succession under the Constitution. The Constitution is only a means.’ ‘Let me tell you this . Neither of you can make up your minds.’ ‘Well. . It has a spirit itself.’ ‘Such as?’ ‘For example the Accession Order. Don’t you agree that this is a valid point?’ ‘I hear you.’ ‘Your Highness. . Basically it says that if your father should predecease me then the future succession shall be left to the Rajah-in-Council as I have no male heir. You know very well that the real trouble is that your father refused to become the Heir Presumptive while you have also refused to accept the role of Heir Apparent because your father is still alive.’ ‘You can’t possibly put every contingency in the will or the Constitution. . though. The constitution must be changed to suit the needs of changing times. Peter tried to wriggle his way out. We have some existing enactments which you could also classify as part of the constitution. the dead could not foresee all contingencies or the characters of their future successors . The Rajahs undertake on behalf of themselves and their successors to abide by the will of Rajah Charles Brooke—which forms part of the constitution of the state of Sarawak.’ ‘Many Malays including our Datu Patinggi think that it would be totally unfilial. immoral and illegal to disregard the previous Rajah’s will. not an end. it’s a reflection of life. ‘But that’s different. it leaves me no choice but to stipulate the future succession accordingly. then. Now. There is no such thing as an unrepealable constitution.’ ‘My father and I myself cannot agree with you on this point. Notwithstanding what you say. And my father’s consent is necessary for any change on the issue of succession.” So. The Constitution is not a mere lawyer’s document. our legal experts and experts from the Colonial Office believe that.Twilight of the White Rajahs is the modern trend of government. . and its spirit is always the spirit of the age. only those. the living and in power. . There seems no reason to change the late Rajah Charles’ will on the succession. as advocated by you. the doctrine of sovereignty of parliament applies to the Rajah. just like Parliament. can do their best to make such changes to ensure the best solutions for the immediate future on succession and changes of government. It’s no good having this idea of “after you. Life is always changing and 124 . how can the previous Rajah bind the acts of the subsequent Rajah?’ Caught in a fix. both of you have refused it. I can revoke that Order before the Constitution is adopted. A constitution is a living thing. George . If the Rajah is equally to have absolute rights.

It’s like an oligarchy. a hybrid between the written constitution of the USA and mostly unwritten English constitution with conventions—it’s like a transfer of power from the kings to the cabinet and parliament to a certain degree. but if that bill were passed three times at separate sessions. The Brooke tradition is basically intact. But we need an inbuilt mechanism to decide succession. I am sure many people back in England think that a constitution is overdue here in the mid-twentieth century. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. as the Rajah I can nominate an heir. with the cognisance or “approval” of the British government. what else is there that you are still unhappy with?’ ‘As I have said earlier. Look at the bright side. I think it will go well—that it will definitely improve the Brooke image very considerably back home and in the world. of course.’ ‘With respect. Peter. except there will be no single ruler’s decision any more. I hit on the idea of institution of Rajah-in-Council. the Rajah then is bound to endorse it. Under the Constitution no legislation or expenditure of public money can proceed even if approved by the Rajah-in-Council if the Council Negri refuse to consent.’ ‘That I can agree to incorporate. Don’t you agree?’ ‘I doubt very much . With growing democratic reform all over the world. and the route from basic representation to responsible government in stages along with other legacies of the Brooke traditions is enshrined in the basic Nine Cardinal Principles of the Brooke government.’ ‘Come on.’ ‘Don’t worry. it’s your father. No one can ever keep the press happy—anywhere for that matter. The locals and natives can still get accustomed to the new modified style of government which basically continues the Rajah’s rule. But both of you refused to accept it. rather than any mortal. I will not degrade my nominee. I have done that—as I stated earlier. Therefore. This is a rudimentary system of checks and balances . Frankly. expenditures for the state have to be approved by the Council Negri. On the contrary. Now. so to speak. No government nor constitution can 125 .1918-1941 uncertain.’ ‘Don’t worry. there are some merits. it’s about time you thought positively and accepted the idea of political development in stages.’ ‘On another point. . it seems improper to have an autocrat enjoying such absolute powers over a big tract of land—an anachronistic autocracy. There is no fundamental change here. the CA will have too much power. for example. the British press will make adverse comments on the Constitution—a sell-out. could I suggest that we follow the Johore experiment whereby the Rajah has the right to veto a bill passed by the legislative council. . to have the flexibility and continuity to decide the issue of succession. . . Of course.

It’s partially true that I have surrendered my absolute power to a bureaucracy. Nothing. Why worry? It really doesn’t matter. But the Rajah-in-Council is so 126 . long live the Rajah. It’s better to have a prima facie guided democracy than complete democracy where in an uneducated mass it will create mob rule and chaos. Malay and others to let the various races be gradually involved in playing a greater part in the legislature and executive as well as in the administration.’ ‘Really? How?’ ‘With greatest respect. ‘I doubt the natives understand all these niceties. The important point is that I am leading them down the path to self-government. although more work. Slowly they will get used to the Rajah-in-Council instead of the Rajah himself. the traditional principles of democracy have nothing to do with elected representatives in government.’ ‘However. One cannot jump the gaps of history whatever one’s view may be on history—cyclic or progressive. I have promised to nominate a few Chinese. I agree there will be no elected representatives yet. however rich or poor or of whatever status. only disguised in a form totally unintelligible to the natives and this inevitably will render the Rajahship less efficient and weak.’ ‘Well. and power with responsibility will be given to the Rajah-in-Council. The Rajah-in-Council doesn’t go on holiday as every Rajah does. The attention is direct and personal.’ argued Peter. You simply can’t live in the past with dreams of tomorrow—retaining autocratic powers. The assurance given to the natives is therefore flawed. That’s equally true also. to have direct access to the Rajah. in that case. in the East. The only reason why I have to select suitable nominees to the Council Negri is to ensure the right ones are chosen. At the end of the day they will still look to the Rajah for continuity and the facade of authority. Every citizen who sees the Rajah feels that he has. outsiders will say it’s only window-dressing. we can foresee that the autocracy still remains. It’s also the beginning of a constitutional monarchy. It’s real purpose is to hoodwink the local inhabitants.Twilight of the White Rajahs ever remain static forever. appealed personally to the supreme authority of the land possible for justice even though he may not get what he wants. The Sarawak Rajahs hitherto had strongly adhered to this principle and practice. They only perceive it in the light of every citizen’s right. so to speak. like the village councils which were formed in 1918 among the Land Dayaks who were better adapted than other natives for experiments because they had never obeyed an hereditary chieftainship. the supreme ruler. for example.’ ‘But there is actually a fundamental change here when Your Highness seems to suggest that there is very little change brought about by the Constitution. One could say: the Rajah is dead.’ ‘Now that’s untrue! You know it.

Other countries will follow suit in due course. Don’t insult their intelligence. they will accept it. It seemed soon his patience would wear thin. Really it’s the Rajah himself proposing the promulgation of a constitution.’ The Rajah grew more impatient at this insult. may I switch to another sensitive subject. ‘Granted. . but they totally understand that the will of their Rajah must be obeyed.’ Peter spoke with such obdurate arrogance that the Rajah was taken aback. After a while. By and by they will understand it. for example. Stark raving bonkers too! 127 . was still all ears. One day they will realise it. That in many ways is what you really want. I do. I am also speaking on behalf of the CA—basically requesting Your Highness to dismiss Datu McBryan from government service and to ban him from entering Sarawak. now coming to the crux of the matter . . So that’s life. if I tell them that it is basically good for them. ‘It’s my considered opinion that the people really do not want or need the Constitution. every age revolts against the previous age. many of them will not understand it now.’ ‘That’s only because they don’t understand what is good for them. ‘Your Highness. therefore he should be deported at once.’ ‘Now. ‘Could you repeat what you have said?’ The Rajah could not believe his own ears. One has to be philosophical. though getting tired. That’s the only way that the natives and even the locals will perceive the change.1918-1941 impersonal. I humbly think that Datu McBryan poses a real threat to the internal security of Sarawak as well as the Imperial interests and.’ ‘Well. the price of freedom is not realised until it is lost. As the Rajah. former British colonies have been slowly becoming independent democratic states such as Canada and Australia when they were ready to govern themselves.’ The Rajah. legal and constitutional niceties and necessities as democracy spreads round the world. they will get used to the system. It seems paradoxical. Education is the key to their understanding of the political. it’s just an institution which cannot entertain this access and make quick decisions. acting on behalf of the CA which has given me varying support. History can be my witness. but also practical and have faith in our future and the destiny of our chosen successors. Many children may not understand why and what their parents do for them until one day when they themselves become parents. Like they say. They never were nor will they ever be. with your permission. No system of government anywhere in the world is static. Now the Rajah was absolutely convinced that his nephew was a recalcitrant and vindictive fellow—fond of affront and making personal attacks. We have to move on.

but. indeed it would be tragic if the centenary of Brooke rule was marked by creating a constitution which future historians will refer to as a protected state enjoying a sort of comic opera form of self-government. No doubt. I’ll handle that. totally unrestrained and without second thoughts. as Thomas Paine had said. ‘Besides. But not while I am the Rajah. Don’t you remember that the goal of self-government is one of the nine Cardinal Principles which embody the essence of Brooke rule?’ ‘With greatest respect. You have only some Malay friends’ ‘But I’ll do my best to preserve the inherent absolute powers of the Rajah.’ The Rajah Muda still charged forward. ‘Don’t worry. you can get rid of me but you can’t get rid of Datu McBryan. For respect. ‘Peter. otherwise the natives will not respect the Rajah any more.’ ‘Your Highness. “the 128 . I am telling you. I know what to do. I have spent more time with the natives of Sarawak than you in the wilds. only in accordance with the changing needs of the time and the assurance that repositories of power shall not too easily misuse it. I still believe that the powers of the Rajah should not be curtailed under the proposed Constitution.Twilight of the White Rajahs In no mood now to listen to ‘lectures’ on this from his nephew. An adviser to the Rajah of Sarawak. Datu McBryan falls into relapses of temporary insanity like a Thai elephant. He cursed Datu McBryan for preparing all the answers for the Rajah.’ ‘That’s your self-centred opinion. I know them better—better than you ever will.’ ‘Well. Is that clear?’ ‘My father thinks the same as I do. Let me remind you lest you may forget: There is no higher law than the Constitution.’ Peter’s confrontation persisted relentlessly. seeing that he was making no headway on the discussion with the Rajah on the Constitution and succession. my word on this matter is final. the Constitution can be amended from time to time. you are completely out of your mind. Datu McBryan is responsible for the fine-tuning of the drafting of the Secret Agreement and the proposed Constitution. ‘That does not matter. I agree to his suggestions. If the CA wants him to resign. He is my adviser. only historians can. Is that clearly understood?’ Peter ignored this remark. you have to earn it. The CA and the Supreme Council had agreed on these matters. After all. But I know you are hopelessly wrong. the Rajah gave him a dressing down. I will suspend him from duty until he recovers from such relapses as you have mentioned. You cannot stop historians having jaundiced eyes and playing the games of interpretations and interpolations. they have to tell me themselves. good luck to you.’ ‘God even cannot change the past. every now and then. As long as I am the Rajah.

’ Rajah Vyner shook his head in total disbelief and simply could not believe that Peter would carry himself with such a pompous air and such obdurate arrogance before he descended the stairs of the Astana. if only in an official capacity . ‘My dear Rajah Muda. You’d better behave properly like a Brooke officer and a member of the Brooke family. Brilliant! Brilliant. Stephen ignored his irritation. Is there no respect of place. at least for your own sake. . And I’ll write to my father. he would kill the snake last. but of the people constituting a government!”‘ ‘Your Highness. If there was a choice to make between Peter and a cobra in a small cage.’s reaction when a former Chief Secretary was “purged” by you easily when he fatally suggested that a Singaporean officer be brought into Sarawak to chair the investigation 129 . Peter? Show me some respect. I only do so when I think it is futile and serves no purpose.’ ‘You’d better do that . laughing his head off—again chuckling and cracking his knuckles. ‘It will be futile. I have the same concern for you as Rajah Muda as I have for the Rajah.1918-1941 constitution is not the act of its government. A road of no return now. .’ swore Peter in a foul mood. the Rajah has changed the label but not the actual bitter medicine as the locals would say. Not forgetting the interests of the Brooke family. nor time in you. Aha! that was the hidden poker card—Stephen was not surprised at all. Your Highness. In fact he was eavesdropping in the next room. On the following day. What a master stroke! Peter and the CA were furious.’ ‘Please do. He congratulated himself for such a brilliant move to trap Peter who walked right into the road of collision with the Rajah—head to head. From now on ‘I am going to grill him like a squirrel over a fire’ thought the Datu to himself. I’ll take my leave now. with your permission. the Governor of Singapore. Stephen?’ He raised the tone of his voice.’ advised Stephen again. It’s against the interest of Sarawak and its administration. Stephen advised them to keep their heads cool. For sure he knew Peter had burned his bridges with his uncle forever. . Perhaps he should have left the ‘barbarian’ at the Astana gate. even as your uncle.’ ‘Yes. You are the Rajah Muda. and get his support. Datu McBryan’s resignation from the Sarawak Service was duly gazetted but his appointment as the Rajah’s Private Secretary was confirmed simultaneously. ‘why knock your head against the stony wall of the Astana?’ ‘Why are you always stopping me.H. Datu McBryan told himself. It’s against your own interests. He could not stand Peter. Have you forgotten H. ‘I will go to see Sir Shenton Thomas. . persons. Now in respect of Datu McBryan. I’ll cable him too.

may cause you to repent at leisure. yes. But as the potential Rajah of Sarawak there are two classes of Rajah. It is my considered opinion that the Constitution. Please remember that in any government. Rajah Muda. but mistaken zeal in Peter’s approach to politics—similar to religion—whereby in his attempts to persuade others he succeeded in convincing himself. Then he will be after your blood again. But the way one does it is very important. Don’t you agree?’ ‘To a certain degree. his very definite and uncompromising ideas about Sarawak and the Administration would land him in deep trouble. up to a point. the Governor of Singapore and even some Malay supporters in Sarawak had to leave the Tuan Muda and Rajah Muda in the lurch in an open conflict with the Rajah. I will fight against him tooth and nail. Rajah Muda. Rushing in haste. I know to Datu McBryan government is a form of astrology too—and money is its sign. I’ll fight to the bitter end. is still a violation of the Rajah’s Accession Oath. I am sure my father will do the same in the Colonial Office. ‘With respect. however well intended. Peter was an exhibitionist. Peter left his station and the country too. if I may say so. A few months earlier.’ ‘I am not scared of him. displaying nothing of the shyness and simplicity of his uncle. Bertram’s supporters in the Brooke regime and at home. I will not comply with the new terms concerning the succession under the Constitution. Beware. Somehow. heading for Singapore to see the Governor.’ ‘Good luck! I am sure when you return to Sarawak. Somehow. But one must speak out against injustice or wrong action of the government like a responsible parliamentary opposition leader.Twilight of the White Rajahs on your complaint against the CA then? Please think carefully. if I may say so.’ ‘I agree—yes. As for Datu McBryan. the appointed and the disappointed. I don’t care two hoots! Anyway I’ll go to protest in Singapore.’ Peter went quiet. Without approval. government to him is legalised pillage.                             Since Bertram had refused to accept the title of the Heir Presumptive while Peter had also refused to consider that post because his father was still alive.’ ‘Easier said than done.’ ‘Never. One has to be practical and resilient. Datu McBryan will turn the tables against you. Bertram had gone to the Colonial Office in London complaining bitterly. a leader has to create restraint and to do good. Stephen detected that there was a holy.’ 130 . He doesn’t really care about the Brooke tradition. the British government. please don’t fall into Datu McBryan’s trap—an emotional trap.

And what would the impartial critic say? He would say that on the 31st March you told your people a lie in saying that you were voluntarily relinquishing autocratic powers for yourself and your successors. ‘I think I know pretty well what happened. That the CA. Because on the same day you had entered into an agreement selling these powers as consideration for a very large sum of money out of the public purse. and it would be no business of anyone else’s except you and the CA. Edward Gent—an elderly man in his mid-fifties with tufts of white hair on his expressionless face—disagreed. and it would be a wonderful gesture for you to end the autocratic powers of the Rajahs. I am going to write a long letter to my brother and I’ll send a copy to my son too. It was put to you that the Constitution would be a splendid thing for the country. So the Tuan Muda sent the Rajah a long letter venting his disgust and true feelings.1918-1941 The official at the Colonial Office. and.’ Tuan Muda knew that this meant there was a hidden threat of gunboat diplomacy in the event of the successional and constitutional issues not being sorted out. but as you would be giving the country this immense benefit. the Rajah. the British government will not intervene unless we have to—in the event that the Brooke family and the Brooke government fight and fail to resolve. And you. but we do not want to be involved in what is basically in a domestic feud. . took it upon themselves to spend this public money in purchasing these rights on behalf of people who had never shown signs of wanting them. with the curious childlike strain in you that old age has been unable to eliminate fell for this just as you fell for the nonsensical explanation that the Brunei business was a matter between you and the Sultan .’ ‘Please also check up on the Malay Adat law in Sarawak. also disagrees with you on that point. then the Colonial Office is bound to invoke Article 2 of the 1888 Treaty. your brother. the issue of succession and the post-war status of Sarawak. ‘What you’ve just said is contrary to the opinion of our team of legal experts. And so the CA had to see that your Officers should 131 . I hope you appreciate our awkward position. If the Rajah’s adviser chooses a successor outside the line of succession laid down by the first Rajah. . and would not know what to do with them. of course. for some reason. for example. there was every reason why you should get something out of it in return.’ ‘Tuan Muda.’ ‘You can send us a copy too. You had a perfect right to the money.’ ‘Anyway. We hope you will see that the Constitution is implemented smoothly to prevent disruptions.

And that the CA was pledged by this agreement to push the Constitution through . . He is too sick even to visit Sarawak. .” After reading this letter. Let us forget them making a song and dance on this. .’ ‘I tell you . Let us concentrate on proving Peter to be unfit as the next Rajah. ‘Don’t worry about Tuan Muda. . .’ 132 . Your Highness. . timed to arrive in Sarawak round the time when Peter was seeing him. the Rajah jumped out of his chair.Twilight of the White Rajahs be instructed to persuade the people whose money had been spent in this extraordinary transaction that they would derive immense benefit from it. The Rajah was up in arms over these rumours and the insinuation that he had selfishly sold Sarawak—‘for a song’ too! Datu McBryan took it all calmly. Adeh is not interested in being the next Rajah.’ ‘I can’t wait . fuming at his brother. the best is yet to come. all I can say is that all these episodes and dramas of Peter provide me distraction from my boredom. He is only a barking dog that does not bite. More critical news. gossip and rumours floated in London that the Rajah was out to make a profit in selling the Brooke inheritance in Sarawak.’ ‘Well.

Rajah Muda. reprimanded him.’ 133 . I don’t mind mentioning it to you that I have been involved since the second draft of the Sarawak Constitution.Chapter 21 A round this time. Talk to Stephen Young. Sir Shenton Thomas. Stephen had practised ‘Tai Chi’—the soft and flexible Chinese martial art—and avoided any direct confrontation or collision course with the Datu. Shenton Thomas was not sympathetic to Peter at all. ‘I will sue him for libel. It will be a terrible oligarchical government. and politics is the basic art of how who gets what. It gave the Rajah great pleasure to watch Datu McBryan and try to work out his next move. Somehow. unless he makes a public apology. Your Highness. Peter started attacking the CA itself. Peter forgot the basic principles of politics—in politics there are no permanent friends nor enemies. After viewing Peter’s letters and documents. ‘The CA is full of self-serving officers who under the Constitution have all the power. ‘Your action is hasty and ill-considered. only permanent interests.’ From his body language the Rajah knew that Datu McBryan was slightly jealous of Stephen whom the Rajah would often ask.’ Stunned and speechless. if you insist. He advised the Rajah to take appropriate action against Peter who had flaunted basic procedure and standing orders. and to save your breath. for a second opinion if he was in doubt on certain matters.’ ‘Be careful. as now the proposed Constitution had opened a small door for the British government to participate as the General Adviser in the Administration of Sarawak. Your Highness. we will also be exposed in a court trial. from time to time.’ ‘Yes. So far. when and why. Datu McBryan obtained a copy of a memo of Peter’s that was being circulated to outstation officers in the Administrative Service.

And for a lost cause. He excused himself. ‘I am warning you.’ ‘That scoundrel. If you are so stubborn I have nothing more to say. I will upset it at all costs. As the Rajah Muda you should show more respect to him both as an uncle or the Rajah of Sarawak. opinion and interests. That’s a most serious matter! That would not be in British interests nor yours. . I had a good opinion of you till you became so emotional on the Constitution that you are blinded by your own faults. you are too stiff. Be a bit flexible.’ ‘He had better not do such a silly thing. Gilbert was plump. Work with the Rajah and Datu McBryan closely. 134 . I have full confidence in the team of the CA—under difficult circumstances they have done quite a good job. . The Colonial Office will refer the matter to me.’ Peter threatened like a schoolboy crying over spilt milk. You’d better consult your father. he is not as emotional and headstrong as you.’ Peter knew he was barking up the wrong tree—the enactment of the Constitution would only facilitate British intervention. if I may say so. naive moral question of the heart.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Peter. Rajah Muda. Let me give you some friendly advice. You can dig your own grave . Sadly Peter sailed back to Kuching. fuming and feeling like a lost soldier fighting against the whole world alone. It would only be a matter of time before Datu McBryan made mincemeat out of him. Your Excellency. Sarawak’s Constitution is overdue for a change. Your uncle spoke to me yesterday over the phone. yet he has advised the Rajah properly on the proposed Constitution and related documents. I doubt your father would proceed the way you do. and then applying unsuitable remedies. .’ Peter had had enough. Peter had the knack of looking for trouble. At least.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Like you as much as I don’t like him. accept other people’s opinions. If you really want to be the future Rajah—you still have all the chances—try to control yourself. Sir Shenton Thomas could not believe that Peter could be turning a complex problem of the head into a simple. All alone. diagnosing it wrongly or sometimes blindly. He tried to move heaven and earth to change the constitutional path of Sarawak history. it’s up to you. . he is responsible for all of this . Paul Gilbert. Mr McBryan. . however inconvenient or objectionable it may be. ‘But. Somehow. Don’t ever come back to me on the same subject in the future or whenever you land yourself in hot soup. since the Constitution involves the Brooke family. I am sure you are fully aware of that. Now he confronted the new Officer Administering the Government in the CA. Rajah Muda. finding it everywhere. you must restrain your temper.’ The Governor was in no mood to entertain him.’ ‘I’ll never submit to them. . ‘I will tell my father to tell the Colonial Office . Show your skill in diplomacy. Very often the cures were worse than the ailments.

The Rajah will not view that kindly after Peter’s outrageous behaviour in front of him. meant nothing good. Rajah Muda? Can the CA see you tomorrow after I have discussed the extremely important contents of the memo and letter with them?’ ‘Sure . ‘I knew the Rajah Muda would fall into Datu McBryan’s trap. you have to tell him personally.’ ‘Terimah Kasih.1918-1941 but fairly tall with bushy eyebrows. Peter is digging his own grave. excuse me. Quickly. left. a well-manicured moustache and a pair of keen eyes like a hawk. the Governor of Singapore. ‘Peter has upset everyone. I don’t care a damn for him. In a swift change of events. taking disciplinary action against or dismissing the Rajah Muda. if he still refuses to listen to us or other people’s advice. leaving the country to see the Governor of Singapore without permission. The fact that Whitehall has been quiet so far can only mean that they are actually concerned in the internal administration of Sarawak. I heard that from the Rajah himself. there are two important letters: one from the Rajah and one from Datu McBryan. . The Governor of Singapore is involved in this drafting too. ‘Come in .’ Peter knew something was wrong. Now. Tuan. Letters and a memo coming from the Rajah and his Political or Private Secretary. The heavy responsibility lies on us now of punishing or.’ ‘You are right. . The second letter was from Datu McBryan notifying the CA that he wanted to sue Peter for libel. he guessed. Datu McBryan.’ Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Perhaps he will listen to you. . Perhaps he is still unaware of it. Yes. Mr Gilbert.’ The office peon. Paul summoned a CA meeting. after handing the documents over to him. gentlemen?’ Stephen reminded the CA of his fear.’ Paul agreed with a sense of trepidation and anxiety. Datu 135 . I am sure he has got the blessing of the Colonial Office. Frankly. the Rajah.’ Paul replied. wouldn’t you consider that the proposed Constitution breaches the 1888 Treaty?’ ‘Not according to our legal opinion. the CA which had originally supported Peter was now landed with the unpleasant task of taking disciplinary action against him. ‘What did I tell you. ‘Ma’af. It had the blessing of the Rajah. rather. ‘Mr Gilbert. Necessary disciplinary action must be taken against Peter. Now Datu McBryan will grill him. the British government and now breached the standing order on leaving his station without permission and worst. a memo to the CA prepared by Datu McBryan and signed by the Rajah asking the CA to ask Peter why he had left his post in Sarikei without getting permission before he proceeded to Kuching. let me see what this new memo and letter say. ‘Would you excuse me. . He can’t even protect himself.

’ ‘Since you get along better than any one of us with Datu McBryan. I would suggest strongly to H. Pardon my blunt speaking. As for Datu McBryan’s legal suit. He must not open his big mouth. ‘Yes. Even our crucial roles would be exposed. All of this together with the awards of the Star of Sarawak will look bad. Spend a weekend at Santubong beach with him. If I don’t sue him. he will never stop this nonsense. By that time.Twilight of the White Rajahs McBryan is cleverly using the CA to nail the Rajah Muda.’ ‘It’s more than that. . I suggest you go and cool him down.’ Stephen wanted confirmation. I am sure he is laughing. ‘Why don’t I get an undertaking that he will not say any more slanderous things against you? Let bygones be bygones. to transfer him to Bintulu. the danger will be that if he takes the case to court. still young. Even in front of the Rajah he does not have the manners befitting a Rajah Muda at all.’ ‘That’s fine with me.H. He is scurrilous by nature.’ ‘I must sue him!’ repeated Datu McBryan angrily. . I’ve told him already how you feel and he agreed that he would never do it again. I’ll do my best. all the details of the Secret Agreement and the background of the Constitution will become news headlines all over the world. Stephen.’ ‘Don’t worry. He has made libellous remarks and circulated them to all the junior officers in the Administrative Service. He knew Peter could seldom refrain from making scurrilous remarks.’                             ‘Datu McBryan.’ ‘You are a big man with a big generous heart. the CA has just received the declaration of your intention to pursue a libel suit against the Rajah Muda. far away from Kuching so that he will make fewer trips. cracking his knuckles. The worst thing is still Peter. the British government will most likely intervene. Stephen.’ ‘Now we are all agreed that I have to see the Rajah while Stephen goes to calm down Datu McBryan. ‘That’s not enough.’ 136 .’ ‘I know the Rajah Muda is highly strung and emotional.’ ‘I’ll try but I can’t promise. Cool him down. and it would be beneath your dignity to injure a small man with a small heart though having a big title. Criticism has its own limits. He is eccentric in many ways. I must teach that arrogant bastard and foul-mouthed bigot some basic lessons on manners and respect. He behaved like a barbarian at the Astana gate. Fix him .’ Stephen knew that was a white lie. that’s quite correct. all of us will land in hot soup. otherwise. Sometimes he tends to exaggerate and hurt others’ feelings unnecessarily.

Please consider that fine legal point. your whole character.  . credibility and past actions. 137 . on all these possible consequences. For sure the Rajah would be embarrassed and angry and might dismiss him as his Private Secretary too. It’s like washing the linen of the Brooke family in public and our Brooke government too. I believe Prince Abu Bakar was the Rajah Muda then. I am sure you remember the case of Mighell vs Sultan of Johore [1894].’ ‘I’ll try to get it from him. Datu McBryan was shocked into silence.000 to H. Don’t you agree with my humble view?’ Datu McBryan slumped back in his chair and closed his eyes for a brief moment. Perhaps in the Rajah’s court he has certain sovereign immunity from legal suits. personal life. in the cross-examination. remember he is the Rajah Muda. What if suddenly Bertram asked Peter to be the Heir Presumptive and he accepted? It will be a messy legal battle. he has nothing to lose.H. Datu McBryan reflected hard. Cross-examination on the details of the events will cause irreparable embarrassment and damage to every party concerned. Previously he had failed to trap him in the award of the Star of Sarawak. He would love to drag you in the mud—drag in past allegations and your personal vested interests too. But Datu . Knowing Peter. he will engage a King’s Counsel in London to appear in the Rajah’s court. A perfect story for a Hollywood film. While twitching his fingers. as far as I can remember. if the case ever got to the Rajah’s court.H.. It will cost the Treasury money too!’ For the second time. your role as an adviser and Private Secretary to H.’ For a moment. . I suspect that the Rajah Muda might have that intention. ‘Supposing the trial goes ahead. A desperate man is a dangerous man. acknowledging that this was a valid legal point. Don’t fall into his trap.  .H.H.000. Datu  . For once. And of course. sex life and mental breakdowns and hospitalisation incidents could bring bad publicity to your good name. certainly not doing any good to anybody.1918-1941 ‘I need an apology. Being what he is. the removal of the former Chief Secretary. What a fantastic headline for the newspapers “Rajah vs Rajah Muda on selling Sarawak”. It will damage all of us including you and me. agree to all these consequences? I have to brief H. he stared into the eyes of Stephen. Do you want to start that course of action with foreseeable consequences? Would H. Stephen added. the quid pro quo for the payments of $2. the whole background and details to the drafting of the Secret Agreement. . acknowledging that Stephen had made two realistic and damaging points if the case were to proceed. he realised Stephen could prove his equal if he chose to. the negotiation of the Constitution with you and myself playing a critical role in those drafts will come out into the open. ‘Besides.

‘Your Highness. And we can assure you that the necessary disciplinary action will be taken by the CA in its course of enforcement of the standing orders and procedures of the government. perhaps a dismissal would be the best solution and the most merciful one at the moment. Now as the Officer Administering the Government.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Well.’ Stephen never trusted Datu McBryan’s oral undertaking.’ ‘In that case would you recommend suspension or dismissal or other measures?’ ‘For coming to Kuching without approval he would deserve a suspension. I should take away his title of Rajah Muda again by Proclamation. For him to go to Singapore without permission and see the Governor and complain against the Brooke government.’ After scribbling on a piece of paper.’ ‘Well. . Paul Gilbert had been to see the Rajah. not on the basis of any relationship with the Rajah any more.’ ‘Well. he deserves immediate dismissal.’ ‘Proceed on the basis that he is merely a junior officer. Meanwhile. . you advise me. proceed on that basis. I’d like to think about it. . you can take it from me that I have dropped my case against Peter. he gave it to Stephen. . ‘That’s the best news of the day. For him to complain against me and Datu McBryan—confirmed by the cable from the Governor of Singapore.’ ‘Good. Datu .’ It was one of the rare occasions when the Datu spoke in such a conciliatory tone.’ ‘I’ll try my best. how about a written undertaking as to what you have said . what actions would you recommend to the CA? We need your guidance.’ ‘Well. Let me have that in black and white before I leave here.’ 138 . Your Highness. Now. Thank you. Stephen knew that there would not be a libel case—but was not sure whether Datu McBryan would make some defamatory remarks against Peter. All he could see was that there could not be two tigers in the hill of Sarawak.’ ‘Please do me a favour. my good man. I have to report to the CA and about the Rajah Muda’s position today. I will write that undertaking you wanted. about Rajah Muda. ‘So . if you don’t hear from me by tomorrow morning by 9 o’clock. . I’d like to see that.’ He spoke half-absentmindedly and half-heartedly. With that letter. . The Governor himself spoke to me about his allegations—I tell you Peter deserves to be sued. ‘Good.

all were faced with the unpleasant task of giving the letter of dismissal to the Rajah Muda. He is cunning. the Acting Treasurer. Please get the Rajah’s approval before coming to Kuching or elsewhere next time. he is still our Rajah Muda. I am not sure you have received the letter from Datu McBryan. Anyway as I had mentioned earlier. Surely as the future Rajah of Sarawak. but a coward. Stephen and Gilbert returned to call a meeting of the CA.’ ‘I fully understand that you have to do what you have to do. the CA knew only Stephen could handle him. I want to drag him to court.’ ‘That libel suit will bring the whole Brooke government and family into disrepute. Abang Openg. He has threatened to sue you for libel on account of what you had circulated to other officers after talking to Hill.’ ‘I fully appreciate that.’ ‘Thank you for appreciating our task in this delicate matter. After two intensive briefings by them of the CA. my educated guess is that Datu McBryan will drop the libel case by tomorrow. I hope you can see the way we perceive the situation and do our best to run the government while preserving good relations between the Rajah and his family members. . It’s important that the Rajah must know all the facts and consequences of various actions and reactions. and the Native officer. there is one piece of bad news. But not too long!’ ‘Meanwhile. At the following day’s meeting. Truth is always a defence. the unpleasant task of enforcing the standing order falls upon the CA. After all. It makes it extremely difficult for us to act when there is a breach of standing order. I am sorry for putting the CA in such a dilemma .’ ‘However. it does not befit your dignity to go to court and wash your dirty linen in public.1918-1941 On the same day. . Let me have a chance to speak to H. sneaky. Stephen advised the Rajah Muda. It’s basically a Brooke family problem compounded by Datu McBryan. Mr Gilbert. All this time.’ None of the members of the CA wanted to confront the powerful Private Secretary of the Rajah. otherwise. That’s the only way to get him.’ ‘I am certainly not afraid of him. your presence here will only give the Rajah’s Private Secretary more ammunition to fire at you while you are here in breach of the standing order. before you issue it. We are earnestly appealing 139 .H.’ ‘That’s fine with me. Somehow. Besides. ‘Let’s hold back the letter of dismissal for a moment. ‘It’s the CA’s wish that you should return to Serikei as soon as possible to your post. he is hiding behind the Rajah’s sarong. why don’t we both go and tell the Rajah Muda tomorrow to go back to Serikei and brief him about Datu McBryan’s letter and about the breach of the standing order. A visit to the Rajah Muda will quickly resolve that issue too!’ ‘Good! That sounds reasonable.

the whole committee of CA sat back trying to catch their breath. you can talk to him. he blew them. Your Highness. All right. Datu McBryan has kindly consented not to sue the Rajah Muda for libel.’ After Peter left.Twilight of the White Rajahs to your good judgement. and the Rajah Muda has also promised not to lampoon Datu McBryan any more.’ ‘I can’t promise that. The CA will write to you in due course. I know you are a loyal officer of the Brooke government and Brooke family. Still he hasn’t changed. The suit will definitely bring disrepute to the Brooke government and family. I must give him back the same medicine. first before you leave your station. ‘Your Highness.H. I want to expose his knavish tricks and double dealings to the world. . On that ground. The following day. His madness too!’ ‘That’s precisely why the CA urges you strongly to go back to Serikei while it is clearing the present impasse and defusing tension between your good self and the Rajah. you have known me for years since I joined the Brooke establishment. . It depends what he does to me.’ ‘That’s understandable. I know you will say.’ 140 . after all you are the Rajah Muda. I would appeal to you to give him another chance.’ The Rajah pretended he was reading the newspaper in front of him.’ ‘After my persuasions and reasoning. But I am not going to apologise to him. and of course. I fully appreciate your sincerity and efforts. always trying to resolve the problem without fear or ulterior motive.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘All right. I would strongly suggest that Your Highness would reconsider dismissing the Rajah Muda. Therefore. We hope you will look at the long-term interest of the Brooke family. But we would urge you strongly to desist from writing anything or lampooning Datu McBryan publicly in writing or orally. . . Datu McBryan. “I have given him several chances. Rajah Muda. Go on . Don’t dismiss him. I am prepared to consider it. But please get official approval from H.”‘ ‘Stephen. Rajah Muda. I’ll personally go to persuade Datu McBryan to drop his legal suit. Not in private nor in public.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Well. But I warn you . Stephen met up with the Rajah with the approval of the CA. ‘In the interests of the Brooke government and family in that order. I am listening. I’ll come back. It would be very embarrassing if the Rajah Muda were ever to raise other defences of the full or semi-immunity of sovereignty in the court. I’ll depart today for Serikei. bearing in mind the case of Mighell vs Sultan of Johore.

However. I will give you a Sarawak medal of the highest order. If he shows any more insubordination then. We’ll do our best to persuade the young Rajah Muda to act with proper decorum.’ ‘On that basis.’ ‘I don’t mind if it’s for a good cause. Instead we’ll act according to what you have just said. the CA will be most happy not to issue that letter of dismissal now. Grudgingly the Rajah Muda moved to Bintulu again. The proposed constitution has a background of intrigue.’ ‘If you can achieve that.’ The Rajah looked forward to the games still to be played by Datu McBryan. I am prepared to hold back the letter of dismissal.’ ‘I know that. Eventually Stephen managed to persuade Datu McBryan to give up all idea of a libel suit. sufficient to condemn the people of this stricken land to hang their heads in shame and misery for years to come. This background must be entirely forgotten before any form of constitution 141 . you are an idealist. Your Highness. you know that. Thank you. On that ground.1918-1941 ‘I know your good intentions and the points you are making. give him a letter of warning and transfer him to Bintulu. the letter of dismissal must be issued. Whatever happens. wondering what moves they would make next. Stephen. What a narrow escape! thought Stephen. Your Highness. I’d have a better and different government.                             Three weeks later. Goodbye. They are good and valid points.’ ‘I’ll try. Stephen and the Rajah Muda. If I throw you out of the window.’ The Rajah stretched his arms with an air of resignation. the hot-headed Peter left Bintulu for Kuching again without approval. For how long? Nobody knew. Your Highness. you will always come back through the back door. treachery. especially as he knew there were some truth in Peter’s slanderous words. But I don’t need a medal. The die was cast. The CA rejoiced over what Stephen had been able to achieve.’ ‘If all the Brooke officers thought like you. humbug and bad faith. ‘Thank you for the undeserved compliments. Frankly. besides firing off a cable to the Governor of Singapore knowing full well that he would be dismissed. He had heard rumours that strong disciplinary action would be taken against him if he misbehaved—but that was not exactly the nature of his cable. nobody wanted to know either except Datu McBryan. at least I feel that I have done my best. ‘ Your Excellency. Stephen.

no respect for the Rajah. . thought Rajah Vyner. a pig. It exceeds in sheer horror all the lowest depths to which Humanity can sink. He is acting like a “fortune-teller” who typically cannot tell what misfortune would fall upon himself or predict the time of his death. Childish. He imagined himself as a master chef turning and roasting babi. the outcome of this matter may have important repercussions on Sarawak history.  . It’s absolutely disgraceful behaviour. It is therefore essential that this affair on the Constitution should receive the consideration it deserves.’ Datu McBryan finally convinced the Rajah that Peter had become as mad as a hatter when a copy of this cable was forwarded to the Astana from the Singapore Governor’s office—no respect for the law. ‘Peter has been throwing his weight around. . . and that the true and complete story of this matter should be placed on the files for purposes of future record .  . . pardon my language . ‘This rogue is incorrigible. . He is an arrogant bastard . . I believe his mother. . Gladys.  it might help you to understand the tone of these letters if I were to remind you that. The British Commonwealth is at war but the cause for which we are fighting means nothing if this outrageous measure is allowed to triumph . tarot cards and what not! It must be her bad influence on him. and . Publicly he does not agree that the Rajah should 142 . . Your Highness. . ‘Peter regarded the Constitution as an “impersonal and revolutionary monstrosity”. For the Constitution to be forced on the people of Sarawak in the present circumstances would rival the blackest political crime since the dawn of enlightened Government. He engaged people based on their horoscopes. . immature and emotional with no prospect ever of growing up to be a suitable heir to the Rajah. It was a pure delight for him to have this opportunity to show the sadistic and dark side of his character.Twilight of the White Rajahs can again be considered. apart from being a “junior District Officer”. Perhaps. and carving off the meat neatly and slowly. Look also at this circular prepared for the Administrative Service stations.’ Peter had also unilaterally written to the CA justifying his stand and position: ‘. my name is Anthony Brooke. no respect for anyone. is like a gypsy woman reading fortunes. he takes after his father.’ Datu McBryan complained. I do not blame this Government which has been blackmailed for the past 6 months and once in the clutch of an unprincipled Atheist [McBryan] holding a position of power there is no easy withdrawal.’ Datu McBryan who had got hold of both transmissions was skinning the Rajah Muda slowly and deliberately.

  . It’s sad. This is not the end. Peter has further alleged that Your Highness.’ ‘I hope so. I hope one day you will see things in a different light when the right time comes.’ Stephen referred to his dismissal. Peter already knew what was coming—he had crossed the Rubicon. . I know. It is his firm belief that the local natives might start headhunting and go on the warpath again. . as guardian. I heard he once said. ‘Don’t worry. So far he has been only concentrating on the fundamental principles of native administration which he believes to have been transgressed.’                             143 .’ In Singapore.’ ‘Have a safe journey back to England.’ ‘I quite agree with you that he has lost his mind. You will find life more tolerable and more happiness in compromising. Go and ask Mr Gilbert to hand Peter the letter of his dismissal on grounds of insubordination and advise Peter to go to Singapore and back to England.’ ‘Rajah Muda. I’ll come back. his vitriolic criticism of the Constitution and the Secret Agreement in his capacity as a member of the Brooke family and as a member of the Sarawak civil service seemed too artificial to the CA. yet I can’t forgive his attitude and eccentric behaviour. My regards to your father. I couldn’t help pitying him. By then. . Stephen.’ ‘That’s right. Don’t worry. He still imagines we are still living in the Dark Ages.  . Kepala masuk angin—swollen head. Datu McBryan again knocked Peter for six. Sometimes. the letter of dismissal was handed over to the Rajah Muda. I’ll curse him till the day he dies .’ ‘Thank you . I swear. ‘I am sorry that matters came to a head like this again . I just don’t understand your actions. forgiving and forgetting sometimes  . show a bit of the Christian spirit. But there are a few things in which I strongly believe and that I’ll fight to the end no matter what the cost.1918-1941 not retain the right to reject the advice of the CA. But at least there was no proclamation to strip him of his title this time round. I’ll take revenge on Datu McBryan one day. Sir Shenton Thomas rebuked Peter’s insolence and told him to return to England in order to avoid creating more problems for the Brooke Government and with the signing of the Constitution. Rajah Muda. As expected. . “the essence of true indirect administration is the allegiance of a people to a tribal head”. . has broken your sacred pledge by transferring the power which must be vested in the Rajah—not to be transferred to other people. What ridiculous notions!’ ‘I had had enough of Peter’s arrogance when he was last at Kuching.’ ‘I’ll be delighted to fulfil Your Highness’ wishes. He hardly reads anything properly. . This is only the beginning.

Young men came and bedded her by the dozen.’                             Meanwhile the Ranee was having a ball in New York. the mother-in-law. ‘I am not up to it.’ ‘Good. piling up debts of more than US$10. She had not the same affection for the people of Sarawak as Ranee Margaret. the mother-in-law by order of the late Rajah Charles. Let us concentrate on the celebration of the Sarawak Centenary on 24th September. Her lifestyle became popular gossip in the entertainment world. Not fit either. and sex was only there for enjoyment. now that Peter is out of the way. Peter would have no chance at all. I’ll get the Ranee back from New York before the celebration. she was drunk. mixing with Hollywood actors and producers. Under the new Constitution. Both stayed away from Sarawak—Ranee Sylvia out of choice. telling the Hearst papers that her grandson Simon would be the next Rajah of Sarawak. Ranee Sylvia was a socialite who had no better things to do than wining and dining most of the time in London and America.000. Compared to the former Ranee Margaret.’ suggested Datu McBryan. Do you think I should attend?’ ‘Yes. 144 .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Your Highness. The Ranee and Datu McBryan had one thing in common: for them morality was a subjective matter. escapism and health. Often.

’ ‘I share your worries about the Japanese! Now what’s exactly in your mind?’ ‘Sell our business. America and England for the private collections of discerning collectors. we should sell our business now. some cash. And return here when the war is over. Singapore. she was the sole beneficiary to two shophouses along the Main Bazaar. ‘Maybe. you are due for your furlough anyway. already more than $600. The shop also sold native artefacts which were exported to Singapore. Although she had engaged somebody else to run the business. Besides. Malaya .H. Then we leave together for Australia. Europe. I am sure you know how to get it. . . yet she came to check the accounts almost daily and periodically she oversaw the other shophouse which was rented out. an antique business which was flourishing—selling collections of jars. You and George can get an exemption also. So has George. Indonesia. if required. ‘Any particular reason. from H.’ ‘Then when do you plan to leave?’ 145 . After the death of her Uncle Liu. . and coins of the Ming and other dynasties.’ ‘How shall we do that?’ ‘You have a Sarawak passport. a house in Pisang Road. You get approval to take leave. darling?’ ‘All the Chinese in town think that it’s only a matter of months now before the Japanese take over Sarawak and the rest of Borneo. jewellery and most important of all.’ Mei Ling spoke in an uneasy tone as if something was going to happen to Sarawak.000 has been remitted to China through Singapore. . They are drumming up support for donations to the China Distress Relief Fund run by a certain Mr Wee .Chapter 22 I t was a bit of an irony: Mei Ling earned ten times more than her husband. darling.

’ ‘So is he coming along too?’ ‘You know H. Datu McBryan told Judy. . you know that already. . if not the British forces.’ George knew it would be difficult to argue with his mother on Chinese tradition and cultural heritage. Ask your friends to find us a place to stay. is going to Australia in November. . against the Japanese. I gather. George who was back in Sarawak for the summer holiday overheard part of the conversation. will be so bored that he needs a court jester around to distract him and keep him in good humour.’ ‘I see. one of his lady friends . it’s always important for the Chinese to give the best burial ground for their elders and ancestors to get luck and prosperity. we can discuss that in due course. did you say?’ George could not resist letting them know what he had heard.’ ‘Will there be a buyer?’ ‘Leave that to me.’ ‘You will do no such silly thing. He had been working in London for quite a number of years after graduating from Cambridge University as a lawyer. Therefore. Perhaps.                             One morning a telegram was sent to the Rajah requesting that Datu McBryan report for duty in the British Army in England. I have some friends at both places. Feng Shui is very important in Chinese culture.’ ‘I see . George. you must be filial to our ancestors to be prosperous in future.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Any time after the Sarawak Centenary celebration in September would a good time. That’s a good time.’ ‘Good.’ replied Stephen.’ ‘Yes. ‘Yes.’ ‘But it’s the duty of every Sarawakian to fight for Sarawak.’ ‘You must think of our ancestors and the line of succession. On seeing the 146 . ‘Why not?’ ‘I’ve only got you.’ ‘It’s a small world. mother. I gather H. Always remember. . ‘Hey.’ ‘Which place in Australia then?’ ‘Sydney or Melbourne.H.’ He knew better than to argue this because of her Chinese upbringing and ability to use an abacus faster than he could calculate. George. ‘Are we going to Australia. . We can manage if I sell the business and the two shop lots and lands . You are the only descendant of our Liu line. .’ admonished his mother.H. that’s great! I can join the Australian forces.

Can Datu McBryan serve after the Centenary celebration?’ ‘I am short-handed  . . I can’t.’ 147 . Besides.’ Sir Shenton Thomas laughed again. ‘Besides. would you be free during that period?’ ‘Anything in particular?’ ‘I would like to invite you to attend the Sarawak Centenary celebration. I will require him to be here for the Sarawak Centenary in September.’ ‘Well. ‘our military advisers have found that condoms are still the best means of protecting explosives planted to destroy airfield drainage systems.’ ‘I see . ‘I suppose you could say that. ‘Hello. can you hear me?’ ‘Oh! good to hear from you . if you can. . .’ laughed the Governor. a Sarawak passport. the Datu approached the Rajah and requested the Rajah to telephone the Governor of Singapore after coaching him on what to say. That’s why I have already despatched the 2/15 Punjab Regiment to Kuching and sent by air a few boxes of condoms. you’ve got me wrong.’ he added. he is also one of the Supreme Council members. Your Excellency. I am not sure. I suppose so. seeing to every detail of the Centenary celebration. He told me that he had lost his British passport some time ago. . so I had issued a new Sarawak passport to him a few months ago—yes. What are the condoms for? For your troops? or to protect our women in case of being raped by the Japanese?’ teased the Rajah.1918-1941 telegram. . sorry the line is not too good. Don’t worry.’ ‘No. you mentioned that in your telegram.’ remarked Sir Shenton Thomas. He is my Private Secretary and Chairman of the organising committee. everything will be all right.’ ‘You mean that’s Sarawak’s novel contribution to the art of war and the war effort?’ A touch of cynical humour from the Rajah. What Sarawak needs are men and firepower not condoms. Incidentally. this is Vyner. ‘Yes. And I really do need his advice in the formulation of the Constitution.  .’ The voice quivered.  . ‘No. so I still need his services badly as my Private Secretary. you may wish to know that the Colonial Office had asked me to tell you that Datu McBryan is required to serve in England in the war against Germany. . ‘Incidentally.’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘I am quite sure. I have some important visitors from the London Colonial Office. He is a damned good secretary and adviser too! Don’t you agree?’ ‘Yes . ‘How is the situation in Singapore?’ ‘We have enough forces to repel any Japanese attack.

’ ‘It will be done. he saw a female elephant pulling the roots of some plants near the coconut trees. you want to hear my latest joke. Thank you. I am afraid. you are quite right. did I hurt you?”‘ Vyner burst into peals of laughter. That rat swore that he would make love to the first female animal he encountered in the animal kingdom. ‘I’m eternally grateful to you. ‘Yes.’ ‘Goodbye. What a fine raconteur and jester with a cruel wit! ‘Just one thing.’ Jokingly the Rajah replied.’ ‘Yes. There was nothing else he could do except report his conversation back to the British Colonial Office. Your Highness. I see your mood is not so good this morning.Twilight of the White Rajahs Shenton Thomas knew at once that Datu McBryan had deliberately ‘lost’ or destroyed or thrown away his passport before obtaining a Sarawakian one. one favour.’ ‘That’s good enough grounds already.’ ‘Yes. . “Sorry darling. It missed the rat but hit the elephant. I’ll inform the Colonial Office.’ ‘You will.’ ‘Well. . . . On the tree branch nearby a gorilla saw that pathetic and disgusting scene and got so infuriated that he threw a coconut at the rat.’ ‘You see once there was a big rat which had been in the desert for days—hungry and sex-starved too. after chuckling and cracking his knuckles. The rat jumped up on the back of the elephant and tried to make love to her. ouch .’ ‘Thank you.’ 148 .’ ‘Let’s have it. in your absence he may issue directives to the Sarawak Rajah in Council or the CA or AS in your absence or in your name. the elephant stampeded after crying out. Your Highness. “Ouch . You know where? Immediately.’ ‘Good thinking.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because he has attacked you on the Constitution in the Colonial Office and press in London.” The rat hung on to its tail like a small Tarzan and tenderly consoled the elephant. I hope to see you when you are next in Singapore. When he got to the edge of the equatorial forest. we’d better strip Peter again of his title of Rajah Muda just before we leave for Australia after the Sarawak Centenary. Your Highness. Gerald you owe me now. Gazette it. ‘Well.’ ‘Besides. all right then.’ With the click of the telephone. Datu McBryan who was standing nearby smiled triumphantly.

neh. neh.’ ‘Yes. they do that.’ ‘Who is he?’ ‘You don’t need to know. the Datu again took the special Japanese prostitute—who was considered first class as she worked from Khoo Han Yean Street—to an expatriate officers’ mess in the night.’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I see . Anyway. She knew better than to cross swords with him. . we will still carry on our profession. No way would he frequent the second class of mixed race residing in the Padungan area or those in the third class area round Kai Joo Lane in Kuching who all came from the up-country. They need us to serve them.’ ‘What if the Japanese invade Sarawak while you are not here?’ ‘Cooperate with them. Japan is invading Asia. But that’s only for the low-ranking officers. You have been told already. Give them information. They will only ill treat the Chinese because of the War Relief Fund and the aggressive Dayaks. Being an oriental woman she expected to have little say anyway.’ ‘Can I go also?’ ‘You don’t need to. I know. The only question that concerns us is whether we get paid well or not? Or sometimes whether we are paid at all for our services?’ ‘Why do you complain. my dear Miko? That’s your contribution to the Japanese war effort. She was elated. you know the war is moving fast to the South. why are so many of you here now?’ ‘Well. . Whether we have war or peace.They have to service the sex-hungry Japanese soldiers. They will contact you. In the evening. my Japanese agent told me. ‘Miko. You will be properly treated. the Japanese will not touch the Malays.’ ‘I see. there are more Japanese “businessmen” doing business here than three years ago.They are not paid at all. I thought the Japanese were also bringing Filipino.’ 149 .1918-1941                             Datu McBryan went back to Sarinah and informed her that he need not serve in the British Army. ‘But now I will have to go with the Rajah to Australia and set up a government in exile if the Japanese take over Sarawak.’ There was a tinge of sadness in her eyes. So you’d better stay back here. More will be coming. I’ll have to make various trips to Dutch Borneo. Korean and Chinese “comfort women” or war sex slaves overseas to entertain the troops.

 . She clung to him. . . quivering emotion and moaning between her deep breaths. bathing the lovers in a soft.’ she promised as her sexy eyes glanced at him seductively. faster. give it to me! Give it to me!’ To a sinister person like him. tell me you need me badly. Hiyaku . ah .’ ‘How soon?’ ‘A matter of few months. Once he was inside her. She felt alternate tenseness and relaxation from head to toe. taking his clothes off piece by piece. That’s only for the top brass. Before Christmas.’ The Datu kissed her and removed her kimono. she gasped and responded to his motion over and over again. yes . . . Both groaned deeply. kissing him on the places where she had taken his clothes off. ‘Will you give in to the Japanese soldiers coming here?’ ‘I’ll do it only if I have no choice. hiyaku—faster. . That’s the information I can pass to you. In return he was touching and kissing each irresistible asset she had. 150 . quite soon.’ The moonlight shot through the cracks in the window shutters.’ ‘Yes. . what a woman said to her ardent lover under the joy of passion should be written in wind and running water. I need you every day and night. groans that reverberated around the room under the fluttering electric fan like the mating growls of a sex-starved tiger and tigress. She was all raw meat. Quite soon. ‘Good . with the pattern of thrusting and ebbing strokes. as he forgot the war and thought of things closer to hand. She felt the delicate and delicious sense of feminine power over man always at this point of sexual foreplay. neh!’ ‘Arigato.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘So you are expecting more Japanese to come here then?’ ‘I expect so. hiyaku.’ He knew she was telling the truth—every woman would if she were undergoing the heat of a passionate climax. Moving and rotating his hip around her groins only made her crave more the moment of sexual consummation. It looked as if for her whole life she had been properly trained to please man. But keep it to yourself. ‘I want to make you happy.’ ‘Hold on Miko. silvery light. I am not sure of the number though. Datu san. neh. ‘Hi! hi! yes. . Her roving hands and tongue explored every inch of his body. It’s top secret. We have been sent by our government here to entertain our soldiers in the very near future. Every nerve had been caressed and excited almost to the breaking point of pre-ejaculation. Datu san. All that mattered now were her pearly white skin and firm breasts and the black patch between her legs. She clutched his buttocks and screamed.

My driver will send you back. Yet her senses floated slowly back to earth again like falling snowflakes. he did not reply apart from frowning at her and could not help thinking. Miko . He kissed her and started dressing and urging her to get dressed too. yes. whether these girlfriends were met casually on the streets or in the office or at a party.1918-1941 ‘Miko. He thrust again. 151 . always thinking and accusing their intimate male friends that they think more of the other women in their lives and always bringing up girlfriends with looks or endowments worse than themselves. Suddenly the bodies became motionless. yes—why all women are the same.’ For once. . yes. ‘Aren’t we staying a bit longer?’ ‘No. every married man after sex always goes back to his wife. she said. After he had paid her.’ Then she clapped her hands followed by three bows.’ ‘I know. The lingering astral travel of pleasure gradually ran to a halt. ‘Arigato . Datu san. Lifting her senses again and again until the world exploded in outer space. . . Riding into the deep dark tunnel leading to paradise. .’ He groaned as waves of unsatisfiable pleasure clutched her.

But only now do I feel that the time is ripe for effecting this great change in the traditional method of Government in Sarawak.  . . the Rajah delivered a formal speech to the Council Negri near Pangalang Batu.  . I wish to say that for a long time I have felt the need and desirability of ending the period of Autocratic Rule in Sarawak and substituting for it a Liberal Constitution.  We solemnly declare to Your Highness that Your people will always look back with heartfelt gratitude to the years of Absolute Rule by the three Rajahs which has led them to the day on which Your Highness 152 . I have always been positive. ‘ . . that it was never the intention of Sir James Brooke to establish a line of absolute rulers. When this Constitution is promulgated I will thereafter legislate by and with the advice of the representative Legislation. By voluntarily surrendering these great powers I feel that I shall be making a contribution towards the interests and welfare of the people commensurate with the spirit in which the first Rajah received the Government of this country and the auspiciousness of this Centenary. .Chapter 23 O n the Centenary. “. 21st September 1941.’ On behalf of the CA Paul thanked the Rajah profusely in his reply for the proposed reform of the Proclamation of the Sarawak Constitution. as was my father. . What he set out to do was to protect the natives of Sarawak until such time as they could govern themselves .

1918-1941 is able to feel assured that a measure of Democratic Freedom may be extended to them and yet all will remain well in Sarawak. Stephen? He is a bloody Machiavelli who would sell his own mother for a penny to achieve his ambition.’ ‘Don’t worry. ‘Then. Right after the celebrations the Rajah went to the Cameron Highlands in Malaya. triumphal arches added delightful sights and colours to the town. perhaps in your next life. The Council Negri was the ultimate legislative power. Old hopes and new dreams came into play. remarked bitterly.’ He had lost the post of Chief Secretary previously due to the ‘Baron’s’ manipulation and he had never forgiven him for that. The salient features of the Constitution were as follows: (I) (II) The Rajah’s prerogative powers had been transferred to the Rajah-in-Council—acting on the advice and consent of the Supreme Council. Drinking and dining at the Astana went on for days and nights. Stephen Young and several locals. wouldn’t you.’ ‘I don’t want to dream about it. I feel like vomiting. but it meant he could not be persuaded to return early to open the first meeting of the newly constituted Council Negri in November. one day you could be the Officer Administering the Government. the decorated boats. at night. I get sick. cricket and sports provided a festal mood.’ James returned a philosophical smile. ‘I would rather see a rope round his neck. I am too old already. horse races. The Centenary marked the beginning of the end of the White Rajah Brooke’s dynasty. He is a bastard of the most excellent order. You will have yours one day. A bit of fresh air in a more congenial climate in the hills improved the Rajah’s humour and health. While the Rajah was putting the red. When I see him. Who knows. James Swift. momentarily. a senior Resident. The bitter Brooke family feud which had begun just before the Second World War. the blaze of fireworks lit the Sarawak River and.” On the same afternoon on the Astana lawn. added another layer of intrigue about the succession and a new dimension to the Brookes’ rule. 153 . Datu McBryan. yellow and black ribbon with its magnificent golden Star of Sarawak of the highest grade on the ‘Baron’. The quintessence of the 1941 Constitution was the consolidation of the position of power which the CA had assumed through the order of 31st March 1941. the Rajah presented the order of the Star of Sarawak to the Ranee. accompanied by the ‘Baron’ and the Ranee. It was more than the Race Week—cultural shows.

Peter was still bitterly criticising the oligarchy of the CA. also refused the title since his father was still alive. (X) The question of succession was deliberately left open. Bertram refused to be the Heir Presumptive while Peter. What was the difference between the Rajah and Rajah-in-Council? What was self-government if the 154 . (VIII) Any bill vetoed by the Rajah could be passed legally by the Council Negri if they voted for it on three successive occasions. (VI) The Rajah still had the prerogative right of appointing other members of the Supreme Council. the grandson. betraying the sacred trust which the Rajah and his forebears had held on behalf of the people since 1841. This clause was insisted on by the ‘Baron’. and who might lose confidence in their Rajah when they discovered that this transfer had been effected. although there was some insignificant native and local participation. Indeed for a period the natives of Sarawak and others living in Sarawak did not understand the fine points of the Constitution. (IV) Fourteen of the members of the Council Negri were to be appointed from the Sarawak civil service—nine ex officio and five by the Supreme Council. and the Ranee was still harbouring the waking dream that Simon McKay. (IX) All state funds were to be expended with the authority of the Council Negri. the Rajah thought Peter to be totally unfit to be the fourth Rajah. and that he would be vesting this trust in a small oligarchy comprising a majority of European Officers. had a real chance of being the next Rajah. to whom the people themselves had expressed no desire that the trust should be transferred. A Malay or a native of Sarawak could now become a Rajah. (VII) The Officer Administering the Government (formerly the Chief Secretary) would assume all the powers of the Rajah in his absence. (V) Within the Supreme Council officers who were also members of the Council Negri were to constitute a majority—the Chief Secretary and the Treasurer being appointed ex officio and members of the old Supreme Council remaining members of the new Council during their lifetimes. accusing the Rajah of signing away his powers to an ever-changing impersonal body. and the ‘Baron’ was still thinking of becoming the Sultan of the Pan-Islamic Empire. This breach of sacred trust was unforgivable. because the Rajah had no son.Twilight of the White Rajahs (III) European officers had the decisive voice in the Council Negri and Supreme Council. the Heir Apparent.

as Sarawak people then at large were still illiterate. alleging that a greater part of the Brooke officers and the locals felt that they were deserted and let down in the process of forcing Sarawak from autocracy—‘The Rajah had thrown his country to the wolves. 155 . Peter started using the power of the pen on the local Malays and Datu Patinggi. I apologise for any misconception and confusion they may have caused you by misinterpreting the late Rajah’s will and the present Constitution designed for the good of Sarawak in future . stunned caution and apathy prevailed among the local inhabitants as Sarawak plunged into a constitutional monarchy. after receiving passionate letters of appeal from Peter and his father on the future position and institution of Rajah—it must remain intact.’ For good reasons Datu Patinggi and the majority of the Malays in Kuching came to be Peter’s ally. . As a constitutional concept it was beyond the comprehension of the simple minds of Sarawak mortals. Rumours and confused ideas floated in the minds of many who obeyed only because the Rajah told them to. Therefore. will now be free to save yourselves from exploitation and oppression until such time as you can govern yourselves and become an independent state. since he became the First Rajah on 24th September 1841. You. confusion. Rajah Muda do not know the history and philosophy of the Rajah Brookes well. the ‘Baron’ had muddied the political waters of Sarawak.’ Still.1918-1941 Rajah still held the reins of power? What did the transition from an autocratic ruler to a constitutional monarch mean? What was the value of the natives’ participation in the Council Negri if they were still to be nominated by the Rajah? In their minds still remained the perplexing paradox: autocracy was still there and yet not there at all. My brother Adeh and my nephew. Education under the Brookes was far from comprehensive—they did not have the money. despite these ‘paper’ changes to the Constitution. So. Now. On the other hand the Rajah took pains personally on various occasions to try to explain the new Constitution to the locals and natives. To make matter worse. . insecurity. ‘All I have set out to do is to protect you. they still believed and trusted their Rajah. the Rajah was just a tired old man of seventy waiting to retire but finding no clear successor. They suspected perhaps. That was the idea and wish of James Brooke. who are the real owners of this land.

Sir Shenton Thomas felt that a Supplementary Agreement to the 1888 Treaty had to be signed namely: (i) The British Representative’s advice was needed and to be acted upon in all matters affecting the foreign relations and defence of Sarawak.’ ‘That will be wonderful! Can I bring my wife and son too. I need sufficient members of the CA or rather the Rajah-in-Council to act under the new Constitution.                             ‘Stephen. I’d like to form a government in exile in Australia.Chapter 24 T he British government wanted a British Resident to be posted to Sarawak. in the case of Japanese invasion. I would like you to come with me to Australia. Your Highness? We’ll pay the additional expenses. Besides. my furlough is due. You see. The final version of the Supplementary Agreement after being vetted by Datu McBryan was ready for the Rajah’s signature.’ 156 . and (iii) the British Representative ‘would offer his opinion’ on matters touching the general administration of the state. Bertram’s and Peter’s consent were immaterial. He remembered well how the Rajah and Datu McBryan had tried many times to bed his beautiful daughter a few years ago when he had been a representative in Sarawak for a while. (ii) his attendance at Supreme Council and Council Negri meetings be permitted. A Mr Pepys visited Sarawak to scout out the land.


‘Don’t worry. I can also arrange exemptions for you and your son from serving in the war in England. The Sarawak government will fix this one specially for you. You are a special case.’ ‘Thank you, Your Highness. I believe the Japanese invasion of South East Asia is imminent.’ ‘It looks that way. You can trust the Japanese to do that.’ ‘Yes, Your Highness, you are absolutely right. The Assistant Police Commissioner, Datu Bandar Mustapha, told me that there are already a lot of Japanese prostitutes working on Khoo Han Yean Street in Kuching. Where prostitutes lead, the army will follow.’ Datu McBryan’s visits to the brothel were known to Stephen. ‘I see you are very familiar with these places.’ ‘No, Your Highness. Please don’t get me wrong. It was the Assistant Police Commissioner and Datu McBryan who gave me this piece of information.’ ‘I see. Anyway, I intend to leave for Australia with Datu McBryan by November after a visit to Kuala Lumpur and after the Supplementary Agreement has been signed in Singapore. You can leave about that time too.’ ‘We will. Thank you  .  .  . That will be perfect. Incidentally, how is the Ranee?’ ‘She is still in New York. I gather she will stay there until the war is over, thought she might come to Australia to join me. I am not too sure at the moment.’ ‘What instructions have you left behind for Mr Gilbert in the event of invasion by the Japanese?’ ‘To transfer the state cash reserves out of Sarawak.’ ‘Where . . . ?’ ‘To Australia, I guess.’ ‘Your brother Bertram will definitely object.’ ‘I know that. But I’ll make the final decision later on. Let’s play it by ear.’ That meant Datu McBryan. Stephen knew what he had to do.

‘Please sit down, Stephen. I hear that H.H. has asked you to go to Australia.’ Paul Gilbert gestured towards a chair. ‘That’s correct . . .’ ‘Lucky devil you are. A few of us still have to stay and evacuate at the eleventh hour, if necessary.’ ‘I know . . . incidentally, should Sarawak fall into the hands of the Japanese and you have to move the state’s cash to West Borneo through Pontianak, please make sure to get someone you can trust to take it. Don’t ever let Datu

Twilight of the White Rajahs

McBryan lay hands on it, even if he has the apparent written instructions of H.H. He could have forged the signature or misled H.H. Please get your most trusted fellow to put the money in the local bank and then transfer it to an Australian bank  .  .  . Should you have difficulty with Datu McBryan, telephone Shenton Thomas in Singapore. This is a perfect plan to deter him. Now, I thought you might want to have a look at this—it’s called the “Report on Gerald McBryan”—and here’s a military intelligence report on him as well. Read the first few pages.’ Flipping through the reports, Paul’s eyes nearly popped out. ‘What? Datu McBryan a spy? For the Japanese? I can’t believe it. This is wonderful incriminating news! Well, on the other hand, I suppose with him, nothing is impossible.’ ‘Maybe a double agent too! You know he is always looking for an opportunity to make a name, a profit purely on a self-interested basis. Keep it absolutely confidential. Use it only when you need it. This is top secret.’ ‘I will. Trust me.’

The British Secretary of State and the Governor of Singapore were worried because Bertram would not accept the Rajah’s nomination of him as Heir Presumptive. While transiting via Singapore, Stephen met the Governor. ‘Hello, Stephen, what’s the Rajah’s view on the defence planning against the Japanese?’ The Governor of Singapore asked after an exchange of pleasantries. ‘With him I am not sure, Your Excellency. With Datu McBryan around, I am doubly unsure.’ Stephen replied. ‘I believe that the Rajah is attracted by the theory of “neutrality”. Can you imagine that—neutral towards the enemy in a world war. It’s simply just a figment of the imagination. You certainly know, in war, there is never really a neutral position.’ ‘I agree with you . . .’ ‘It may be Datu McBryan’s idea for Sarawak to adopt a neutral position vis-à-vis Japan. It seems that from our sources of intelligence that he has some connections with Japanese intelligence though perhaps it’s just his sense of realpolitik.’ ‘With him, any deal is possible; no arrangement can be ruled out.’ ‘Quite right. I believe that Sarawak has yet to officially declare war against Italy and Germany. Under the Treaty of 1888, a declaration of war by Great Britain does not automatically commit Sarawak. Perhaps we should ask the Rajah or the Sarawak government to declare it.’


‘Your Excellency . . . I think the idea of Sarawak declaring war on anybody is seen as a joke in the eyes of the world already, without our going out of our way to provide further fodder for comedians at wartime music halls . . . with respect, we should leave those countries alone.’ ‘Well, that is our legal expert’s opinion.’ ‘I doubt Sarawak could do it at all. You can advise the Rajah. But I doubt H.H. or Datu McBryan would do it. Of course, the Rajah Muda would love to do it against Germany and Italy.’ ‘You could be right! Just one more thing before you leave. You know our involvement in the 1941 Constitution . . . the succession issue is still not clear.’ ‘That’s a sensitive issue. I can’t say much because Bertram has turned down the nomination of the Rajah as the Heir Presumptive. Bertram’s health and age do not permit him to go to Sarawak too often. In a sense it’s academic.’ ‘How about Peter Brooke?’ ‘Peter has to learn to live and let live with or co-exist with the Rajah or rather Datu McBryan and the CA and AS. I do hope he will change for the better.’ ‘Anyway, whoever it is, the British government’s consent will be mandatory.’ ‘Of course. Now, the Rajah has requested that the British government boost Sarawak’s defences.’ ‘I’ll try. My hands are tied, you know.’ ‘Your Excellency—if I may be permitted to say so—they need more than the condoms you shipped over to Kuching.’ ‘I know that. Have a nice holiday.’ Both ended with a hearty laugh.

In fact by late 1941, Peter in his last public act as the Rajah Muda—before the Rajah stripped him of the title—unilaterally issued a Proclamation supporting Britain. Since 1935 the British Royal Air Force had conducted surveys in Sarawak on where to locate airstrips; and Sarawak had contributed to the British war chest to the tune of $2,550,000 by early 1941. The Rajah told Shenton Thomas that the British were obliged to protect them. The weak battalion of 600 men who had been sent were a totally inadequate force. A proposal to send two fighter-aircraft was also inadequate, considering how much Sarawak had already contributed to the British war effort. Paul Gilbert was arguing with the British military that the airfield—the only one to be protected by soldiers—should only be abandoned if Japanese strength made the position untenable. However, the British military were

Twilight of the White Rajahs

unable to guarantee that it would be properly defended. Naturally, the Brooke officers became more disappointed and nervous day by day. Miri, the oil-rich town, would be the first target if the Japanese landed in Sarawak. Plans, however, were ready to burn the oil companies’ records and seal the oil wells with cement at the last minute. Sarawak was waiting anxiously to be invaded, raped and ruled by a military junta. It was only a matter of months or even weeks now. Dramatic suspense hung over Sarawak like gloomy clouds which refuse to move but block the sun for days and months.

The ‘Baron’ having previously advised the Rajah to sell off the Sylvia Cinema also told him to dispose of the rest of his property. ‘I have reliable reports that the Japanese are going to invade Malaya, the Philippines, Singapore and Sarawak very soon.’ ‘Do you think that it’s certain?’ ‘I would think so  .  .  . besides, we’d better move to Australia before the Governor in Singapore changes his mind on the Constitution and Proclamation. Maybe more Supplementary Agreements will be imposed.’ ‘Good, Datu . . . make all the necessary preparations for our trip. Ask the relevant members of the Supreme Council to prepare to leave too.’ ‘I’ll do so.’


Batu Lintang Camp

Map of the Batu Lintang Camp Kuching, During Japanese Occupation (1942)

Chapter 25


n 7th December 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japanese aircraft. The world reeled in disbelief. American pride was hurt; the public outcry at its defences became a national call for retaliation. It was a disaster. But it was a blessing too, to some, because now the United States was forced to get deeply committed in the war against the Germans in the Atlantic and the Japanese in the Pacific. The corridor of powers linked to war industries rejoiced because the United States thrived on a war economy. The lethal power—whether a blessing or curse to mankind—of the atomic bomb in its backyard desert would soon be unleashed on real battlefields. When the Rajah, Datu McBryan and Stephen Young’s family arrived at Brisbane, the bombing of Pearl Harbor was already history. On behalf of the Rajah, Datu McBryan drafted a cable to Paul Gilbert. ‘I deeply regret not being with you in Sarawak to share this time of anxiety . . . I send you this message of good wishes and encouragement coupled with an expression of my full confidence that notwithstanding these days the tide will soon turn. I am hastening to Kuching to join you with the utmost speed possible and you may expect me to move in the near future. ‘Please inform our D.O. in Upper Sarawak to make the necessary arrangements as I shall return to Sarawak via Pontianak with Datu McBryan . . .’ By then, all the Pacific basin was deafened by the firepower and marching steps of Japanese troops. Fear and disbelief dawned on frightened city and town dwellers and bewildered villagers. It was all too sudden. The ‘mosquito squad’ of 2/15th Punjabis had no ability to sting, and little hope of doing anything else other than fill condoms with explosives, and plant them under the airfields. Retreat to Bau and across the Kalimantan border seemed to be

Kuching was unceremoniously taken over by Japanese troops. By 19th April. Those responsible for the destruction in the oilfields were cruelly executed. one moving into Kuching town via the Satok Bridge while the other made its way to the Astana and Fort Margherita and. Sibu town was bombed the following day. Gorman. took Datu McBryan who was officially appointed as the Rajah’s representative to Pontianak and then. Batavia. advanced overland and divided into two groups. On 16th December. At Kuching. So they moved quickly to Bandung. Sarawak was totally lost. Communication to Sarawak was cut off. But that was a different type of war fought in a different dimension—bombs from bilun. Kuching town had been bombed. By then.000 Japanese troops—the locals had just enough time to destroy the records of the Shell oilfields which were also themselves plugged—cemented over—or destroyed beyond rehabilitation. unflaggingly.—the aeroplane—looked so terrifying to the natives and locals. Stunned apathy prevailed among the local populace. On Christmas Day 1941. The townspeople woke up with the air-raid sirens screaming through the streets. with Datu McBryan from Australia on that fateful day too. no plane. to Sarawak. The cry of ‘The Japs are here already’ struck terror in their hearts. crossed the Sarawak River to the Main Bazaar. who waited with dignity to meet the invaders was unceremoniously bundled up with the rest of his officers and locked up in the Zaida Building for twelve days and in a second prison in Pandugan before being transferred to the notorious Batu Lintang camps near Kuching town. Air raids and sirens ruled that day. to conquer. using inflatable rubber dinghies. no tank to fight or match the bulldozing Japanese war machine. There was no military leader around at the crucial hour to lead the brave warriors of the Dayaks on the offensive. Fire broke out in the Borneo Company’s backyard. But these were foreign enemies coming to seize. a Dutch guerilla warfare expert. He was too late. through the West Kalimantan district of the island Borneo. to occupy and to plunder and to pluck the century old plum of the Brookes. The Rajah arrived at Surabaya. Paul Gilbert. There was no SS Rajah Brooke.Twilight of the White Rajahs their best defence against the pounding might of the Japanese foot-soldiers. Miri River turned into a river of blood. Japanese forces came up the Salak River. the steamer of the Borneo Company. The dreadful nightmare and dark days of Japanese Occupation which had been looming large on the horizon now had come to Sarawak shores. larger Japanese forces in their transport ships and boats flying the proud flag of ‘the rising sun’ were steaming up the Sarawak River despite ineffective bombing by Dutch pilots. Miri was besieged by 10. which came to the rescue of the Brookes at the eleventh hour against the retreating Chinese freedom fighters in 1857. No ship. Those 164 .

Datu. ‘Now where are the Sarawak State coffers? I have the authority to get them from you. Others escaped. Seeing that it was hopeless to rely on the Dayaks. so they are unwilling to sacrifice their lives. Some died. by then. . as the Dayaks were skilled junglemen and jungle fighters who could be a useful asset to the British. ‘What happened to our Dayaks?’ Datu McBryan asked a few Brooke officers who managed to escape across the border. Miri.’ The Dutch authorities in Batavia had already also. Previously.’ But Rajah Vyner was too old—already a septuagenarian.’ ‘But I have the Rajah’s authority.’ In fact. A trip to Sarawak would be useless. were around. and now he was trying 165 . of medium height. One of them by the name of Tim Tatcher replied.’ Datu McBryan angrily declared. . who sported a trim moustache. ‘The Dayaks are realists. seeking shelter and safety. To the natives the invincibility and myth of the superiority of the white man had once and for all been broken irretrievably. ‘Yes. Dreadful tortures by day and terrifying nightmares by night had come to Sarawak. The Japanese might arrest him too. Bintulu. the colonel had already also been warned by the Brooke officer in Sarawak. Kuching and elsewhere marched across the Indonesian border. ‘Colonel Langley. Now look here. They realise that their parangs cannot match machine guns and bombs. I am his representative.1918-1941 Residents and officers of the Brookes in Sibu. Datu McBryan and the Rajah had told the British Commissioner in Canberra that his Dayak subjects who comprised the back bone of the fighting population would be able to take the offensive. Indeed it was tragic and there was nothing they could do. The pastime of headhunting to prove valour to win a lady’s hand or manhood had almost died out. you are now in charge of guerilla warfare against the Japanese in Sarawak. what are his instructions?’ ‘Ask the Dutch authorities . Sir. Many of these were either shot summarily or sent to Batu Lintang camps.’ ‘No. Still others were captured. I have orders from Sir Shenton Thomas from Singapore.’ ‘That’s not my concern. Go and tell these Brooke officers to respect the Rajah’s directives. if required. been informed by Sir Shenton Thomas and Colonel that the Datu was suspected to be a spy and or a collaborator or an agent of the Japanese. and look at this authentic letter from the Rajah. You know I am his Private Secretary. Mr Paul Gilbert instructed us not to hand them over to you. The colonel was a smart-looking officer.H. Datu McBryan concluded that the Malays and Chinese would be submissive too. Simanggang. This is wartime. But times had changed—the fighting days of Iban heroes such as Rentap and Bantin had gone. If H. they might listen to him.

’ Datu raised his arms threateningly. Singapore. Datu.’ Datu swore to himself.’ ‘How can I prove the negative? The law presumes that I am innocent until proven guilty. you are under arrest. I am sorry. Both Colonel Langley and the Dutch soldier ignored him. prove to me that you are not cooperating or collaborating with the Japanese military on their intelligence network. ‘But I am the Rajah’s representative! Damn it! Don’t you understand that in plain English?’ ‘No sir. . They had been informed by their superiors. ‘Oh God! How stupid you people can be!’ ‘Sorry sir. ‘That will be deposited in a bank in Pontianak and will be transmitted to Australia in due course to the Rajah himself and other members of the CA. Colonel Langley?’ Datu asked again.’ A Dutch soldier told him and escorted him back from Pontianak to Batavia. we have powers to detain you as long as we like without trial. Datu.’ ‘I don’t believe it. ‘Now Datu McBryan. ‘On what grounds?’ ‘Being a spy for or collaborator with the Japanese . . the Datu. sir. Someone must have set him up. Could it be Peter? Bertram? ‘Oh God! It’s so unfair!’ On arrival at Batavia. After two days of interrogation. he demanded. . please tell them who I am. ‘Who? I’ll kill him.’ Turning to the Dutch soldier. What a turn of events for the Datu! He was wondering whether his life was now in darkness again under his horoscope. . was not permitted to communicate with the Rajah.’ ‘This is wartime. How about the money. .’ replied the Dutch soldier. There is nothing I can do now. he suspected. he was sent to Singapore and kept there for interrogation by the British authorities. ‘Datu Gerald McBryan. as I have already told you . The intelligence officer.’ ‘Colonel Langley. ‘Never you mind. interrogated him thoroughly at the Changi prison. . .’ ‘Damn it! How can I prove my innocence?’ 166 . visibly shaken. Sir Shenton Thomas had already received Colonel Langley’s report on Datu McBryan’s trip to Pontianak. That’s our order. you are suspected to be in collaboration with the Japanese. It must be one of the Brooke officers.Twilight of the White Rajahs to sneak into Sarawak.’ replied the Dutch soldier. ‘I did. The Rajah will be notified accordingly on your status. Michael Ross.’ pleaded the Datu. . This has got to be the biggest joke in the bloody Second World War . The Dutch authority will examine your details in Djakarta. No jokes . Under Emergency Regulations. Please understand this is wartime.’ ‘Wartime! Wartime! Damn all of you! I’ll report you to the Rajah and the British government.

right?’ ‘Are you suggesting that you are a sex maniac?’ ‘No! No! Not in that sense. Sarinah. I treated them purely as businessmen.’ ‘Aren’t you trying to fly back to Sarawak via Pontianak to head a team and meet the Japanese in order to work out a plan to govern Sarawak. that’s purely on business grounds. But that was only my dream. I swear by my father’s grave. yes. Didn’t you? That’s why you left one month earlier. your friend. Americans or somebody else?’ ‘Because there were a lot of Japanese trading houses’ representatives there already doing business in timber. in fact.’ ‘Now. .’ ‘Then in what sense? I am totally lost. you know that!’ ‘Nobody believes that. That’s irrelevant. Besides. Even slept with her on a number of occasions.’ ‘That could be so because she is acting under duress and under threat of execution.1918-1941 ‘We can prove that your wife. in the whorehouse at Kuching. I swear on my mother’s grave. Nothing else more. Certainly.’ ‘That’s a lie! A bloody lie if ever there was one!’ ‘You wanted to be the Sultan of the Pan Islamic Empire? Isn’t that correct?’ ‘Yes. we have other reports. Would you deny that?’ ‘That’s a casual sexual communication  .’ ‘I didn’t know they were Japanese agents. It’s not a Malay war. or relation rather.  . I see you are one of those—a male equivalent to a nymphomaniac—a satyr! Is that what you meant?’ ‘You’ll never understand my sex pattern. you knew of that beforehand. is working and collaborating now with the Japanese Kempeitai. Isn’t that correct?’ 167 . is also an underground agent sent to Sarawak years before the Japanese Occupation.’ ‘I see . Yes. I don’t.’ ‘Why didn’t you ask the British.  . That’s all. please go on to your next question. . we have information that you were in constant contact with various representatives of the Japanese trading houses in Sarawak and Japan who were Japanese suspects under close monitoring even before the Japanese soldiers occupied Sarawak. .’ ‘Two or three visits a day sometimes. It’s wartime. on the Japanese invasion. rubber and other goods. You communicated with her several times. I must say that’s most odd! wouldn’t you say so?’ ‘What do you know? My needs are greater and urgent than most men’s. Wishful thinking often happens only with more imaginative mortals. Anyway. Miko. . You understand that well.’ ‘Didn’t you advise the Japanese residents in Kuching-shu previously to purchase lands adjoining to the military posts?’ ‘Yes. That’s all. let’s see what we have here .

She gives speeches and organises concerts  . I don’t know what you are talking about?’ ‘Didn’t you advocate “neutrality” for Sarawak in the event of a Japanese attack on Sarawak?’ ‘Yes.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘No! No! Absolutely not.  . He took the Rajah and myself to a geisha house. Datu . Right?’ ‘It was just that I casually met the Consul from the Argentinean Consulate there. . no. . ‘Miko told you. .’ ‘It was a social occasion.’ ‘What a remarkable coincidence. . the ex-Assistant Commissioner of Police. Go and ask Datu Mustapha.  . what I meant is by my father’s grave. That was the Rajah’s idea.’ ‘You made contact with Japanese war office officials. losing his temper. under the banners of the “Sphere of Co-prosperity”.’ ‘We have evidence that it was you who put that idea in the Rajah’s head. She is working actively also with the Kaum Ibu women’s association in raising food and funds for the Japanese soldiers. Sarinah. Isn’t that it?’ ‘I don’t know. I didn’t even know whether she is alive or not until you told me. I can swear on my grave .’ ‘Not even indirectly through . The Japanese want to appear like a new “Rajah” among the Malays to get their cooperation and support. That’s all. Didn’t she?’ ‘I don’t know about that matter! She never told me anything about the Japanese invasion of Sarawak.’ ‘No. Mr Nakamura .’ Datu screamed. I did.’ Datu McBryan yelled.’ ‘You went to Japan with Rajah Vyner?’ ‘Yes. . ? Anyway we’ll have a few more questions by tomorrow.’ ‘You bet she is! She is very much alive—her name has been thrown around very much at the highest level of the Kempeitai. . Now you can go back to your cell.’ ‘No. Perhaps the Japanese wanted to look “benevolent”. No. told them to. and his friends.’ ‘Now explain to me why the Japanese leave the Malays alone in Kuching?’ ‘I don’t know. . ‘Your wife.’ 168 .’ ‘I don’t know anything about that. I didn’t! I swear! Damn all of you!’ ‘Didn’t you try to contact the Japanese authorities via the Argentinean Consul in Sydney? Why? Why not through the British? Unless you have something to hide. I am his Political and Private Secretary only. Since the Japanese Occupation I haven’t spoken to her. . Why should I know? Ask them.

 . a blister on the top of a tumour. Sir Roland stood back and wondered why he bowed so many times just as the Japanese usually do. Can you believe that? The Rajah’s Political and Private Secretary!’ ‘Any proof?’ ‘None. Relax . Sir Shenton Thomas. Sir Shenton Thomas. . Yes. I’ll speak to the Governor. .’ ‘Thank you. thank you. who had acted for the Rajah previously and was seeing another client there. the most powerful Private Secretary on earth . thank you! Sir Roland. . You want to see me on an extremely urgent matter. 169 . ‘Oh God. ‘I’ll do my best. . Absolutely not!’ ‘What are they doing with you?’ ‘Only one question after another based on speculation.’ He wondered why one minute he was at the pinnacle of his glory at Sarawak. OK!’ ‘Thank you. the famous lawyer.’ ‘Damn you . and now a boil on top of that? On his way to his cell. May I know what’s the nature of your call?’ asked Sir Shenton Thomas in his office. Someone is out to frame me!’ ‘Well. accused of being a Japanese spy or cooperating with the Japanese. . recoveries and triumphs? Why.’ ‘Are you?’ ‘No. Datu McBryan?’ ‘I have been detained on flimsy grounds of suspicion.                             ‘Sir Roland. . Datu luckily met Sir Roland Braddell. Please help me!’ For once he realised the price of freedom when it was lost. thank you.’ ‘I want to see the Governor. rumours and biased opinions. I can’t promise. ‘I know where to go . my life and freedom depend on you. .’ Datu McBryan moved his shoulder away from the escorting guards signalling a resisting body language. How comic life is! Is this a different tide in the affairs of man? Is life a series of relapses. .’ Datu bowed several times as he withdrew backwards. what a bunch of incompetent nincompoops!’ ‘We will tell you in due course. He was almost in tears in his tatty prisoner’s uniform—a complete contrast to his normal immaculately dressed Private and Political Secretary outfit. and get you released. Never had he begged people this much in his life before. Don’t worry.1918-1941 ‘Now. . when are you going to let me talk to the Rajah in Batavia? When can I go to Australia? Will someone let me know?’ Datu McBryan screamed. now like a prisoner of war in a British Colony. ‘What on earth are you doing here.’ ‘He doesn’t want to see you .

Allah . The publicity will be very damaging for the Singapore and British governments. For example. have you got any evidence against him of being a Japanese agent or spy .’ Once again.’ ‘I don’t know about that. But we have to look at the hard facts.’ ‘Oh him! Yes. That’s from my personal experience. ‘Allah is great.’ Meanwhile. This is wartime. one of my clients presently kept in the Changi cell. That will not be necessary. . Sir Roland Braddell contacted the Rajah to get a visa for the Datu to return to Perth on a civilian cargo ship. ?’ ‘He is in the hands of the military authorities. I have been informed that they are gathering more evidence. I’ll recommend the Rajah to award you the Star of Sarawak after the war. Sir Roland. I’ll have no choice but to begin Habeas Corpus proceedings. I’ll discuss this with the military people.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Your Excellency .’ ‘But you don’t know him well. But as he is neither able to lead a puppet government nor become an agent wouldn’t you consider the charges a bit far-fetched?’ ‘So what do you expect me to do?’ ‘Your Excellency. . ‘Thank you very much.’ Datu was prostrating his body in full on the floor. it is not inconceivable to get a Habeas Corpus in court to release him under the circumstances unless you have direct and concrete evidence. . I doubt very much he could be a spy or one to head a puppet government. He is a master of political intrigue. I am afraid it’s out of my hands.’ ‘Your Excellency. 170 .’ ‘Sir Roland. . please release him unless you can produce concrete evidence in Court.’ ‘Thank you. . and I’ll let you know by tomorrow. it concerns Datu McBryan. For once he agreed that nothing could beat luck. he was dealing directly with the Brunei government and transmitting radio signals without the British government’s approval. facing Mecca.’ ‘Surely. He is not military material. Datu McBryan was exceedingly pleased. . Sir Roland. I am fully aware of that. the Rajah was planning to leave for Sydney after hearing of Datu McBryan’s plight. I am sure you will agree with me on that point.’ ‘I see your point. otherwise. In fact I have dealt with Datu McBryan and the Rajah. . praising Allah over and over again. . . . although they have already much circumstantial evidence and leads. Thank you. The order for the release of Datu McBryan came the following day. We have powers to detain him . What can I do?’ ‘Seriously. Goodbye . After all he is a British subject.

what more could you want?’ assured John. looking for quickies . . ‘Well. ‘Hey. well. perhaps a dumb blonde . what are the birds like here?’ Datu McBryan lustfully scanned the room.’ retorted the Datu.’ ‘That may be true.’ ‘Really? I am yet to see a lady—I mean a graceful or sophisticated lady—in Australia or even a real dumb blonde for that matter—I’d settle for that at a pinch. . you won’t find a lady there.’ ‘Don’t be cruel! What a thing to say! These girls are great! I guarantee you that. ‘Oh! they are absolutely gorgeous. but there are some around. to go with him to a party he had been invited to so they could pick up some girls and dance. Pretty. .’ 171 . ‘You always say that! They are probably farm girls with freckled faces and big rump steaks on their legs and thighs—if they were ham you could eat them from Christmas to New Year and still have some left over. You just need time to find them. . Datu McBryan had asked a friend. . you are a man always in a hurry . Simply great! Nice Australian legs. sexy. . .’ ‘That’s the whole problem .’ ‘I knew you would say that! . Nice tits.Chapter 26 W hilst wearily waiting for a reply from Canberra to his application to work in the Australian intelligence network. Hell of a continental mixture if you ask me. John. . .’ ‘Perhaps in the brothels. John Cook. . Cook was game and the pair went together. I haven’t got the time to carry out a national census to find them.

You are not. her neck. John settled for Linda Blair. ‘Yea. John took the wheel. removed her make-up and rejoined the others before they all headed off for John’s place. You look tired and tipsy. Come on! Be a good girl .’ insisted Linda. Meanwhile. wearing a beautiful lace dress.’ she moaned seductively as she responded with equal gusto. her anger and jealousy boiled over. ‘Ouch! that bloody hurt! Hey! Stop driving like a bloody madman!’ shouted the Datu. . murder us? Stop it.’ ‘I am a bit tipsy but not drunk. . I am going to dump you by the bloody roadside. Datu McBryan made sure he and Linda were left unobserved. . let’s move. ‘Oh no! Linda now looks much better than Jennifer. you go to the back of the truck under the canvas. Already he was all over Linda kissing her moist mouth. ‘Oh yes! . . I need that.’ ‘I thought I would be going to the back.Twilight of the White Rajahs When the dancing began at the party. All right. . 172 . a girl completely the opposite—no make up but her beauty was natural. that feels good. behind her ears and slowly squeezing her firm breasts. ‘Wait. ‘All right. Gerald is a bit pissed too.’ He was panting feverishly. The Datu’s head slid forward and hit the metal back of the truck’s cab.’ John took McBryan’s hint. She jammed her foot on the accelerator. John braked fiercely and brought the truck to an abrupt halt.’ Jennifer shrugged her shoulders in resignation. the choice for the Datu was obvious—a vivacious girl called Jennifer Bolton with heavy make up. You . Linda. ‘No person who is drunk will ever admit he or she is drunk. The truck leapt forward. John drove slowly. the four of them drove off in a small utility truck to Jennifer’s house.’ ‘Try it if you dare.’ She fancied the ‘Baron’s’ looks.’ She took her pants off. stomach and stroking her between the thighs. girls!’ ‘Jennifer. Suddenly. so as not to bounce the rear occupants about too much. Jennifer’s suspicions of what was going on in the back increased. . not there! Here! Here! yes. John forcibly pulled Jennifer’s leg off the accelerator and yelled at her. well endowed. Jennifer got changed. . You can lie down to rest. Right? Get on the seat. After the party. tugging on John’s sleeve. you sit next to me. all of you are bastards!’ She pointed her finger accusingly. Datu McBryan took John aside and whispered to him. Jennifer. wait . ‘Get off! What are you trying to do. . otherwise. They lay side by side—sideways. By buttoning the cover of the canvas over them. ‘Never mind.

to see that private property you need a search warrant.’ Right then. the police officer suspected something strange. Deadly curious. man. Have you got a search warrant?’ ‘No. Gerald! . I can get one. he saw the utility truck heaving up and down as if it were a sprung mattress with a couple making love on it. May I?’ ‘Sorry. She kissed him. sir. ‘Then just do that. . just in time to cool down his temper. ‘Good. ‘No. . .’ John nearly slapped her but restrained himself. kissing each other’s eyes. Now tell me why are you driving like a drunkard?’ demanded the police officer. Until then. it is private—nothing illegal or contrary to traffic laws. ‘Can I see the inside of the utility truck? I mean below the black canvas.’ ‘I see.1942-1945 ‘Shut up.’ ‘I’ll get it!’ threatened the fuming officer who was a new recruit. Jennifer gritted her teeth and with the eyes of an attacking tigress. John alighted and showed his driving licence at the policeman’s demand.’ ‘But I insist!’ John quickly made a counter-attack. ‘Officer.’ ‘But I want to check up something. the Datu and Linda reduced the amount of noise they were making while still moving around. officer. inhaled his smell and heat. officer. all right? Understood. I am afraid you can’t do that!’ ‘Why not?’ ‘I told you it’s a private matter. the heaving stopped. Furious as a typhoon. tasted the saltiness of his skin—she 173 . I am afraid you can’t inspect it now.’ Just then.’ ‘Then. it’s all Jennifer’s fault!’ Just then a police car came up from behind and pulled John over. for Pete’s sake!’ ‘Sorry. ‘Oh shit! Are you bloody mad. no inspection. Bang! Datu was just about to climb up on Linda after making his entry with his finger. John? Slow down. Then the real action in the back of the truck began.’ The officer threatened and left. Both laid side by side again. . They were too deep already in foreplay—simply could not be bothered any more. she stepped on the accelerator again. ‘Oh! I am testing the brakes in case it hits water. officer?’ ‘I’ll come back . not sure of his legal rights yet. trying to feel and understand each others’ body language—playing the carnal orchestra.

 . intoxicating rhythm of passion and love. ‘you are driving me crazy. the animal urge surged with their bodies joined in a frantic. Feverishly his hand ran between her thighs again—moist and silky. a battle to maintain control. ‘It’s been so long. masculine odour made her head swim. let me savour your body in my special delight. sweetheart!’ he grumbled. ‘Oh yes! Oh yes!’ ‘Do you want me to stop?’ She closed her eyes. Instinctively. There were the sounds of ripping cloth followed by a muffled loss of breath as her dress was savagely hauled over her head and flung to the other end of the truck. Now tell me what’s the colour of your nipples?’ ‘Pink. bunched muscles. savouring that ecstatic feeling while forgetting his question. with frenzied urgency he unbuttoned the front of her dress revelling in her firm breasts—the nipples already aroused and taut—neatly enclosed in her soft lacy bra. Being with her was like a tug-of-war. a ritual of desire that brought Linda to the edge of ecstasy. ‘Don’t fight me. Why?’ ‘That’s fine . . She was arching her back. I love that colour. The blood pounded wildly in his head.’ he ordered abruptly. engulfing her in such a way that made her feel small. ‘Take it off. Linda could not resist Datu McBryan’s naked body pressing hard against her and she could feel the power in his tense.’ After taking her fingers into his mouth. she felt a thrilling warmth shooting through her body. salty. and she shifted so that she could touch the hard manhood already stirring and feel him grow with her fingers. ‘No. . straining to meet him pounding in her. She felt threatened by his shivering hands at the moist hair between her white thighs. no holding back.’ After he was inside her. they moulded together in a kind of primitive rhythm first experienced by Adam and Eve—with no hesitation.’ Fantasy thrilled him more than reality. She responded to the shuddering sigh as his mouth left her aroused lips and moved down her neck in a trail of scorching kisses. She screamed. Soon. ‘Oh yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! love me!’ 174 . After filling her inch by inch. harmonious with the movement of the truck. she covered her breasts with her hands. . His gasps of pleasure fanned the towering flames of her need. Oh! I love it. Damn you! Can’t you tell my whole body is hot and ready for your raw flesh. ‘Did you want me to stop?’ he repeated. voicing protest.Twilight of the White Rajahs wanted to merge with him. and uncontrollable desire flowed through him hot and hard. so far away . fragile and infinitely feminine.’ ‘No!’ ‘Yes! I insist. His legs straddled wide apart. A faint. In no time he slipped his shivering hands inside her bodice.

taut nipples. he wanted more thrusts—deeper and faster before coming to a rocking. bathed in the satisfied afterglow of love. as he found his own exploding.’ His muscles tightened. yes . ‘We can improve.’ she whispered. their hearts beating out the same joyful music of love. The next best thing was to lie next to him for a while. ‘Slow down and stop the truck!’ ‘All right. with their rhythm racing out of control then. He chuckled low in his throat. I need that—yes.’ John alighted slowly and undid the canvas. 175 . taking her to the brink of exploding ecstasy. now abating. ‘Yes all day! all night! yes. After dressing. feeling her silky wetness surging like waves. wishing she could become a part of him. His philosophy on woman has always been the same: where there are holes. The whole truck seemed to vibrate like a house hit by an earthquake. even to perfection. . shattering release of shimmering waves of passion—followed by a series of spasms. fast and wild. ‘Oh yes. She pressed against him.’ she cried while he moved in and out of her. . . Linda. grew. ‘It was perfect. Linda! Please push harder . if we have the whole night to do it. his breath reached the pitch of puffing—totally uncontrollable now. wild at first. Gerald. and he teased at them with his canine teeth until Linda rolled from side to side and moaned in oblivious ecstasy. the Australian girls do live up to their reputation! Perhaps sunbathing has charged them with more static electricity and heat. increasing the tempo while keeping in rhythm with the truck movements—the friction and moans of this joyous ride increased in intensity with each thrust. they must be drilled. the deeper the better.’ My. Datu McBryan mused. ‘Yes.1942-1945 His tongue flicked over her raised.’ Her groin contracted involuntarily. He melted into her. soaring climax. ‘Linda. he thrust deeper and deeper. Then John and Gerald walked about ten yards away from the utility truck for a private discussion. .’ she rejoiced in the same tone. contented while the rest lasted. ‘Are you mine?’ he murmured possessively. if you don’t. Their naked bodies were breathing in unison. Peaceful. She wanted more suction. They cried in unison as their passion peaked. my.’ John replied. my. So had advised his mining engineer friend in Bau. somebody else will. he knocked behind the driver’s seat. ‘Yes. she could feel the thudding of his heart. and as the exquisite pressure and pleasure within her built. her body touching his. twisted and threatened to explode. Yet she could not.

 . Urgh.’ ‘Hey. Frankly. But she stepped on the accelerator twice. At that point he would not mind riding her. ‘All right! all right!’ All this while Datu McBryan just savoured the fierce cat-like countenance of Jennifer. O. . sadistic sex maniac. I am going to leave you behind!’ threatened John. . Maybe you should do it again for her. . Gerald. Would you like to take Jennifer back now to your place?’ ‘No. I’ll think about it. Besides. facing them with her hands on her hips. 176 . ‘Only to you when I am mad!’ ‘Shut up and get in. pinning her down on the ground against her will while she struggled and fought back—that would only enhance his libido satisfaction. I would enjoy it more if I were to rape her.’ ‘But how? You were at the steering wheel!’ ‘Yes. I don’t care a damn for Jennifer. she paints another. That perception was the epitome of an eccentric. ‘All right! All right! We’ll leave in a few minutes time.’ John calmed her down. Jennifer was jealous and stamping on the accelerator. . ‘Good. .’ screamed Jennifer. The two men walked back to the truck. I can’t do that. as if it were the showdown of the gunslingers in a cowboy movie.’ Little did John know of the relapse of the Datu into streaks of insanity from time to time. knowing that this was not a hollow threat this time. ‘Aren’t you? . She is like a bitch on heat being turned down by the male dog. . ‘Say. She forced herself to cool down her heavy breathing and pent-up anger.’ ‘I heard that remark!’ screamed Jennifer who jumped out of the truck. our Rajah is there. ‘Hey! you guys.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘What the hell was going on? You drive like a bloody madman! Look at the swollen lumps on my head!’ ‘I am really sorry. Displays of female anger somehow fascinated him. I am too tired . God gives her one face.K?’ ‘Well. But I only relish her . . we haven’t got all night. Linda is fantastic. What could I do about it except pull her leg away? She is a bloody idiot—she went absolutely berserk! I swear. not if she does it willingly. otherwise. No. she is not exactly my cup of tea after she removes her make-up. don’t do that when I am around.’ John remarked sarcastically.’ the Datu whispered. I mean she appears quite sexy despite her looks when she is mad and fighting back .

But it was wartime.’ ‘Oh! Oh! I see .’ ‘Don’t worry. Little did he realise that the Singapore Governor had already passed on the information that he was suspected to be a spy working for the Japanese. Meanwhile. . The Rajah privately saw Stephen who was still the Treasurer. the Datu—with his libido satisfied. and requested him to transfer to the London Charter Bank’s account $200. Linda was still in a dream-state after that steamy and passionate session at the back on the wooden floor of the truck. I do.’ 177 .1942-1945 ‘Let’s move!’ ‘Yes. Jennifer was sulking. My head. idiot.’ Soon. Afraid that we may spend it all! We must gain their confidence and prove to them that we are not spendthrifts. neither the British Government nor Singapore was keen on having the Rajah set up a government-in-exile in Australia. Little else could be arranged. . . let’s call it a night. you know my brother’s and the British Colonial Office’s mentality. I would have thought that money deposited here would be safer. sorry .000 of the Sarawak funds which had been taken out of Sarawak through Pontianak Bank and finally transferred to Melbourne. man. Bertram was dead opposed to the idea. . all of them sat quietly in the cab of the truck as if they were strangers.’ ‘Certainly. my brother and the British Colonial Office don’t trust us. Your Highness?’ ‘Well. marred by pulsating painful lumps on his head—was experiencing the mortal’s agony and ecstasy. I’ll see a doctor tomorrow.’ ‘You can say that again. ‘Why is it necessary. having missed her part of action.’ ‘Well.’ ‘I don’t mean that. The following day. John had no urge. these farm girls are clean.’ ‘In view of the attacks and that the chances of Germany taking over the British Isles are higher than those of the Japanese taking over Australia. Datu McBryan received a letter from the Australian war intelligence unit rejecting his application for work there.

‘I’ll draft a letter to Adeh. the bored Rajah now wanted to move from Australia to London. parleying will be done in London and not in Sydney.Chapter 27 A ccepting that the Japanese Occupation in Sarawak would last for years rather than months. The government-in-exile in Australia was totally ineffective and served no purpose. His intention now was made known to Bertram and the British Colonial Office. I am doing nothing here except mark time and boost the Council. All news of Sarawak shut up like a clam (and wireless news bottled) days before Japs made an appearance. to go to hell—a wire from you would be welcomed—if we get back to Sarawak. ‘Dear Bertram. as present constituted.’ suggested Datu McBryan. Our people didn’t know what you think about the Council in Sydney. and if the people wish me back (wishful thinking!). carving up. For all the good they do any agency would act just as well. If you think I would be better employed in England I should be happy to move and tell the Council. Also a strong Head Office might get a move on in London to try and get in touch with the unfortunate people in Sarawak either through Geneva or some neutral country. Sarawak is ‘non est’ at present and I very much doubt if we will ever get it back but if conditions return some time to anything like normal all the negotiations. Personally I think the Council or some such body should carry on in London not in Sydney. I should only do so 178 .

why don’t we despatch Mr Hill to London to get the security clearance while taking the opportunity also of explaining our financial affairs to the Sarawak Commission in London under Bertram.’ Datu McBryan was still suggesting madcap schemes with great enthusiasm.000 of Sarawak Funds was still in Australia after $200. I am sure you will agree in this . to be completely eliminated. the Rajah was hopping mad. and also advise the Colonial Office as well not to use too much firepower in recapturing Sarawak. he dispatched a memo from the Rajah to the Supreme Council in Sydney. I want to abandon Sarawak and let the Dutch or British Authorities take over Sarawak after the war.1942-1945 on my own terms and with complete powers. . All red tape. Simultaneously. Datu McBryan taught the Rajah to play a game with London. Quickly. he wouldn’t and actually didn’t try too hard for Datu McBryan. bureaucracy. .000 of Sarawak Reserve Funds in the Australian Government’s ‘Austerity Loan’ without consulting London. The exiled Supreme Council met in Sydney without the Rajah or Datu McBryan. I’ll arrange that with him. ‘There must be a conspiracy! Someone out there is trying to frame me!’ ‘Perhaps. ‘It’s no use. I have no further interest in Sarawak . no one can get security clearance for you.000 had been transferred to London through Bertram. $100.’ replied the Rajah. Naturally. ‘I will get the Malays and Indonesians stranded in the Middle East to be subversive agents in the Archipelago against the Japanese. . the existing machinery of state should be wound up .’ However. . . 179 . Datu McBryan could not get security clearance to work in the Allied Intelligence Bureau in Brisbane from Australia. Datu McBryan was appointed as the Rajah’s ‘Confidential Agent for the South-West Pacific’. Forget it. Hill wanted a job in the Allied Intelligence Bureau himself. Datu! . etc. Councils. despite his various and continuing efforts. When Bertram queried the Rajah as to the vagueness of the expenditure in Australia.’ ‘That’s a good suggestion. Datu McBryan also managed to get the Rajah to put $50. . nor from the British War Office nor from General McArthur. Then. Anyway. I’ll assume control of Sarawak Funds in England. . and after making arrangement for various payments of pensions. . C V Brooke’ Meanwhile.

’ Datu McBryan.’ ‘Yes. No .  . whether they can get some more money out of the Sarawak Reserves and transfer the burden of Sarawak’s post-war reconstruction to other governments. ‘Perhaps. gentlemen.’ ‘Yes. too. For some reason.H.’ Hill concurred. The mention of the Dutch reminded me of that desperate and irrational moment when Sir James Brooke decided to give Sarawak to the Dutch after failing twice to recapture Kuching after he was pushed out of the Astana by Liu Shan Pang during the Chinese Rebellion in 1857. I think to consent to Datu McBryan’s idea would be tantamount to a betrayal of trust to the people of Sarawak.’ ‘So. H. . ‘I am sorry. Yes. I insist this is purely a formal part of our deliberation. We need a copy for our files. that wouldn’t do. to kindly reconsider and withdraw this memorandum. the Supreme Council’s decision that the council would wish H. I fully endorse that view. just that both of them have no more interest in Sarawak on account of the prolonged Japanese Occupation. namely.’ ‘No. No. It would reflect extremely badly on the Supreme Council if we condone this. We’ve got to do better than that!’ The other members of the exiled Supreme Council agreed to reject the memorandum. I think you are absolutely right!’ Hill agreed.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘With due respect. ‘That’s a valid point.H. Datu. we are in agreement then. Adeh and Peter would object strongly too! Therefore. To agree to such a course of action is nothing else but a betrayal of trust by the Brookes’ family to the people of Sarawak.’ ‘With respect. pretended to be shocked. I am sure you agree with me that the Colonial Office. who had quite expected this response. Datu McBryan. illegal and immoral to accede to the request stated in the memo. perhaps.H. Or. .’ ‘But H. takes his advice.  . It’s also unconstitutional. But we must make a copy before returning this memo to Datu McBryan who requested its return if the Council did not approve it. the onerous duty falls upon me to convey to H. Stephen went to see Datu McBryan. Datu McBryan could be going through one of his recurring mad spells. the Supreme Council has considered that it would be unconstitutional. ‘Then please return the memo back to me.H.’ lamented Stephen. ‘Honestly I think Datu McBryan may be just testing the water. not until a copy has been made for the record of the Supreme Council’s deliberation. ‘Yes. Stephen added. wants it returned!’ 180 . gentlemen  .’ ‘Hear! Hear!’ Shortly afterwards.

The Council had decided the matter and acted on the decision. . to reconsider this. ‘Thank you. that’s completely out of the question! That letter is now the property of the Supreme Council—part of the Sarawak official administrative and executive records. We’ll move back to England.H. Mr Hill.’ Stephen studied carefully the document. Now. . by the decree of H. your Council is already dissolved.1942-1945 ‘Datu McBryan. here is a letter for your official record of this meeting .’ Stephen replied. The composition of it will depend on H. Datu McBryan called for another meeting of the Supreme Council consisting of all the expatriates.’ ‘I know my place. . All right? I am sorry to convey this bad piece of news.H. requests me to inform you that because his proposal has been rejected by the Supreme Council and the fact that you would not even consider his proposal.H. Stephen shook the Datu’s hand and those of the rest in a cordial way. You just wait . ‘It’s too late in the day. ‘I’ll speak to H. Now. . advise the Rajah properly on these formal matters. ‘Now. Stephen played his cards carefully while the Datu watched his cards very carefully too. having fully expected Datu McBryan’s ‘unpredictable’ move.’ ‘Now.H. Whatever for? None of the members of the Supreme Council knew the reason.H. None of our consciences would be clear if we agreed with the memo. No more legal status. There would be more problems with the Rajah returning to London now.’ ‘Please do that. .H. H. if I may say so. On the following day. Stephen and Datu McBryan headed for a showdown. Yes. ‘Well gentlemen. wants. you must.H. ‘I’ll report this to H. as if nothing had happened between them on the previous day.’ ‘I’ll come back.’ Datu McBryan threatened.’ ‘We must appeal to H. by this letter. let us be sensible and not argue about it.’ For the first time. Stephen 181 . that concludes the last meeting of this honourable Supreme Council in Australia. Let’s not be emotional about it. Datu. This Council will meet in England. . I hope you can see that there is nothing personal. therefore.—here is the official directive from H.H.’ Stephen calmly made his final speech. As the Confidential Agent for the South-West Pacific as well as the Rajah’s Private Secretary. that’s exactly what H.—the Supreme Council is hereby dissolved . Datu McBryan was playing poker.’ urged Hill. hoping to neutralise McBryan’s overbearing attitude and his frequent invocation of the name of the Rajah—perhaps. too.’ Datu McBryan cracked his knuckles—no chuckling this time.

182 . Bertram was too old to play any games now.’ ‘That sounds a good idea. There is the $11. designed to liberate Sarawak in not too distant future. dissolved the Supreme Council. After being informed of events by his father and the Colonial Office—doubting the optimism of the Colonial Office—he wrote a short note to the Colonial Office. everybody else was shocked except Stephen. and he has prevailed upon the Rajah to make this gesture to put those concerned in a good humour and to prepare the ground for a final appeal to my father for a sum of money which would enable the Rajah (and McBryan) to retire gracefully from the Sarawak scene forever. George Young joined an airborne unit in Australia—a specially trained paratroop force. on Datu McBryan’s advice.’ suggested Datu McBryan. The real battle of the Brooke family had just begun. Bertram who was in London became more worried—Datu McBryan might influence the Rajah to make vital decisions about Sarawak’s post-war status without consulting them or the British Government. We’ll go to where the action is. in which case things are looking up and my father’s letters to his brother have made a deep impression.’ Stephen and his family and a few members of the Supreme Council would have to move to London too. Peter had returned to London from India.000 Sarawak Reserve in the London account. ‘I hope that this gift horse hasn’t got faulty teeth. When the Rajah. My impression is that either McBryan’s power is broken at last. The problem of communication and control from Australia makes it too cumbersome and formidable to play our winning cards here. Or—and I think this just as likely—McBryan’s influence can still make itself felt. let’s send Hill to London first with a set of instructions. ‘Let’s pack up now and get back to London and play our cards there.’ ‘What did the Rajah say about Datu McBryan?’ Peter asked Hill in front of his father at the London office of the Sarawak Commission.’ The Rajah wanted to see Datu McBryan’s next move on the political chessboard against the grandmaster of the Colonial Office and the challenger—Peter. The worst was yet to be seen. On hearing this.Twilight of the White Rajahs feared.                             After convincing his mother. ‘However.000. ‘I think you’ve got a good point.

our Datu McBryan has brainwashed him on that issue.H. is pretty fed up with Datu McBryan.H.H. . he really feels sorry that many of his friends back home in Sarawak are suffering or have been killed. I am listening.                             ‘What’s our next plan. his documents .’ ‘I see. . . it seems we all have to move to London while George stays behind with the military establishment. That’s more in line with his character.’ ‘Why is there such urgency now?’ ‘The Rajah is bored and helpless in respect of the Japanese Occupation in Sarawak. No doubt. has requested me to explain financial affairs to the Sarawak Commission . ‘Really! It sounds too good to be true!’ Peter responded. ?’ ‘Yes. Good.’ ‘Yes.1942-1945 ‘Well. that was the Rajah’s briefing. In his heart. ‘Well.’ ‘Now.’ 183 . when we moved to Australia. with the demise of the Supreme Council. . darling?’ Mei Ling asked. .’ ‘How about the Rajah?’ ‘I think cession of Sarawak to Britain for another lump of money is floating in his head. the Sarawak government-in-exile in Australia.’ ‘Go on. ‘H. H. That’s the first good news about the Rajah’s government since the Japanese Occupation of Sarawak.’ ‘So H.’ ‘That sounds logical. Anything else .H. .’ Peter wanted to have some military involvement too in Sarawak. The condition is that Datu McBryan would still be kept on the payroll. and to advise the British Colonial Office not to use too much firepower in recapturing Sarawak. On a personal basis. I am not sure whether he might not have left some skeletons in the cupboard. H.’ ‘I expected that to happen in the first instance. Unknown to Peter and his father. I too had that feeling.’ Hill reported.’ Peter’s eyes brightened with a tinge of glee. there is no need for Datu McBryan.’ ‘Good. and his Private Secretary would return to London shortly and set up a Provisional Government here instead of in Sydney and discuss with the British Government and Tuan Muda the postwar status of Sarawak. ‘Well. The plum is just too sweet for the Rajah. wouldn’t you say so?’ ‘No. that is. is prepared to cease employing Datu McBryan as his Private Secretary. that’s a bit far-fetched. I think he is more worried what the Japanese might do to his private letters and library.

’ ‘I am sure the Rajah will not leave you out. he is thinking about the $11. He will never change!’ ‘And an occasional period of madness to let off steam. To him government means the smell and colour of money. You know him. life would always be more stressful and they would have to be circumspect. He wants action.  . the devil in disguise?’ ‘Oh! Datu McBryan  . and no doubt. he wants to work in Intelligence.000 in the Sarawak Reserve Fund. That’s what he is thinking about all the time. he deliberately created a reason to dissolve the Supreme Council. really he wants to get back to England which he finds more congenial and where he has friends. both felt they needed it—with Datu McBryan around. As for the “Baron”. he may ask the Rajah not to put me in the next Supreme Council.000. women and power with intrigues are his favourite pastimes. otherwise.’ ‘How about our Prince Charming. Of course. God knows. Recently. He just sounded the war drums and created the war clouds like the Red Indians.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Doesn’t he like Australia?’ ‘Well. to catch up with all the horse racing he has missed. He finds Australian culture dry and boring—most people there have a farmer’s outlook and their accent is something only the Australians and aborigines can understand. money. would sell it to the Dutch? Never. Do you think H.H. 184 . but he can’t get the security clearance. he wants his finger in every pie.  . he will self-destruct!’ Both had a good laugh.

Yes sir . ‘Colonel Suzuki san. Mr Ong san.’ Socially they knew each other quite well.Chapter 28 E arly one morning. a senior officer by the name of Suzuki. Thereupon. a serious omission. At that moment. Straight away. ‘Kenapa tidak tabik saya . Before he realised what was happening. . the only Chinese Supreme Council member.’ ‘I see.’ 185 . Ong quickly crossed the street to rescue the victim. One of the guards sprang on him and shouted in Malay. So he moved his right palm over the old man’s eyes and there still was no dilation of his pupils. Ong got his word in first. he turned around and scolded his Japanese guard in Japanese. An elderly man with a stick was walking by. you stupid idiot! He is blind!’ ‘Hi. ‘Bakaro . As he passed by the Square Towers he saw the usual two Japanese guards standing on either side of the gate. . Colonel Suzuki took a closer look at the old man and saw that his eyes were odd as his pupils did not move nor his eyes squint. The smell of salted fish and fermented balachan shrimp paste permeated the air. now bleeding. your guard mistakenly slapped him. He failed to salute the Japanese soldiers while passing by. nearly fell down while his grand-daughter holding on to his arms was sobbing. the guard slapped his face four times. . this old man is blind. The bewildered man. Why didn’t you salute me? Come here. . Thereupon. you old fool!’ The old man was completely puzzled. Hi. So. Completely blind. . came out and asked what had happened. was walking along the Main Bazaar towards Gambier Street. His pupils were as dead as door nails. That’s why he didn’t salute. . he knew for sure that the old man was as blind as a bat. accompanied by his grand-daughter. Ong Teng Sam.

Incidentally. Sarinah had curried favour with the Kempitai. Colonel Suzuki san. . I will mark the place before I do that. we don’t know how to repay you. . ‘I think I had better make a move. Well. Unbeknownst to Colonel Suzuki.’ ‘Good. when we get out of this bloody camp. Mr Ong. some Malays and some Chinese in Kuching. one day.’ ‘Let me tell you about the blind man in Main Bazaar this morning . Ong was on his way to see Brooke officers in the notorious Batu Lintang camp.’ All broke into muted laughter. I will get even with her. I managed to bribe the guard to let me in at night. and was always present when the Kempitai held any function or rally in the various Malay kampongs in Kuching.’ ‘Thank you. Sibu and Miri—have brought a lot of misery to the locals. . one of our friends. He is taking a risk.’ ‘Thank you. especially to the Chinese community. are now working in the hospital making a special kind of ointment by mixing liquid mercury with Vaseline. I would love to see his true colours. I wonder whether he would be put in here by the Japanese or be allowed to stay near the Astana. I hope to bring you better news next time. From time to time I will drive some fowls or pigs into the compound and you can catch them—of course when the Japanese guards are not watching. Now.’ ‘The Chinese are being badly treated.’ ‘What on earth for?’ asked Paul Gilbert.’ ‘Don’t worry. otherwise. when Colonel Suzuki . berated his own soldier . 186 . You know. We all are eternally grateful to you. some collaborators—many Indians. Jumboree Ali. Mr Ong?’ ‘Not so loud.Twilight of the White Rajahs With full repentance the embarrassed guard bowed his head a few times. . ‘Arigato. . ‘That bitch.’ All the bystanders smiled and secretly laughed—in their hearts. as if showing remorse and in apology. When he arrived they had been discussing Sarinah.’ ‘I had better move along before the new Japanese guard comes on duty. Datu McBryan should be in Sarawak. Mr Tan. tell us the news outside . thank you. . ‘What else is new. A rare delightful repast. We owe you a lot. . there is at least one decent Japanese soldier I have met. Here is a map of Batu Lintang camp. I am going to fry them! Hang them! Thank you for smuggling the food to us. How Ong wished that more of the Japanese officers were as considerate and reasonable as Colonel Suzuki. Mr Ong san. . The old guard is good to me. in order to win favours or avenge old scores. Datu McBryan’s wife. and his Malay friend. we would have died of hunger. the Chief Secretary.’ cried Paul Gilbert. for fear that they might get slapped too.

they spread the poisonous mercury stuff on gauze and then bandage it on to the infected private parts of the errant Japanese soldiers . Maybe. Kuching town surrendered. he preferred to stay with his officers. among whom I have spent many years of my life.’ ‘No. I could not have it otherwise. . will surely drop off!’ ‘Maybe. The oil drums stored by the Borneo Company went up in flames. ‘For long I have been appalled at the calamity gradually approaching this innocent people of Sarawak. May God bless Sarawak and its people. Although Paul Gilbert could have escaped. The European expatriates were put into civilian concentration camps in the Batu Lintang grounds while the remaining members of the Punjabi force were detained in military concentration camps. With these people of Sarawak. lock. By the inexorable march of circumstances. war has come to Sarawak with all its sufferings and hideous results.’ They all had a good laugh before Ong’s departure. I do not regret this decision. stock and barrel. Through Ong Teng Sam. though. Gilbert decided the remaining Brooke officers and medical staff would have to stay behind. . A few Catholic nuns stayed too. and with inadequate forces and uncoordinated orders. Christmas carols had been sung in the churches on Christmas Eve but by then the festive mood had almost disappeared. The “use of poison to neutralise poison” as the Chinese would say. a note of his was smuggled out. I haven’t asked them about that. 187 . in Batu Lintang too. I have determined to remain and to share with them their sufferings during this period of trial. In the face of this sudden assault. I am proud to share with my companions in captivity their honour of hardship during a war which affects the lives of millions throughout the world.’ ‘Really! How? Isn’t mercury poisonous? I would have thought that they would use that for poisoning rats or people. the defence of Kuching was in a shambles. That’s not impossible. suffering from gonorrhoea and syphilis.’ ‘Good God! That can’t possibly be true! The whole bloody thing.1942-1945 ‘To cure the venereal disease among Japanese soldiers. luckily killing only twenty civilians. forced on a person who had little or no say in their development. That was the day when the Japanese had bombed Kuching town.’ Vividly on his mind was that black Christmas Day in 1941—the worst Christmas he ever had in Kuching or anywhere. Mercury is heavy. The Christmas and New Year of 1941-42 were bleak and hardly celebrated at all. Yes.

Puan Puan—the Japanese are here to liberate you from the British and the Rajah. Datu Datu. old chap. old boy. on the other hand. . he kept the Malays happy. I knew these people had no loyalty. On one hand. . continuing to employ them in the administrative offices. More bad news.  . if you cooperate with the Japanese administration.’ Paul reminded him. A group of Chinese patriots in Kuching. or who was a collaborator or spy. ‘They have no backbone. All the surviving European officers within Sarawak have been rounded up and put in this bloody camp. while. What do you expect him to do? Once a policeman. Malay and Dayaks supported the Japanese Administration believing that they were the government of the day.                             ‘Damn it. Colonel Suzuki had also made an appeal to the Malay leaders. ‘Datu Patinggi. They have deserted you. a traitor. Sibu and Miri. ‘You can’t blame him. We believe in the Sphere of Co-Prosperity. very soon we may be shot too!’ ‘Calm down. The minute the Japs lose ground—just start up some rumours and 188 . Datu Mustapha has been bought over now—he is serving in the Japanese police force and now as a magistrate. tried to gather information for Allied intelligence.’ cried Cable.’ pleaded Paul. fellows. The Chinese were the main targets. Our Iban ex-prisoners betrayed our Residents of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions and therefore they were murdered in cold blood at Ulu Magang in the Upper Batang Ai. A magistrate is also in the same position. became very difficult for many of the local people. ‘The Japs can never win the war. always a policeman. was an astute soldier and administrator. small but fit. he conducted an underground operation code-named ‘Operation Parang’ to flush out dissidents and British informers or spies. The government may change but he will serve the government of the day. to encourage them to abandon their old loyalties.’ Colonel Suzuki. The Rajah will never return to Sarawak. ‘Still a traitor . Defining loyalty to Sarawak. because they were the ones who had more and lost more due to Japanese confiscation. . However. . Suzuki intercepted some of the coded messages. That’s his profession.’ spat Cable in disgust. and providing shows for the Malay villages. A few Chinese. you will learn how different our system is as it is not designed to take away anything from you . Tuan Tuan.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             mainly from the Chinese part of the population. We came here to liberate you  .  .

Towards the latter part of the war. and living quarters were hot in the afternoon and just bearable at night. Gerald. A typical breakfast in the camp was plain tea without sugar or milk. Cable and others started to read the Bible and teach all sort of subjects including Hakka. Punjabi soldiers.’ ‘I am sorry to say if you believe that you must be dreaming. The Brooke officers were now joined by more prisoners coming from Jesselton (Api Api).1942-1945 put a prize on smoked Japanese heads. Every compound had to produce a given quota of ubi kayu—tapioca. In the early days. Life was just an endless bore. ‘Hunger pains gnawed at empty stomachs during long hours of the night and eyes became dim through malnutrition. the harsh conditions were bearable. He was after the £300. H. Some lucky POWs managed to lay their hands on some of that vegetable. Bingo! In no time. Life in Batu Lintang became more miserable as the war dragged on. the women grew vegetables and kept some hens to supplement their diet. To retain their sanity and boost their morale. Malnutrition became rampant as the war wore on.’                             The Batu Lintang camp or prison was divided into nine sections—women and children.000 treasury cash. They secretly 189 . Dutch officers. Peter and Bertram are in England and that mad joker. More people started learning to play bridge and chess. After marching to the railway at Green Road.’ ‘I doubt he was that heroic. the prisoners would be trucked to Bukit Stabas or elsewhere to toil the whole day with a brief lunch consisting of only a few rice balls. is already safe in Australia. Australian officers. lights were dim. I don’t think they care whether we live or die. Fear ruled in the minds of the POWs. is hopping around in Australia like a kangaroo. British other ranks. A system of forced labour existed.’ ‘Probably . . replacements for the skulls hanging in the longhouses. Indonesian other ranks and Roman Catholic priests. we shall have new and different specimens. British officers. though. Sandakan and Indonesia. This bloody war is going to drag on for years. though our Chinese agent told me that he landed in Pontianak trying to lead some Iban warriors—I think it’s all useless now. Where land was available.H. Paul Gilbert. civilian POWs. . News of the fall of Singapore and Japanese victories elsewhere made the prisoners-of-war more depressed as internment seemed to stretch out indefinitely before them. food was extremely scarce.’ Sanitation was bad. I doubt the British government can defend itself from the bloody Germans. The Punjabi prisoners sent to Labuan were never heard of again.

lighting and kitchen facilities. There was always a shortage of rice. was invented by a timber operator in Twenty Four Acres along the Rejang River. All of them were buried in the nearby rubber garden of Ong Teng Sam. Kuching. vegetables and fruit planted in their backyards. They used the chapel in the Bishop’s House at Kuching as a lecture room for new conscripts. More sago. workshops. tapioca and other vegetables and fruits were planted as substitutes. The Kempitai headquarters in Jawa Road. ships. ports. It was the same in Simanggang. Despite their ostensible facade of befriending the locals. Some of the rich ones from Kuching went to hide in Sumatra or abroad.                             Edward Brandah was the only Native ex-police officer who refused to join the Japanese Imperial Army. the Chinese in the major towns in Sarawak received the worst treatment. coins and antiques by soldiers in the streets or in private homes was a common scene. The gold miners in Bau hid their own gold in the ground but continued to work for the Japanese who also remined Gading and Tegora for the mercury.Twilight of the White Rajahs managed to build a wireless known as ‘The Box’ to receive news of the progress of the war. haunted by thousands of screaming souls. Sibu. This led to a spate of hasty marriages as it was a taboo for locals even to get near Kai Joo Lane where the lowest class of whores was carrying out the world’s oldest profession. Food. they treated the smallest offence with great harshness. they punished severely those people who were known to have worked with Europeans before the war and especially those who might have helped to destroy the oilfields. The biggest death count came from this camp—about six deaths each day. Due to shortage of fuel. hunger and harsh treatment from the brutal occupying force were prevalent in most of the country. In general. But Datu Mustapha and a few Datus were 190 . clothes and other necessities of life became more difficult to obtain. was a ‘House of Torture’. Bintulu and Miri. buildings and roads were neglected. Looting of articles of values such as stamps. In Kuching. an aqueous fuel. Almost all single healthy males in towns were conscripted to do various jobs assigned by Japanese soldiers. the Japanese were known as Chelaka Nombor Satu. The British other ranks received the worst treatment—one thousand five hundred men were packed into over-crowded barracks like sardines with inadequate toilets. number one public menace. government documents and other installations. surviving on fish. only the Audit department and the Treasury building near India Street were upgraded. Soon. Throughout the towns. A camp magazine called Adversity was published quarterly. and young girls were sent to stay with their relatives near the coast. crudely refined from cooked and distilled rubber.

Maybe there is a mix-up in the name. Local natives were recruited into the Japanese army and police. ‘Officer. The Japanese interpreter made the translation. ‘There is no mistake that you are a gold miner. I have been framed. Yet there was nothing they could do. By 1942. If you do not believe me. Miri-shiu.’ replied the Japanese Captain Sato. Luckily he had had the foresight to bury all his gold bars. jewellery and antiques. Jesselton-shiu and Sandakan-shiu. Our information is that you have plenty of gold bars. jewellery and antique jars underneath his Kuching house on Hill Road in special metal boxes inside specially built watertight compartments with beds of flowers on the top as camouflage when the soldiers came to the house for a search under gunpoint. popularly believed to be descendants of the Chinese. Mr Ong begged for mercy and stated his innocence. But the brutality. Sibu-shiu. Kai 191 . Some Japanese soldiers often did not pay the shopkeepers for the goods they took or slapped anyone who did not bow deep enough to show their respect. ‘Now I am a small miner. you can search it. would give them a better deal. I have no more gold bars any more. and they survived without any qualms.’ After half an hour’s search.1942-1945 ‘invited’ to attend the Japanese Emperor’s Day and other functions organised by the 37th Division of the Japanese Imperial Army. The Chinese in the various towns at first hoped that the Japanese. There was nothing the family could do except wail. the Japanese administration divided Sarawak and Sabah into Kuching-shiu. Dissatisfied with this. the captain threatened to take Kai Poh to a civilian concentration camp. Ong Kai Poh. We need that for our war effort. cruelty and total disregard for people’s property or the local Chinese women infuriated the Chinese beyond endurance. the soldiers informed the captain that there was nothing valuable they could find—no gold bars and no antique jars. The only Chinese people to benefit were the collaborators and those who sought favours personally with Japanese officers on account of trade and protection.’ implored Kai Poh in Hokkien. Propaganda shows and wayangs were staged to brainwash the Malays and Dayaks. The Chinese had never shown or professed the same degree of loyalty as the Malays and Dayaks to the white Rajah. the general trend was that the more educated the officer was the more reasonable he would be. a miner in Bau was a victim of a vicious scheme undoubtedly concocted by a collaborator. Colonel Suzuki tried again to make a case out to say that the 1941 Constitution was a sell-out by the Rajah and that the Japanese would bring economic development and social discourse beneficial to Sarawak which was completely neglected by the White Rajahs. I sold my antique jars a few years ago in Singapore and that’s how I could buy this house.

’ His wife. There was nothing much that could be taken away from the Malays and Dayaks who were civil servants or fishermen or small farmers and were told to plant more padi or continue working in the government’s offices. Datu Patinggi and administrative officers such as Elias Opar from the Second Division appeared to publicly support the Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s government at public rallies. ‘The Japanese believe that they descend from the Gods.Twilight of the White Rajahs Poh’s wife. journalists.                             The Kempitai. who was pregnant. There was tyranny and revenge—a field day for informers against their enemies. believing not a word of what the Japanese said. nodded. Therefore. as that was her husband’s code word to be patient and not to reveal their gold bars and antiques to buy his freedom. He said. those who had worked as domestic servants in European households were prime suspects. he just kicked her and she almost passed out. the Gods must win every time. dumped into the South China Sea or executed after the victim had dug his or her own grave along the beaches of Sarawak. . Those who were stamped with triangular marks on their shoulders.’ Chinese audiences listened. Kai Poh was never heard of again. new immigrants from China. then Kai Poh’s wife would most likely reveal the hidden gold bars and antique jars to buy her husband’s freedom. The bloody ‘Sook Ching’ process destroyed all hopes of cooperation with the Chinese. were sent to civilian prison. The victims were usually Chinese. which was a military police force under the war ministry akin to the German civilian Gestapo hunted anti-Japanese elements in all the towns of Sarawak. the same Japanese spokesman said. who was in an almost hysterical state. Those who spoke English. Only those who had been screened were given official identity papers with a Chinese character ‘Check’ written on it. Kai Poh told his wife. Local hooded informers assisted in the cold-blooded and murderous ‘Sook Ching’ or complete purification through relentless purge. those who were teachers. The captain had been advised by a collaborator to act toughly and mercilessly. The chief Japanese administrator ridiculed the British and European administration. implored the captain on her knees. as only a short while previously during the Japanese Occupation. ‘Take care of yourself and pray to God . ‘We will sweep away the arrogant and bloody British and share pain and sorrow and rejoicing with all concerned people in a 192 . The soldiers took him away after stamping a triangle mark on his shoulder. while the Europeans descend from the monkeys. . when there is a war between them. but Datu Mustapha. With tears in his eyes.

However. The Japanese Occupation was no exception. more mercury ores from Gading and Tegora were ground to relieve the pain and increase the joys of Japanese soldiers. the general public was bored with their propaganda except interludes of Japanese films—Samurai. what would be the value of the ‘Banana Currency’? They knew it would be worthless. The disorganised and inhumane authority of the Japanese administration created a perpetual state of fear of punishment and death. beriberi. A scholarship and training in Japan were offered to Datu Mustapha and teaching of Malay was permitted. ‘Comfort women’ were freely supplied to the soldiers. 193 . inspired very few to emulate. with its carefully fostered policies of preferential treatment to some. Japan had forgotten humanity. ghost. If the war ended. diphtheria and malaria in the concentration camps were viewed by the Japanese administration as a natural relief—less food and space needed to feed and accommodate them. cancer. The old Rajah’s administration. military—and music. but oppressive restrictions to many others resulted in political-socialeconomic pariah dogs. Venereal diseases were prevalent. People interned who died of cholera. Bribery and corruption of Japanese officials had produced some very rich ‘middlemen’ or brokers who thrived in this evil atmosphere of greed. with its banana design. and along Kai Joo Lane. with most outrageous behaviour. Local girls were widely recruited to look after Japanese soldiers and businessmen. Many Chinese sought out Japanese friends as protectors in case of trouble. There was a roaring business. This fear had spurred more speculation and greed. scores of third-class brothels were set up to make a fast buck from the Japanese community. Criticism about the high prices of goods was considered a political offence. dysentery. The Japanese war of propaganda—stressing sacrifice. control and economic interests. exclusive bragging of their invincibility were a contrast to their poor administration—unfair and inefficient.’ The Chinese knew the real Japanese motive was to acquire control of South East Asia which would provide ample supplies of raw materials and labour for Japan. By mid 1942. but their sheer obdurate arrogance. their devotion to the Emperor and country.1942-1945 spirit of give or take in the “East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere”. and tension. hara-kiri or the Bushido spirit. putting state before individual freedom. a few Japanese businessmen and Vikenyas or concession hunters had started Japanese restaurants and geisha houses along Khoo Han Yeong Street in Kuching. No war of conquest was ever fought for friendship or liberation but only for power. The Japanese currency in circulation. always put the local people in fear.

when they were shot at by the Japanese. Many people were interrogated. By the end of the year. that was not what we wanted. sir. symbolising the distress and helplessness of Sarawak. despite punishments and interrogations. He also realised that it was not Sarawak’s war. Besides.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             In mid 1943. For this he was called up by headquarters for questioning: ‘How come you defy our orders?’ The presiding officer asked angrily in Japanese. Clouds of anger. prevented his troops’ confiscation of their weapons in the case of the Ibans in Simanggang. I know. politely replying. discipline and a spirit of cheerfulness. Malnutrition worsened. A strong reprimand was issued to Colonel Suzuki accordingly. Suzuki put up a brave front. if we hadn’t quickly returned their guns. Surely. Many children had sought refuge in the trees. Invaluable records of Rajah James Brooke. More prisoners from British North Borneo were sent to the Batu Lintang camp.’ shouted the commanding officer. punished and executed on slight suspicion of resistance or 194 . who went out to appease the Ibans who were angry and restless.’ ‘Suzuki san. fear. and letters of the late Rajah Charles Brooke were turned into ashes of history by the Japanese.’ Suzuki left feeling miserable. get this into your head. I did what I thought was best under the circumstances.’ ‘Hik. ‘It was done in the interests of preserving peace and order in Simanggang among the fierce Ibans there. so was the general manager of the Borneo Company who had refused to board a ship because the ship refused to evacuate Asiatic members of his staff.’ ‘Maybe—but defying an order is a very serious military offence. they would have chopped off our heads.’ ‘But it was an order. Colonel Suzuki.’ ‘Hik sir. hunting guns were confiscated. these people are doing well as requested in planting rice for our military requirements. a resourceful Chinese led a rebellion in Jesselton.’ ‘I have no choice but to report this to Tokyo and you could be court-martialled for your unbecoming conduct. Still they tried to instil an air of resistance. sir. a military order is an order. ‘Hik. despair hung over this land of rivers and virgin forests. Headquarters was unimpressed with this argument. Inside the camp. with the conflict of moral and humane feelings against soldiers’ obedience to military orders. Memories were still fresh of the hundreds of children and women who had been machine-gunned by Japanese troops while escaping to Indonesian Kalimantan. But these defenceless children fell from the trees like coconuts. life was getting harder.

1942-1945 betrayal. When they regained consciousness. pain and nightmares. they became weak. The soldiers repeated this torture several times. 195 . After that. It was bleak. Many of the helpless victims often just passed out. There were horrifying tales of tears. others in Sibu were tortured by forcing them to drink pipe water until they were bloated. That was the darkest period in the annals of Sarawak. frail and sick. the Japanese soldiers would step on to their stomachs to squeeze the water out again through their mouths.

’ ‘On second thoughts you are probably right! The inadequacy of the British troops. . Yes. again. very soon we’ll all be on crutches or wheels . The British could not even defend Malaya and Singapore. 196 . . . . I really mean it. it’s not their war anyway. you should thank God that you are still alive.’ ‘However. that that would not have stemmed the tide of the Japanese invasion whatever instruction the locals might have received from outside. Let’s be frank about it. London. Bertram. Even if you were there.’ Rajah Vyner said. I know Sarawak has been plundered and I was not there. And I blame God for not answering my prayers. and lost some of my oldest and best friends . you could do absolutely nothing. . . ‘How is Gladys?’ Rajah Vyner asked. ‘but the Governor of Singapore is the most to be blamed. I feel that I have failed my country. and the bloody conflicting orders from Singapore never gave Sarawak a chance to organise any resistance.’ ‘You bet!’ Both shared a good laugh. I see your hairs are becoming more and more distinguished . . if any.’ ‘You know . you know as well as I do.Chapter 29 T he Rajah had invited Bertram to his house in Albion Street. nothing that I can imagine. Vyner. for afternoon tea. .’ ‘Don’t feel too guilty. You know. They would have had too little time to cope with the enemy occupation. At least. I blame the British Government for their bloody inadequate protection. when the war is over I hope to see the survivors. They undoubtedly would have captured and killed you. ‘I really blame myself. the suddenness of the Japanese attack.

 . . This will let us prove to Bertram and the British Government his real incompetence and stubbornness . . 197 . really.’ ‘Just one more thing  . . her usual nonsense. the Commission can review them. Now tell me . there is no escape. how was Australia?’ ‘Boring stiff . That will keep him out of mischief!’ ‘Don’t worry.’ ‘That. can you get Peter to see me?’ ‘Sure.                             ‘Let’s restore Peter as the Rajah Muda again.  . I should do that. always doing her fortune-telling  . . .’ advised Datu McBryan. . sounds interesting!’ Somehow in his bones. . It will make my work much easier. . when the good Lord calls. Look after yourself! Why don’t you get Peter to work a little bit harder?’ ‘Yes.  .’ ‘Now. Peter met up with Datu McBryan. I know Peter will go round and round while the Colonial Office will push him harder and harder .’ ‘You bet!’ On the following day. I bet he will get nowhere. .1942-1945 ‘She is fine—you know.’ ‘A good idea . retrenchment and other matters pertaining to the Commission of Sarawak. . as for the financial affairs. we will get him enough work to do.’ ‘I am sure you will . Perhaps Peter could assist me on that.’ ‘That’s indeed very good news. . Lord Mountbatten.’ The relationship between two aged brothers still remained cordial despite their differences over the running of and future plans for Sarawak. I have no personal objection. . . You look weak.’ ‘That’s settled then. the king.’ ‘Don’t fret over it. the Rajah knew Datu McBryan was up to some devilish scheme.’ ‘Have some more tea before you go. ‘What’s the catch?’ ‘None.  . You’ll know what to say. . That very thought intrigued him. .’ ‘Well. and let him negotiate for a while with the British Colonial Office and report back to you for consideration and approval.’ ‘Glad to hear that she is OK .  . I must say. ‘Since Peter’s return I heard that he wanted to see Churchill. you know how swollen his head is . I have to make a move before it gets dark. You will brief him accordingly.

after being advised by Stephen. rang up Wynn Parry. He is indisposed on account of a cold. I’ll put that appointment in the Gazette which is temporarily being published in London. that I would like to see him when he is feeling better. heading the exiled Provisional Government now residing in London—no more in that backwater Australia. . his mother’s fortune-telling had come to pass.’ Datu McBryan informed him. returning to the most powerful position after the Rajah. thought the Datu. Smith and Al Pin. Somehow. he had heard that cession was on the table of the Colonial Office. No doubt. That will prevent any more contention over financial matters. . an international law lecturer at Cambridge University to get an opinion of the legal status of Sarawak under international law especially its relationship with England. the tragic events of World War Two and hardship had changed him for the good. So you can start negotiations with the Colonial Office and War Office. Peter. 198 . .’ ‘Excellent. the Rajah now feels that he is not up to it and. Wynn Parry wondered why Peter wanted this legal opinion as.’ replied Peter who always had a love-hate relationship with the Rajah’s Private Secretary. Perhaps. Pollard. On second thoughts. he now had a chance to avenge his humiliation and get even with his foes. fear crept in again—how long this time would he remain as the Rajah Muda again before another dismissal? Had Datu McBryan left a time bomb behind? Why was he being so nice to him? Peter wondered. ‘Thank you! That’s very good news. Perhaps.’ Peter thought perhaps Datu McBryan had really changed and really become more accommodating. from the grapevine.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘The Rajah will not himself discuss the status of Sarawak now with the British Colonial Office while the peoples of Sarawak are still under the Japanese as he cannot consult them. therefore he has appointed you as the Officer Administering the Government. Perhaps. Tell H. the Commission will remain responsible for the handling of Sarawak finances.’ ‘I will . Peter was ever so cheerful. He could not believe his own good fortune—all rolled into one again. the land of the second-class convicts.H. So he has re-appointed you as the Rajah Muda. which formed the Provisional Government were Stephen Young. . He also asked for a second or joint opinion from Lord McNair. Peter’s military exposure in India had helped him to mellow a bit. when he has recovered from his cold. The four other expatriate members of the Supreme Council members. Here is the letter of appointment. In London. ‘Besides. I must thank the Rajah personally. good luck .

it may damage your prestige if you were to return to Sarawak as an officer of the military commander’s staff. . perhaps. clarification was totally unnecessary. .’ Peter realised he was talking to a stone wall. .’ ‘Rajah Muda. To Peter. Borneo. For all practical purposes. should also take part in the military recapture and administration of Sarawak.’ A week later. I deem it imperative that this Provisional Government. gentlemen. In his own mind this could only assist in boosting the Brookes’ prestige and image and the likelihood of subsequent re-establishment of a Brooke Government. I think that is making a mountain out of a mole hill. He added. ‘I therefore propose that a separate civil affairs unit for Sarawak under me be set up. Deliberately Datu McBryan did not want to clarify the legal status of the Provisional Government especially in its relationship to the 1941 Constitution and the inherent powers of the Rajah. ‘As the head of the Provisional Government. . 199 . civil affairs is a military responsibility.’ ‘I would hasten to add that it will create almost insurmountable difficulties . and I am sure the American Allied Commander would never agree or foresee any necessity for that . . Peter’s firm or obstinate character was not totally unknown to the Colonial Office. Indeed. Little progress on that front could be made with them ‘Well. and the Allied Military Administration of Sarawak.1942-1945 The Colonial Office was informed as to this turn of events. . Never mind about that! How about if I were to be appointed as the liaison officer between the Chief Civil Affairs officer. Rajah Muda . apart from strengthening his own political position.’ ‘It’s still the same. There could be a mutual conflict and embarrassment between the commander who sees the operation as military. whereas you may see it from the political and civilian points of view . Please give us the proposals and we will meet some time later at your convenience. that would not do you any good. during wartime. therefore. Don’t you agree?’ asked David Menon from the Colonial Office. . if we may say so. they reconvened. . . apart from negotiating with you . ‘Not exactly . gentlemen.’ That was Peter’s opening gambit. the Provisional Government became interchangeable with the Sarawak Commission. . to the Colonial Office that was perfect—always leaving a direct last recourse to the Rajah if impasse were to arise in the foreseeable protracted negotiations with the Provisional Government. . The preliminary discussion between the parties began at the Colonial Office. I’ll submit my set of proposals on strengthening the relations with His Majesty’s Government for discussion then. that’s a very good idea. .’ ‘With respect.’ ‘Well in that case.

also. Rajah Muda. . Sarawak is an independent sovereign state under international law.’ ‘It’s nothing like that. .’ Keith Stubbs. No useful or meaningful discussion can proceed without reference to the people in Sarawak. and the powers of the British Representative would only be extended for the purpose of representing HMG’s views in respect of administrative policy in Sarawak. we are not going to be dictated to by unilateral decisions of HMG .’ ‘That sounds reasonable.’ Peter knew deadlock was inevitable. we are asking the Sarawak Government to accord to the Crown such jurisdiction so as to enable us. Mr Stubbs. ‘Now. . and he often carried a pipe which he put in his mouth while he talked without lighting it. Therefore. Rajah Muda.’ ‘Well. We can’t consult the people in Sarawak. the British Government. Anyway.’ ‘Notwithstanding that .  .’ threatened Stubbs. Secretary for the Colonies. Next. it’s morally indefensible at this point to discuss this. a typical Whitehall civil servant. .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘  . i. that’s not exactly within the proposals set out in the Rajah’s letter dated 19th June 1944. . and further discussion with them would be a waste of time. .’ Peter stood his ground. I would like to stress that personal and autocratic rule has never prevailed in Sarawak which has had a constitution since 1856 .’ ‘With respect . if you not are ready to enter into detailed discussions. .  . it is our considered view that preparatory work for a new agreement can still commence at this juncture. . namely. were to legislate . This power of legislation through Orders-in-Council under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act would only be used in a special case like this . .e.’ the Rajah Muda insisted. pointed out. ‘I am afraid that our government will have to decide on its own course. showing slight irritation. . we want to discuss more fundamental matters.’ ‘That’s outrageous! That’s unconstitutional under the Sarawak Constitution! The locals and natives will never accept that! That will cause civil commotion . . to accept the extension of the authority of the Resident British Representative so as to give him an effective voice in all substantial matters of Sarawak’s policy and administration as envisaged under the Supplementary Agreement of the 1941 Constitution. instead of the Rajah. ‘But they are in accordance with the Rajah’s letter of reply dated 4th August 1944.’ ‘I . if they see that the British Government.’ ‘But. . His white hair looked quite distinguished. . to legislate for Sarawak under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act. for Sarawak. 200 . . . I cannot accept that point. ‘Let’s have a few more discussions on this matter over the next few weeks. . no substantive discussion until after Sarawak’s liberation and the restoration of the status quo ante.

the Rajah resisted and asked Peter to face J. even if they had accepted that India and Burma would be given independence in the near future. Hayes. Trade would follow the flag. Malaya and Singapore were still strategic British Colonies that must be maintained after the Second World War. Peter would not give way. The Labour Government saw the anachronistic but romantic white Rajahs as nothing more than greedy landlords and certainly wanted to end the Brookes’ rule and get hold of Sarawak’s and North Borneo’s rich resources of oil. At first. ‘Could you arrange for the Rajah to cede Sarawak to HMG?’ 201 .Chapter 30 F urther negotiations between the Colonial Office and the Provisional Government came to a stalemate. in his mid-fifties. They wanted to retain Malaya notwithstanding what America might say. Hayes just bluntly asked him. Sarawak was a British protected state. timber. rubber. Hayes. Brisk actions and results were his approach to all problems encountered. The Colonial Office stressed that according to their expert legal opinions. with a promise of a reward of a personal nature to McBryan if the Rajah would agree with the new British Labour Government policy under Attlee. The legal opinions of Lord McNair and Wynn Parry were still forthcoming. the Colonial Office tried to put pressure on the Rajah through McBryan. Knowing all deals would be possible with Datu McBryan. pepper and other goods. As expected. when the war in Europe ended. who had been appointed Secretary of State for Colonies in Keith Stubbs’ place after the Labour Government came into power. Peter disagreed: Sarawak had always been an independent sovereign country with international status under International Law. was a shrewd administrator.

In the military liberation of Borneo by Australian troops. The need for the application of the Foreign Jurisdiction Act became more acute.’ ‘I see . . ‘Well.000 would be needed to do that. . It was only a pawn set up to be sacrificed by the Rajah and McBryan when the time came. in terms of security risk.’ ‘Then.’ ‘But. the SWPA would take over control of Sarawak’s administration for a while. ‘I quite agree. the cabinet did mention some sort of compensation on an equitable basis. according to the estimates from the Secretary of State for Colonies.’ 202 .  . ‘Isn’t it true that the Rajah had on a number of occasions previously mentioned cession of Sarawak?’ ‘That’s true and on record .  .’ ‘I am listening . it’s a good time to wash your hands of the responsibilities of rebuilding Sarawak. . . we could clear your name too . . . I am always interested in good proposals on Sarawak. . .’ The ‘Baron’ gave a mischievous smile with his eyes rolling.’ ‘That’s fine with me  .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘That’s not a problem provided the consideration looks attractive. . Datu McBryan knew that well.000.’ Hayes knew that that meant lining his pockets or bestowing glory or power on him.’ ‘I see. .                             Stephen knew the Provisional Government had already outlived its usefulness although it had only a short history. A veiled threat of unilateral action and a deal between Datu McBryan and the British Government brought the desired result. They wanted fast action and results. . . . . of course.’ ‘Sure. we will keep our part of the bargain. I understand that. Anyway.’ ‘That would be very nice. perhaps for different reasons though . you do your part. ‘Your Highness. if you like . at least £8. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki altered the pace and ideas of the British Government. what else is there?’ ‘I might ask the Prime Minister to throw in a Knighthood for you. we are too old for that!’ advised Datu McBryan.’ That unsolicited favour obviously had strings attached. We certainly do not have that kind of money to rebuild Sarawak . starting to count the dollar signs mentally. I can’t guarantee it.

let’s make an appointment to meet Hayes.’ ‘I have already done it. ‘Your Highness. . .’ ‘I am listening . Wouldn’t you agree that Sarawak is no place for aged or ageing Rajahs?’ ‘You’ve hit the nail on the head!’ ‘I might add that your poor health will not permit you or Bertram to rule Sarawak in the style both of you are accustomed to in the past .’ ‘Indeed .’ ‘But Peter and Adeh and a host of sentimental Brooke officers would call it a sell-out!’ ‘Your Highness. it would be Your Highness’s conclusion that it would be best for Sarawak’s future in the post-war reconstitution of Sarawak if it took its place among the possessions of the British Commonwealth. The devious traits of character of his Private Secretary provided the Rajah with as much entertainment as anticipation of the ‘Baron’s’ unknown next moves—a pure enjoyment indeed. . Tuan Muda has refused on a number of occasions to be the next Rajah. There is at least financial capability or continuity until Sarawak gets independence one day.’ ‘In that case.                             On 24th October 1945.’ ‘That can be arranged. ‘That’s excellent. I can assure you that HMG has given us assurances that no one would be worse off as a result of cession.’ Hayes assured convincingly.’ ‘As a finishing touch for the future historical record. But. That epilogue of cession would be most appropriate. . . not forgetting your visits to the race track . . you really can read my mind! That’s splendid. there are always at least two sides to a coin on every issue or action in political or constitutional decisions affecting the country . .1942-1945 ‘What is more important is that you need a good financial settlement for yourself and your family. the Rajah and Datu McBryan met Hayes at the latter’s office. .’ ‘Splendid!’ The Rajah always looks forward to something exciting or references to the colour or smell of money or women. but I want personal confirmation from Hayes . . He is also over seventy now.’ 203 . . . . we must strike while the iron is hot. Besides you have absolutely no trust in Peter as the next Rajah. when in his dotage. and Your Highness personally saw so much of your late father. No one can seriously blame you. I am aware that the hardest thing in the history of government and dynastic rule is to abdicate power after tasting and holding the reins of power for more than one hundred years. equally.

 . I can agree to that so long as it is agreed and understood. . namely informing him that the Provisional Government must maintain good relations with the Colonial Office. Why should the Ranee write to him? Was she in a secret plot with Datu McBryan but wishing to wash her guilt before the “plot” was announced? ‘What do you think. write to you? Think. Of course. Stephen?’ asked Peter.000 from Sarawak Government Funds for the Rajah and his dependants must not be mentioned in any document now. we have to work out the details . ‘That’s fine in principle. frankly. ‘Not good. ‘The setting up of the Sarawak State Trust Fund of £1.H. that “no one would be worse off ” as you have just mentioned. Peter knew something was wrong. that the Rajah in his lifetime would choose to run Sarawak in his own style. . and that Peter would have to wait for his chance to run it in his own style later on.’ ‘Perhaps that’s not far from the truth. that the appointment of the British Representative for Sarawak was imminent. dying to solve the puzzle. why the Ranee?’ ‘You mean she must know something! She wants to soothe me before I start a tempest . Datu McBryan suggested to the Ranee to write to Peter as a member of the Brooke family.                             In the meantime.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Why doesn’t the Rajah himself or Datu McBryan as the Secretary to H. Yes. As I have said. They would resolve the succession issue by proclaiming the king as his heir.’ It was finally agreed that Datu McBryan’s commission for his proposed visit to Sarawak should permit him to secure general financial powers for the Rajah on the understanding that he should not seek agreement.’ 204 . Vyner had already anticipated that the mounting debts of Sarawak after the war would then be the responsibility of the British Government.’ warned Hayes. . ‘All right.000.’ replied Vyner. over the Sarawak State Trust Fund. or try to enforce any specific proposal. you will not be worse off. And also that Datu McBryan be allowed to clear his name of all the accusations hurled against him in 1942.Twilight of the White Rajahs The preliminary document prepared by Datu McBryan stated the Rajah would send McBryan as the Rajah’s special representative to obtain the approval of certain individual members of the Supreme Council to the conclusion of a new Agreement with His Majesty’s Government providing for the cession of Sarawak to the Crown.

be readily appreciated by Your Highness that no change affecting the present constitution of the Provisional Government of Sarawak. It will. the Rajah’s acts could be ultra vires the Constitution of 1941. He swore bitterly. He dismissed the Rajah Muda as the head of the Provisional Government. This was denied. Rajah Muda. duly recognised as such by His Majesty’s Government. anything is possible!’ Somehow Peter felt something was amiss. ‘ .’ ‘Yes. . . All letters of resignation had to be prepared according to the formalities of the Gazette for announcing the winding up of the Provisional Government. but not sure what or when the dreaded event would happen. we feel sure. At 4:00 pm. .1942-1945 ‘The Provisional Government is doing a good job for the Sarawak people. ‘That bloody bitch! . but it’s a convenient scapegoat too!’ ‘Really?’ ‘With Datu McBryan. So in vain they tried to make an appointment to see the Rajah. the Provisional Government still sought a personal meeting with the Rajah. However. the Ranee rang up Peter saying that the meeting had to be postponed to the following day. Datu McBryan prepared the Rajah’s letter to Peter stating that the Rajah had told Hayes of his decision to dissolve the Provisional Government and to appoint a new Supreme Council under the 1941 Constitution as soon as possible with a view to forming a legal government. . Was there a time bomb? Two days later. Originally it was fixed for the 19th September at 5:00 pm. . Peter was furious but reluctantly agreed. Instructions were made known that Peter could only see the Rajah if these procedures and administrative actions had been put in place. The Rajah wanted ‘to resume power and appoint a new Supreme Council subject to the 1941 Constitution’. Then Peter wrote to the Rajah.’ The Rajah was infuriated. I know . that bloody scoundrel!’ Then the fateful day arrived. the Rajah’s letter came: the liquidation of the Provisional Government. and that the Rajah had applied for travel facilities for himself and his party to visit Sarawak in October and that all members of the Provisional Government must submit their resignations. The Provisional Government Committee met quickly and considered that in law. and that such plans as Your Highness has in mind can only be considered after Your Highness has properly reassumed the powers of Rajah-in-Council and Head of the Provisional Government of Sarawak. 205 . can be effected except by constitutional means. .

’ A few days later.’ ‘No. and I can only regard your action as an act of insubordination without parallel in my experience of State Affairs. .’ ‘It will be expensive. Sarawak is not in a position to rehabilitate itself . ‘Your Highness. .’ ‘Suit yourself. . .000 on the commissioner’s Regent’s Park House and £5. Peter was warned by Stephen to be patient and polite to the Rajah no matter what his personal view might have been on the fate of the Provisional Government. .’ Peter excused himself. . I have learnt that you spent £20. fuming all the way out of the Rajah’s house. nor consider you have any right of succession to the Rajahship of Sarawak. HMG is ready to assist Sarawak now . . In the next room Datu McBryan cracked his knuckles and laughed out his heart—‘That stupid Rajah Muda never learns the facts of life . . with double the salary after he produced a special issue of the Gazette carrying the Rajah’s decisions. . . indeed I am deeply shocked that you have adopted such an intransigent attitude in negotiations. after he had resigned as a member of the Provisional Government. . . As usual. You should know better than that under Brooke rule. . . . the proposals made by HMG were quite reasonable. In fact.’ ‘Then there is no point of discussing it further .’ Datu McBryan orchestrated the whole ‘plot’. Smith was appointed as the new Government’s Agent.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘This failure to act upon my instruction and the subsequent receipt of a letter purporting to be signed by an Officer Administering the Government and Members of a Provisional Government which no longer existed seems to me to be a direct affront to myself. . Besides.’ ‘We can look for international funds for that . That reminds me of a similar episode before you left for your honeymoon in Siam years ago. having regard to the war and that Sarawak was overrun . if I may be allowed to say so. . .’ That was the last straw. Hayes received the legal opinion on ‘The international legal status of Sarawak’ from Wynn Parry and Lord McNair who upheld 206 . I am telling you that now . an emotional outburst got the better of Peter when the Rajah allowed Peter to see him. the whole dissolution of the Provisional Government was carried out without much thought. Stephen tried to remain neutral and calm. I have equal rights and say in the future succession in Sarawak . that’s extravagant! . . . . that’s all history now .000 in fittings.’ ‘My dear Rajah Muda. . ‘Your Highness. you may neither use in future the style and title of Rajah Muda .

I hope you understand my position. you will not in future interfere with any public affairs affecting Sarawak. It’s that devil in disguise again! That scoundrel. ‘Mr Brooke. No deal! . I merely carry out H.H. ‘Well. His Highness. I am only the messenger. the Rajah. rejecting the offer outright. Your Highness.’ Datu McBryan spoke from a sense of urgency. The Rajah and Datu McBryan were duly informed by Hayes of the opinion. That bastard! I’ll wring his neck. that’s within the Rajah’s rights.’ Peter did not ask any more soul-searching questions. McBryan . It was posted the next day. ‘Stephen.’ Datu McBryan again drafted the letter dismissing Peter. . against the Rajah!  . ‘Let’s discuss it with Hayes tonight.’ ‘I am sorry. against Gerald! . covering Sarawak. Whatever conclusions I come to.’ ‘Are you a pro-cessionist?’ ‘Just say I am a realist.  . . you will not indulge in any public or private talk whatsoever. You should know him by now.’ Peter knew all along that Smith was a processionist anyway. I’ll study carefully what’s the best solution for Sarawak and its terms. second. there is nothing I can do to help you. For days. . And a £2.’ ‘But I’ll fight against cession!  .’ cried Peter. the Commission’s house will be transferred to you free of charge. although the Rajah still wants me to sit in the Supreme Council—perhaps just to make up the numbers. certainly they will not be based on my personal interests. The final closing chapter of the Brookes’ rule in Sarawak seems inevitable. He is a fixer on a commission basis. The demotion of Peter from Rajah Muda was also gazetted. or any members of His Highness’ family.’s instructions .’ ‘I know that. The devil loses nothing. Little hope of upsetting cession. .800 per annum allowance will be put in place if you could accept two preconditions: first.  .  . . the Rajah or His Highness’s family . malicious or otherwise. . ‘Good idea. Rajah Muda.’ Peter was furious. of course. another member of the Supreme Council in exile. . . . ‘That’s equivalent to selling my soul and the people of Sarawak down the drain. .’ ‘Well. You’d better look after yourself now. A few days later.  . Smith.1942-1945 Sarawak’s sovereignty—which would only encourage Peter to take a harder line of resistance. he was thinking of all the possible ways to sabotage the Rajah’s plan 207 . this is treachery! I am dismissed as the Rajah Muda again. called on Peter to explain the arrangements that had been made for him.

the Rajah really has no intention to return to Sarawak and rule again. But the way it’s being carried out is not being done tastefully. There was nothing to stop Datu McBryan’s devilish scheme.’ ‘So why grieve over that?’ ‘It is sad in one way. ‘What’s up? You don’t look cheerful.’ ‘Sorry I asked.’ ‘Well . if you prefer that term. it is clear. 208 . it is clear that the Rajah believes Peter will never be qualified to rule Sarawak. Somehow. Mei Ling asked Stephen.’ ‘Well.Twilight of the White Rajahs for the cession of Sarawak. .’ ‘It looks that way. I know that Datu McBryan had deliberately stirred up a family row after persuading the Rajah to “sell” Sarawak or cede it. On the evening of the same day.’ The background of money politics related to the promulgation of the Sarawak Constitution 1941 still remained fresh in his mind. . to the British Government.’ ‘You then think that cession is inevitable. The romantic era of the Brookes’ rule is ending.’ ‘Yes. What should we do?’ ‘I suppose we’ll live in England when the cession takes place.’ ‘Who gets the most out of this deal?’ ‘Need you ask? It’s another repeat of the promulgation of Sarawak’s Constitution of 1941—it leaves behind a bad taste. and it is also obvious that the taking over of Sarawak by the Colonial Office is inevitable. Stephen managed to get Bertram to talk to the Rajah hoping to resolve this particular issue.

’ James replied. it looked like unending rolls of white cotton wool. ‘isn’t this landscape beautiful?’ ‘Yes. At Bario.’ George pointed to his fellow paratrooper.’ ‘Now. as he prepared to land with three others. fruits. and could meet most of their daily needs except for salt. Although the Japanese had not penetrated the Penans’ country nor done any damage.’ 209 . James Harrison.Chapter 31 T he Usun Apau plateau and the Mount Murud peaks. . the local natives could still survive in the wilds. what do you mean exactly?’ ‘They cut your head off so that your spirit will always be with them. This pattern of guerrilla warfare against the Japanese had just been initiated under the code name of Operation SEMUT I. The plan then was to move towards the coast to force the Japanese to surrender while at the same time inciting the Ibans by offering them large rewards for taking Japanese heads. ‘Look over there. But with Providence’s bounty. . at Bario. ‘but what are the women like here?’ ‘They will take your head if you stay with them for too long . as always. From a distance. towards the north of Sarawak. a remote village in the Upper Baram area in the north-east of Sarawak before the first offensive got under way against the Japanese Occupation of Sarawak. I mean if they happen to like or love you very much because they are afraid to lose you. birds. now serving in the Australian Air Force. Allied Intelligence expected to encounter very few Japanese. jagged as a row of dog’s teeth. This was the first appearance of the Australian Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) in the interior of Sarawak. landing at Bario and then at Lubok Antu between Kuching and West Kalimantan. animals. were crowned with layers of low-lying white cloud. times were still hard everywhere. That was the memorable first view of Sarawak for George Young. on wild sago.

To stay there in future was another matter. . in the technical sense. pretty.’ ‘Don’t get caught whatever you do—it’s like the Hollywood rule. soft . The two-engined C-47 circled until the pilot found some gaps in the dark green canopy. otherwise. they would all be classified as ‘collaborators’. but it happens in the Iban longhouses. you might have to marry them after a night of Nyayap. very warm. I am only pulling your leg. That was not his concern. 210 .’ ‘I see. you don’t need a blanket at night.’ ‘Yek!’ ‘It’s not that bad. But this is wartime. tell me when the time is right. their orders were to reconnoitre the local scene and prepare for more safe paratroop landings and. to slip through the tropical forests and move towards Miri. The Japs don’t normally travel this far north into the real jungle. What about the locals who helped to run the Japanese administration. After landing.’ ‘You’d better decide that!’ The four paratroopers detailed to land near Bario were still half an hour from their drop zone. you will be in Seventh Heaven. borak or tuak. . Anyway. then. who cares?’ ‘I do. willingly or unwillingly. They are afraid of losing their heads.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Maybe the Japs have ravished them already!’ ‘No. That was his personal mission. He knew his parents were safe in England. their bodies are very warm and with the rice wine. Errol Flynn. . In fact. worked in the police force or people who just wanted to survive? George wondered what Sarinah’s role was? He supposed.’ ‘I would like to meet these lovely maidens . my father told me that the women here are very fair. was also suspected of spying—using his yacht Scirollo to pass sensitive information to the Germans and the Japanese. the famous Hollywood actor. He wanted to feel that he could show his patriotism to Sarawak by helping to recapture it from the Japanese. . free romancing and courting . Safety is one thing they do consider. . I gather they have enough “comfort women” to take care of the soldiers in the towns. George had heard that Datu McBryan had been detained by the British before the fall of Singapore to the Japanese. not among the white-skinned Kelabit and Kenyah tribes. after contacting local native chiefs and beginning the training of regular and irregular local forces to restore the Rajah’s Government after driving out the Japanese. . About that time.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Really?’ ‘Well . . .

Can you reach your knife?’ ‘No.’ ‘Nothing stuck up your asshole?’ George jokingly enquired. Hello. I’m not far!’ ‘All right. George was concerned that he might land near a Japanese camp or get lost in the heart of wildest Borneo among the lovely half-naked white bodies of Kelabit or Kenyah maidens or in the headhunters’ arena rather. ‘Hey. Men .’ Soon they found James caught up in a tree by his parachute. It’s bound to be a winner in a postwar photo competition. hello .’ ‘Follow the sound! . . louder. . Get me down!’ ‘I can’t see you .’ ‘Don’t be funny!’ ‘All right. I mean I forgot where I put it. where they were waiting for spoil. keep singing. One thing he was sure of was that the simple life of the jungle wanderers would still be unaffected by the industrial world outside the evergreen canopy of thick equatorial forest. . Then you will find me. mates. I’ll climb up. .’ shouted James. George. Keep talking.’ ‘Oh! it’s bloody cold up here. . squelching and sloshing about in the swamp which was still enveloped by the highland morning mist and cold dew. 211 . ‘Don’t be ridiculous. You just do that. get ready to jump . I tell you . hello. Don’t be ridiculous. I think I’ll take a photograph of you first. James crashed like a log to the ground. George and two others landed safely. ‘Where on earth are you?’ George shouted back. Three Australians and one John Bull—George Young. Yes. .’ ‘I have one . .’ ‘It’s colder down here—we got soaked after landing in a bloody swamp. . all right. . . help me to get down. . . all right. mate!’ ‘Then shout or yell like a gorilla or an orang utang!’ ‘Very funny. keep shouting louder. drifting over the plain of Bah. .’ ‘Hang on a bit. . ‘I can barely see you . .’ shouted the pilot. you are about fifteen feet from the ground. ‘Here! Up here! Stuck in this bloody tree with my trousers ripped from the back to the front.’ ‘Damn it! I can’t sing!’ ‘Not even Ba Ba Blacksheep or a Christmas carol?’ ‘No. Four parachutes shot through the hatch in quick succession.’ ‘Yes. I know that—do something.’ George climbed up and managed to cut him free. I am here!’ ‘Where on earth are you?’ ‘Follow the direction of the sound. .1942-1945 ‘That’s it.

and they will probably fix your torn trousers. ‘Can you tell us where we are. friendly dog in a very small room. After sunrise. .’ ‘So. That’s how I see the whole situation. the Americans are fixers more than preventers.’ That was the last ‘landing’ of the first drop of Allied parachutists in Borneo. no. as the paratroopers made their way along the river. Only temporarily disoriented as my sea captain friends would say after being at sea too long and trying to find places they want to go on the roads.’ ‘Are you saying that we are lost in the jungle?’ ‘No. eh?’ harped James. . Everytime it wags its tail it knocks over a chair. . that hurt!’ George shouted down. ‘Hey. But this map is grossly inadequate—blank in most areas. Two more were playfully splashing each other in the water. . basically they have left the dirty job of clearing out the Japs in Borneo to the Australians. The green secondary jungle at the edge of the river provided perfect camouflage. Two young women were bathing in their birthday suits. George?’ ‘Somewhere in the Upper Baram district.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Ouch! . he wants nothing to do with Borneo directly. you need to lose some weight. Let’s follow the river. . Field-Marshal Blamey [the Australian C-in-C] has at all times to conform with General McArthur’s overall plans. ‘Nature always compensates one way or another!’ ‘Ask them politely.’ 212 . The General is like a large. we’ll be in a better position to locate where we are. . The trouble is that Borneo is too far away for Lord Mountbatten—his territorial limit is up to Singapore—but though it is near enough to General McArthur for him to keep control over it. You can’t go wrong. I like that one with the dimples. their firm breasts swaying as they came out of the water before standing at the river bank. We can get a free show!’ ‘Hey.’ ‘Ha! Ha! Ha! That’s not very funny. You know . Another three were washing clothes on a small wooden raft made from floating kapur logs. George and his comrades salivating like foxes that had spotted a brood of chickens in front of the bushes. ‘That’s absolutely correct! But under the bloody American High Command! You see . suddenly feminine giggles permeated the air. Borneo was given a low priority. my dear fellow.’                             At ten o’clock in the morning. Meanwhile keep quiet. ‘Oh God! They are beautiful!’ James whispered. General McArthur is only bloody interested in his return to Manila in triumph personally and in receiving Japan’s surrender.

 . my father is Stephen Young. sure.’ ‘Silakan .’ After washing their hands. they brought them to see Penghulu Miri. Only the Japanese are our enemies! Bad people!’ They were happy to see a few white men again after four years of Japanese Occupation.’ ‘He is a Rajah’s officer. sure. please .’ ‘Oh yes! You are Rajah Brooke’s friend. After telling them who they were and their mission.’ After checking all the goods retrieved and kept in one of the rooms in the longhouse. put your weapons away . ‘Put your hands up!’ ‘Baik . let us go out to look for all of them after you have had some food. . men. .1942-1945 Soon. please . George’s Malay was well understood by the Penghulu. firm breasts. Kapit . . blow pipes and spears were pointed at their backs. No sound or sign of their movement. . . . It was too late to go for their guns. we will find the food and other things dropped with large pieces of cloth attached to them . Soon. .’ George nervously replied in Malay. sure. It was a breathtaking sight! Their soft and white bodies with haloes of reflections under the morning sun—luscious hair. the first Australians come to help you fight the Japanese and take back Sarawak from them and return it to Rajah Brooke. . ‘You speak Malay. . .’ ‘Good. we will find them.’ ‘Thank you . bagus. ‘Ma’af.’ ‘I don’t know him. Rajah’s friends are our friends too! OK. innocent and fresh smiles. . men listen to him! Fellows. . ‘Tida apa . some of our men have already found some of the items. . I have been to the longhouses in Kanowit. don’t move. George told them that some items were still missing. all were recovered.’ ‘That’s great!’ ‘Then. . they were warmly welcomed to the longhouses. The poison darts move faster than your guns. ‘We are the SRD  . come let us take you back to our longhouse. Who are you?’ asked their leader. . What a delightful meal! About sixty people went with them to recover the missing containers and by noon. never mind. . the hungry soldiers began tucking into rice and fried chicken with their bare hands. can we get your men to scout around and recover all the food.  .’ ‘Good. . Anybody . from behind. we are indeed honoured to be your unannounced guests. A voice came through. . Adoi. two more naked girls got out of the water drying themselves.  . Penghulu Miri. . Suddenly. equipment and other goodies dropped from the air?’ Though a bit rusty. . Then we are friends. ‘Don’t move! We will kill you!’ The Australians had been so engrossed with their lustful thoughts that the light-footed jungle trekkers never gave away themselves. . ‘Boleh . 213 .

we are safe at Bario . the hospitality of female human warmth in the fiesta and in bed made these soldiers feel like tin gods. ‘No. a local rice wine. . By night Borak. ‘They were not here only at the Trusan . who looked like Chinese maidens from northern China with the same mongoloid features. food and equipment dropping from the sky—also a talking metal box. over.’ ‘ALFA Congo . . Murphy’s law again! Ten minutes passed. they moved up the Trusan and Baram rivers only. prayed George. still nothing happened. go ahead.’ The whole village.’ explained Penghulu Miri. Everyone was watching and waiting. We are talking to our friends thousands of miles away in Australia. . Nothing happened. ‘Can you talk to our God?’ The penghulu asked.  . it’s not God. Everyone around cheered and clapped. You can proceed with plan two . over?’ ‘Yes  . At the longhouse. the soldiers needed no blankets. after listening to the metal box. Another ten minutes passed. white men dropping from the sky. ‘Roger. He filled George in on the details. . south east of the island of Borneo. but . talked among themselves saying that a miracle had happened. was freely served to the four guests along with delicious pig and chicken. . . His information was extremely useful to George. . . wearing feathery headgear—moving so gracefully and gently with the soft heavenly music. Roger. A giant bird.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Can you give us the lowdown on Japanese movements up here?’ George asked. What a marvellous display of supernatural power! they thought. he managed to get through. this is ALFA Congo . Oh God! come on! get through. The penghulu further briefed them about Japanese movements. All the onlookers were curious—wondering whether he was trying to contact his God. . How they wished that the Japanese war would never end if they could use Bario as their base of operation! 214 .’ ‘Where? On this earth?’ ‘Yes. including the gizzards.’ came the reply. . over.  . . still nothing happened. James tried to contact Darwin by wireless. They wondered how James could talk to his God through the metal box! These new tin gods must be more powerful than the evangelists who had been to their longhouses before the war. can you hear me. So were they entertained till at midnight when the light and heavenly music of the Sapee started up and there was dancing by the fair maidens of the longhouse. no Japs living here at all . These innocent and peace-loving Kenyahs and Kelabits were seeing a wireless for the first time in their lives. . . . After another half an hour. more ethereal than the Iban gong music which George was quite familiar with. the heads and feet. That night.

although assisted initially by the Kenyahs and Kayans. were still fresh in the minds of many people. Sundai and Penghulu Pusu. food and equipment in the interior of Sarawak. The Japanese military camps in Miri. Bennett Jarrow and Penghulu Jugah. irregular Iban forces and Chinese volunteers also helped the Australian Army to force the Japanese to an earlier surrender. a direct hit on the Sibu Bazaar by Allied bombers claimed 150 lives. Kenyahs. Muruts. the Kayans. The abortive rebellions against the Japanese in Pontianak in late 1943 and that in British North Borneo in 1945. Bintulu were bombed in succession. Soon. known as the ‘Kwok Rebellion’. by offering rewards for the taking of Japanese heads. The tide of war had changed. However. Allied tactics were to harass the Japs all the way. leading them astray. Kelabits and others. this was stopped only when the native officers. The SRD landings almost immediately changed the fortunes of war in Sarawak.Chapter 32 M ore sorties were made over the Second and Third Divisions to drop parachutists. giving them no time to rest. and the Japanese soldiers quickly fled to the jungles from the town and were hunted down by the locals. So enthusiastically was head-hunting revived on a large scale that a few Chinese at Song and Kanowit along the Rejang River were decapitated too. The success of the SRD landings was due to the loyalty of two locals. No doubt. more parachutists had landed in Labuan and near Brunei Bay. George and other parachutists moved down to capture Miri. George knew that in the dense jungle of Sarawak with the brave 215 . wearing them out. mainly Australians. picking them off one by one. slowing them down so that they could not advance openly on the main tracks. intervened. who helped to win over the Ibans of the Rejang Basin. Efforts were made to incite the Ibans and other native tribes.

and even more delighted. The Japanese Occupation scarred them deeply. Out came the sun shining brilliantly again on this land of raw virgin beauty. On a Sunday in 1945. but a prison camp—otherwise. aircraft began dropping parcels of food. Shortly afterwards. A victory parade was staged in Kuching town amidst the cheers and smiles and glowing faces of the local inhabitants. crying out their hearts. At last. I. Col Saga then—aerial photographs and a further aerial inspection of the site had shown that it was not a military camp. Canadians and South Africans with 6. they would have bombed it. medicine and other supplies to the camp.000 native guerrillas. had grown to a force of 1. The dark brooding clouds hanging over Sarawak for the last three and a half years had suddenly dissipated. On 11th September 1945 the Japanese surrendered. This destructive era in the history of Sarawak came to an abrupt end. The two thousand and five hundred POWs were treated—the most serious cases being flown to Labuan hospital. Allied planes circled over Kuching town. Eventually expatriate POWs were repatriated to their respective countries after convalescence. Great excitement broke out in the camps. George discovered that there was a sort of exaggerated masculinity and virility among the better type of Australian men. and formally signed the surrender at Pending on board HMS Kapunda. When Allied troops sailed up the Sarawak River to liberate Kuching. but which would be absolutely invaluable under active-service. a senior US Navy officer in the region. Chances of even the Japanese holding on in Sarawak looked very slim as the Second World War ended in the Pacific. Most of them could not even walk. III.Twilight of the White Rajahs and light-footed natives shooting at them sporadically. military conditions: many Australians were delighted to have the opportunity to be macho-like soldiers. Some recovered but others would carry those scars to their graves. it was like a tranquil sea after a long and devastating typhoon. which at times could be fairly insufferable. New Zealanders. A food relief system was quickly organised. The unit had accounted for 1. ‘The war is over’ cried the POWs. The ‘Z’ (SRD) unit with Semut. to have the chance to fight like men.500 men split between Australians. 216 . British. In mixing with the Australians. Many of the prisoners jumped up and down shouting and cheering while others were kneeling. assisted by Captain Jennings. Luckily the Allied pilots realised that although east of the Batu Lintang camp were the Japanese headquarters—under the command of Lt. air support arrived from Labuan. That was indeed a close shave for the POWs. that was the happiest day for Sarawak. Without much resistance Brigadier-General Eastick of the Australian 9th Division. landed the Allied force in Kuching triumphantly. a million Japanese could not flush out even a few thousand guerrillas.700 Japanese soldiers while losing 112 white lives. II.

George was worried: what could have happened to them? The Japanese reply was simple: they had executed the four envoys. ‘Damn it. Although the Europeans’ and the Brookes’ image were tarnished at first. George and his regulars including an Australian daredevil. George was sent up to the Upper Baram with others to negotiate and settle this matter and keep the 9th Division. BBCAU’s food packages dropping from the air were like ‘manna falling from heaven’ to the local inhabitants. with its ability to provide generous quantities of food supplies. called Yashikawa—a POW—travelled with them. the hardship and deterioration of economic conditions during the last thirteen months of the war had created a situation where the locals were happy to receive the Australian Army. After a long silence. Eventually they all surrendered. and that Japan had surrendered and that they should surrender too and go home.1942-1945 Most of the Japanese surrendered. blond. After making contact with them. George told Rex to send envoys—three Kelabits and an Iban volunteer—to make contact with the Japanese and tell them that the war was over and that if they would lay down their arms all would be well. clothing and other useful items—dropping from the sky. How they wished these flying metallic birds and people up there could rule Sarawak! Always good things—food. with orders signed by the Japanese Commander-in-Chief to tell them that they must surrender to us at once. these bloody Japs are really barbarians.’ cursed George. 217 . The problem was how to tell these groups of patriotic Japanese that the war was over. based in Labuan island off the coast of British North Borneo. At that stage the locals believed that BIKAU (BBCAU—British Borneo Civil Affairs Unit) was the best government that Sarawak had had and would ever have. athletic and fast on his feet—reached Long Semadoh. Japanese POWs were assigned to clear up the town and repair some of the war damage before they were repatriated to Japan. the four envoys were detained. In the midst of heavy October rain and traversing flooded rivers and plains. A Japanese interpreter. Rex was also a survivor of Sandakan camp in British North Borneo and the worst of the Philippine guerilla fighting and he had gone ‘through the sonic barrier of fear’. perpetually chuckling. Now how can we get Yashikawa to contact them. but some fled to the jungle where they remained at large for a few months. assured. in the picture.                             Meanwhile groups of Japanese retreated up to Limbang and the Trusan Valley and the north-western part of Sarawak. Those who retreated up to Bau crossed over the Indonesian border. Major Rex Blow—tall.

‘Let’s wipe them out if they resist. . Remember?’ ‘Sure. Rex .’ Ateng responded.’ On the following moonless night the planned contact materialised.’ George shouted after placing his troops in strategic positions. ‘That’s good. No tricks.  . 218 . the shrilling and discordant music of nocturnal insects and animals took over the night again.’ Later that day they saw the Japanese running into the open in the western part of the plain of Bah seeing the herds of edible buffaloes. . at the other end of the open plain.’ informed Rex.’ As there were conversing. and the Japanese soldiers were crying for joy. And they speak fluent Malay. Suddenly. . Besides. One of them left a note offering peaceful surrender and supplied information pinned to the side of the longhouse. At least now we know they are heading for the salt springs. How is the other group of Japanese.’ ‘We must move carefully. ‘Ondo! . The Murut envoys broke contact too.’ ‘Slow down.  . Let the local native warriors stalk them. No ambush. there is a salt spring about twenty miles up. ‘We need salt.’ George was elated. .’ ‘Will do . . this is supposed to be a peaceful mission.’ They shot a few buffaloes within forty yards of the salt spring which softly bubbled inside mud holes surrounded by scrub.’ warned the Japanese who crawled to the edge of the longhouse. it was quiet again. ‘Yes. Soon. ‘Ready—fire  . We are too heavy and clumsy. .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Two Muruts. Instruct them accordingly. welling out of the ground. Sure. ‘Baik—good. the Tengoa force?’ ‘Oh! that force has suffered many casualties one hundred and sixty miles down river . . Ateng and Abeng made contact with the retreating Japanese at night. suddenly a few dogs fighting over a bitch were racing along the Ruai—the common corridor inside the longhouse—and caused a great commotion. . Immediately several gun shots were fired at the longhouse as the Japanese suspected an ambush. ‘Damn those bloody dogs. Quickly the Japanese retreated and consolidated their position around a deserted longhouse on a knoll.’ ‘Why do you worry? We have several hundred Bawang troops with small arms and machine guns. Many Japanese fell like bowling pins under the ambush.

1942-1945 The two sides watched each other closely. . The Japanese recognised their own officer in uniform but feared that it could be another trick or ambush. Yashikawa. almost out of ammunition. 219 . . began holding their fire.  . ‘Yes . we are engaging in the final phase with the Japanese. Step by step Yashikawa threaded a dangerous path on which his fellow soldiers might gun him down before he could reach them. . ‘James.’ ‘Damn it! . ‘I’ll tell them to do that. . I am here to tell you from General Yamamoto . radio . Please don’t shoot. Let me warn you  . we know what to do. Are we? Don’t you agree. with trembling fear as if he had malaria. this time.’ came the terse reply. . Just then a handsome black harrier stole the show—sweeping ahead of Yashikawa for a hundred yards. Throughout the night both sides made little movement apart from the light-footed Muruts. The memory of the execution of the previous envoys sent by the Allied forces was still fresh. George had arranged for his guerrillas to attack from every direction. They were not sure. There were a few moments of anxiety for both sides. Yashikawa. Sporadic outbursts of trekkers’ firing echoed through the valley. . over and out. Japan has surrendered to the Allied forces already. . .’ ‘I know that damned well!’ Rex growled sympathetically. a pale looking man. We are not here for a picnic. On the following morning. remember it’s supposed to be a peaceful mission. use minimum force . ‘Why don’t we wave some white flags to gently suggest that we actually want peace and send our Japanese envoy. shouting in Japanese ‘I am a Japanese officer under General Yamamoto . . . . the war is over.  . . .’ For a moment tension hung in the air. ‘Yes. quartering the rice field for mice and pipits. carried forward a white flag three times the normal size of a flag and sloshed across the fields in full view.’ ‘We hear you and firing in the background. But they held their fire and soon Yashikawa was starting to talk to his own soldiers. By noon. Labuan . demanding their surrender.’ George ordered. . . asking you to end the war and surrender. Rex?’ ‘Yes .’ George was sure that the Japanese soldiers would not kill their Japanese fellow soldier. . . I will kill all those bastards .’ ‘It’s always a bother trying to keep the peace with 9th Division and avoiding their reaching a state of nerves whereby they might actually call the whole bloody thing off. the Japanese. It’s not a trick or ambush. slim and about five and a half feet tall. .’ Rex screamed. . If they don’t respond. yes . . scared stiff.

The war was definitely over. . . Five hundred and sixty Japanese. We will surrender unconditionally. had surrendered in uniform.C. ‘Tell your commander Mr Taguchisan it’s about time we met each other. 220 . mosques and temples. . . George remarked warmly.’ George shook hands with Taguchi and then they saluted each other as a courtesy.’ ‘Yes . salt . Prayers were offered in the churches. generally looking more soldierly. . . sir.Twilight of the White Rajahs Half an hour later the white flag appeared over the longhouse on the knoll. and yet others had lost their minds after the painful war. . the Japanese soldiers were fit to march down the Trusan to Lawas and then to Miri. The evidence was clear that despite months of journeys. where the two adjacent longhouses were immediately vacated and turned into camps for prisoners-of-war. surgical kits.                             The Japanese had already surrendered on September 1945 in Kuching. After a few days. T. still disciplined. others had lost their friends and fortunes. jars of Borak were served lavishly to welcome the former enemies and friends to the longhouses of Penghulu Lasong Piri and Tuan Ajong. . Many had lost their children and loved ones. On 10th October 1945 under the Australian Commander of Kuching Force Brigade. We are very sorry. . before we set foot for Balawang Valley at Balawit where we have supplies of drugs. every town in Sarawak celebrated with relief and joy. The Japanese forces in upper Trusan had surrendered. The Japanese Commanding Officer Taguchi—stern-looking with small eyes—handed George his sword. nay. we misunderstood your intentions. better dressed and effective than George and the others. as they stood beside a rice hut. these proud Japanese soldiers were still standing proudly as a force. Eastick gave a combined Allied victory celebration on that auspicious date. ‘Thank God! The war is really over now.’ ‘Arigato . .’ George sighed. . nay . Thank you. . The war was virtually over in the field by early October 1945. now come with us and have a rest and some food and drink and of course. and peaceful mission asking us to surrender. nay . . we are very sorry. ‘Good . . parading in rank and file. mostly soldiers. A neat pile of their remaining equipment and reserve clothing were put in front of them. spoke in English and shook George’s hand. which on any other account would have earned them the highest geographical awards. All their swords and firearms were stacked in an orderly fashion. vitamins and foods. Kono. short and bespectacled. . The second officer of the Japanese.’ At Balawang at the traditional festival of peace.

Indians and Ibans too.’ On arrival in Kuching. . ‘And now the fancy passes by. There were collaborators among the Chinese. there was a riot—an anti-Malay riot by the Chinese the following morning. He wrote to Peter Brooke requesting: ‘ . had been killed during the Japanese Occupation. Everyone was simply doing his or her best to live or survive. Daniel Chan. Paul Gilbert had been transferred by the Japanese to Keningau in British North Borneo on grounds of suspicion that he had ‘The Box’—the crudely fabricated wireless—which the Japanese could not locate. Would it ever be the same again? He wondered. . In general. collaborators and liars before H. The first publication of the Sarawak Tribune. He left the following day for Singapore on a military aircraft and as the plane passed over the Gunong Santubong he recalled a short poem written by Daniel and explained to him while they were ambling barefooted along the Pasir Panjang beach many many years ago . . That was not all. Edward Brandah. The war was over. endowed with the gift of the gab. White and others survived the ordeal of the Batu Lintang camps. George discovered that his old schoolmate. And nothing will remain And miles around they’ll say that I Am quite myself again. sallow and bespectacled friend with a brilliant mind. A few months after the Australians took over the administration of Sarawak some Chinese and other races accused the Malays in Kuching of having been ‘traitors’ or ‘collaborators’ during the Japanese occupation. It was immediately broken up by Australian troops. the only pre-war police inspector who didn’t work for the Japanese had publicly said that ‘most of the Datus and two-thirds of the Malay inspectors were on the black list of collaborators’. Cable. the Australian Authority took a lenient view.H. After all it was not the Sarawakians’ war. Normal life should resume. He vividly remembered that Daniel was a religious. that Sarawak be cleared of traitors.1942-1945 However. Most Sarawakians now looked forward to the return of their Rajah. hit the streets. the Rajah and the Rajah Muda set their feet on Sarawak soil’. . called The Longhouse: 221 . The abuse of birth certificates—passports to food in the rationing system—was quickly stopped and immediately the demand for birth certificates fell correspondingly. an English daily newspaper. Consequently he was murdered by them. By now George knew it was time to get out of military life and perhaps take a last glimpse at Sarawak before heading home to see his parents in England.

and all its glorious dirt That reeks. and weep to see An edifice huge in progressive case. 222 . My soul sits at the ladder’s feet. If progress we will. in thy very surge of peace. Steeped in the ways of the West And noise. from the native couch. in thy usurped place I rejoice.Twilight of the White Rajahs When. For. I hear A haunting dirge for thee While Progress rushes to arouse Simple men to tear simplicity. Let Sarawak keep a Longhouse As a relic treasured of the simple past. And thee. an’ progress we must. and smilingly weeps. Then. Sleeps the sere Longhouse And ill-omen birds do shriek From sacred Petara-boughs. Alone. upon its forest-couch. and spoils our joy. O Sylvan house.

the ageing Rajah had had enough of Sarawak. But we think we can manage that without Datu McBryan. without Datu McBryan around you’ll get nowhere. . . ‘I hope not!’ ‘But he has informed us that he really wants to. informing him rather than consulting him—that would be more correct. and had been formalised by Datu McBryan. On the will. the Colonial Office and War Office will send a two-man parliamentary mission to ascertain the natives’ and locals’ views on cession. Only he can speak to the Sarawak Malays.’ ‘Maybe at a later stage. Who? The British Government. He knows the local politics and personalities .’ Hayes explained carefully.Chapter 33 T he coconut trees in the kampongs along the coast. Sarawak was broke. someone else must be found to rehabilitate Sarawak and run the country. He is a very good linguist. the cost of relief and rehabilitation supplies and equipment would eat up Sarawak’s real future reserves and still leave behind a mounting deficit. gentlemen.’ ‘But the War Office has serious reservations about him . do not allow his son. . Anyway. I am dead serious on that!’ ‘Incidentally. . ‘Your Highness. is your brother coming along too?’ Hayes raised his eyebrows. you know . he wanted a financial settlement for his retirement. . Peter. The whole cost of military administration. ‘No! No! That wouldn’t do! Datu McBryan must be there. 223 . . In accordance with Your Highness’ late father’s will he needs to be consulted on cession. collaboration with the Japanese . . only he knows how to twist Datu Patinggi’s arm. and all that. The initiative came from the Rajah. The wind of cession of Sarawak was gusting strongly. frankly. .’ ‘Well. perhaps. the rubber trees among the river settlements and the tall meranti trees near the longhouses were trembling in the wind.

We shall be sending a man called Michael Cotton to accompany McBryan who will be given £22.’s instructions . I have given the same amount for the Malays through Datu Pahlawan. . . he was given a hero’s welcome. the Dayaks. He is an anti-cessionist. If asked. Sarinah hugged him in a teary reunion.’ ‘Let’s move on then . . I would have to deny its real purpose.000 to the Mufti. You do understand that!’ ‘Yes. provided they supported cession—this was held out to allay their fear of being labelled Japanese collaborators. . I understand that . .  . ‘Mr Ong  . Malays and Chinese while the remainder would consist of back-payments of salaries and allowances to the Datus which you have classified as final distributions. .’ confirmed the Rajah who was briefed by Datu McBryan to ask for that financial package from the British Government.’ ‘Thank you. All of them signed the documents supporting cession. . He told them not to breathe a word of this arrangement to any European officer of the Brookes. he lied that Bertram and Peter had agreed to the cession.’ ‘True. Datu Hakim.’ 224 . these arrangements do not look very comfortable.500 for distribution to the Chinese left desolate by the war. . . I must say. we will do it and we are not in a position to interfere with the above arrangement.000 each to Datus Menteri. The people knew that he would be making arrangements for their Rajah to return to Sarawak. he promised them immunity from prosecution. In return. Seeing them individually. Of course. He will surely mess up everything. ‘Well. he explained that the monies to be given out by him would be backdated salaries and compensation for their sufferings during the war. Everyone that mattered and whom Datu McBryan saw. don’t worry . Datu . . It’s on H. That’s what I have requested. Datu Amar and Datu Pahlawan and $2. He paid $10. Sarinah’s name was left out.500—yes. Edward Brandah prepared a list of collaborators for Datu McBryan.H.’                             When Datu McBryan returned to Sarawak.  . . please accept $42.Twilight of the White Rajahs to come. monies intended to be charitable payments to the three main ethnic groups in Sarawak. McBryan will see that that is carried out discreetly. . But for Britannia’s sake . Datu Patinggi and a small section of the Malays will oppose cession too!’ ‘Good. However. he would ask each of them to sign a letter which would give the Rajah authority to go ahead with the cession.

thank the Rajah. Mr Cable says that it makes him sick—do you agree? We can prosecute you or give immunity . I’ll write to the Treasurer of the Australian Military Administration in Kuching. To pre-empt further refusal by Datu Patinggi to cooperate.  . a magistrate. we fear for your safety if you do not follow the Rajah’s wishes conveyed through Datu McBryan. . there was no reply to Datu Patinggi’s letter. he was a police officer and later on.’ ‘Well. You must muster that support. Datu McBryan took him to a small room near the Council Negri and promised to pay him $12. I hope you clearly understand that!’ ‘We’ll follow His Highness’ wishes. “I shall like to assure you of my loyalty towards the new regime and to express my good wishes for the success of the new government as a representative of the whole community of Sarawak” .’ ‘Now you tell me . Cotton was present throughout the meeting and the same point was again stressed as one of the benefits of cession which was also the Rajah’s wish. You wrote to the Japanese GOC saying that you would help the new regime in every way because they (the Japs) have the interests of Asiatic people at heart and end up your letter saying  . All the Chinese in Sarawak. . documents and Orders-in-Council. You must not fail him. Don’t worry.’ Datu Menteri advised. . ‘Why should I sign?’ Datu Patinggi was still adamant.’ Some of the Sea Dayak Chiefs were given similar cash payments treated as salaries in arrears. He needs your support for the cession. . the two Datus left his house disappointed.  . 225 .’ ‘Well.000 explaining that these were salaries in arrears that would be paid up after signing the agreements.’ ‘Well. . But the Acting Treasurer of the Australian Military Administration in Sarawak had already been briefed by the Governor of Labuan not to entertain any complaint from Datu Patinggi. privately. . Datu . too. . .  . ‘I am afraid of no one. . Datu Menteri and Datu Amar went along to persuade Datu Patinggi to sign the documents supporting cession. Datu McBryan brainwashed the native members of the Council Negri. Therefore.’ ‘Edward Brandah said that you are a collaborator.1946-1952 ‘Don’t thank me  . The other Datus too!—Datu Pahlawan. ‘Well. . promising that after cession a Sarawak State Trust Fund would be set up to educate their children in England.’ Shortly after. I don’t like the Japs. I was also acting in my official capacity although. Right after that he organised a Supreme Council meeting. It was all for their benefit.  . We will see . I am not the only one.

 . . the title of Datu Patinggi must be made hereditary . I think our Rajah would have agreed to these two main conditions and the other less important terms and conditions . . .’ ‘Thank you. I therefore owe you nothing or anything to the Rajah. you should receive me as His Highness’ envoy and representative to carry out his orders as if they were the Rajah’s.’ ‘Now. here are the Orders-in-Council.’ The agreement was drawn up as promised and signed immediately. . . . I shall have to consider that . . ‘Well. But Datu .’ ‘What else can I do to help you?’ ‘I want to have the sole right to the turtle eggs in the Turtle Islands. not in the sense of debt. . the first Order-in-Council empowered Datu McBryan as acting Chief Secretary 226 . since this sum of money is for salaries in arrears and compensation for the war effort. .’ ‘Please prepare the special agreement for me to sign. so I gather all of you would agree on these two points too in order to obtain consent on cession from Datu Patinggi who. . ‘Datu Patinggi. after all. . You just wait here inside the room!’ ‘Baik—fine. anything else before I answer that? ‘Yes. sign them and you can sign this separate agreement with me. When will the money be paid? Yes.’ ‘Well. Datu McBryan.’ Datu McBryan reflected for a few seconds. .’ ‘Baik—I’ll do my part.’ Quickly Datu McBryan briefed all the other Datus in the adjoining room. . Datu .’ ‘But .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Thank you. . . I hope the rest of the Datus would be prepared to give up your equal rights to Turtle Island for the sake of the future of Sarawak. Datu McBryan swiftly returned to the room next door. your wishes are granted.’ ‘Well. .’ ‘I swear by my father’s grave.’ ‘Any more?’ ‘Yes. is getting old .’ ‘Please keep your word. Well. unless these two conditions are met. ‘Why don’t you let me go out and discuss your requests with all the other Datus and then come back to you. when will the agreement be signed between you and me on your agreement to my conditions?’ ‘The day after tomorrow. I will not sign those papers . .’ Grudgingly all the other Datus agreed. a few more such as . In front now of all the Datus of the Supreme Council. . Datu . . as well as Ong Teng Sam. Here is the power of attorney—signed and sealed by His Highness.

On the following day at Datu Patinggi’s house.400 to McBryan himself on his request—all payments were to be made against Sarawak’s Reserve Fund and enforceable by legal process. Then in the absence of Cotton and others. A statement in jawi and Malay were both prepared and signed by all the Datus present. On his return through Singapore.’ Cotton gave the same impression that it was perfectly fair to go ahead with the change of status of Sarawak to a British Colony. All now were legally presumed to have been carried out by the Rajah with the advice and consent of the Supreme Council and the Council Negri assembled in a joint session. Datu McBryan managed to get the Rajah back in London to swiftly sign two further Orders-in-Council. the four Datus authorised Order No. C-22 (Constitutional Repeal) 1946 which repealed the 1941 Constitution completely with the result that the Supreme Council’s and Council Negri’s powers were held in abeyance until the Constitution was renounced by the Rajah after civil government had been rescued.000 to the trustees of the Trust Fund and £20. Datu McBryan cabled ‘Mission successfully accomplished.000.000 for the Rajah’s family. There was a glint of satisfaction from the corners of Datu McBryan’s eyes. Cotton smiled quite contentedly. the $12. Your Highness. Datu McBryan managed to pass two Orders-in-Council in the Council Negri: one authorising the setting up of the Sarawak State Trust Fund of £1. as from 1st January 1946 all the prerogatives of the Rajah should be exercised by the Rajah and not otherwise. 227 . Another document spelt out that Datu McBryan. The next Order stated that the Rajah had intended to cede Sarawak to the Crown and that the members of the Supreme Council had expressed their unanimous advice and consent.1946-1952 to call a Council Negri meeting while the second Order-in-Council stated that notwithstanding the 1941 Constitution.000 together with an annuity of £1. Ong Teng Sam and the rest of the Chinese leaders supported all these agreements and orders though they were of doubtful validity. The other an indemnification order covering the Rajah for all actions taken from 25th December 1941 till 31st December 1945 (which lacked validity under the 1941 Constitution). The special agreement pertaining to Turtle Islands and his hereditary title was also translated for Datu Patinggi. The actions are fulfilled in every sense. One was a promissory note pledging that the Sarawak Government would pay £1.000.000 was paid to Datu Patinggi by Datu McBryan. During the following morning. as a trustee. Datu McBryan and Cotton cabled the Colonial Office: ‘The agreements reached are unanimous on cession. was authorised to sue for the above money in the event of a breach of conditions.’ To the Rajah.

 . ‘At least.’ justified the “Baron”. How about we push through like this . ‘Any other ideas . Datu McBryan’s defence of Sarawak’s Constitution to be sui generis was not accepted by their legal experts. The legal experts from the Colonial Office further confirmed that those purported legal documents signed by the Datus and others were of doubtful validity.Twilight of the White Rajahs But. although the Rajah was not very impressed at all. Don’t fail again. Datu McBryan was utterly disappointed while the Rajah was equally disappointed at McBryan’s incompetence for the first time.’ ‘Don’t worry. . in front of the members of the Colonial Office.’ ‘This is your last chance. They doubted if the arrangements were valid under Sarawak law. . Your Highness.’ 228 . the last time you will ever be working for me. . Cotton regretted having made the trip to Sarawak. I got on paper Datu Patinggi’s consent with the rest of the Datus too to support cession. Something else needed to be done: the Rajah must return to Sarawak and properly constitute the Council Negri and Supreme Council to adopt all these fine legal points again. ?’ ‘Yes. He felt he had been duped by Datu McBryan. The Colonial Office repeatedly refused to accept Datu McBryan’s defence of the sui generis Sarawak Constitution. The Proclamation of the King as the heir of the Rajah was invalid as the 1941 Constitution had not been complied with. relax and be happy.

We believe that there lies. Gone would be the days of the Brookes tradition and little tin gods in the outstations of Sarawak and grossly overweight officers strolling leisurely in the streets or down jungle tracks. The administrative machinery had come to a cross-roads. We have sought the good offices of His Majesty’s Government to represent that His Majesty may be graciously pleased to accept the cession of the State. Datu McBryan drafted the most devastating message for the Rajah of Sarawak ever to be given to his already confused people: “The members of my Supreme Council of State and myself rejoice that His Majesty’s Government have intimated that my proposal to cede the State of Sarawak to His Majesty The King is acceptable. all the wheels of the Government of Sarawak took a new direction. hope for my people in the prospect of an era of awakening. We want that my people may enjoy the more direct protection of His Majesty. 229 . such as they have never had before. and those inestimable rights of freedom which His Majesty’s citizens enjoy. enlightenment. It has been suggested in the public Press that His Majesty’s Government have sought to impose upon my people a change of political order we do not desire. And now Bertram’s worst fear had come to pass. The Rajah had finally abandoned any notion of preserving the Brooke dynasty in Sarawak. We regard the acceptance of the Cession as the consummation of the hopes of the first Rajah of Sarawak.Chapter 34 O n 6th February. The contrary is the truth. in the future. Sarawak was gone forever from the grip of the romantic White Rajah Brookes. stability and social progress.

he knew Sarawak well and he was accompanied by a very high official from the Colonial Office. he added that Sarawakians were in favour of cession and therefore. and I dare say that the majority of the members of the Council Negri had been approached. . My people will become the subjects of The King. This was the parting of ways between the Rajah and Bertram and between the Rajah and Peter. Now Datu McBryan wanted to legalise the transfer of sovereignty to HMG and he assured the Colonial Office that he could get the necessary support and signatures from the Malay. In the House of Commons.’ ‘Why . . Chinese and certain sections of the Ibans.’ screamed Peter on hearing this most devastating news.000. Expect me soon.” ‘Traitor. did McBryan have to go to Sarawak?’ ‘Well. Now draws near the time when I will come to you. No other than myself has the right to speak on your behalf. on the Rajah’s return. . Peter and his father. Hayes announced that the Rajah voluntarily wanted to cede Sarawak to HMG and that the Rajah had already sent his representative to find out his subjects’ views on cession. without being consulted on cession. Everyone knew that this message had been drafted by Datu McBryan. the final documentation on cession would be properly tabled and approved in the Council Negri and the Supreme Council in Sarawak. asked. There shall be no Rajah of Sarawak after me. now on the opposition Conservative Bench. No one of you will question whatsoe’er I do in his high interest. .Twilight of the White Rajahs It is the case in Sarawak that all authority derives from the Rajah. Keith Stubbs. The happiness of your future lies within another realm. were dumbstruck when cession was announced on BBC radio. had McBryan and the Colonial Government gone beyond the constitutional requirements?’ Hayes made a spirited defence. THIS IS FOR YOUR GOOD MY ROYAL COMMAND. Generally. the Rajah himself had come to the Colonial Office and volunteered cession. No power nor personal interest shall subvert my peoples’ happiness and future. The anti-cession movements in London and Sarawak started to prepare to fight. . The Rajah requested that a trust fund of £1. .’ 230 . scoundrel .000 be set up for himself and his dependents and ultimately for the benefit of the people of Sarawak—this would be treated as a government memorial to the rule of the Brooke family in Sarawak. . I am the spokesman of the people’s will. The people trust the Rajah and what the Rajah advises for the people is the will of the people. ‘Why . ‘Well . .

  .000. . Your Highness. I shall personally oppose the measure by every means in my power.  .’ argued Stubbs. ‘It’s for the British Government and the Rajah of Sarawak to convince the world that this transaction amounts to anything more than crude imperialism. clarify it . . He has been striving for incorporation in the Empire all his life. sovereignty resides in the people of Sarawak and the rights of the people are not for sale. . Whatever the Rajah and the British Government may say. Rajah hands it over for £1. . It’s a manifestation of the progressive viewpoint of Sir Charles Brooke . Such a transaction. Just as the first and second Rajahs fought for it all their lives. as expected. ‘It is not a deal in any sense of the word. . . London.’ All this gave Peter and his father plenty of ammunition to put the Rajah and the British Government on the defensive. ‘I think the Rajah deserves it after all his years in that country. cession would take place only after full consultation with a properly constituted Council Negri and Supreme Council in Sarawak.’ ‘Do something.000. I am bound to say . . . negotiations to give the British Government legislative power in Sarawak were initiated with the Provincial Government in early 1945 on the assumption that the Rajah was never going to return to Sarawak. the extraordinary view of the Ranee on the Brookes’ history. . ‘it would seem wrong that something which might appear as annexation should depend entirely on the Rajah who had no personal interest in the state’s future and on the agency of Mr McBryan with whom I think the honourable member should not be associated with .’ nervously replied Datu McBryan. Mr Speaker. McBryan. McBryan wrote in protest. .’ ‘Well. I may add that we will not undertake to debate this matter fully nor to give a guarantee that cession will not be made unless a referendum has been carried out in Sarawak on this issue. if allowed to stand would defile the pages of British and Sarawak history. . . Peter also called a press conference. That evening. therefore. originally.’ 231 .’ screamed the Rajah pacing up and down the sitting room of his house in Albion Street.’ But the Daily Express reported. ‘I will. and of course. In the Daily Herald the following day. there is something curious about the indignation of the Conservative Party over a little bit being added to the British Empire .’ ‘Hear! Hear!’ cheered the Labour backbenchers.1946-1952 ‘But. I would like to remind the honourable member that it was he who opened negotiations on the imposition of the Foreign Jurisdiction Act  . As the Labour Government in the House had already told the Conservative opposition leader . the Evening Standard printed the headlines ‘Britain buys Sarawak.

 .                             ‘Please do sit down. Your Highness. You must try to convince most of the expatriate officers to support cession. You know that. I stopped him but on second thoughts I am letting him go along too.’ ‘But make sure you get the right result . but that’s a good idea. have you barred Peter from going to Sarawak?’ ‘No. Datu Patinggi and his lot have strong influence and roots in Kuching and town areas. Datu Patinggi.’ ‘I am always happy to offer my humble services.Twilight of the White Rajahs Back in Sarawak. would be the most obvious choice. ‘It will be arranged.’ ‘Please enlighten me.’ Rajah Vyner instructed. They are sentimental old fools!’ ‘For Datu Patinggi. . the British Government doesn’t want Datu McBryan to go this time. a native. There was anger. . I mean “persuade” and arrange for those who support cession to appear before the MPs. is the Tuan Muda going too?’ ‘At first. So if the Rajahship is perpetuated. Your Highness. one each from the Labour and Conservative Party.’ ‘I fully understand that . Just one thing. disgust and disappointment in the MNU and confusion for others such as the SDA (Sarawak Dayak Association).’ ‘Good. call Stephen. Datu McBryan is only an 232 . I want you to neutralise that. I know for a fact that quite a few of my officers would not support cession. . Your Highness.’ ‘That’s absolutely correct!’ ‘Somehow. often in bad health. Datu Patinggi and the MNU—Malay National Union—encouraged and supported Bertram and Peter in perpetuating the Rajahship in Sarawak. Stephen.’ ‘That’s not a problem. Adeh is too old already. McBryan to do that.’ Datu McBryan felt a tinge of jealousy as the Rajah often called for Stephen’s second opinion when in doubt. ‘McBryan. . They will be ascertaining the wishes of the people pertaining to the question of cession. tell me whether you can go to Sarawak before or with the two MPs selected by the British Government. I’ll ask . For some reason.’ ‘I think Datu Patinggi knows well that you don’t want to go back nor will you allow Peter to be the next Rajah. A whispering campaign against cession spread like wildfire. there are other reasons. tell him I want to see him. under the 1941 Constitution.’ ‘Incidentally. .

Let me read it to you: ‘“Wake up! Be conscious! With flaming hearts and souls and revenge. He disclosed that the $12. In fact. Datu Patinggi informed the MNU that he thought that the document which he and other Supreme Council members had signed for Datu McBryan was nothing more than a request that the Rajah should return to Sarawak. and do all of you know it? Let’s live let’s live let’s live. not acceptable to anyone in Sarawak. When do you want me to leave for Sarawak?’ ‘Say in a week’s time.1946-1952 outsider.’ ‘That’s fine . you’ve got a very valid point there!’ ‘I learned from Peter that most of the Kuching Malays—with the exception of the Datu Pahlawan. . ‘I have a copy here. It seems that the people of Sarawak have been secretly cheated. . now I want you to go to Sarawak to brainwash the native local representatives before they meet the MPs. ‘“ ‘That’s serious .’ ‘I see . pointing out that the Sarawak people had not been consulted and therefore the 1888 Treaty and 1941 Constitution must be upheld. Datu Patinggi would never allow cession to succeed. Do all brethren all know it. Headlines 233 . Peter showed me a copy of the emotional appeal prepared by Datu Patinggi’s group. Be it known that our native land has been sold secretly.’ ‘I’ll do that. and now we must stand up as the people of Sarawak . Edward Banks—you know him.’                             Campaigning in support of Peter. That would be the end of his hopes and dreams. Immediately the MNU sent a letter to the Secretary of State and the British Parliament. . .000 payment made by Datu McBryan had been returned to the Australian Administrative Authority in Sarawak. and by whom? Our Malay officials and the principal Malay chiefs are only seated in their capacities of being such high officials for the benefit of their own selves only. Datu Mustapha. . We do not know by whom. our former curator of the Museum—will travel with you. They do not act for public. So. we never knew this for hundreds of years now. . . and a few other Datus—are also in favour of the perpetuating the Rajahship system. .’ ‘What did it say?’ curiously asked the lethargic Rajah.

However. requesting the practice of democratic politics be allowed in Sarawak. . there were suggestions that Sarawak. McBryan’s intrigues were known to a few people in Kuching already. Ong quickly defended his position in the Sarawak Tribune.S. However. two. Ong argued that Colonial status would mean economic and commercial development with more opportunities for the working class and natives with incorporation into the Malayan Union. one. that Mr Ong . was attempting a big move but in the wrong direction. . Since the Rajah had made the decision already. the cable did not affect the situation in any way. Therefore the message of thanks was a mere formality. from the coffee-shop to governmental levels. The Kuching and Sibu Chinese wanted Sarawak to join the Malayan Union so that the Chinese would have a voice and recognition of citizenship. who had signed the documents were acting on their own initiative. This only infuriated the MNU all the more. In every corner of the land. The local Chinese sent a cable to the Colonial officer alleging. But after Singapore Radio broadcast The Times’ editorial on the Malayan Union’s white paper of 22 January. confusion had arisen. Moreover. . . a writer under the name of ‘Loyal Citizen’ said that the MNU. He regretted that ‘misunderstanding’ and ‘misinterpretation’ had arisen on account of his cable of thanks to the Rajah. then the ‘Tuan Muda or Peter should take over the Rajahship in order that the Brooke line should be unbroken . their actions were against the public opinion of the Community and. . Some thought Trusteeship under the United Nations would be instituted in Sarawak. . the MNU only represented its 2. the MNU replied in the same paper that if the Rajah was too old. The Chinese reactions in various towns were mixed. quiet since its inception in 1939. a political crisis charged with emotion and frustration had spread over Sarawak. The villagers got only the tail wind of the rumours. and others such as K.Twilight of the White Rajahs appeared in the local Sarawak Tribune: ‘MNU protests against cession.’ By now. The action was taken in the firm belief that the Rajah was returning to Sarawak and that there was no possibility of a change in Sarawak’s future status. in the correspondence column of the paper. Brunei. Through Stephen and Datu McBryan. He believed that the Chinese would 234 .000 members but not the Malays and natives of Sarawak. Sarawak people not consulted’. Labuan and British North Borneo should be included. Wee . However. the Rajah replied through the Sarawak Tribune that he would consult the two Councils and that he had only the interests of the people at heart and that he would pay annual visits to Sarawak to help the people through the difficult period of transition.

and the British Government would come to terms with the Chinese Government of China. happiness could not be measured in miles of roads and railways and volume of trade . To be fair. Some suspected some mischievous Malays around Kuching fuelled that malicious rumour. Kapitan status would be abolished. . . . ‘Unless there was material progress. the powers of Datus limited.’ 235 . it was necessary as development would follow with Colonial status. Inspector Edward Brandah and Philip Jitam who founded the Sarawak Dayak Association would not follow the MNU’s anti-cession move. and if progress created needs which could not be satisfied.1946-1952 have equal rights. ‘It could take years for the ordinary Iban to realise that there was no longer a Rajah . the people of Sarawak would be living in a state of blissful backwardness untouched by 20th century human progress and civilisation . At first.’ Some Chinese town dwellers feared that head-hunting might revive because there would be no personal control of a Rajah over the Ibans. The Sarawak Tribune took the middle road on the passing of Brooke rule—sad however it was. . . it was done for our future happiness and prosperity which lies in another realm under the protection of His Majesty the King. we may forget the Rajah only in words but not in heart and mind. they wanted to listen to what the Rajah had to say. like Esau we would have sold our birthright for a cup of pottage. for what he has done. .

P. namely the appointment of an adviser to a Sarawak Government headed by Peter Brooke instead of cession or continuation of the Brookes’ rule. Pollard. Hayes did not agree. and D. Initially. Wallace. Grimberg. Luckily there was no mention of the Sarawak Trust Fund at all.’ Hayes was clear in his mind that the terms of the mission should deliberately be kept vague and no provision was made for a formal report in order to prevent future political problems. the issue of the cession of Sarawak had been blown up out of proportion. She questioned whether it was morally and constitutionally right for the Rajah to cede Sarawak and for Great Britain to take it. Hayes felt sick. and the pro-cessionists—the Rajah. a Conservative MP. R. Datu McBryan. were chosen. a Labour MP.Chapter 35 B ack in England. He agreed that independent observers should be chosen to report the situation in Sarawak. and refused to disclose the “exploratory proceedings” of McBryan a few months previously in Sarawak. Grimberg had suggested a third solution. Margery Perham took up the idea of a commission in a letter to The Times—describing the cession as a ‘somewhat casual and private affair’. Peter. The two appointed representatives were asked to ‘confirm by independent inquiry whether or not the Rajah’s proposal for the cession of the territory to His Majesty is broadly acceptable to the native communities of Sarawak. both MPs met the anti-cessionist group—Bertram. Stirling Boyd and the Bishop of Labuan—who wanted cession on the grounds 236 . Boult and other Sarawak officers who still held romantic notions about Sarawak. In England. Stephen. It was an unique way to defuse British parliamentary and press criticism and in the process lend some respectability to the cession concept under International Law.

‘Do you foresee any problems?’ ‘Some.’ ‘Well. Kuching is the toughest area. that’s excellent. so to speak. for their views. We’ll be subtle and also make sure that their reply to the MPs will be positive . Datu Pahlawan?’ asked Stephen. .’ ‘Why?’ ‘It’s the stronghold of Temenggong Koh and the thirteen Penghulus—the Ibans will be a decisive factor. how wide a margin can cession supporters win in the Council Negri and Supreme Council?’ ‘A small margin. . I think Sibu will be critical in the final assessment.’ In March Stephen and Edward went to Sarawak.’ ‘Why is there such a strong negative reaction to cession here?’ ‘The Resident of the First Division is an anti-cessionist himself. Stephen.’ ‘You know better than that.’ ‘Based on your assessment. Datu Hakim. Datu Amar. ‘We will do our best. and the scandalous sex lives of the Rajah and Ranee and their outlandish daughters—one marrying a boxer and another a band leader. the Supreme Council would follow as a matter of course but there are a few grey areas such as the Chinese in Kuching and the Brooke officers in most of the Divisions’ ‘That’s really a surprise! Are you sure?’ 237 . The anti-cessionists played down the problems with the Brookes’ image in England—that their position was anachronistic.’ ‘Don’t worry. Once the Council Negri approved it. I am sure you know how to win them over.’ ‘I see .1946-1952 that only the British Government could serve the best interests of Sarawak for future development after the damaging war. . The local Malays look to Datu Patinggi and the Resident. As soon as Stephen arrived in Kuching. The Rajah called on Stephen and Edward Banks to go to Sarawak to re-assess the situation and swing the mood to cession at all costs before the Rajah would step on Sarawak soil again. including Datu Menteri. Datu Patinggi and a large section of the Malays have been threatening us. feelings—they become very emotional. . The Rajah’s government is personal whereas a British Colony is an institution .’ Stephen assured him. At least Lenora married someone of substance—Lord Inchcape. ‘Well.’ ‘They are basically still anti-British. they don’t understand that nor the full implications on cession. ‘What’s your assessment of the support for cession. . . he looked up Datu Pahlawan to find out the latest news.

H. fine. how is business?’ ‘It’s very good now. goodbye. Please bring the two MPs here when they come to Sarawak and I’ll look after them well. British soldiers. some expatriates.’ ‘And I will pass all the intelligence gathered from my kampong areas to you and Stephen. “Cinta Sayang” as an intelligence base?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘I see .’ ‘I look forward to it.’ Quickly Stephen went round the kampongs before making his way to Simanggang. it’s almost like a sort of election fever here for the first time. Bintulu in the Fourth Division was against cession too and a coded message to that effect was sent via the Chartered Bank in Kuching to the Rajah in London. will be glad to see you when he returns. Datu McBryan and the Rajah were more confident now. Incidentally. . we’ll meet and discuss further and H.’ ‘Can we make use of your joint. Bintulu. who was formerly the boss of Datu McBryan met up with Sarinah. And with the cession issue. . Second and Fourth Divisions were in favour of the continuation of Brooke rule.’ ‘Please bring Stephen along. 238 .                             Edward Banks. . the First. I haven’t seen him for some time. Sibu. . Back in London. Australian soldiers. ‘Hello.’ ‘Fine. the native officers and locals on cession. . Datu McBryan has asked me already.’ Stephen and Edward found that only the Third Division was in favour of cession. Trust me .’ ‘I am glad to hear that. How are you?’ ‘Baik.’ ‘I’ll do so . The Fifth Division was divided because of fear of a return to Brunei rule.’ ‘Selamat Jalan. . Miri and quietly campaigning for cession while testing the loyalty of the Brooke officers. . . . all right. . Apa Khabar . he is now in the outstations . Datu McBryan cabled Datu Mustapha to support cession and get as many votes as possible in the Supreme Council and Council Negri. We’ll provide good company for them.’ ‘I am sure of that. Sarinah.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘That’s what my intelligence is.

Besides.000 from the Sarawak Reserve Funds. the Rajah who did not participate in later discussion between Datu McBryan and Hayes. to enter Sarawak or at least make it difficult for them. I hope every possible step is taken to ensure that the proceedings of the Councils comply with the Constitution. ‘Of course. . there is the additional issue of tax to be paid on the income of the trust. Let’s have another meeting. tax is not an insoluble problem. . ‘Certainly. . One could never tell what McBryan would do. However.’ The unhappy Rajah showed his disappointment.’ That was all Hayes prepared to say. . . requesting him to inform the European and native officers that ‘neither my son nor myself has been consulted concerning the 239 . but subtly.’ ‘If that issue is not settled then it will be necessary and politic to defer cession for the time being.’ ‘I hope you will express in certain ways—I mean subtly to the European officers that they should not vote and if they must vote.’ ‘Now coming to the Sarawak Trust Fund suggested by McBryan.’ Hayes spoke to the Rajah.’ ‘Well. as far as HMG is concerned. Another press conference! As expected Bertram shot a cable to the Secretary of the Provisional Government in Sarawak.1946-1952                             ‘Your Highness. and instead £30. . .’ ‘Of course . ‘Don’t worry.’ The following week. the Sarawak Trust Fund was dropped. And HMG is reluctant to lose £1. . Peter. we’ll do it. But no definite instructions . Hayes quickly consoled the Rajah. I do not have any room for doubts and possible criticism this time. they ought to vote for cession. honestly I think it will be a source of embarrassment since it would be under McBryan’s control. I thought that issue was settled already . I think we can work out something.                             Datu McBryan requested Hayes that the Colonial Office and the Military Administration should not allow Bertram nor his son. The less he heard from Datu McBryan the better he would sleep.’ ‘Not really. Mr Hayes.000 was to be paid from Sarawak state revenue to the Trustees—this later formed the Rajah’s Dependants Ordinance. assumed the Sarawak Trust Fund was still in existence. Your Highness. Fearing McBryan would do something crazy or sabotage the cession issue. He felt that as if a flying magic carpet was being whisked away from under his feet. you know exactly what I mean .000.

Bertram sent a telegram to Cable.Twilight of the White Rajahs proposed cession and as we were unaware until 6th February that any such action was contemplated we all are against cession. . The plot to isolate them was very evident. I honestly can’t believe that HMG would wish to employ the existing conditions to prevent me from communicating with Datu Patinggi. ‘In the interests of all I feel that I cannot comply with your request until the Rajah returns.’ There was no reply for weeks. . who with the rest of the MNU. So Bertram quickly replied that he would come and requested Cable to pass the message to Datu Patinggi. . . the message might not reach Datu Patinggi .’ ‘Well. .’ Cable. . still no reply came to either of them. being a loyalist. ‘All I want to do is to go to Sarawak to ascertain and submit to the real wishes of the people. . the MNU got a reply to Bertram. Let’s forget him and do something else!’ They went to see Hayes and complained bitterly about their unhappy experiences. ‘Tuan Muda. I hope you can bear for the time being all the inconveniences. are still running the show there. You know that!’ ‘I certainly hope things will improve for the better. ‘Sorry. At last. Bertram went to the Colonial Office and demanded an answer. all right.’ ‘That’s the most helpful hint from your office to date. . . ‘The members of the MNU do not accept as valid the documents signed by the members of the Supreme Council and do not agree with cession . the Acting Chief Secretary. Datu Patinggi meanwhile sent a cable to Bertram and Peter. Again Cable replied in his typical style.’ ‘This is really outrageous!’ Bertram told Peter. not the British. . we regret to inform you that there is no “Provisional Government” in Sarawak at the moment.’ ‘I am sure it will when HMG takes over. The Australians. would defend Vyner’s position to the hilt on cession.’ Disappointed and angry. So. ‘Please instruct the head of the Military Administration to pass on my cable without delay  .’ Another week passed. ‘I know that damned idiot Cable is always on the Rajah’s side. . might well misinterpret my silence. If 240 .’ ‘Really? . I’ll try . so your cable was left undelivered. .  . . ‘Let’s see . you must realise that the Military Administration is still not the normal mode of government in Sarawak.  . asking them to come to Sarawak urgently.’ Cable replied. Tuan Muda . we couldn’t be more helpful .’ ‘Sorry.’ Bertram flashed his eyes in anger. .

please hurry and come to Sarawak . ‘The payments made by the Rajah through Datu McBryan were accepted by us as they were assistance from the Rajah on account of tribulations we suffered under the Japanese Occupation. it had neither the backing of the Rajah nor the local Brooke Government nor the British Government.                             In haste. Kuching. can Peter and I go to Sarawak?’ ‘Personally. Bertram cabled the MNU and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce requesting them to exercise carefully their immense moral responsibility and not decide on cession until they had met him. . . Although Bertram’s similar message to Cable eventually appeared in the Sarawak Tribune. Simultaneously he cabled the President of the Chinese Chambers of Commerce. After discussion with his son. ‘Vyner.’ Bertram speedily replied to the MNU. 241 .’ ‘Damn it. also replied in the same tone. Refusing defeat. . . ‘Sorry. freedom and happiness .’ swore Bertram. And salaries in arrears. . as a younger brother. ‘We are awaiting the Rajah’s arrival before making any definite decision. ‘Please get one of the Brooke officers friendly to you to obtain further evidence of these payments. the President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. No trusted Brooke officers that we can contact. opposed me publicly and privately—and. it would look bad if you. Since I am the Rajah. Bertram went to see the Rajah in London in Albion Street. meanwhile. I don’t think it’s a good idea.’ Then came another cable from the MNU to Bertram. .’ To this there was a surprising reply. We would like to reiterate that we have not been compelled to sign anything and had only agreed to the Rajah’s proposal as we believe in the Rajah and that there would be greater prosperity. ‘Datu McBryan made payments to the members of the Supreme Council to ensure that Council Negri members would vote for cession even though the majority of the natives and Chinese are against cession. the other Datus replied politely by cable to Bertram. we do consider the matter as one for Sarawak nationals and not us Chinese. As expected.1946-1952 the Rajah is unable to rule. However. ‘Do the Chinese really want cession?’ Then. Bertram cabled all the other Datus asking for explanations and assuring them that he would come without Datu McBryan. the Rajahship should be handed over to you or your son .’ ‘Damn those bloody imbeciles!’ cursed Bertram. for Sarawak and its people.’ ‘Those people are the Rajah’s stooges too!’ Bertram told Peter.

they have been kept informed of developments and problems in Sarawak. How can you ever rebuild Sarawak? Times have changed. However. but the Malays. The British can look after Sarawak better than us.’ ‘Best for Sarawak! Come on. we would need fresh negotiations with HMG.’ ‘We can still make it . We are both too old to start afresh! You know that! You have to accept the inevitable course of Sarawak’s history. You know better than not to .Twilight of the White Rajahs of course. T. . After much lobbying.’ Bertram. I promise you I’ll follow the old Adat law and submit to the wishes of the people. ‘Not necessarily. . Lord Mountbatten has already stated 242 . . Adams and J.’ commented the Rajah. if cession does not go through. disappointed.’ ‘Well. borrow money. ‘These old folks are completely out of touch with Sarawak. You are fighting for a lost cause. You know something. .’ ‘But the Brookes’ rule should not end so ingloriously. . Vyner. Bertram suggested that he took Pollard instead of Peter to Sarawak along with two retired Brooke officers. He then made another attempt to get clearance from the Rajah. Bertram. We are too old. that’s incorrect. The only reason you take an anti-cession stand is because of Peter’s desire to be the next Rajah. Ibans. I hope you’ll accept cession as a matter of fact. Bertram. You don’t want to be the next Rajah—you’re not in good enough health. Bertram. you have to be realistic. which I am sure will not be the best for Sarawak. Bertram! Let’s be honest about it.’ ‘I guarantee no public embarrassment will occur. Chinese . I accept you have to do what you have to do. I am sure the Colonial Office is of the same view. Don’t worry.’ ‘If I may go further. you may recall that in his farewell speech at his last Council Negri meeting. Combe. left for the Colonial Office only to receive a cold shoulder there too. .’ ‘That’s a big fat dream. .’ ‘What! borrow money! Mortgage Sarawak! HMG is ready to foot the costs of rehabilitation and future development. then I presume that the Sarawak Government would continue along pre-war lines generally—of course. in the Council Negri and Supreme Council too. you sound almost as if you have become like Peter . To prevent any chance of embarrassment.’ ‘No. I would not recommend it. . but I have to do what I believe is right and best for Sarawak. But better things are already being put on the plate for Sarawakians. he said that Sarawak does not belong to the Brookes.’ ‘I can’t take the chance. All good things must come to an end. the British Government will convert its legal status from that of a protectorate into a colony.’ ‘I am not sure about that! All I know is that our father will never forgive us.

he was told to stay put in England to save possible embarrassment over the issue of the payment of monies to Datu Patinggi which might again come to public notice be raised in the Council 243 .’ ‘But I disagree.’ ‘I hope my trust is not misplaced. with a pointed nose. An appointment was made for him to call on the Rajah at his house in London. He has also declared that Sarawak and British North Borneo would be strategic colonies for Britain to have.’ ‘It’s still not hopeless! The local Malays still want the Rajahship to continue. Sarawak would require help from outside. The British Government is eyeing the British North Borneo Chartered Company. If you go to Sarawak without Peter. half bald at the front and slightly on the plump side. He was a typical Whitehall character. I have to be realistic. Cession will succeed. . You may recall that Sir James Brooke and our father had tried many times unsuccessfully before to become part of the British dominion. . James Danson was appointed as the ‘British Adviser’ to ensure that cession would be pushed through the Councils. And Brunei too for the oil! Then there are also the resources of timber. not a romantic fool. rice. . ‘Don’t worry  . rubber.’ ‘Thank you . pepper. and New Zealand. it’s only necessary for me to appear in Sarawak and tell the people of my opinion that cession would be for the ultimate good of the state . Your Highness. gold . .1946-1952 that even for basic food supplies. Let future historians judge the wisdom or folly of my acts.’ ‘Yes.  .  .’ ‘All right. . Australia. . then I have no objection. after ending the possibility of future Brooke rule .g. I believe he had written to Gladys on this point—although he is wrong on the point of food—e.’ ‘The British will hand over independence in due course as they have done in the cases of Canada. . most of them would come to my side of the scale. oil.’ ‘Don’t worry. we’ll leave it at that. but on Stephen’s advice and the Colonial Office’s instruction.’                             Datu McBryan advised the Rajah that those officers still in Australia and England and in favour of cession should be in Sarawak for the voting and that those against cession should go for longer leave or go on leave at the beginning of May—before the Council Negri meeting. I think the Colonial Office has the same view. The Rajah assured him.’ ‘That’s not the reason for HMG’s policy. .’ Datu McBryan had hoped to travel with the Rajah.

Twilight of the White Rajahs Negri again. failed to persuade the Rajah to stop Bertram going to Sarawak. ‘God knows! Where McBryan is concerned.’ Peter felt sure of that. ‘McBryan will not turn up anyway . ‘Never. .’ explained Bertram. Peter disagreed.’ Bertram mused.’ ‘I am not sure. Datu McBryan however. ‘We want Datu McBryan to come so that we can implicate the Rajah and the Colonial Office. Who knows? Maybe McBryan will turn up later.’ 244 . Bertram was waiting for an opportunity to gun down Datu McBryan before the Council Negri members. the unexpected always happens. . because his presence will be a definite embarrassment.

Very few Ibans. Only the British Government can and is willing to foot the £8. ‘Your Highness.’ ‘Why do you propose cession?’ ‘I strongly believe that only through cession can the living standards and conditions of the Sarawak people be improved and raised. yes. . True in the sense that a small number of Malays in Kuching only oppose cession.’ ‘Your Highness. the Rajah arrived in Singapore and called a press conference. There are a small number of my officers too.’ ‘Do you accept their arguments for the continuation of the Brookes’ rule?’ ‘I know what’s best for them. and were it not for this appeal. My nephew. He has proven to the Sarawak people he is still unfit to be the fourth Rajah of Sarawak . is it true that you are selling Sarawak for £1. is the source of that rumour.000?’ ‘That’s a lie. . the opposition is a group of idealists and their criticism is based on a romantic appeal which has blinded many to the realities of running a state. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. All monies paid to me. Is that true?’ ‘True and untrue. no more public interest would attach to what is no more than an orderly evolutionary change in the status of Sarawak. Peter. Great Britain has the educational facilities 245 . my dependants as well as to my brother and Peter will depend on the Sarawak Council Negri and Supreme Council as well as the British Government.000 cost of rehabilitation and reconstruction after the war. Britain has the financial strength and administrative experience and facilities to train Sarawakians until they are ready to take over. Not all of them. whereas Peter Brooke doesn’t.Chapter 36 I n mid April 1946.000.000. I believe that many natives and some of your officers have opposed cession. A reporter from the Straits Times asked.

 . However. Stephen came to brief the Rajah at the Astana.Twilight of the White Rajahs to train Sarawak people to be agriculturists. Datu Patinggi paid a private visit to the Rajah at the Astana. Malay kampongs and many other Ibans. doctors. . After the ceremony. lawyers.’ ‘So you would expect cession to succeed and be approved by the Council Negri.’ The Rajah looked quite happy although he knew that he must not underestimate Datu Patinggi’s and Bertram’s joint efforts to oppose cession. ‘Your Highness.’ ‘Good. Your Highness. There were lingering doubts as to what cession would entail. 246 . The following morning. The return of the Rajah to Sarawak was an occasion of mixed joy and sadness. . After he had read his own proclamation on the restoration of the civil government. He will bring chaos and dissension among the people of Sarawak. at Cambridge and elsewhere. Better trade prospects and greater prosperity and better welfare too . But your brother and nephew oppose cession strongly. the Datu Patinggi presented him with the sword of the Sarawak state symbolising the return of Brooke rule. At the Astana. The Rajah institution has been with us for nearly one century and therefore. so that one day Sarawak can achieve self-government. in public administration. of course. the Rajah went to the Supreme Council Chambers where the Commander of the 32nd Brigade read the Proclamation agreed by Lord Mountbatten.’ By then. as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. He engages people by looking at their horoscopes. . The Rajah was getting old. He has no discipline—no respect for protocol and administrative rules and procedures.’ ‘Yes. ‘Tuan Rajah. the anti-cession movement is strong but we can defeat them. but very sad that you are going to leave us and hand over Sarawak to the British Government or the King of England both of whom we do not know. Two aged lions but one wild cub and wild card—Peter. engineers and professionals. on behalf of MNU and SDA leaders. the Rajah had finalised with Lord Mountbatten the details of the resumption of civil government in Sarawak.’ ‘I see. we earnestly appeal to you to stay as our Rajah.’ ‘Thank you. The Malays were prepared to let Peter have a try despite complaints of his unfitness to be the next Rajah. The people of Sarawak are very happy about your return. So was Bertram. guards of honour were mounted and 21-gun salutes were heard once again. One thing was sure.’ ‘That’s true. you know I am a man of few words. But my brother refused to be the next Rajah while his son Peter had proven three times to be unfit to be the next Rajah. This is what we must do .

whether we like it or not.1946-1952 if you can’t. which you people must respect and obey. times have changed. Partly that is the responsibility of Bertram and Peter. . Bertram is sick with old age ailments.’ ‘But we are prepared to take the risk!’ ‘I am not prepared to nor is the British Government!’ ‘Can’t we leave out the British Government?’ ‘Well. Besides. And I am over 70 years old. Atlantic Charter . Tuan Rajah?’ ‘He has not proven to be fit as the next Rajah—his hot temper. it is the Rajah’s desire. after this devastating war. Where can we get £8. or his son continue . I know. Bertram. I must be sure that my successor will carry out his duties with proper respect and decorum.000 to rehabilitate Sarawak? Mortgage our inheritance?’ ‘We can always find the money. .’ ‘My dear Datu Patinggi. no respect for protocol. Datu Patinggi. I don’t think they can accept cession. ‘How about Peter. . . there would be very little opposition to cession. But I have no faith in him as he has failed me many times. If they had stopped the war drums or supported cession.’ ‘We can complain too to the United Nations. these are hard facts. We are both far too old to be a fit Rajah any more. will be taking certain actions. then let your Adeh.’ Datu Patinggi was rubbing his red eyes at the end of this pleading in Malay.’ ‘As for the MNU and kampong folks.’ ‘Who can provide the money?’ ‘Bertram said perhaps Chartered Bank?’ ‘Because of the war. Honestly. the British. order and procedure of the Administration and all other things. as the mother of the British protectorate under the 1888 Treaty. we need capable and qualified professionals and people now to rebuild Sarawak and run Sarawak differently. I only accept cession because on balance the British Government can afford to do more than any one of us as the Rajah. I am sure you have heard.’ ‘I know.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Because it involves the life and death of the institution of Sarawak’s Rajah which has existed since time immemorial.’ ‘But not on this issue.’ The Rajah spoke in fluent Malay. I am grateful for your kind thoughts.’ ‘We must move with developments all over the world. They can lawfully lay claim on Sarawak.’ ‘As Datu Patinggi it’s your duty to persuade them to do that. the project is too big for Chartered Bank—it can barely look after itself. ‘Datu Patinggi. 247 .’ ‘Oh Tuan Rajah! you know the strong anti-cession feelings in the kampongs.000.

 . of explaining the true position to the chieftains . fire-crackers. but .’ The Rajah wanted to whitewash Datu McBryan’s previous acts. And I will explain it to the two MPs coming here to gauge the feelings of the Sarawak people on cession. in that case. we will leave that issue for the Council Negri and Supreme Council members and the Sarawak people to decide. maa’f. decorated arches. In the early evening the Ranee accompanied the Rajah on an official tour of the Kuching kampongs.’ ‘But. there is another point I forgot to mention to you.’ The Rajah knew Datu Patinggi had been fronting the extremists and anti-cessionists.  . I gather that Datu McBryan has explained it to all the Datus already. Same. Same. we cannot accept cession. I hope this matter is clear now. . singing of the national anthem and throwing of yellow rice over the Rajah’s slow-moving cars. . Sarawakian Chinese flags flying. Therefore I have not had an opportunity yet. Tuan Rajah. . Those monies handed over to you on behalf of the Provisional Government—not from me personally—were intended as allowances due to the Datus since the outbreak of war. A lot of anti-cession is based on emotional reaction to propaganda in the kampongs. .’ ‘But you signed the documents translated into jawi too!’ ‘That’s true .  .’ ‘Goodbye—Tuan Rajah. I better take leave. Thank you for the time. Major-General Eastic. . . ‘Well . pardon me.’ ‘Well.’ ‘How about the Turtle Islands and hereditary title of Datu Patinggi referred to in that private agreement signed between you and Datu McBryan?’ Now. You do realise that Bertram will be our guest of honour on the platform of anti-cession which is going from strength to strength. in that case. . Besides. the Rajah felt he had cornered Datu Patinggi. Anti-cession posters were all over them: ‘No cession: we want the continuation of the Brooke Rule’.’ ‘Really? You tell me . never explained to me properly those documents I signed. What a vivid contrast! 248 . There will be two MPs from the British Government to assess the feelings of the people on cession. . who are still under a misapprehension if they think that the money was a bribe.’ ‘But I know you have written to the Australian officer. Sama. .’ ‘Sama. Only in Kuching town itself were there smiling Chinese students.Twilight of the White Rajahs difficult to be swallowed. . . saying that you were not sure who was actually giving out money when Datu McBryan gave it to you. Tuan Rajah. ‘But .’ ‘Datu McBryan  .

made the trip to Sibu where they arrived amidst a noisy welcome—a twenty-minute long fire-cracker and lion dance ceremony. mostly pertaining to the Japanese damage. She alighted from the car. financial constraints and world politics and development. . the Rajah.                             The Rajah called up a Council Negri and a Supreme Council meeting apparently of the newly nominated representatives as well as the old ones. Adat Lama established custom will be honoured . why? Because I want to give you a definite answer as to what action Sarawak must take in view of the war damage. ‘Yea. .’ The Rajah guessed that. I know many of you were shocked to hear my announcement on 6th February . In a cavalier manner the Rajah settled those cases wherever possible. ‘My fellow citizens of Sarawak. . Peter has proven to be unfit to be the next Rajah . the local Malays did not understand cession either. the Ranee asked the driver to pull up along the Kampong Datus Road. some placards in the Malay kampongs displayed the anti-cession stand. Shyly the Malay boy replied. No cession. On 26th April.’ She spoke in Malay. ‘What’s the matter with you? What! No cession?’ She asked. ‘Be a good boy. Cession is the answer. Indeed. However. perhaps. yea. the Rajah received a lot of complaints. Danson and Dale. 249 . and requests for Japan to pay compensation for war losses and suffering. and Cable officially has been appointed as the Acting Chief Secretary. Yes. .’ Still Datu Patinggi and his supporters would not change their stand although they supported the passing of this legislation in both Councils. you may ask why? yes. ‘Never surrender. In the Rajah’s Court. . The Constitution Re-enactment Act of 1946 and other legal matters were passed to revalidate the previous acts of the Rajahs. Suddenly. we must walk forward to greater progress and prosperity with the hindsight of history. . The Chinese there saw the economic benefits and developments in Singapore and Hong Kong—both of them were still British colonies. rehabilitation. Rajah. accompanied by Stephen. Independence one day. Run home and tell your parents the Rajah always act in the interests of the local people. They must always obey the Rajah.1946-1952 No wonder Danson suspected the romantic charms of the Rajah institution and historical past did a lot to explain the Rajah’s enormous popularity. reconstruction.’ She was not sure whether he really understood the issue or ‘yea’ means ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the local lingo.

As far as your husband is concerned. He told them that after cession. not. Yes. Constitutional niceties have no place in the jungle of Sarawak.’ A little comfort was all that was needed for his simple mind. in the case of failing to look after the husband when he is ill or for committing adultery. the Rajah’s entourage called at Simanggang where his father and he himself had spent most of their early lives. Adai. “Tuan Rajah can I get some Japanese heads to replace those of the five Chinese which we were forced to return to the victims’ families?’ 250 .’ ‘If Tuan Rajah says so.’ ‘Don’t you agree beating is uncivilised in modern times? This is 1946 already. everything would ‘continue exactly as before’. Suddenly. But she was restrained from leaving the house until her relative reported the case to the police. ‘Mr Cheng. for example. Cheng Yong San. This was Brooke justice.Twilight of the White Rajahs Then there was a petition from a Foochow woman called Ah Hui who wanted to leave or divorce her husband. to be present. The Rajah asked the headman. for example. my replacement will come to see you. we’ll give him a warning never to repeat beatings again. You will be informed in due course. we are in Sarawak not in China. stood up and asked in Iban. Somehow. The Rajah had a meeting with the local residents. I’ll reverse the D. Tuan Rajah. For some serious offences only. But she was restrained from leaving or divorce her husband. another Iban. I mean. is that true that you gave in expert evidence to the District Officer the statement that under Foochow customary law a husband can beat his wife for any wrongdoing?’ ‘Yes. that is the ancient Chinese. you have the right to move out of your husband’s house and ask for a proper divorce under your customary practice.                             Before returning to Kuching. Her petition was for punishment for sustaining bodily harm and freedom to leave her husband and also to divorce him. the Ibans here have always been more aggressive and warrior-like than from other districts of Sarawak.’s decision on that point. Under the Foochow Chinese customary law. I will follow. Good.’ ‘Good. the husband had the right to punish or in some cases cane his wife for misbehaviour or for being unfaithful. if she does not cook the rice well. One Iban asked. Now Ah Hui you are a free woman.’ ‘Don’t you think that it is now uncivilised?’ ‘Tuan Rajah. next case!’ The crowd cheered. Foochow customary law. ‘Which sons of the King of England will come to rule us?’ ‘Don’t worry.O.

In reality.’ ‘Yes.  . Head-hunting will not be tolerated any more. he had links with the Kempetai.’ ‘Go ahead . Some could say that he took advantage of his position. . You’d better go and rear fish. first of all. Your Highness.’ Now on the issue of collaborators. It’s all history now. under the Japanese Occupation. We must win at all costs.1946-1952 ‘My good man. one has to understand the different levels of co-operation with the Japanese. plant cash crops and hunt deer. the Rajah was quite at a loss. only to the military authority or the local police. the Second Division Ibans seemed to be anti-cession because of Jaerah and local officers who took the same view. But it’s not a surprise to me. ‘What’s your opinion. But on the 251 . so what’s the best solution to this sticky problem?’ ‘Before coming to that. they could not really grasp the issue of cession and the King of England. by any definition of the term. Stephen?’ ‘In general. Cession or no cession will be decided on that day. natives and Indians. We need to resort to strategy. there were collaborators and “collaborators”—among the Malays. Of course. Brief Cable on the strategy and arguments for the 15th May meeting.’ ‘All it means is that we have to work harder. The war is over. Tuan Rajah. . Bertram is working very hard on the Malays and some Ibans. Is that clear?’ ‘Yes. the Rajah was still puzzled why the feeling of anti-cession was so strong in Kuching. Chinese. Datu Pahlawan is one of those in question. I mean some Brooke officers could be behind them.                             After returning to Kuching.  .’ ‘Good.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I suppose that’s true to some extent. ‘Stephen. we shall win. I agree one must not be complacent. the Chinese were more brutally treated because they had remitted money to the China Distress Relief Fund so fewer of them were collaborators. there are government servants—mostly Malays in this case—who retained their positions under the Japanese administration. no more human heads. But in general.’ ‘You see  . I received an intelligence report from the Labuan authorities that the posters and placards in Kuching and elsewhere appeared with the consent of the BMA—British Military Administration. Your Highness.’ Somehow. I have written out the salient points already for Cable.

Stephen?’ ‘A general amnesty would be a magnanimous gesture as the returning Rajah. Mr L. a few of the guilty ones were either beaten up or murdered after the war. especially through Mr Suzuki and Watanabe. a number of Indians supported the Indian Independence League and provided the Japanese with a good deal of public support. shopkeepers . his stock was nearly confiscated by the Custodian of Enemy Property. he continued his former work or profession for a while before becoming a magistrate to earn a living too!’ ‘How about businessmen. . there must be also a small percentage of real collaborators. Khoo from Sibu—because he amassed quite a lot of pepper . who under a unique system of indirect rule seized that opportunity of neutralising Malay domination in Kuching? Surely. I suppose it was natural for them to befriend the Japanese in order to secure business with the trading corporations which monopolised the purchase of local produce. But most important. these would be mainly the Chinese and Indians who continued their business. There were various Kempetai informers of all races who found better and more profitable employment or revenge in spying.’ ‘That I can live with.Twilight of the White Rajahs other hand. I suppose we can always justify him on the basis that he was a professional police officer or a magistrate at a later stage—and was merely carrying out his juridical function. She cooperated so that the Malay community in general were better treated by the Japanese authorities. For example. In fact. Then there are also cases where community leaders were required to make formal public demonstrations of support on important occasions such as the Emperor’s birthday. although you may face quite a number of complaints and petitions to punish well-known culprits.’ ‘What happened to the educated Ibans of the First and Second Divisions who co-operated with the Japanese.’ ‘In what way?’ ‘Take Sarinah.’ ‘I see .’ ‘Then what’s your advice.’ 252 . one can understand that some people see collaboration as an insurance. Of course that infuriated the Chinese in Kuching. ?’ ‘Well. we do need Datu Pahlawan’s support for cession. There are other allegations against him.’ ‘How about the Indians?’ ‘Well.P.’ ‘I know that.’ ‘That’s true. . notwithstanding the fact he was one of the promoters of the Hikeidan and the Kyodohei and assisted in the collection of money and goods for the Japanese war effort fund. . . . .’ ‘Besides.

Datuk Patinggi . Come on . it was really not their war. I’ll prepare the list accordingly with Cable.’ ‘I see. . Your Highness.’ ‘Thank you for seeing this matter in the most constructive way. . 253 . The war forced them to cooperate with the Japanese.1946-1952 ‘I must say that that’s a reasonable approach. I think a general amnesty on the issue would defuse the problem. . ‘Stephen. Danson and Cable. The Rajah has magnanimously overlooked it . nearly collapsed. All right then. forget this complaint or discrimination. after seeing the list. there are a lot of Japanese collaborators on this list. .’ The next day.’ ‘I know what you mean. Cable can confirm it. the Ranee had sent her a personal letter of invitation. . True within your narrow definition. Mr Danson and Mr Cable .’ ‘I will. . and has said that he would be ready to give a general amnesty for those affected by that issue. Oh God! They are the most well-known collaborators!’ ‘Come on. Besides.’ ‘Sarinah is also included. Where were the Rajah and his troops? Where were the British? They were forced to co-operate under duress or sometimes in order to continue their professional lives as policemen or heads of the community or merely to survive as human beings. Therefore. that’s the Rajah’s wish. if necessary.’ ‘Yes. she is the most well-known collaborator.’ For a moment Cable and Danson felt like kicking the Rajah’s ass. also.’ ‘Have you forgotten that she is also the wife of Datu McBryan. . .’ ‘So prepare the guest list to the Astana without reference to this issue.’ ‘Sarinah.

who knew that Grimberg opposed the Malayan Union in Malaya. the MNU originally intended to have a massive demonstration. The representatives of the Chung-Hua Journal and the Chinese Daily News took a neutral stand. In early May. Datu Pahlawan nor his superiors would not have given them permission in any event. a minesweeper provided by Lord Mounbattan. the two MPs flew to Kuching and conducted most of the interviews on board HMS Pickle. that would only bring discontentment and unhappiness despite promises of stability or prosperity. The editorial commented that they found it rather difficult to understand . However. 254 . ‘A Daniel comes to Judgement’ and others ‘No cession—we want Brooke Rule’. but it was cancelled for fear of police action. Wallace. . Kuching was the first place that the MPs—both of them fluent Malay speakers—went to test public opinion on the issue of cession. They had no approval. . as Sarawak’s ships had all been sunk during the Second World War. Some carried banners with English slogans such as ‘Let Judas get his Deserts’. Sarawak was waiting anxiously for the arrival of the MPs from England.’ When the MPs went to call at Datu Patinggi’s house there were hundreds of Malays in his compound. genuinely feared that Grimberg could take an anti-cession stance and might still want the British Parliament to disapprove of cession even after the Council Negri and the Supreme Council had approved it. In fact. at first the Sarawak Tribune took a different view.Chapter 37 A midst deep confusion and a bitter propaganda war. ‘(the) reason or necessity of the change and the fact that national progress was necessary for Sarawak was undeniable but if Sarawak people were unhappy with the change of government.

actually.’ ‘Of course. We want independence.’ Datu Patinggi who mainly chose to speak Malay could understand simple English.’ ‘But the present Rajah wants cession of Sarawak to the King of England. Shakawe bin Haji Ali and Johan bin Bojang spoke fervently for the continuation of Brooke rule.’ ‘If you want independence. ‘Tuan Grimberg and Tuan Wallace . Under the 1941 Constitution a native of Sarawak could also be Rajah in future. He just confirmed what I said. ‘Any other reasons?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is your group against the British Government?’ ‘No.’ 255 . I want the Brooke rule to continue and also the present Rajah to rule. sirs. The three young assistants. the voice of the Malay community will be lost if it becomes part of the British Empire. but I don’t know him! Maybe my secretary and three of my assistants can explain to you.’ The MPs found Datu Patinggi a bit confused on the issue.’ ‘Yes  . ‘Yes. ‘Betul—true. they could pass sovereignty to the natives so that they could rule. but the Malays in Sarawak generally have taken an anti-cessionist view. ‘Is Datu Patinggi for or against cession?’ Grimberg asked. namely Mohd Nordin. ‘Yes.  .’ ‘But the MNU only represents two thousand Malays in Kuching. that’s just your opinion based on your limited contacts. why do you want Brooke rule to continue? It doesn’t seem logical!’ ‘We want the Brookes to lead and then. Now what other grounds has Datu Patinggi against cession?’ ‘Well. Sarawak would be swamped with foreigners and immigrants and we fear that the Malay culture would be extinguished.1946-1952 ‘Datu Patinggi. Definitely. ‘He is definitely against cession!’ replied Mohd Nordin. But it also reflects ninety-nine percent of Malay feeling in Sarawak. what’s your opinion on the cession?’ Grimberg asked in Malay.’ ‘That’s hardly likely to happen even looking at the states in Malaya or Singapore.’ ‘I see. .’ ‘It’s a general assessment by the MNU. ‘Is that the personal opinion of Datu Patinggi?’ Grimberg asked.’ Both MPs knew this argument was for the self-serving interests of Datu Patinggi and the Abang class.  .’ ‘Members yes. one day in the very near future. . for a start.’ Datu Patinggi interrupted to confirm that.’ ‘That we will evaluate ourselves.

Datu Amar and other Datus had supported cession. Datu Patinggi thought that he was only signing a document asking the Rajah to return.’ ‘Is that factually correct?’ ‘We think so. Besides. He did sign it. holding the same rank and with sufficient income. Yes. Therefore. Datu Pahlawan and his brother. Isn’t that correct?’ ‘Yes. indeed. 1. Datu McBryan handed out the money. ‘Well.’ ‘Didn’t Datu Patinggi reply that since the monies were given for that purpose. . he owed nothing to the Rajah. and that of my descendants. only two Malay members of the Council Negri support cession. In fact.’ After a slight hesitation. therefore. after signing the document. Abang Haji Abdulrahim. ‘Yes.’ ‘But you were not there when the documents were signed. But.’ ‘We see. the contents of that agreement were not explained to him. You see the documents were in English and their full contents were not explained to Datu Patinggi.’ ‘I thought he said that it was for the tribulations of the Second World War and compensation for the arrears of salaries . I beg that my title and status of Datu Patinggi. be superior to that of the other datus forever. No doubt with their blind support for the Rajah they would agree to do anything that the Rajah wants—including cession!’ ‘But I remember that in existing documents.’ ‘Let us read that special Agreement and check with Datu Patinggi whether he signed it or not. Both of them are the Rajah’s and Datu McBryan’s “yes men”. it happened like this. . 2. Datu Patinggi actually signed documents giving his consent to cession during Datu McBryan’s last visit to Sarawak. I beg that my descendants will be allowed to replace me.  .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘But the Malay population in Sarawak is small. .  . . And he signed that special Agreement supporting cession after Datu McBryan had promised him the exclusive right to the turtle eggs on Talang Talang Island and Satang Island and making the title Datu Patinggi hereditary.’ ‘Perhaps .  the following are five requests to which I hope your Royal Highness will consent.’ ‘Did he say what it was for?’ ‘Something for the Datus. a separate agreement was signed between Datu McBryan and Datu Patinggi on 5th January 1946 in Malay spelling out the terms and conditions: . 256 .’ ‘Yes. that’s correct.

I beg that my eldest grandson. ‘Well. Abang Ibrahim. then. Datu Patinggi interrupted. . let me ask you. Order No.’ Aha! part of the truth was out! ‘Thank Datu Patinggi for his time. I beg to have the country’s revenues [kehasilan] for the last 100 years and for the future. As Datu Patinggi is the head of Sarawak’s Malay community.’ Mohd Nordin cut in quickly to explain away this damaging interruption. .e. Let me read his letter here: I strongly oppose the cession of Sarawak.’ ‘That’s true.’ ‘I am sorry. . Datu Patinggi is getting old .’ When the name of Talang Talang and turtle eggs were mentioned in the translation. he wanted the present Rajah to continue to rule. . a reluctant ‘yes’ came from Datu Patinggi. but he is anti-cession. 5. He wanted to talk more about the turtle eggs. . . . C-22 (Constitution Repeal) 1946?’ ‘Yes. .e. Mr Grimberg what happened to the turtle eggs? Datu McBryan promised the turtle eggs in those islands are exclusively for me and my heirs forever . Talang Talang Kecil and Pulau Satang as my right and that of my heirs forever . sometimes he likes to bring back old memories . ‘Is there anything else you might like to add?’ ‘Well. didn’t he also sign the Supreme Council Order authorising the Rajah to negotiate cession. But the contents were not fully explained to him.1946-1952 3. let Bertram or Peter rule. C-21 (Constitution) 1941?’ ‘Yes. Now can we say that Datu Patinggi for some reason is the figurehead of the anti-cession cause in Sarawak? Can you ask him that?’ After a brief exchange between Datu Patinggi and his assistants. But the implications and effects of the contents were not fully explained to this old man. i.’ ‘But those documents were translated from English into jawi by Datu Pahlawan. 4. And if the Rajah doesn’t want to rule Sarawak. Datu Patinggi’s ancestors used to be the rulers of Sarawak. He opposes cession and maintains that Sarawak belongs to the natives and that cession without the consent of the natives would be illegal and immoral. I beg to have the revenues from the turtle eggs of Talang Talang Besar. now be made Datu Bandar.’ 257 . . I want the Brooke rule to continue . therefore his view should carry more weight than other Datus. but the contents were not explained to him like the bank failing to explain the nature of guarantees to the guarantor of a loan. On one hand. i. Order No. ‘Yes. yet on the other hand he could not accept the Rajah’s wish for cession. it’s his duty and responsibility to protect Sarawak’s interests as well as those of the Abang class of the Malays. .’ ‘Didn’t he also sign the Council Negri Order repealing the 1941 Constitution.’ ‘I see.

Various people stated different reasons for their views—most of them from vested-interest viewpoints. Over the following ten days the two MPs went with Benett Jarrow and Danson to Limbang. No money was given to the natives for transportation and accommodation so that they might put forward their views. a pro-cessionist.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Terimah kasih. the MNU gave their anti-cession view while unqualified support for cession was declared by Datu Pahlawan. D. Adams. and many pre-war expatriate officers accepted that cession was inevitable except those who opposed cession out of loyalty to 258 . He knew most of them did not understand cession. if cession were pushed through—it looked more likely than not. Serikei and Lingga. The background information proved to be invaluable in understanding the cultural background and their simple way of thinking in supporting or going against cession or continuation of the Brooke rule. The Acting Resident in Sibu. The Eurasians were privately represented by Edwin Howell who told the MPs that the Rajah.’ During the evening. chose representatives who supported cession. Hong Guan Ling and Ong Kwan Hin who argued that Sarawak’s revenues were insufficient to meet post-war rehabilitation and reconstruction costs. Bintulu. and the presence of Brooke officers naturally did silence many who feared that they might be victimised later on. Bertram and Peter had proven to be inadequate administrators and cession was the only solution and the best solution. introductory remarks with a slight hint of the Rajah’s wish on cession would create a suitable atmosphere. The small Indian community also supported cession. nothing less. who was a native officer and acting as a translator. Both MPs were happy that Datu McBryan and Stephen had briefed them about the personalities and the likelihood of their views regarding cession. Stephen had stage-managed that beforehand. Monsignor Hobfgartner took the view that the Ibans and Chinese would support cession so long as their interests were best protected and Sarawak became a separate British colony. C. Lawas. the MPs were impressed on the general support for cession in Kuching—only in the Malay community was there a strong division of opinions. Datu Amar. and only Britain could provide the capital for reconstruction and bring progress. Sibu. No doubt. various officers chose representatives who were on the government payroll and were told that the Rajah wanted cession. The Iban speakers interviewed in Kuching gave qualified support provided the Nine Cardinal Principles in the 1941 Constitution were upheld and the indigenous customs respected. But Buxton from Bintulu did not want to hear the word ‘cession’. Because of the short notice it meant that mainly the urban Chinese and Malays were consulted with only a few Orang Ulu and Ibans. So far. Miri. Temenggong Koh presented on behalf of the thirteen Penghulus assembled by Benett Jarrow.

Remember in Lingga.’ ‘No. I advised him to phrase the questions in the process of translation. both the Malays and Ibans suddenly took a very strong anti-cession stand. Temmengong Koh is there to support cession. I don’t think the cession bill should go before the Council Negri whatever happens. . The Brooke’s expatriate officers in Miri. Perhaps you should convey that negative indication to the British Secretary of State.’ After sending off the cable.’ ‘I mean more than that. Don’t you?’ 259 . While in Sibu. the Second Division. although he might not fully understand the implications but Benett will start translating in a certain way. Later Danson discussed this matter with Stephen. But we still believe Sibu will tip the balance. ‘Don’t you think Grimberg was being mischievous just now when he mentioned that before us?’ ‘I can’t really say! Certainly. his mind is swayed one way or another by the last few towns he has visited.’ ‘I jolly well hope so. I have fixed it.1946-1952 Bertram or who were disgusted by the crude way cession was handled or those who were die-hard sentimentalists forever having romantic dreams and ideas about Brooke rule. You do think of everything. of course .’ hesitated Danson for a second. ‘From what I’ve seen so far. ‘I see. ‘It seems that the MPs’ report might not be favourable at all. . . Bintulu. I wonder if Grimberg is trying to get things in a jam by encouraging delay in the vote of Council while knowing that he intends his joint report to be adverse to cession. Miri and Limbang while the pro-cession views came across weakly.’ ‘It’s difficult to say. The Resident is a pro-cessionist. ‘I forgot to ask why you are so sure that Sibu will tip the balance?’ ‘Well. Stephen and Danson feared that the two MPs might be affected by the strong anti-cessionist showing in Kuching. The biggest showing of support of Ibans will be in Sibu.’ So Stephen despatched a cable to the Astana which read as follows . I know Sibu will. . Limbang and Bintulu were openly anti-cessionist and fielded representatives to take their strong views to the two MPs. Grimberg told Danson in front of Stephen. Then answers would tend to be given according to how we want them. Therefore Sibu was most critical for several reasons. after explaining what the wishes or will of the Rajah really are.’ ‘That’s not a bad idea!’ ‘I am sure Sibu will tip the balance. Danson asked again.

We can neither sit on the fence nor beat about the bush and whatever decision we make. Sibu will always prove a pivotal point in the path of Sarawak’s history.’ After Stephen had talked to the Sarawak Tribune. 260 . the Ibans would follow the Rajah’s wish and that would carry the day. its editorial showed a slight change of attitude towards cession.’ ‘I hope you are right. ‘Let me tell you something. Trust me.’ ‘I know I am right. The thirteen Penghulus’ pro-cession petition will be delivered by Temmengong Koh. ‘ . .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘I try. let us make it in the realisation and belief that it will afford us better privileges and facilities’ Stephen knew one thing for sure: there was really no issue of nationalism in Sarawak though some extremists had used the issue of independence to confuse the issue of cession. the demographic composition of Sarawak means that as well as a large section of other pro-cessionists. .’ ‘Why makes you think so?’ ‘Because it’s the Iban and Foochow base—and their voice and actions are critical. Besides.

Danson was nevertheless still worried when the voice of anti-cession in Bintulu and Simanggang roared louder and louder and even echoed in the Iban longhouses nearby—right across the Iban.’ ‘I see. With the help of Bennett the interpreter. whatever he says. Our concern is only to make sure that the adat lama. Temonggong Paramount Chief Koh appeared with a petition from the Thirteen Penghulus. ‘All the Ibans in the Third Division—the biggest Iban population.’ ‘Do you want cession just because you want to follow the Rajah? Or do you want cession for its own sake?’ Grimberg asked. was extremely popular and influential with the Ibans in Sibu and in the Division. the Temonggong was asked who else he was representing. However. Adams. ‘My people have not had a fair deal under the Brookes and cession would definitely mean better education and general development. In Sibu.Chapter 38 C . we’ll follow. Chinese. the Temonggong’s reply could be clearly taken as meaning he supported cession indirectly at least. Malay and Melanau communities—despite Stephen’s assurance that they would be better off under the Colonial system.’ Grimberg knew all along that none of them really understood the issue of cession.’ 261 . The second person to be interviewed was another English-educated Iban called Joseph Anggau. The Rajah met me recently and assured me that to be the case. Stephen had arranged for him to return under the Military Administration to ensure that the Third Division would accept cession. the Resident in the Third Division of Sarawak. old customary law.D. ‘We trust the Rajah. will survive.

(2) The opinion of young Sarawakians.’ replied Ahmad. I support cession for its own sake because I want a better education system for the Ibans and in order for the Ibans to be promoted as quickly as possible. mainly overseas Chinese.’ ‘How about you? . To another question. Sibu Chinese and educated Malays and Ibans supported cession for its own sake—the Chinese on account of the promised better commercial development prospects.’ The two MPs concluded that there was ‘now sufficient acceptance or favourable opinion in the country’ to justify the cession issue going before the Council Negri on 15th May without changing the date. the opinion of the MNU and Malays in small towns supported the continuance of Brooke rule under the Rajah. and the Malays and Ibans because they were dissatisfied with education and general progress. the Rajah knows what is best and also that cession would lead to greater progress. including the provision of religious teaching from Malaya and Egypt. three general reactions to cession were tabulated. How about you. (3) However.’ ‘Well. He categorised views as follows: 1) Chinese traders and nationalists supported cession because it meant greater economic opportunities and the strengthening of their political status and representation. In the MP’s Comprehensive Report. . another Malay replied. Isn’t it?’ ‘Yes sir. much of the hesitation of the Malays and Ibans was due to the absence of any clearly defined British policy for Sarawak and subsequent fear that Adat customary laws would be abolished or eroded and their fragile culture swamped by the immigrant races. 262 . the Malay pro-cessionist whom Grimberg had pointed to. Stephen quickly cabled to the Astana his observations so far. The Sibu Chinese. ‘So long as the Adat law is preserved it would make no difference to us whether Sarawak is ruled by the King or Rajah—so long as it is not the Japanese. Besides. yes.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘It’s nice to know that. . were also pressing claims for war damage compensation against the Japanese. Inspector Munan? That’s your name. (1) The opinion of the Malays and Ibans who did not themselves see any advantages in cession but were prepared to trust the Rajah’s judgement. sitting over there. while generally supporting cession.

5) Malays of the abang class whose interests lay with the perpetuation of Brooke rule. Over a cup of tea. Now.’ 263 .’ ‘Why does the Rajah want the meeting on the 15th May? Is he afraid that the anti-cession movement will get stronger as time passes?’ ‘I doubt it very much. I think he wants to be back for the Derby.’ ‘Well. The Rajah is lazy and rather stupid and for years has preferred the fleshpots of Europe to the austerities of Sarawak. He looks to the First Rajah for precedents and aspires to be a lawyer. It looks that way. I quite agree with you. e. he is an eccentric fellow. I’ll be damned!—I have no time for him.’ ‘I see. 4) Ibans and Malays whose loyalty to the Raj prevailed over their loyalty and obedience to Vyner Brooke. 3) Ibans and Malays agreed to cession because their loyalty to the Rajah prevailed over their serious misgivings about what cession would mean.’ ‘Worst. coupled with a few educated Kuching Ibans.’ The whole party returned to Kuching after its trip to Lingga and Simanggang. The last two groups. Rajah Vyner is correct in that respect. Serikei was for cession too. Even after anti-cession feeling was shown in Lingga in the Second Division. what do you think of Peter from what we heard at the time when we met him in London?’ ‘I must say he is a most unsatisfactory young man who would never have been a good ruler under the New Constitution. Don’t you agree?’ ‘Maybe. 6) Malay commoners who saw the continuation of Brooke rule as a means of securing genuine self-government and independence for Sarawak within the foreseeable future. ‘What do you think of the Brooke family and some of their officers?’ Casually asked Wallace. Grimberg spoke to Wallace the following morning in the Rajah Arms Hotel.1946-1952 2) Educated Malays and some Ibans supported cession because it meant greater educational and employment opportunities than had been available under the Brookes. not much. closely associated with the Malays. And I quite believe all the tales about his obdurate arrogance and ego mania and the rest of the stories as well. formed the base of the anti-cession movement. ‘Frankly. his belief in astrology and Oxford Group movement. Frankly. a judge and an executioner at the same time.g. the MPs told Hayes over the phone that the Comprehensive Report still stood.

Personally. belonging to a former age in our association with the East rather than the present. . the late Rajah. ‘Yes.’ ‘I thought he was a colourful character.’ ‘I imagine so. I suppose. and with less inhibition . He really liked that sleazy joint. I think she is a bright and vivacious lady who brought the charm of Mayfair to the tropics and took back some of the exotic perfume of the tropics to Mayfair. who are basically prostitutes. She is one of a kind. . sooner or later. Kipling and Conrad have a point. she is just not my cup of tea!’ ‘Come on. to the Astana to paint their pictures by day and dance samba with them in that lowly Cinta Sayang Cabaret by night.  . she is not too bad really. Though lowly. I suppose in a sense it’s the primitive nature of the place.’ ‘Well.’ Grimberg licked his lips with his circling tongue. . Charles Brooke was a different character altogether. it’s a wild and exciting place with exotic drinks such as “Head Hunter Juice” and “Sarawak Pink”. soon. always seeking things for himself first from what I hear and know.’ ‘Maybe. Anyway.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘But the worst is the Ranee.’ ‘Well. Wouldn’t you? Sarawak has a lot to offer. we must get Danson to take us to Cinta Sayang Cabaret again. face moral decadence especially if they intermarry with the locals. After white men go to the East.’ 264 .’ ‘Surely. I would have thought that her example would be terrible for the morals of the young ladies in town. yet. you could not find a more undignified woman! I must say—she is rather spoilt. . There are some exceptions!’ ‘You’re probably right! Now tell me what you make of Datu McBryan?’ Wallace tried to pick his brains. I bet she is quite a bundle of joy in bed . . it does not happen only to the Brookes. . ‘He is a crook through and through. the heat and the freedom to indulge in such sensual favours often offered on a plate. It’s fun here—variety is the spice of life. Really. I wouldn’t mind spending some time here. when circumspect delegates of government and big business groups move in a discreet way about their business.’ ‘You can have her! . they rot and take to drink and. that’s the only practical way to make life more tolerable and to retain sanity in the Tropics. . I saw her taking “professional dancers”. despite her age!’ ‘But she is a bit crazy too!’ ‘That would only make her more excitable  . But of course. he must be quite well off after pushing cession through . The end of Brooke rule came as yet another example of the truth that institutions seldom perish from external causes but rot from within. . it can’t be that bad.  .

 . . you know . I can always pull some strings . .’ said Wallace. ‘I quite fancy the Ranee. Apparently.’ 265 . . . ‘she must be quite a woman in bed!’ ‘I haven’t a clue. I had almost forgotten . And bright too!’ ‘I really couldn’t tell you.’ ‘Thank you.  .’ ‘Come! Come!  . I am sure you know a lot! My! My! just judging by my conversation with some of the Brookes’ officers. Only well past midnight were they back in their beds. have another drink?’ offered Stephen.’ ‘Come on. I’ll do what I think is best for Sarawak.’ Stephen felt that perhaps Wallace had been away from home too long already! ‘I gather that she is highly sexed.’ ‘Well. Both MPs had never had such a sensuous experience and good time beyond their expectations—beyond a relaxing massage. as not educating them too fast and too early made them easier to control. squeezing their buttocks. I suppose I can’t blame you in a way. . Wallace had a friendly chat with Stephen at the Sarawak Club bar. he was told that an Iban went to prison to obtain education. though I am not a patriot in the usual sense. . and he also felt that the Brookes had done little to give education to the Ibans—though he was not sure whether it was due to the absence of resources or it was a matter of policy. if you ever want a job back home. Cable felt that he could not face Bertram who would be questioning him on his loyalty to him soon. In one instance. though he had doubts as to whether any of them could really run a Secretariat. what are you going to do? Go back to England?’ ‘It depends . already drunk. flirting and dancing with the ‘professional dancers’. Actually on the previous night. .’ ‘Suppose cession goes through. ‘Well. . there is a lot of free sex arranged by her and arranged for the Rajah too!’ ‘I don’t think I know enough to comment. ‘Yes . Most of the officers there were more sober than him. you are a Brooke loyalist through and through. Cable discreetly selected two pretty and dainty local girls to give them a local body massage. On the following evening.1946-1952 That night both MPs went to the Cinta Sayang Cabaret at the invitation of Danson—the only thing that both MPs enjoyed and felt morally guilty about after weeks of sexless life. We are basically foreigners. not sure at the moment. both MPs were surprised to see Cable. Beyond their wildest dreams! Inside the cabaret. .  .’ Wallace found Stephen to be the exception among the Brooke officers. Every girl looked prettier as the days and nights went by.

’ ‘What do you intend to achieve in Sarawak then?’ ‘I want to ascertain the true feelings of the people on cession. Nothing of that sort. ‘If all the messages I have received stand for anything. The MNU. whom he had previously been interviewed by. . but you need not 266 . Cable. and not expatriates. . ‘He wants me to put the issues of cession fairly across to the people without any misrepresentation and he states in his letter that . ?’ ‘I fear that the extinction of Sarawak as an independent country at the present moment would cause grave repercussions throughout Malaya. they do not want cession at all—but the continuation of Brooke rule.’ ‘In the forthcoming Council Negri meeting might you not bring a family squabble into public?’ ‘I can assure you that my visit is not motivated by any personal desire to influence the people against cession but to find out the truth about the whole issue. Cable?’ the Rajah asked casually a few days later. he also called a press conference. trade and commerce. Sarawak can borrow to finance the rehabilitation. the pro-cession European officers and Native officers met him after the Rajah put him in ‘The Residency’. now the Acting Chief Secretary after the Japanese surrender.’ ‘Nothing personal such as putting your son forward as the next Rajah?’ ‘No. should decide whether Sarawak is to retain or lose her independence. replied. .’ The expected guest. . That’s up to the people of Sarawak to decide. The same reporter from The Straits Times.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             Upon the Tuan Muda’s arrival in Singapore. Do you agree?’ ‘That’s not true. Rumours were flying around Kuching that Bertram would be the next Rajah. asked him. . .’ ‘Have you got any specific plans?’ ‘I am not at liberty to discuss that now. ‘What did “Adeh” say in his letter to you. The will of the Sarawak people. training of professionals. ‘Do you really oppose cession?’ ‘Not if the people really want it.’ Bertram refuted him. “it is no exaggeration to say that the difference of opinion between us is real! .’ ‘Rajah Vyner says that the majority of the people wants cession. training of administrators . arrived two weeks before cession in Kuching. what do you foresee for Sarawak? Won’t the British Government be in a better position to provide what Sarawak needs in terms of education.’ ‘If cession goes through. Bertram.

He is afraid to face the truth. That’s why he is not here with us today. . I’ll do my best. yes. Robert and Philip Jitam. These are the basic facts.’ Bertram learnt about the details of the previous visit of Datu McBryan to Kuching. we want that. because of you all here. Bertram’s technique was quiet but was effectively a camouflaged underground whispering campaign—his pretext was that he was not coming to ‘fuss or fight’ but only as ‘honest people sailing up the river to gauge the feelings of the people’. he lured a lot of people towards his side. . I have come to help your cause . It’s more than a dogfight. . . That’s outrageous . Something needed to be done to stop the surging tide turning into a tidal bore. The general mood for cession in Kuching took a nose dive when Bertram made a dramatic appeal and clarification to his supporters at Datu Patinggi’s house. the congregation’s voice of discontent and cries of ‘Deceit’ echoed louder and louder. Saya boleh sumpah . . . Plans were afoot to exploit the ‘money’ politics and expose that scandal. . I am not well. .’ ‘Your Highness .’ ‘That’s criminal . yes. ‘They nearly stopped me from coming here. I have not consented to cession.’ ‘Tuan Muda. Your Highness. That’s the absolute truth.’ Shocked and horrified. As all of you may remember. .1946-1952 fear that I have any intention of allowing this matter to become the subject of a family dogfight. We’ll support you .                             267 . . . Why? The reason is obvious. The Rajah and the Colonial Department of the British Government have also prevented my son from coming to see you. The tide of anti-cession was surging stronger and stronger. I want the Brooke’s rule to continue. I have an equal right to govern Sarawak and it’s imperative that Rajah Vyner should consult me on the issue of cession. I can swear that on the Bible or the Koran.’ Now two prominent Ibans of the SDA. I want to ascertain the true feelings of Sarawak people after they have been given the real facts and to present my view to the people as I am entitled to. Stephen knew that that was coming. . ‘The Rajah indeed has not consulted me on cession. He hasn’t. changed their stands now after learning these facts. Bertram continued. yet.’” ‘That’s a bloody lie! . who had previously given qualified support to cession. We must shadow his movements. the late Rajah Charles Brooke’s will. in my late father. . Consequently. .’ ‘Work out the details with Stephen.’ ‘Yes.

why don’t you go and visit Bertram?’ snapped Stephen. even if I like the idea very much. ‘the mood for cession is still volatile especially now that the Jitams have taken a anti-cession stand despite their 268 . the cession could be aborted at the Council Negri. what’s the urgent matter you want to discuss with me?’ enquired Cable.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Cable. ‘What should I do?’ Cable retorted. He wanted cession. . ‘As the Acting Chief Secretary. What you have said seems logical! But let’s check up with His Highness first. Have you got any other bright ideas?’ ‘No. To forbid it would only generate more sympathy for Bertram and inflame the burning fire of anti-cession.’ Cable had an internal conflict. you should inform His Highness as well as Danson.’ Danson and Cable called up Stephen and then went to see the Rajah and told him what they had in mind. most likely he would give face to Adeh in the event of strong Malay and some Dayak protest against cession. Stephen and Cable knew that if Bertram pushed hard enough. However. Ask the Rajah . So?’ ‘So why don’t you issue a written statement just as the Rajah did previously?’ ‘That’s not a good idea in the present anti-cession mood. . Danson. ‘It’s my humble view that the Tuan Muda should not be given the right to speak in the Council Negri. Hastily.’ confirmed the Rajah. it’s your duty to find out our opponents’ movements.’ added Stephen who knew the negative effects of Bertram’s speech on the Brooke’s officers and locals would be worse under the Brooke tradition. Be friendly with him and find out what exactly is going on! After coming back and discussing what he says with me. Danson went to see Cable. ‘Yes. I am not sure how to get around this problem. I do hope that there will not be a mud-slinging match between the brothers.’ Danson stated. You surely know the serious impact Adeh’s speech in the Council Negri will have on voting against cession!’ ‘I know. ‘Why not?’ ‘Can’t you see the voice of anti-cession is getting stronger every day in the towns and some kampongs?’ ‘I agree.’ declared Danson. Resorting to drink was his best way of escaping distress. ‘I don’t think I can stop it. so far. No matter what happened or what it might cost he had to push through the deal on cession. I have to agree with you.’ ‘On second thoughts. ‘Your Highness. ‘That’s correct. yet as a romantic at heart he was a protagonist of Brooke rule.

Instruct them that cession must go through in any event. and the majority of the people did not really understand cession. my brother wants also a deferment—postpone it until after further consultations with the British Government and the majority of the people. . I have written down all the salient points already. Tuan Muda and the anti-cessionists’ group . ‘In fact. .’ Stephen interrupted. you must take a strong stand—a pro-cession stand—as the President of the Council Negri.’ replied Cable looking very anxious and worried. .’ explained Stephen. But I can’t have that either!’ ‘Quite right. .’ ‘That sounds a jolly good idea. ‘The plan would be . He wants a referendum!’ ‘I can’t have that. and warn those on duty of the consequences if cession is not pushed through. 269 .’ smiled the Rajah who was still quite optimistic.’ ‘I agree that the cession issue will be hotly debated in the Council Negri though I confess that most of them will not understand what cession is all about! This was confirmed by Tuan Muda’s complaint during our last communication. but get our expatriate officers who oppose cession to go on leave or take further leave. Your Highness.’ ‘Here. will address the forth coming Council Negri stating that cession is the Rajah’s wish and command—and of course—assuring them that adat lama will continue and the Rajah would visit Sarawak from time to time.’ chipped in Cable. Your Highness. if needed.1946-1952 qualified support previously. . Make subtle suggestions whenever it’s necessary. this is your copy! Repeat them if necessary. ‘Yes. Mr Cable. You can adapt them for your speech or arguments wherever you deem necessary .’ interrupted the Rajah. I will remember. free for consultation. ‘Let him speak. I fear that if Tuan Muda is given the chance to speak in the Council Negri. Explain it in Malay for the desired effect.’ assured Cable. . H.’ ‘Your Highness. ‘I quite agree.H.’ ‘Thank you. he might just tip the balance. . And these are the arguments that we will put up in the battle against Datu Patinggi. I know Bertram wants to make that point clear to the Council Negri members and also the point that even the Council Negri itself is not a truly representative body assembled to express the real wishes of the people. torpedo any strong arguments from anti-cessionist groups of speakers to swing the mood back to cession at all times. if I may suggest something. ‘That’s good . Mr Ong and others were asked by Datu McBryan. .’ warned Danson. we will win. It’s just another form of English Government—from personal to a government under the British King. The Datus. ‘In that case.

we shall win on cession. all the Datus except Datu Patinggi . that type of philosophy . and those against cession will be the First Division. . Even if they say that there is no river around . the bill may not get through even the first reading. . mind you. .’ warned the Rajah. . . It will be a touch-and-go situation. otherwise . ‘Yes. will play a critical role too.  . Stephen imparted to Cable and Danson detailed plans that had to be acted upon quickly.  . and we can deliver cession. . so take no chances. . Danson and Stephen both of you must campaign hard. . We must campaign on the basis that if they don’t vote for cession. Cable. it could be quite close. The Chinese members. . you must say that you can construct the river after the bridge has been built . we must win at all costs!’ Danson also echoed Cable’s sentiments though entertaining certain doubts. . So make sure you get cession through at all costs .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Yes. But I still think that the expatriate officers will be the decisive vote.’ explained Stephen. ‘Of course. . promise them a bridge. Bintulu . In brief. . in the Council Negri. Miri. After they left the Rajah. 270 . won’t we? The probable line-up for cession will be the Third Division. . we will  . . however.

and I suggest this should form the basis of the Rajah’s 271 . ‘Let me have a closer look . Peter and the Datus . . if I may . get the British Government to agree to match up an equivalent amount—whatever amount we can agree at the end—as the quid pro quo for cession.Chapter 39 A week before the debate in the Council Negri a cable for Rajah Vyner came from the Colonial Office in London.’ ‘Damn it! I knew it! They could change it or make a special arrangement for me.’ ‘Anything else? .000 1912 Trust Fund for yourself.’ ‘That sounds like a jolly good idea! Let’s get Dale. why don’t we also propose to legislate in the Council Negri granting pensions to Bertram. . if they really wanted to or cared.’ fumed the Rajah. Hayes suggested that Your Highness should retain £150. . . Besides. .000 from the capital of the 1912 Trust Fund. small man. . . wearing spectacles—was a legal officer from the Colonial Office who had been seconded to the Rajah’s team of advisers. ‘This serves to inform you that after due consultation with our legal experts any money payable or to be paid under the settlement to you and your dependants before or after the cession will be liable to taxation . and your family in lieu of any other claim on Datu McBryan’s proposed Trust Fund or other Sarawak revenue.000 should be placed in trust for the education of native Sarawakians. .’ ‘Yes. that you receive income from the £200. this Trust Fund just set me thinking of something else . I would suggest. .’ The Rajah felt a slight relief. ‘Yes.’ Stephen suggested. . ‘And I may add that a balance of £100. . . William Dale—a thin. Your Highness.

 . . . ‘I’ll cable your proposal and should get a reply within the next few days. though an important one for the Rajah and his dependants.Twilight of the White Rajahs Dependants Ordinance which we have discussed earlier. we can threaten Dale on this subject . But I can’t guarantee it.’ ‘Please do that. I know Whitehall’s mentality where money is concerned. rubber and timber. ‘Mr Dale. we should get Datu McBryan to talk to the Colonial Office . . But this is a different issue.’ ‘But you don’t have a cession everyday—an added piece of land leading to the aggrandisement of the British Empire.’ Stephen signalled to the Rajah to make the agreed next move. it’s of no consequence . I’ll quickly discuss it with him and let you know by tomorrow.’ Stephen interrupted. . if I may ask. Besides. . in that case. The civil servant’s mentality to money is always a difficult subject to comprehend and overcome. . they will not entertain him. . Dale said the figures were far too high. . Mr Dale?’ suggested Stephen. so rich in oil. ‘Why too high.’ suggested the Rajah. I’ll still hold onto the Astana. . Surely the British Government can do better than that! The reason why they raise this issue now is patently obvious . ‘It’s no use. Maybe he could play a little bit of poker here. He suspected the Colonial Government was tightening the screw on the Rajah in the belief that cession was only be a matter of time now.’ Dale advised. . pepper. I have changed my mind about it. you know that!’ ‘I am not denying that.’ ‘Oh! Your Highness. Dale paused for a moment. ‘Yes. on second thoughts why don’t you discuss it with the Colonial Office. . . good people . . You know . It’s for Your Highness to make the decision. on the other hand.’ ‘Maybe. I suggest we should postpone the cession for a few months until His Highness has sorted out this matter with the British Government. ‘One third of the amount will be agreeable to the Colonial Office.’ ‘I’ll try. Please inform Danson and Hayes accordingly. This is outside the ambit of the Trust Fund issue. Otherwise. It’s a cheap price to have Sarawak as a new British Colony. Stephen guessed probably it was a bit late in the day to haggle too strongly on this issue. And please do it for the Rajah and his family. ‘But we would need a lot of money to rehabilitate Sarawak . Mr Dale?’ Stephen demanded.’ ‘That’s a great idea!’ After reading the cable and hearing Stephen’s counter-proposal.’ 272 . That perhaps will cool down Bertram.

 . Peter and other Datus .000 to be held for education purposes. The majority of the Malays in Kuching called him a ‘traitor’. he suspected. ‘I am sorry we could not forge a better deal under the circumstances.’                             In the meantime.’ The Rajah smiled. Perhaps Dale already knew this. in which Sarinah had a share. Stephen. also became a centre of gossip and intelligence. There were several good-looking professional ‘dancers’—essentially female companions—to please the two MPs. now I am so angry!’ 273 . ‘How about the Trust settlement?’ asked Stephen. I’ll cable Hayes to say this matter is settled. McBryan was not fit to discuss the matter with the Colonial Office. plus other Brooke expatriate officers who happened to be in town. Two weeks ago. Cable used it to entertain in—much to the delight of both MPs. Datu Pahlawan was actually worried by Datu Patinggi’s and Bertram’s combined efforts to intensify the anti-cession mood. Hayes agreed to £100. conducting the traffic. naked except for a hat and a pair of sandals. ‘Yes. He is still being kept there . . Stephen was not sure what the best meant—best for Sarawak or the Rajah or more likely for the British Colonial Government. Stephen. ‘You have to be firm. ‘Yes. ‘Damn it! . The following day. The police clothed him and took him away to Epsom Mental Hospital for observation.’ The Rajah knew then that even if he wanted Datu McBryan to help him at that juncture on the financial settlement of the Brookes.000 for me and my immediate family in lieu of any other claim from Datu McBryan on the Trust Fund of Sarawak revenue and the balance of £50. . Thank you.’ ‘Please do that. Datu Pahlawan. what rotten luck!’ the Rajah grunted as he tossed the cable into the waste paper basket. London.’ replied the Rajah. ‘Your Highness. Besides. with the utmost reluctance I agree to this counter-proposal for Sarawak’s and Britannia’s sake!’ ‘Then. It never rained but it poured. feeling quite disappointed. I am sure Mr Dale will do his best.1946-1952 ‘Good. he has agreed to the Council Negri’s making provision for Bertram. another cable from the Colonial Office was on the Rajah’s desk. Stephen had to reassure the pro-cessionists at all levels that it was in the best interests of Sarawak to accept cession. he was found “lost” in Piccadilly Circus. . we regret to inform you that Datu McBryan has gone mad again. the Cinta Sayang Cabaret. .’ ‘Well. .’ urged Stephen.

Let them abstain if they are not going to vote for cession.  . Some slanderous!’ ‘Don’t worry.’ ‘Yes. First of all ask Messrs Corson and Pollard to retire because they are known to oppose cession. Adams in his place as the Resident of the Third Division. We’ll push cession through. I am sure of that.’ Somehow. history will prove that cession is the better solution and that your action is right. . . ‘Your Highness.’ ‘I don’t know whether I can stand it any more. but I have made financial provisions for Peter and Bertram with the consent of the British Government after cession and I have suggested also to the British Government that it make a similar 274 . . We must confirm C. Send Barcroft and the others in one by one. The Jitam’s support was lost. Ong’s family also got cold feet after a Malay threat to their lives. Stephen suspected that the Datu was wavering in his loyalty. Even Datu Hakim now appeared nervous and indecisive. subtly suggest to them that they vote for cession. I’ll still be here . D.’ ‘Relax and work hard.L. He tried to enlist the support of B. you won’t be around. Gilbert’s and Barcroft’s support were in doubt.’ ‘Good.’ ‘I know you may think I am selfish.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Why. . After cession. ‘Please sit down. . I’ll brief all Council Negri members as they arrive in Kuching. . Your Highness . I am sure our Rajah can promote you to a higher class of Datu and make some financial arrangements too. On the following day Barcroft met the Rajah. Therefore Temenggong Koh’s unequivocal support was critical. . Aikman is also against it—we must instruct him not to return from Australia before the 20th of May. Y. . and Your Highness. again.S. It was a sort of mirror-image reminder of the Chinese freedom fighting episode. Can you get Mr Cable to call me?’ ‘I will.’ ‘I know how to . Tan.’ ‘Never mind.’ ‘I hope so. ‘Carry all that out.’ The Rajah called up his officers telling them that cession must go through as the Jitams’. . apart from providing some funds for YMA [Young Malay Associations] activities.’ Stephen suggested to the Rajah at the Astana. the ‘Chinese Rebellion’ of 1857. we must neutralise the anti-cessionists.’ ‘Yes  . You are made of tougher stuff . Mr Barcroft . Tse and Father Muller. I am sure you know why you are here. This time it would be the Malays who fought for independence after continuation of pro-Brooke rule.  . my dear Datu?’ ‘They are calling me all sorts of names. Stephen knew he had to act fast. .

there was also a fear of absenteeism due to political pressures and threats to the lives of pro-cessionist Council Negri members. I am sure Peter cannot provide Sarawak with what the British Government can. in that case. ‘Edward . Stephen quickly interrupted in Iban. .’ Temenggong Koh became quite incensed.’ ‘It’s not that. there was a ray of hope of abstention by the anti-cessionists—however. . Your Highness . I’ll check and let you know. . met Bertram who told him that he had had not been consulted nor consented to the cession. Mr Cable but to the institution. That shouldn’t be a problem.’ ‘I am sure you will begin to see it in the right light . it’s just that Bertram is against it. Therefore Cable and Stephen were sent to bring him around. . then. The heavy responsibility of pushing through cession lies on your shoulders too.’ ‘I know that but you must make a stand. nor Britain’s. you are a native officer of Rajah Brooke . So he quickly arranged for Bennett Jarrow to accompany the Temenggong 275 . not mine. since I just learnt that the Tuan Muda had not given his approval to cession. .’ ‘We can’t agree to that. . this afternoon. why don’t I make a personal appointment for you to see the Rajah again?’ ‘Agreed. Ask Temenggong Koh who is also with me.1946-1952 provision—although I can’t promise. . as your loyalty is due to the Rajah. Nobody will blame you for that! Think of Sarawak’s future. yet. ‘Temenggong Koh. . not to the person any more since the Rajah is going to destroy the institution forever in Sarawak. However. but I’ll try again—for those expatriates who want to leave Sarawak after the cession. Isn’t that correct?’ Cable asked pointedly. he knew it was futile.’ ‘I will think about it . if you feel that your personal loyalty belongs to Bertram but that your public duty and loyalty is to the institution of Rajah then abstain from voting.’ ‘Good. . the Rajah has cheated us.’ ‘But that’s done with the approval of the Rajah who considers that it is best for Sarawak to accept cession. Now the plot had thickened. from the Second Division. . ‘Yes.’ ‘Tuan Cable.’ Stephen knew it would be a mistake to ask Jerah to be the interpreter.                             Meanwhile Edward Jerah. Stephen knew about this and that thereafter the Second Division in general began to take a stronger anti-cession stand.’ Similarly the Rajah counselled the rest of the anti-cessionist Brookes’ officers—although already in his heart. and if the Rajah tells you to vote for cession you must do it.

if that’s the Rajah’s wish. to support cession. ask you. I am the Rajah and I also expect my brother to obey me. Even if your brother disagrees with you?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Good. as the Rajah. you must agree to my wish . you would agree!’ Thinking for a few moments. Therefore in the Council Negri. Adams had ‘persuaded’ the Malays and Ibans from Sibu not to call upon Bertram—‘Because the Rajah is the elder brother’.’ He guessed that that was absolutely logical. was asked to calm down the Temenggong. . Temenggong. what would you do?’ ‘Sack him!’ ‘What do you expect of your orders?’ ‘They must be obeyed. to obey the Rajah’s order for cession that is to change the Rajah Government to the British Government.’ ‘But Bertram has not agreed!’ ‘My dear Temenggong.’ ‘Therefore. Adams. . the British Colonial government. if I.D. C. suppose you have a younger brother who’s your deputy and when you give certain orders to the penghulus to do certain things in certain ways and your brother disagrees with you. I expect my brother and all the penghulus to obey me and act upon it.                             At the Astana. I will obey. your brother must obey.’ ‘Good. I am sure my successor called the “Governor of Sarawak” appointed by the British Government can attend to your complaints equally well. also in Kuching. That would apply equally to the case of Tua Kampong chieftains in the Malay kampongs. Temenggong.Twilight of the White Rajahs to see the Rajah.’ ‘Yes. the Temenggong replied. the Rajah tried to persuade the Temenggong talking to him in the Iban language. Now. In fact.’ ‘Yes. it’s my dying wish that Sarawak must prosper with the Adat law intact and I will visit you from time to time to listen to your complaints if you need me . C.D. That logic went down well with these people. . ‘Temenggong. if I say that Rajah will be changed to King or also called the Sarawak Government.’ 276 . then my brother Bertram must obey. like the head of the longhouse or Penghulu. ‘Very good. his orders must be obeyed although the junior members of longhouses or the younger brother of the Penghulu might have different opinions. . as the paramount chief of the Ibans.’ ‘Good. ‘Yes. Tuan Rajah.


‘Yes, Tuan Rajah . . . I swear.’ ‘Excellent. Besides, I have created a Trust with consent from the British Government or the King of England for giving grants or monies in England to needy natives so that they can study in England.’ ‘Bagus. That’s good. I like cession. Very good.’ ‘Terimah kasih . . .’

Datu Pahlawan dropped in at Cable’s house looking downhearted and nervous. ‘What’s the matter?’ Cable asked casually. ‘Well, I have received several death threats, if I support cession.’ ‘That’s nothing new!’ ‘But it worries me. When a Malay gets angry or goes round the bend, he will run amok and do what he says. He can act like a mad Bugis.’ ‘Surely it’s not that serious!’ ‘What if I abstain from voting in the forthcoming Council Negri meeting or don’t turn up?’ ‘I didn’t hear you.’ ‘I say . . .’ ‘Are you gila—mad?’ ‘No. I can’t sleep well at night. My supporters are also being harassed by the kampong Malays—all the hooligan acts are carried out by Datu Patinggi’s camp, although I have no concrete proof.’ ‘Pull yourself together. Do you want a glass of whisky?’ ‘No thank you. I don’t drink.’ ‘Let me take you for a car ride.’ ‘O.K.’ ‘Good, let’s go.’ Cable took the Datu for a car ride. As they passed through the end of Pig Lane, Datu Pahlawan pointed at a house owned by a Chinese, remarked. ‘Itu rumah chantek! That house looks beautiful!’ ‘Why? Do you like it?’ ‘No, what I mean is it’s a beautiful house.’ ‘Well, if you like it, the government can rent or buy it for you.’ ‘No, no. I don’t need it.’ ‘Since you like it, the Sarawak government will buy it for you.’ ‘That wouldn’t be right, you know. I am a police officer.’ ‘It’s not bribery my dear Datu, I think it’s about time that the Brooke government did something for you, namely improving your terms of service

Twilight of the White Rajahs

and after all, you are fighting so hard to make cession a success, in which no doubt, we can thoroughly rely upon you.’ ‘No. No. Acting Chief Secretary. It’s not right.’ ‘Tomorrow, the Sarawak government will buy that house and get the title of that house after cession is pushed through both of the Councils.’ ‘I am not sure whether we can succeed.’ ‘Never mind, you try to get hold of Datu Amar and Datu Hakim and the native officers. Stephen and I can take care of the expatriates. How do you feel now?’ ‘Much better after this fresh air.’ ‘Good. That’s settled then. Besides, H.H. has agreed to make you the Datu Bandar after the cession issue is through.’ ‘Thank the Rajah for me . . .’ ‘It’s nothing. It is people like you that we need in the service, people we can trust and count upon when the chips are down. Let’s go back. Cheer up. Everything will be fine. I’ll be there tomorrow. Just watch me!’


Chapter 40


able, let’s take the two MPs to the Cinta Sayang Cabaret tonight.’ Stephen suggested, jokingly. ‘Why not? I was thinking about that too! They say great minds think alike. They love that sleazy joint. In fact, they’ve been there a few times on their own.’ Cable reported. ‘I suppose they must have asked you.’ ‘Indirectly, in a manner of speaking, yes. I suppose you could say that.’ ‘I am sure that it will provide quite a relief for them in this humid weather.’ ‘You know there isn’t much entertainment for them in Kuching really. I suppose they can go to pick up some girls from the Padungan or the high-class area on Khoo Hun Yeang Street. I believe there are still a few Japanese girls around there!’ ‘Incidentally, I forgot to ask you, what are you going to do after cession?’ Stephen was curious. ‘I don’t really know. I suppose I will stay around for a while before I return to England. I have a small farmhouse in Dorset. How about you?’ ‘Well, I will return to London and perhaps get a part-time job. Things will be different under the Colonial Office and the Governor-in-Council and the rest of it.’ ‘I suppose so.’ ‘It’s getting late. I’ll meet you all at the Cinta Sayang Cabaret at 8.00 pm tonight.’ ‘Fine, I’ll pick up the two MPs and . . . ,’ offered Cable. ‘Good . . . and arrange some “professional dancers” for them. Keep them in good mood and humour.’

Twilight of the White Rajahs

‘Don’t worry . . . leave that to me.’ At the Cinta Sayang Cabaret the atmosphere was electric with gaiety. Traditional music, military marches and western music from a talented Malay band filled the air with memorable tunes. Sarinah came over to Cable’s table. ‘Sarinah, have you met our MPs from England . . . ?’ Stephen offered an introduction. ‘Not been introduced yet, although I’ve seen them here before . . .’ ‘Let me introduce them to you . . .’ After shaking their hands, she sat down. Stephen quickly suggested to Mr Grimberg, ‘Why don’t you have a dance with Sarinah?’ ‘Sure.’ They were on the floor dancing sambas and waltzes for fifteen minutes and then Wallace took over from Grimberg. Then it was Stephen’s turn. When Stephen put his hand around Sarinah’s waist for a slow foxtrot in the dim light, she was purring, ‘Oh Stephen, it’s so beautiful.’ ‘People are watching, Sarinah.’ ‘Let them go to hell! Here I am the Queen. Tonight I want to feel good! Really good!’ Dancing with Stephen cheek-to-cheek with her firm breasts rubbing against him only thrilled her all the more. Somehow, Stephen got worked up. He had not had that type of erotic feeling for quite a while. ‘Hold me tighter. Let me squeeze you, squeeze you out of everything . . . hummh!’ ‘Oh! I can’t breathe now!’ Body music had taken over the band music. That was their focus. Both MPs knew she had a crush on Stephen. Suddenly, the music changed to samba. Stephen quickly broke loose. ‘Let’s do the Malay samba,’ she bade him. ‘That’s fine.’ When the music stopped, they returned to their guests. After a few dances Sarinah left them. The Cinta Sayang Cabaret was the most lively spot in town at night. The issue of cession was temporily forgotten in the minds of the expatriates and locals. When Cable began to slur his speech, Stephen knew it was time for them to go home. ‘Say, it’s about time to leave now, gentlemen. It’s rather late . . . I must say. It’s already one o’clock.’ ‘Don’t worry. To be late is to be early,’ replied Cable. ‘Maybe . . . but I am going to retire.’



‘All right, we’ll take the two professional dancers along with us to the Rajah Arms Hotel.’ ‘Fine.’ ‘Good. I’ll fix the bill and take our honourable guests back to the Hotel too.’ ‘Good night then . . .’ Stephen was the last to make it to the door of the night club. Someone touched his shoulder. He turned around. ‘Oh it’s you!’ Stephen was happily surprised. ‘Why are you leaving so early?’ Sarinah asked. ‘It’s pretty late for me.’ ‘Stephen, I’ve always admired you. Thank you so much for the dance. You are always so proper! . . . so gentlemanly! wow!’ ‘Thank you. If I may say so, you have had quite a few drinks over the evening.’ ‘Well, I am so happy to see you. You are so different from all the stiff and self-centred officers of the Brookes who have little respect for others.’ ‘Thank you for that compliment. I must thank you for using your house as an intelligence centre in Kuching.’ ‘That’s nothing, yes, come over now. Why don’t you take me home? It’s not too far from here. Just a mile away, walk me home.’ ‘Sarinah I . . . I’d better not.’ He hesitated. Stephen knew he was on a weak wicket. She might bowl him over. ‘Never mind that . . . let’s go,’ she insisted. ‘If you insist . . .’ ‘You know I’ll love walking with you.’ Under the bright moon as they were walking to her house, Stephen remembered the sweet time when he had met Mei Ling at the Santubong beach and Main Bazaar decades ago. The same insects’ call, the smell of dew and the cool breeze were still very familiar. ‘Stephen, I have never asked you. Are you happily married to Mei Ling?’ ‘Yes, why?’ ‘You are a perfect couple. She is so pretty, elegant in looks, you know what I mean—so high class and sophisticated, always carrying herself so well. In all the parties we always admire her.’ ‘Thank you. Have you heard from your husband?’ ‘He is still in London. Mad. I mean really mad and angry that the Colonial Office has refused to let him come before the cession issue goes before the Council Negri. Maybe that’s what had caused him to relapse into a mad phase again in Piccadilly Circus . . .’ ‘Yes, I am sorry to hear that. He has done his bit for Sarawak. We all are very appreciative of the fact that you have let us use your house as our unofficial operational centre for intelligence in Kuching.’

Twilight of the White Rajahs

‘That’s nothing! That’s why you are so lucky. He can’t be here with me.’ A few pearly tears oozed out of her beautiful but sad eyes, glinting in the moonlight. ‘I am sorry to hear that . . .’ Stephen offered his handkerchief and she dabbed the tears from her eyes. ‘Thank you. I am all right now.’ She clung to Stephen’s right arm and rested her head there too as they strolled back to her house. ‘Have you got any kids?’ ‘No, I can’t conceive.’ ‘Sorry to hear that. I am really sorry!’ ‘It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just life! Life can be cruel sometimes—most ladies who want sex not babies often get unwanted pregnancies while those really want babies are infertile.’ ‘Yes, sometimes, it seems that way.’ At that moment, she felt so romantic as if hoping the night would never end and as if a new man had walked into her life. ‘I am very, very happy tonight.’ She added with a quivering voice. ‘I feel so good. In the mood for love. I wanted to have a few more dances with you. But you never asked me again.’ ‘I am sorry, but out of good manners, I have to let the other guests who were ever so keen to dance with you have a go. Remember? They took turns to dance with you. They looked so crazily all over you!’ ‘I know that. But you did not!’ ‘You know I shouldn’t.’ Stephen smiled politely. ‘Now, the other “professional dancers” I am sure will provide the delights of Sarawak for the MPs tonight in the hotel.’ ‘I wouldn’t know . . .’ ‘I know that it’s been fixed . . .’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘I know you didn’t do it. Others did. It’s all for the cause of Britannia! Cession to succeed at all costs!’ ‘That’s a very noble sentiment!’ ‘But in one sense not patriotic as far as Sarawak tradition is concerned. I mean the end of the Brookes. Yet, best for the future of Sarawak in time to come. I know that.’ ‘I believe the same.’ ‘I know you feel the same as I do. We are both sentimentalists up to a point. But at the end of the day, we just have to be practical . . . I know Datu McBryan will leave Sarawak after cession. I have an inkling that he will leave me soon. A fortune-teller told me that. Who knows he might leave me again! This time for good. I have nothing else to offer. He wants to marry someone rich. He often mentioned that I don’t like to stay in London, a city of strangers


and foreigners. I like to stay here. And still he likes to talk to the Sultan of Brunei and the Sulu descendants in the Southern Philippines about forming the Pan-Islamic Empire.’ ‘He is incorrigible!’ After reaching the house, Sarinah ushered him to a couch in the lounge. ‘Now this is our latest intelligence report in Kuching. Datu Pahlawan, Datu Menteri and Datu Hakim have come under tremendous pressure to abandon the pro-cession stand. Threats to lives have been made by the extremists, probably from Datu Patinggi’s agents. And also against the Chinese—Ong . . . and Tse . . . and Tan . . .’ ‘I see . . .’ ‘They plan to have a demonstration the morning before the Council Negri meeting . . .’ ‘Well, we will tell the Police Commissioner to refuse a permit or to preempt it . . .’ ‘That’s a good move. Warn them beforehand. Then they will ask themselves who is behind the leak.’ ‘That’s a brilliant idea!’ She sounded as if she had learnt a trick or two from Datu McBryan. ‘Come and sit down by the couch and let me make you a drink. Stengah?’ ‘Stengah! Thank you, not too strong.’ They toasted each other. Then she was leaning on his shoulder. ‘I am so lonely here, Stephen,’ she confided melancholically. ‘People despise me because they think I was a Japanese spy or collaborator. Actually, all I did was to help them in the sense of community work—raising funds not for the war—but for social projects to help the Malays here so that the Japs would not torture the Malays. I am proud to say that the Japanese treated the Malays quite well in general. Datu Pahlawan as the Police Officer and later on, as a magistrate, was in the same shoes—as a police officer and a magistrate. Datu Patinggi acted similarly. It would have been worse for all of us and the Malay community if we had openly defied or fought them. You know what I mean? Some Chinese were executed on that account.’ ‘Yes, I know exactly what you mean.’ ‘Then there were the “comfort women” from the Philippines, Thailand and other places to take care of those beastly Japanese soldiers who have practically free sex because they were so bored and have nothing else to do here. There was not much resistance to them here in Sarawak. No Dayak nor Chinese nor Malay resistance.’ ‘I can imagine that. Did they treat you well? I mean . . .’ ‘Well, the officers never touched me because I knew their commanding officer well . . .’

and took off her clothes while she kissed him tenderly. . I feel like a woman who needs to be conquered . underpants. . .’ Stephen protested while she stroked him between his legs. Please suck my breasts . please. ‘I have not had it . she could smell the sharply acrid male scent of his skin with the heat and mushiness. I must not .’ ‘Yes. . . I am so happy to talk to you about the innermost problems of my heart .’ ‘I know. I mean as a figure of speech. Stephen . . . her senses bemused by the compulsion that drove her. He knew it was wrong for him to make love to his friend’s wife. .’ ‘But you are not going to care for me as a friend. Slowly Sarinah got up and switched off the light in the sitting room but leaving the light in the kitchen on. . but .’ ‘Oh Sarinah! I am no tiger. . .’ ‘I don’t know what you mean! If he means what he says. his trousers. I think I’d better make a move . Stephen’s body stiffened and then relaxed. like a hungry tigress. Sarinah.’ ‘Don’t go. ‘He would have preferred a friend to look after me than a stranger. . while she looked with totally uninhibited and unfamiliar avid intensity at his manhood. tonight. his shoes and socks with savage unsteadiness. I shouldn’t. I bet mentally you must have suffered a lot .’ She was half lost with her hot lips on his and her naked body on him rubbing him left and right in deep rapture. and as her body became one unbearable ache of anguished need. . . loving him. . I am glad to hear that. Sarinah . . I want you to ride on me. and her whole body went into a violent spasm of pleasure as a taut.’ ‘That’s perfectly OK. . ‘Oh. . She could feel his trembling hands caressing her breasts. Her breasts were still firm and inviting caresses.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘That’s good. . ‘I . for so long. She ripped off his shirt. terribly and in my heart too! .’ She grasped his hands and put them on her breasts which were yearning for tender caresses. 284 . aching for him. . stay for a while. .’ she leaned forward and gently kissed Stephen’s earlobes and neck. Didn’t Gerald ask you to look after me?’ ‘Yes.’ she murmured. . ‘He is a nut. Taut and ready to break his fly. ‘I can’t. Don’t spoil the mood. then he is a nut. He always says so. .’ ‘Please caress me. yes. we shouldn’t. You are my friend’s wife.’ Stephen could not resist. God knows how long! But.’ she murmured. Please. haunting cry escaped her lips. Her heartbeat increased to a frantic tattoo as she stroked him. her hands clutching hard at his arms. I need it.’ ‘Do it please. His manhood’s response was incredible even at his age. with his trembling hands fingering her nipples and then bringing them near to his tongue. .

Sarinah.’ ‘Stephen. She took in everything he had with such passionate joy as if she would give him everything he wanted—even her dear life. A series of spurting explosions. I adore you. every muscle turned to jelly. a frantic explosion of mutual need to expiate their anguish and fear.’ he murmured. how much I miss it. . to me. Like a storm brewing for hours.’ He screamed. as at that instant her body. Once he was inside her. ‘Oh! God.’ she apologised meekly. He felt a heavy load shoot out of his body and both felt their heads and souls had left and were fluttering in the land of eternal bliss and ecstasy. . raptures exploded within her one after another—unable to count the number. The lovemaking was an intense. love me. Sensuous kissing followed with vacuum-sucking sounds coming intermittently with a new body music—the quick-step motion. . Then they rolled from side to side until their quivering bodies moved like a single stroke piston engine at 100 RPM—he was plunging deep inside her in a torrent of wild strokes. as beautiful as a star. they were still holding on to each other. She was so weak momentarily that she was incapable of moving. she pushed her voluptuous body up and down on him.1946-1952 Their bodies. moved more easily now with a film of sweat in between them improving lubricity. you are so sexy . Yes. ‘Really. ‘I am sorry to seduce you. ‘I can’t stand it any more . . please come. . ‘Oh! Sarinah. She continued to stroke him tenderly until he could stand it no more. slippery and hungry for action and consummation. their desire escaping with a violent speedy explosion.’ ‘Oh .’ 285 . ‘Oh! It’s so good—such beautiful body music. come . in command.’ She squeezed his shoulder hard while her groin gyrated like a Turkish belly dancer’s. as a rose. Then rotated left and right. as a dream. ‘Yes.’ she moaned unconsciously. smell. A few minutes later. . They never wanted it to end—so shameless—helplessly passionate. almost savage-edged coming together. we shouldn’t do this. yes. dictating the depth. . the hot. . you are so beautiful. pace and rhythm of the music of love—from samba rhythm to quick waltz now. ‘It’s my fault too! I should not come here at night. joyous tears of sexual release seeping from her eyes. She held him while he sought her most private part—moist. breasts and the black patch between her legs were the focus of his joy and passion responding to the samba rhythm of her body music.’ He closed his eyes fantasising the climax.’ They held their bodies so tightly that not even air could pass between them. Stephen. hungry for touches and caresses. Only by day.’ Her feeling was intense as moist tissues stretched to accommodate him. yes. come now. She was on top. ‘Come. yes.’ she cried. ‘Come.

 . . Winning cession will be close. . I promised him the Turtle Islands and his hereditary title .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘That’s the best part. . . it’s only for you to ask and for me to give. get it from the Colonial Office . I really hope both of you will succeed. I doubt we can get that type of money again. get some more money  . . .’ ‘I fear the Jitams and some Ibans from the First and Second Divisions could change their stand too once they have met up with Bertram. Sarinah. You are teaching me to be a bad guy!’ ‘You are a good gentle lover.’ ‘That’s right. They made him change his mind. I will give it to you any time. but the people around him are hopeless.’ ‘He personally wants cession.’ ‘I am not sure. Datu McBryan.  .’ ‘No.’ ‘I know that . Sarinah. But you know . they could change sides. . it’s not easy. .’ replied the Datu grudgingly. especially with the fact the Datu Patinggi is strongly against it. It’s a very emotional subject.’ ‘That’s part of the reason why I come to see you apart from getting any advice and ideas you may have.’ ‘Somehow. ‘After they have learnt that Bertram and Peter had never agreed to cession. But the colour of money can change their minds.’ ‘The Brookes’ expatriates officers are divided on the issues of cession.  . ‘Say. lying on his own bed. So are the Brookes’ native officers . Second and Fourth and Fifth Divisions. including Bintulu.’ Stephen was wondering whether McBryan’s statement of ‘look after her for me’ included this degree of intimacy due to his weird outlook on life and sex. That’s a bad idea. ‘Thank you.  . that bloody sinew of war will prove handy in the last minutes before voting in the Council Negri and the Supreme Council. I heard from Peter that the expatriates in the First. I really mean it. anyway. I am sure you know that Banks and I have to follow up your good work in pushing through cession in Sarawak.’ ‘That seems to be the case. . he recalled the scene a few weeks ago when he had gone to see Datu McBryan before leaving for Sarawak. She could be helpful in certain ways. . Have you got any suggestions?’ ‘Contact my wife. would support Bertram on anti-cession. 286 . From now on you should come here at night more often.  . That much is clear. anywhere. no.                             Back in his quarters.’ ‘Don’t doubt that it  .’ ‘Sure .’ Stephen explained.’ ‘Any particular reason?’ Datu McBryan was piqued. .

I will. . Look after her well for me. It’s best that way.’ ‘What about Sarinah?’ ‘That’s a simple matter. Take care of her when you are there. She is still young and beautiful and she can remarry or become a Nyai mistress of the colonial officers in Sarawak.’ ‘Sure.’ ‘I have a feeling that I might want to marry again. . .’ ‘Never mind. ‘When are you coming to Sarawak again?’ ‘Perhaps September . she is great. But to tag along with me and my wild ambition. ‘I’ll cable Sarinah to expect you . . we will. you have done your part. find it. ‘Good luck .’ ‘Well. When you are there please ask Edward to get me some more collections of the Brookes’ butterflies . .’ ‘Poor girl.  . but H.’ ‘Sure.H. She will take the same good care of you as she would take of me. . Take good care of her.1946-1952 ‘Well. she must have suffered a lot. . actually.’ ‘True.’ Stephen was not sure what McBryan meant. . . .’ ‘Why?’ ‘To further my new career. anyway.’ ‘Incidentally I gather she is singing in the Cinta Sayang Cabaret in Kuching and is a hit there.  .’ ‘I am sorry to hear you say that.’ ‘Sure . Gerald  .’ ‘I need that. she will suffer more. . I have only to cite ‘Talak’ three times and the divorce will be over. I will. .’ Edward Banks had been the Curator of the Sarawak Museum and Datu McBryan had been his assistant. the cession issue will be hard fought and may fail at the last minute.’ ‘Yes .’ ‘All the best. the Colonial Office and Secretary of State would not hear of it .’ consoled Stephen who knew Bertram would use the bribery issue to defeat cession in the confused state of mind prevailing at the voting in the two Councils. Remember.’ ‘Sure you will. . we will do our best. contact her..’ ‘Well. . She will provide excellent service to all of you. won’t you. When you get there. to settle everything before I move on to my new life.’ 287 . otherwise. I want to go.

The Rajah rose and addressed them in Malay. They are here to witness the transformation of Sarawak from a Brooke institution into a British colony. engineers. every Sarawakian should be. After the first reading of the Bill. cession is a concept not easily understood by many. ‘My fellow citizens and representatives of the Sarawak people and honourable members of the Council Negri and Supreme Council. lawyers and others. The Tuan Muda knew that the battle over cession in the Council Negri would be tough. Present were both MPs.Chapter 41 O n 14th May 1946. I can tell you this: it is only in the best interests of Sarawak’s future. ‘But. the critical issue before the Council Negri was whether cession was on or not. Everyone was waiting anxiously for the Rajah’s speech. waiting patiently to see how clumsy and boring the whole proceeding would be. Stephen told Cable. whatever you may think. 288 . more educational facilities. both members of the British Parliament. today we have two distinguished guests among us—Messrs Grimberg and Wallace. your people’s future that I want the British Government to take care of you and bring greater development to Sarawak after the Brookes have gone. to stick to a show of hands for psychological advantage. The Rajah had just appointed Stephen as Secretary of Native Affairs. teachers. ‘I know many of you here are generally concerned about the future of Sarawak. Yes. However. the Council Negri’s President. Yes. agriculturists. Colonial development and welfare grants to meet the increased demand for expansion in education and the social services and for reorganisation of the administration. the Council went about its usual business.

The British will leave behind the most precious legacies for you all—the British civil service tradition. ‘As the Rajah. ‘Datu Patinggi and some of you may remember my late father’s speech in this honourable Council Negri. and it was for them that the Brookes and its officers were serving in Sarawak. No private bank is big enough to take on this monumental task. The British Government has more money.000. Bertram’s son. More development and improvements will follow. cannot survive after the war. There is no need to postpone it for more discussion or referendum. Ibans.  . It’s you. Peter. my Adeh. ‘My beloved brother here. Chinese  . ‘One day. cession is not to be decided by me nor Bertram. and a bigger organisation to bring benefit to Sarawak than Peter ever will or can have.1946-1952 ‘Now only the British Government is interested in assisting Sarawak in its postwar rehabilitation and reconstruction. What can he do when compared to the British Government? One person against the whole British Government! A British Colony with links also to the British Commonwealth with special preference on trade and taxes. experience. greater wealth and prosperity. The 289 . stability and social progress”—never experienced before—with no detour from the road to natural and spiritual happiness than to place Sarawak in another realm. The renowned British justice and fairness will be better than the Brookes’ justice. You have to decide today your own future. is still hot-headed and he has proven to me and the government that he is not fit to be the next Rajah. We must move forward to safeguard and promote your interests and welfare at the dawn of new era. ‘In general. Bertram. Your “Nine Principles” in the 1941 Constitution and Adat lama will be protected. and myself are well over 70 years old—far too old to be effective Rajahs. He said something to the effect that Sarawak does not belong to the Brookes but the Malays. Yes.  . More certain and progressive too! ‘I must admit—sadly—that the Brooke tradition. I believe the two honourable members of the British Parliament are satisfied that there is in general a desire for the majority of Sarawakians to embrace cession—for better business prospects. enlightenment. the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law—better than the Brookes or other western powers by a hundred times. the members of Council Negri who have to decide under our constitution and law. ‘Whatever respect is due to my father’s will. after receiving training and experience from the British Colonial Government you will rule your own country. though romantic. trade. or your Tuan Muda. an era of “awakening. It will cost at least £8. No other government is interested. The future Governor under the British Colonial system is only a different name from the Rajah. I’ll endeavour to visit you as often as I can to ensure a smooth transition. education. you always obey me and the institution.000.

‘We don’t doubt the benefit of cession. ‘The future happiness and prosperity of Sarawak lie with cession. of course. . I am sure the people of Sarawak want their children to become doctors. . Why? Indeed you may well ask. Because you have a financially strong mother country.  . Terimah Kasih. since our Rajah had given us this rare opportunity. .’ However. ‘That matter has been resolved. The Datu continued. Thank you . members of this Council Negri should thank him and be obedient to his orders for the welfare of the people .’ Stephen replied in Malay. ‘Today is the best day. Mr Grimberg and Mr Wallace. The issue is not whether the Brookes should perpetuate their dynasty and fight for the fourth Rajah but whether the British Government can offer more to help Sarawak to develop and protect its interests domestically and internationally than the Brookes.’ That was supported by his brother. Sarawak might have been ceded earlier. But it is an inappropriate moment in history for Sarawak to decide Sarawak’s future while we are debating here. Abang Abdulrahim. . There are thousands in other parts of Sarawak who have no chance to be really told about and consulted properly on this issue . put up a counter argument. ‘Your Excellency . . . England. Datu Pahlawan opened the case in Malay for cession. yes. That’s why we had the two honourable MPs from England.’ Spurway [in charge of the forests] reinforced the argument: ‘ . with low standards of education all these magnificent ambitions would only remain frozen in their heads. . . . Cable and the rest. The Brooke’s rule has been here for more than a century. Cession does not mean a wholesale upheaval and departure from our constitutional rights but to lead you to a happier world full of liberty and prosperity . . . agriculture and health service  . with the best tradition in its civil service and legal system—which has no peer in other countries—to take over the enormous responsibility of running Sarawak from the Brookes’ hands. 290 . I propose to move the second reading of the bill . The answer is. John Goddard. . the thoughts and aspirations of the pioneers of the Brookes’ rule and tradition. the Fourth and Fifth Divisions Resident. as greater progress and prosperity will take place under a colonial government particularly in education. ‘It’s my firm belief that the decision to support cession is a correct one. . . .Twilight of the White Rajahs Brookes’ rule will and must end one day. One of the many benefits of cession would be an infusion of highly qualified technical officers and the strengthening of the Administrative Office. I am merely fulfilling their wishes from their graves. Trust the British Government as you have trusted me.  . This is only a gentle reminder of our past legacy. and lawyers . Had not Great Britain been involved in war and the Japanese occupied Sarawak. . engineers. My late father and Rajah Sir James had always wanted England to take over.’ A standing ovation followed before the Rajah left.

Now which member here can name me the country which will give a loan to Sarawak? Can you afford to repay the loans? On what terms? These are dreams. It is my duty to point out that the state could not continue to operate without British financial assistance. . An offer has been made by the British Government and if it is not taken up. and will probably decline still further unless Sarawak comes together with other countries such as Great Britain into some sort of amalgamation otherwise. America has no interests here. it is a very serious matter for Sarawak. ‘The British Government would not be that crude or cruel. Yes. The Rajah. ‘Surely. Europe and America have just come out of World War II. people will starve . Unless there is more money to increase food production. . G.’ L. we either exist or do not exist. all political offers have strings attached. ‘Sarawak will not have the money to rehabilitate and rebuild Sarawak .E.D. if I may I would like to answer that point. you may lose that opportunity forever. Gentlemen. took up an anti-cession stand. ‘Mr President. . They need not help you. . the honourable member is rather pessimistic .’ Goddard stood up. The British Government will. We have to be pragmatists. ‘That may be fine in theory. A bird in hand is worth three in the bush. to test whether cession will be acceptable to this Honourable Council. Revenue is less than before the war.1946-1952 to come to Sarawak to ascertain the general feeling on cession. ‘It’s too hasty to push through cession at this stage. Of course. Sarawak can still slowly build up its economy with some borrowing . that’s true.That’s life anywhere! Even if you borrow from banks or on a government-to-government basis. . .’ It was rare sight for a Brooke officer to argue publicly against the policy of the Brooke’s government. There is no Marshall Plan for Sarawak. .’ Up on his feet again Goddard retorted. that is absolutely not necessary. they will point a pistol at us and say. I am unable to believe that if we have to go anywhere else for money or for a loan from the British Government. The answer is “yes” for cession on balance of all the opinions surveyed.’ ‘Agreed.’ 291 . President. Indeed. the Resident of the First Division. In fact we have agreed on that. Gascoigne supported cession too.’ Ditmas.’ confirmed Cable. we will be sunk. the British Government and even the Tuan Muda had agreed to our present procedure namely.’ Spurway begged to differ. and has already set the terms. Spurway replied immediately. ‘We should have a referendum!’ ‘With respect. “No cession: no money”. ‘ . Kennedy [Trade and Customs] supported that sentiment too. . . The Treasurer. Sarawak cannot afford to remain indifferent or independent.’ Stephen interrupted. . feeling that he must reinforce cession’s stand.

‘I think. German. .’ Dissatisfied. the Rajah and the King of England coming from the same country . ‘My humble proposal is simply this. is still the best when compared to the French.’ ‘There are other options. that would be a retrogressive step to take. .’ Then the Reverend Peter Howes stood up. Sarawak will be left in an international orphanage if the United Nations were to have a hand in it.Twilight of the White Rajahs Kennedy supported the argument. . will they be told only of Uganda and not of Kenya? They ought to know about both. ‘Under British rule. . Oyang Lawai—it is at least an “Orang Puteh” white government to another “Orang Puteh” white government  . we have discussed that matter already. two vices. Why don’t we postpone cession until the people know more about the issues involved. gambling and opium smoking would be banned and the status of the Chinese would be raised to that of the natives.’ Now Philip Jitam from the Sarawak Dayak Association joined in the debate. in the words of a respected chief of the Orang Ulu tribe . . ‘Mr President. ‘£500. Great Britain. Mr President.  .’ ‘The local people and members of the Council Negri have already found it controversial and difficult to comprehend the concept of cession. . All it says is that Sarawak is not to become part of the Malayan Union . Sarawak cannot fulfil its financial obligations without the assistance of the British Government. . ‘No way can Sarawak in its present form survive the difficulties ahead. .’ Stephen interrupted again. Goddard argued again. are they to be told nothing about Jamaica? When they ask whether their lands will be secured to them under British rule.000! That’s hardly enough to foot a fraction of the costs of rehabilitation . . at least.’ Kennedy replied.000 to the Sarawak Government. for example Sarawak could be administered as a Trust Territory . ‘I must say the British Government’s statement and policy are not clear. we must be realists as mentioned by H. When they ask whether they will be happy under British rule. No bank after the war is interested in making a rehabilitation loan to Sarawak. . Cession is either on or off the plate after this Council Negri and Supreme Council meeting today and tomorrow . Indeed. They do not yet know such things and this should be taken into consideration . L. . and its administration as a colony would be generally in accord with the “Nine 292 .P. already.H. Dutch or Portuguese. . . ‘I believe that Peter Brooke had indicated that the Chartered Bank would be prepared to extend an overdraft of £500. despite its unpopularity and imperfections. . let alone the idea of Trust Territory. Chartered Bank is just too small!’ In support of cession. honourable members of the Council Negri. Khoo said. has proven to the world that its colonial administration.  .

the Governor will then discuss all the constitutional questions with community representatives and other concerned persons with a view to recommending what steps ought to be taken at the time when these changes are to be made to associate the people of Sarawak with its government and administration as conditions permit.’ ‘But. In passing. it is my considered opinion that the British Government has not provided a sufficient guarantee that the “Nine Cardinal” principles would be upheld wholly and unreservedly .1946-1952 Cardinal” principles . There is no commitment on the part of the British Government.’ ‘It’s not the paradox it appears because India and Egypt are mature enough to govern themselves.’ Stephen continued to explain. . though high-sounding and alluring. No doubt. the fullest regard will be given to the adat lama rights and customs of all communities and there is no intention of exploiting the people or the resources of the country. medical services and communications and controlled development of trade and resources with a view to raising the standard of living of the Sarawakians. No doubt.’ argued Jitam. I am sure the language was crafted by 293 . No guarantee of anything .’ Philip Jitam stood up. These are just words. The goal is self-government for Sarawak one day after proper rehabilitation. . There are no guarantees. But I can assure you that in essence the Sarawak Constitution would have to be altered to allow certain amendments necessitated by cession. all in all.’ ‘Be that as it may sound. ‘It is still too vague. Yes. ‘that policy allows maximum progressive constitutional development. it’s still too vague. . As to the British Government’s policy it’s not too vague!’ ‘Yes. I may add that among the most important objectives would be the rehabilitation and improvement of education. . Sarawak goes from an independent country back to a colony. It seems that the language of the statement. I have doubts over their future policy. ‘the impact of the British statement is still not clear and it’s difficult to assess the interpretations which are purely the subjective views of the President if I may say so. ‘It may appear vague or non-committal. The Rajah’s confidence is based on the century-old relationship between Sarawak and the British Government. I don’t understand why Britain is desperately trying to get rid of India and Egypt on the one hand while on the other hand simultaneously snatching Sarawak from its rightful heirs. Mr President. . contains implicit reservations which could be taken to be British subtle and diplomatic methods by which they could avoid any guarantee later on.’ Immediately. Fellow members. . Stephen took it upon himself to clarify the British statement that had been published in the Sarawak Tribune on the morning before the First Reading of the cession bill. training and reorganisation of the administration.

If the vote of cession prevails here. The incoming British Colonial Government is a vast improvement over the Brookes’ administration and present constitution. Your example pertains to land. so are the Council Negri and Supreme Council. have found that on balance. until a fully responsible government is in place.’ ‘Then. and later to semi-responsible. object in time to come when local representatives in both Councils have a greater voice under the British Colony?’ ‘No. laws. without prior consultation. Besides. if I may say so!’ ‘Not really. Will this act be considered as binding and proper? And would you. Based on the evaluation of public opinion in and among various Divisions and races both honourable British MPs. knowing all the facts. The comparison is not apt. For example. all I can say is that cession now is not to be decided by the Rajah and Tuan Muda but by the members of this honourable Council under the Rajah’s system. the Sarawak people do support cession. But the wills cannot bind these legislative bodies. And. they can change the laws. and Bertram opposes cession. Would you. we will be keeping pace with the development all over the world of partially representative government. there is a second issue here which has troubled me a great deal and all those who oppose cession: under the late Rajah’s will cession would have to be agreed by Bertram. condemn or condone such an act?’ ‘Well. therefore. who are present with us here today. then the late Rajah’s will have no place. tries to dispose of the property. I don’t know if that was done deliberately and kept as a nice ambiguity. then fully representative government. a certain property is left as a legacy to be held in trust for two brothers.Twilight of the White Rajahs legal experts of the Colonial Office. Parliament is supreme. acting in the best of faith. That fear is real and reasonable! Now.’ argued Stephen.’ 294 . Consequently the trustee. your fear is totally misplaced. these points will be brought before the Colonial Governor-in-Council and the future Council Negri. there is no reference whatsoever to Chinese citizenship. until there was mutual consent the question of cession should not be decided. ‘in fact. trusts and equity but this is a constitutional question and law. the Council Negri and Supreme Council are supreme.  . Mr Jitam. Like the British Parliament.  .’ ‘Have no fear  .

I do not want. ‘ . ‘ . We can record that in this meeting. We hope you will continue to play your useful role on behalf of the Malay community.  . therefore to leave a bad name in this world and thereafter. Because I am an old man. that action would be to deprive the Rajah of his throne and to spurn both the good services rendered by the Brookes and the independence of Sarawak. to the Rajah and to the Brooke succession. . The Council Negri will still exist but with greater representation of the locals and the Rajah-in-Council will be changed only in name to Governor-in-Council. ‘Therefore if I were to agree to cession.’ Datu Patinggi. We certainly hope you will continue your good service in the interests of Sarawak. and it is also a great sin against Allah the Almighty God who will give me no peace of mind in this world and thereafter. . No future Malays or natives or British subjects can ever have the chance to be the Rajah any more. ‘Datu Patinggi  . and also my act of injustice will be written by historians in different parts of the world. We must see the question in terms of loyalty. My good service extending over 62 years will be in vain. pushed back his glasses and spoke in Malay. tearfully continued. charged with emotion.’ Stephen replied.’ The 1941 Constitution. The 295 . But the real problem is this: if I were to support cession. was enacted for the purpose also of reducing the influential power of the Datu Patinggi. Datu Patinggi rose. in my case as the leader of the Malay community. . all the members there were waiting anxiously for what Sarawak’s leading anti-cessionist was going to reply.Chapter 42 A fter a short recess.  . the hereditary chief of the indigenous peoples of Sarawak who had frustrated the Rajah’s attempt to let his daughter succeed him by altering the law. as far as he could recollect. . we all appreciate your good service rendered to Sarawak.

as the country develops with more complex administrative procedures and a greater volume of work. irrespective of whether this document was signed by Datu Patinggi on account of his fears for his personal safety or of disloyalty to the Rajah. The functions will continue to be the same.’ There was a standing ovation from the anti-cession members. ‘Accessibility may be less frequent but not denied. stiff and forced upon. Look around . See for yourself the living proofs of success. You will not be worse off  . Once upon a time.” I dare say that document was translated in Jawi. Guarantees for better days are still unknown. Australia. Not French nor German nor Japanese. that 296 . One day. With your permission.Twilight of the White Rajahs Rajah post will be replaced by the Governor.’ ‘With respect to that document. Price of losing Brooke’s tradition not realised till it’s gone. ‘Before I sit down I would like to give a pantun Malay rhythmic verse: ‘Rajah Brooke’s Sarawak must continue from dawn to dawn. New Zealand and even the USA were British colonies. . . . Datu Patinggi willingly and duly has signed this document which is also signed by three other Datus. Colonial cession would be hasty. forever like wind be gone. under any government.’ ‘Let me explain. Not Americans. but you can’t jump the gap of history without throwing the whole wheel of government into chaos and civil strife . Sarawak’s majority against cession is long foregone.’ Datu Patinggi wound up his speech.’ ‘But I still oppose cession.  . . ‘I totally agreed with Datu Patinggi’s sentiments and views. Canada. I would like to read it: “We hereby affirm and declare our complete confidence in the judgement and sagacity of Your Highness and unreserved support for whatever reasons Your Highness determines to pursue since we know fully well that the paramount interest of Your Highness is the welfare of the people of all races dwelling in Sarawak. the accessibility of the Rajah which is one of the principle virtues of the Brooke regime will disappear. India also now is heading for independence. Besides. it speaks for itself. there are so many British colonies in the West Indies. Africa and the Eastern Archipelago.  .’ Stephen replied again.’ ‘I didn’t understand the implications. the British Government will help Sarawak to achieve independence faster than you would under the Brookes now for the reasons stated earlier. They are British. Once carefree Sarawak is gone. Next Abang Mustapha rose and argued. I fear under an impersonal colonial government. Trust the British Government as you have trusted the British Rajah. Mr President.’ ‘Mr President.

’ Abang Mustapha was far from being satisfied. The Governor can still see you from time to time at public functions or for private appointments. does not represent the Malay kampongs view. . ‘But I am certainly not impressed with the previous argument that Sarawak’s indebtedness will necessary make cession mandatory. we Malays will be the foremost race to suffer and be oppressed by the foreigners. I beg to differ. until finally we will die a national death!’ ‘Sir. . . all these apprehensions are tantamount to exaggerated fear . later. because they love him. ‘but. the Council Negri.’ ‘Mr President. The MNU itself has only two thousand members divided into three groups.1946-1952 personal access will inevitably be more restricted over a period of time. we won. . totally unfounded. In any event. furthermore. there are special debts—rehabilitation and reconstruction costs and problems. your fear. Our father. I don’t foresee any reason why the question of war debts could not be arranged between the Rajah and his people. . . We must move on the path of progress—of course. But your voice. Allah is great . The departure of the Rajah from Sarawak is heartaching . Allah Akbar. What’s the number? You are representing the MNU. Customary laws will remain intact . Cession here is the only answer. That is inevitable and would occur even if the Brookes’ government were expanded to three times its present size. the Rajah and our grandfather the King did not lose the war against Japan and Germany . We have to be realists! We all can have all the romantic dreams and noble gestures. . police stations and law courts. we might have had more time to look at all the other options. In normal peacetime. What you say is an exaggerated fear again. There is no proof to back up what you fear. this is a post World War II cession.’ ‘That was a most heart-warming speech! A typical Brookes’ sentimentalist view nevertheless! A romantic view too!’ acknowledged Stephen. your complaints can still be heard in local councils. the father cannot and must not leave his house . in the best interests of the people of Sarawak. Because of this we most earnestly beseech that Sarawak should not be ceded as long as the Rajah and his line of succession and the people of this country still have breath. There is nothing in the history of the world to show the victor giving up his country. it is our Malay kampongs’ belief that if Sarawak is ceded to the crown. . . At the end of the day. if his family cries. Who does MNU really represent apart from themselves?’ 297 . . . Right after a world war. it will become a matter not to be so nice in the house but also it will become a question which is harder and heavier for the father and the grandfather. I regret very much if the father does not care for the appeal of his children and his family. better economies and development for a better and greater future are things we must look forward to. . I am afraid.

and myself will abide by their wish. Sarawak will always have 298 . I would rather see this line of succession come to an end than that any family differences of opinion should be the cause of quarrelling or ill-feeling among the people of Sarawak. ‘That would be tragic and an unfair legacy to the peace-loving people of Sarawak. The Abang class here in this honourable council do not agree with your Malay youth association . After the Brookes have left Sarawak. My son. If a majority of the people of Sarawak at the end of the day after a full evaluation of the races including those inside the jungle—not merely townsfolks—still wants cession. the Second World War and the Japanese Occupation and the Liberation have made it necessary to strike a new relationship between Sarawak and Britain. . There have been three generations of Rajah Brookes’ rule here. I’ll repeat that again. ‘Honourable members of this distinguished council and distinguished guests. ‘I have a soft spot for Sarawak. However. it belongs to the Malays.’ ‘But I regret to say that the MNU still is not representative of Sarawak Malays’ viewpoint—not even in Kuching and its immediate vicinity. we cannot protect your land and future. my late father. This undue haste has caused me to take an anti-cession stand. Silence was only broken when Tuan Muda cleared his throat. Under the 1941 Constitution. It will be gone forever. by a stroke of the pen. I can’t see why a solution cannot be found by means of consultations and discussions with the British Government which is never known to be unreasonable. Yes. ‘It is clear that. Peter. ‘However—hear me out clear and loud—I do not want the vote to cause animosity and ill-feeling among the various people and races of Sarawak. This is the last chance for a Malay or a native of Sarawak to be a Rajah.’ Now came the turn of the mastermind of the anti-cessionists to address the Council Negri. Charles Brooke. Land Dayaks.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘We are the biggest political organisation representing the Malays. such a delicate matter must not be handled in a high-handed manner and with unnecessary haste. and Vyner. my beloved citizens of Sarawak and friends. Chinese. ‘the sole object of my presence today is to represent the line of succession of the Rajah and to assure the people of my willingness to submit to the wishes of the people of Sarawak. You have so many factions. . Sir James Brooke. Orang Ulu and others who choose to make it their home and country. will perish in the dust of history.’ began the Tuan Muda in Malay. No matter what happens. then that is fine. Frankly. ‘Although I am old. Remember that. a Malay or a native of Sarawak is also competent to be or become Rajah. The institution of Rajah. Ibans. Sarawak does not belong to the Brookes. my son is still healthy. The Rajah institution will not be a phoenix ever to be resurrected from the ashes of cession nor the British colonial system.

If you love Sarawak in your hearts dearly. Looking back to the Rajah Brookes only for respect. We need more time for Sarawakians to understand cession before agreeing to cession.1946-1952 a place in my heart. then in English. therefore. Bertram also spoke in Malay to them while all the speeches in English by white officers of Brooke were not fully translated. just like the British Parliament. He is almost as old as the Rajah. to abolish any laws passed before. I repeat. to recite a pantun in reply to Datu Patinggi’s: ‘Century ago Brunei ceded Sarawak to the Brookes. New political aspiration and prosperity now they expect. the Rajah never went to get the Tuan Muda’s consent. ‘Honourable members of this Council . Cable sensed that the fire of anti-cession had intensified after being stoked up by Bertram. that’s why in the enactment of the 1941 Constitution.’ In reply to Datu Patinggi’s Pantun.’ Immediately a standing ovation resounded from the anti-cession members. ‘With respect to the issue of consent by Tuan Muda. I would like to add here. if I may.’ Stephen explained. Terimah kasih. the final authority lies in the Council Negri and Supreme Council which have the inherent power. Alas! World War had changed the world of yesteryear. that it is His Highness’ view that Peter Brooke has proved himself a failure thrice as a ruler despite His Highness’ encouragement and that had convinced him that cession of Sarawak to the British Crown is the best course to be taken for the welfare of the natives and all races and the well-being. If you remember. His Highness believes strongly that history is on his side and cession will be judged to be the right and best choice by future historians. No parliament. . first in Malay. Cleverly. . honourable members .’ 299 . Only then can Sarawak catch up and succeed. . then vote wisely and defeat this bill on cession. I would like. Why? Simply because the supreme authorities—the Council Negri and Supreme Council—passed the bill on the 1941 Constitution. development and prosperity of Sarawak. Tuan Muda has refused many times to be successor. Mr President. Have no fear! Britannia is already here! Sarawak cannot march forward with little coffer. Stephen also pulled out his verse. Sarawak expanded northwards from rivers to brooks. . King of England shall rehabilitate with more to offer. Sarawak must therefore proceed to cede. no Council Negri can pass laws that can bind a subsequent parliament or Council Negri. ‘our present Rajah firmly believes that the political will of his late father was merely an expression of wishes and that he was not bound by it regarding the succession of the Rajah. if I may. It was against the Accession Oath stipulated by the late Rajah Charles Brooke.

Luckily Barcroft and Datu Hakim abstained. Howes voted against the motion. . Sweat poured down his face. That was the finale of Stephen’s speech.S.H. Stephen. Danson and Dale were horrified by this decision. was stirred from his brown study. Cable looked pleased and clapped full-heartedly. He was passing drinks around and starting a celebration already. after being seconded. . while L. ‘ . ‘The council shall vote that there should be no secret ballot . ‘Motion defeated. Hand counting began. Tse were absent due to threats to their lives by Malays in Kuching. Let us proceed to the actual bill. . . Cable put the motion on the second reading of the bill—ready for voting. Then Edward Jerah proposed a secret ballot. and gave a thumbs-up as he glanced at Stephen. Thereafter he adjourned the meeting. it was the votes of the six European officers which turned the tables although the Residents of the First and Fourth Divisions and Rev.’ shouted the President in a jubilant mood. Some of the natives present raised their hands thinking it was an anti-cession vote. It was a narrow victory for cession—18 votes to 16—as the native majority against cession was 13 to 12. Just as well that he had not heard what Bertram had said. fourteen .’ The majority raised their hands. wondering what had happened. and . 300 . . In the final analysis. . . ten . . cheering and clapping approvingly. fifteen. Now the formal count is 18 to 16 for cession. half the time asleep. But Cable quickly announced. Cable was overjoyed—so happy that he thought all that was necessary was the Rajah’s consent.’ Quickly. ten . eighteen for cession. . Happily he wiped the sweat from his forehead. sixteen total for anti-cession . . . inside the lounge but outside the chambers. Stephen gave a thumbs-up as Cable smiled like a contented and victorious King’s Counsel in court. . please raise your hand if you agree to this motion. Ong and Y. Temenggong Koh.Twilight of the White Rajahs The pro-cessionists gave a standing ovation. . .

Always so bloody technical. ‘What? What did you say?’ ‘You need a third reading. ‘Come on . Therefore the whole proceeding is still incomplete. We have won! Haven’t we? Cession is approved! The third reading is only a trivial formality!’ Cable cursed.H. still cannot sign the bill. H. so meticulous. You must do it!’ Stephen urged him pointedly.’ appearing slightly annoyed.?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I don’t care!’ 301 . Perhaps he had downed a few glasses of whisky before the meeting.’ ‘H.H. just imagine what the future parliamentary record would say? It may be recorded in Hansard. you’d better have the third reading by the end of tomorrow. you must observe the standing orders requiring a committee report and a third reading. ‘Strike the iron while it is bloody hot!’ ‘You and your bloody legal technicalities. ‘I am enjoying myself. please don’t disappoint H. . did you say H.’ ‘Really!’ ‘Yes. Mr Cable. If not. Stephen pulled Cable aside and reminded him. Too early in the afternoon to get drunk thought Stephen.’ Cable was slurring slightly.’ Danson and Dale concurred. Perhaps to calm his quivering nerves. You should have a third reading and finish it today. ‘Mr Cable.. but a fundamental legal requirement. ‘Yes. who is waiting for the result of the third reading.Chapter 43 I n fact.H. . he had a few already before the meeting to calm his nerves.H.

I will officially notify them that the third reading will be carried out tomorrow. Mr Mustapha. Reverend  . The motion of amendment was put to the floor and was defeated by 18 votes to 15. C. Not really! The old boy is overjoyed but undersexed!’ Bertram stared at Stephen and left. Cable conceded.’ ‘No. we will all leave you behind or take you to see H. He is drunk.’ After putting the issue to the floor. I can assure you that once cession is passed. Cable took his white handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his brow. the Rajah and Stephen had given a pep talk to Barcroft and Datu Hakim the previous night.H.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘That breach of the parliamentary procedure would only confirm to our two MPs their poor opinion of Sarawakian and Brooke civil servants and their incompetence!’ ‘I don’t’ care. and all of you here . .’ He made the announcement and told those present that a short white written notice would be given to them with explanation and interpretations. the cession bill passed by 19 votes to 16. and your loyalist stand. Barcroft and Datu Hakim who had previously abstained from voting voted for cession. the fate of Sarawak. The Rajah’s Dependants’ Ordinance followed suit and the Supreme Council approved both bills by 6 votes to 2.’ Cable got more tipsy. Both MPs found that the proceeding was conducted in a more brisk fashion—much better than the previous day. let me categorically assure you that Adat Lama of all races will be followed. .’ Cable replied. ‘It’s too late in the day. Abang Mustapha protested. ‘We need at least two years to give proper consideration to this important issue . . the anti-cessionists protested again in the Council Negri. . Stephen. On the following day. the British Government will take care of rehabilitation and reconstruction. but to no avail. ‘All right. Adams was ill from over-intoxication. that would be tantamount to an amendment. . Bertram complained to Stephen. And he is beside himself.’ After a few seconds. all right. We are now going for the third reading.’ ‘No. 302 . ?’ Rev Howes tried to distract the meeting. ‘That’s excellent!’ Stephen sighed approvingly.  .  . ‘If you don’t have any more self-respect. sure enough. and if you should betray H.’ ‘Can we be told what steps have been taken to procure foreign loans for rehabilitation .D.H. Luckily there were no changes of heart. I think Cable has been bribed. ‘Now. . Cable is a jolly fellow!’ Danson and Dale joined in. . . ‘Come on. Luckily. ‘Good . Mr Mustapha.

Danson imagined that it would be a congratulatory message from the Colonial Office. Vyner signed and sealed forever the Instrument of Cession. and that those supporting cession could only be said to represent themselves. somehow. and the Malays and locals generally had voted against cession. The end of the Brookes’ era had come to pass. Casually he opened the cable. Already he had instructed that telegrams addressed either to Danson or Dale be held back and delivered after the signing ceremony at the Astana. his cipher clerk had felt ‘suddenly ill’ that day.’ ‘Well. . Tell him it’s impossible to reverse what had been done. On 20th May.’ That was duly carried out. and. ‘It’s too late. As expected the MNU condemned the passing of the cession bill. ‘ . alleging that it was the foreign votes which made the difference. draft a reply to Hayes and tell him that and also that the Rajah is leaving Kuching this afternoon. Hayes 303 . After the ceremony.1946-1952 So apparently ended the Constitutional issue of cession. That was a bloody close shave. Stephen was confident that no one would decipher the coded messages in the interim. Cession is done. . Too late now. Stephen expected that would happen and it did. An eleventh hour instruction from Hayes. he knew he had achieved what he wanted. a cable came on the morning before the signing of the Instrument of Cession. That cable was timed to be sent and received when the signing ceremony in the Astana would have already been completed. he called up Dale and discussed this matter. ‘Bloody cowards! Cold feet at the last moment. In his heart. old chap. My God! ‘Do not proceed signing the Instrument of Cession’. His message arrived too late. Isn’t it?’ Danson remarked.’ Immediately. Danson returned to his office to find an undecoded cable on his table. I agree. ‘they were bribed’.’ He told himself. But a new chapter of political development had just begun: the political and legal issues on cession and ensuing problems were just beginning to rear their ugly heads. The third reading was more professionally done than the two previous readings.                             That afternoon both MPs cabled Hayes in London telling him that the voting on cession had been fair and representative of the Council Negri as then constituted. Everything has been completed. I hope not a plot to fix the blame on executive officers in order to side-step political bother. When Hayes received Danson’s reply in London. Now I hope I will be rewarded. worst of all. ‘Yes. Under the portraits of the past two Rajah Brookes in the Astana.

 . . the opposition has not opposed cession in Parliament. Cession had been passed in Sarawak’s Council Negri only because of a European majority. I am ready to face Parliament and the press. A little bit added to HMG’s dominion. on balance. A few days later Hayes sent a cable. it would be fair to say that the majority were prepared to accept the Rajah’s assurance that. 304 . the way in was so narrow that I can really claim that it was because I managed to become persona grata both with the Europeans (by drinking them under the table) and with the Malays (by speaking their language and dancing their dances) that a very narrow margin was in favour of cession. Anyway.’ Stephen replied. I heard that too. . “The Brookes may be romantic. Stephen replied philosophically. Stephen was requested by Danson to stay back for a while to help him out as the Acting Governor and Chief Secretary of Sarawak. cession would be best for their interests in the long run. in fact . That night Danson wrote in his diary. what do you expect when you deal with Whitehall?’ Stephen. . I suppose. and this (it may seem proud to say) may well have done the trick . .C.” Other Brooke officers such as D. . Cable and Danson thought that most probably the majority of the Malays and some Ibans were against cession but.Twilight of the White Rajahs said to himself—that’s splendid! Everything went well. We must do something. . . As far as Stephen was concerned it did not matter who deserved the credit—perhaps. ‘I heard today that McBryan is suing Peter Brooke for libel and Peter proposes to come to Sarawak to prepare his defence . . despite that. They could see (by looking at me) that the alternative to the Rajah was not entirely non-human. . . . White claimed that it was he and others who had won the sympathy and enthusiasm of the European officers and others to ensure that cession would go through. ‘Well . so far. not the mild statement that the Chinese wanted cession for its own sake.’ When Danson told Stephen what had happened. . ‘The “Stop” message would have made a nonsense of the whole proceedings . but what a dotted mass of intrigue surrounds them . Generally. all of them should be awarded Stars of Sarawak or its equivalent just before the Order-in-Council was signed. cession was best for the people of Sarawak. ‘I quite agree .’ That very afternoon the Rajah left Kuching for Singapore on his way back to London.                             At first Stubbs was hoping that Grimberg would send a more clear-cut report.’ Danson remarked. ‘Yes. . although there was strong opposition from some Malays and Ibans.

a dramatic moment in history I must say .1946-1952 Stubbs conceded finally that cession would be best for Sarawak.’ replied Hayes. also a little bit added to HMG’s dominion. Send my regards to H. Stubbs naturally was disappointed with Grimberg—he had hoped for better ammunition—something strong! Bertram knew that this would be his last visit to Sarawak.’ ‘Splendid! Well done!’ ‘Thank you . ‘Sir. 305 . with piercing agony in his heart. Well done to you and Dale. everybody including Danson and himself would feel a tinge of regret at the ending of a romantic historical episode which had lasted for a century but which. and that in a country where sentiment (towards the Brookes) was a very important factor. .’                             Back in England the Conservative Party in opposition did not want to make an issue of the Brookes any more. did represent a victory of common sense over sentiment. of course. Was there still a spark of hope in that tunnel of darkness? That was his darkest hour—the hour when his whole life and faith in the Brookes’ rule had disintegrated. . I will but he has left Sarawak already . his dream was shattered. looking at the Astana behind the indolent river. He would make his last farewell as Heir Presumptive.H. So was Peter’s. No one could plumb the abyss of his sorrow and disappointment. On the phone Danson spoke to Hayes. . . ‘Very good. The romantic Sarawak that he knew would be gone forever. though narrow. a recollection of the past. had also become anachronistic. It was the end of an era—the era of the Brookes ended sadly in division and dissension. The would-be Rajahship of Peter would be a soon-forgotten if long-held dream when he left Sarawak three days after the Council Negri meetings. Sarawak would only be a sort of dream. he knew the Brooke’s rule had ended. Would his father forgive him from the grave? Would the spirit of his father come to haunt Vyner? Could he and Peter change the inevitable path of cession? By the time he returned to London. Stephen felt that the result. The pride and illustrious history of the Brookes was gone forever. . . his life was almost at its end. An inelegant handover and squabbles affecting the emotions and lives of so many Malays and locals. Consequently the narrow majority of Europeans did not constitute sufficient grounds to reject cession. Standing at Pengalan Sapi..

initial co-operation between the SDA and MNU had only been possible due to the sincere efforts of their leaders. Datu Pahlawan formed the Young Malay Association (YMA) in Kuching to help Malays who had supported cession and consequently were under considerable social pressure. developed cracks in their organisations. For the first time Malay women of the Kaum Ibu formed an association demonstrating their anti-cession slogans publicly and taking up a minor political role. The Utusan Melayu. The MNU and the SDA. The young Malays were more ‘political’ and radical while some of the old members of MNU complained that politics were alien to Sarawak because it was Datu McBryan and the British Government who had introduced them to Sarawak including bribery of the members of Council Negri and Supreme Council. some ‘intellectual’ and radical Malays wanted self-government as promised under the 1941 Constitution—under the flag of Merdeka Brooke. Perabangan class preserving the position of privilege which they had enjoyed under the Brookes’ rule. which were formed to achieve certain aspirations apart from restoration of the Brookes and to oppose cession. Although at the time there was no sense of aspiring nationalism yet the seed of it was planted.Chapter 44 T he anti-cession movement and that for the Brookes’ restoration had three unintended legacies. others saw it as a platform to gain national independence in which political power would be shared with the Ibans. Splitting up into smaller groups became inevitable: some wanted to restore the status quo ante with the traditional Malay elite. The intended co-operative nature of these organisations turned to politicking overnight once cession was signed. lent some support to Peter Brooke’s anti-cession cause. which was opposed to the Malayan Union. Indeed. including various types of boycotts 306 . As a counter-attack.

Dayaks such as Brandah and Jitam were publicly critical that those people suspected to have been Japanese collaborators were actually being rewarded—they should have been prosecuted. those who had expected recognition from the government for their self-denial were awarded the heavy boot. Where were the Ibans’ Supreme Councillors? Nowhere. During the ceremony when they were breaking out the flag. who had now taken over from Cable. accompanied by Lord Louis Mountbatten.’ ‘Really?’ ‘You will see later.’ Except for the expatriates. funerals and other social functions. ‘He told me that he was not well and could not come and therefore he also could not receive the Special Commissioner. The Rajah made good this promise as the quid pro quo for supporting cession. 307 . I doubt he will ever swear allegiance. schools. .’ ‘I am sure that’s an excuse. and worst. ‘Where is the King? Who is he? Has he got a brother? Will he also one day have a problem over succession?’ ‘That’s bloody awful!’ Danson whispered to Stephen. Malcolm McDonald shouted. The Rajah had promoted Datu Pahlawan to Datu Bandar and Ong Teng Sam was released from a $100. Arden-Clarke. ‘What happened to Datu Patinggi?’ Stephen asked Danson.1946-1952 by anti-cessionists at weddings. ‘God save the King. the Special Commissioner. No Iban representative was even there. you know . However. this place will be heading for a riot if he pushes this thing too far so quickly. A branch was set up in Sibu too. . Prove me wrong!’ The whole affair was quiet—with little joy and little music.’ The whole proceeding took place at the Astana in a subdued and resentful atmosphere. Malcolm McDonald. came to witness Sarawak becoming a British colony. the anti-cessionists were later regarded by Sarawak’s first Governor. as collaborators and malcontents.000 mortgage payment owed to the government. Out of respect the Chinese did not display the Chinese National flag. Around Kuching town only a few Union Jacks and Sarawak flags were blowing in the wind. ‘Why?’ ‘I wouldn’t recommend it. firemen and government workers formed the core of YMA. it’s more symbolic than actual radical changes. Policemen. the SDA did not appeal to the Ibans in the Third Division—a lot of them had accepted cession and welcomed the change on the grounds that previously the Rajah had been mostly pro-Malay.’ ‘They will get used to it after a while . On 1st July 1946. . the locals were puzzled. . and ironically.

Do I want to stay as number two to an African? Not me. ‘You look pale and disappointed. Remembering what Stephen said. to be the first Governor of Sarawak. . ‘Don’t be afraid. I’ll be back in a moment. Danson thought it would be best not to stir up a hornets’ nest. Let sleeping dogs lie.                             ‘Any news of the new Governor?’ Stephen asked one morning at the Astana. And somehow I hate handing this place on a plate over to him after such a hard time in bringing it together. ‘I’d advise you not so soon in view of the boycott.’ Danson felt nervous. if you insist . Oh no! It’s a bloody bad policy! It’s damned unfair if you ask me.’ Danson’s face paled and he left for his private study. . a small smiling breeze was blowing in the Chinese town area. most of the time only closed shelters and empty roads faced them—which was more humiliating and worse than demonstrations. cheer up!’ ‘All right. at least the Chinese townsfolk came out to cheer the British Government’s representative. After Danson had re-read the letter. some Chinese and a few Malays such as the Datu Bandar and Abang Openg. his heart dropped.’ Stephen advised. who until recently was the Resident Commissioner of Basutoland.’ ‘I see!’ Danson looked utterly frustrated like a flattened tyre. . . a garden party at the Astana was attended mainly by Europeans. Africa. let us make a tour of the kampongs this afternoon. Datu Patinggi refused to take the oath of loyalty to the new government. Luckily. 308 . ‘I haven’t heard anything really. ‘What on earth happened?’ Stephen asked. we must break the ice some time. ‘Excuse me for a minute. In the evening. Even at the subsequent Council Negri meeting. Come on .’ ‘Oh him! Yes I have heard about him—a disciplinarian and quite a clever old chap. ‘No.’ ‘The British Government wants Charles Arden-Clarke.’ Malcolm suggested after the pompous ceremony of reading congratulatory messages from various corners of the earth.’ As they were talking a cable came to the Astana. As they drove along the roads leading to the Kuching kampongs.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Danson and Stephen. Danson started to open the letter. A short while later he put up a brave front to join Stephen on the verandah. Danson was thinking to himself—that was pretty unfair and harsh. only a few bystanders waved cheerily. On the way back to the Main Bazaar. Have you?’ Danson was anxious.

I will not come back to Sarawak. Perhaps.’ Sarinah whispered as he sat in her lounge.’                             By September. my natural influence with the Malays. Life with me is meaningless to you. I am so glad to see you back at home.’ ‘All right.’ ‘Well. it must come as a great shock and disappointment to you after what you have done and achieved. for your sake. But I am sure the Colonial Government can use your talents elsewhere. A man with a new record whom the anti-cessionists could not point a finger at for the past actions of the Sarawak government. ‘Oh darling Gerald.’ ‘Retiring me. Datu McBryan. I’ll be a wanderer again. Can you imagine that?’ ‘Well . You are still beautiful. though I’ve still got a few good years left. My mission is accomplished. I suppose this is carried out quickly in order to prevent me from becoming too much a persona grata and so making it more difficult for the next man. my efforts to get cession at all costs. We fought so hard to get this cession over. yes. I am playing in a bigger field. . My work comes first.’ ‘Honestly. Now.’ ‘But I love you! I want you! I need you!’ ‘There’s no point. my planning for a smooth transition from the Brookes to a British Colony—and to get this place organised. I don’t think I want ever to get married again. I am going to make a call. You don’t like cold weather. . But it is best for you and me. From Africa! I bet he does not know any Malay or local dancing or Adat law for that matter! They have used me—all that. I have no doubt of that. there is a piece of sad news.1946-1952 ‘I am sorry . . Stephen. Cable nearly blew it. I want a divorce.’ Sarinah broke down and wept. . ‘But I’ll leave in a few days time after I’ve settled a few of my affairs. after recovering from his lapse into insanity. see you later. You can’t follow me. I’ll leave behind some money for you. I suppose. returned to Sarawak. 309 . . After cession. many men will still want you. You know me. . at last. That’s true!’ ‘Won’t you reconsider your decision?’ ‘No. the new Governor wanted a clean break from the Brooke past—no time for sentimentality. I’ll see you . Honest to God. Now they want me to hand it over to an African.’ ‘Sure. I don’t know what to say. My lapses into insanity are not good for our marriage. The war did not help our separation.

Just like in Kuching the school boys and girls called the five Datus ‘Betrayers’. something was going to burst very soon among the Malay populace in Sibu. bully or Penjual Negri traitor. the issue of cession has aroused serious political and national consciousness. It breaks my heart.’ ‘We tried our best . This was something quite new among the Malays who were normally a very docile and friendly people. you must go to Sibu Kampong and drum up support for cession. I am telling you. I won’t be back for dinner. Here is my handkerchief. after calling on the Acting Governor and Stephen. How he wished he had not gone there. The Datus had hoped that he would give further financial assistance to them.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Please don’t cry. ‘Traitors’ or ‘Sellers of Sarawak Soil’. Now he was almost a nervous wreck. with Bertram and Peter still around in this region and in England.’ ‘If you say so. before I leave. what have you got to say? Look at me.’ ‘Boleh. Wipe your tears. you have failed me miserably despite my help rendered to you and your position. ‘Judas’. ‘I say. The division among the Malays 310 . One morning he discovered that someone had slashed his car tyre. I am telling you. When Datu Amar arrived in Sibu. You have failed to consolidate your positions and bring public opinion in Sarawak around in support of cession. Datu Datu . . The temperature of anti-European feeling shot higher and higher. He knew the ordinary kampong Malays might knife him with their krisses. .’ Why did she marry him in the first place? Perhaps.’ ‘But that’s not good enough. ‘Bribed Councillors’. ‘Datu Amar. A welcome dinner prepared by Datu Amar was cancelled and Datu McBryan cut short his visit.’ meekly replied Datu Amar. Cable started to regret that he ever supported cession. A dead cat too in a box was left on his doorstep. Speak up!’ None of them replied. conscious of their political influence and the Kaum Ibu was formed to spearhead resistance to the new Governor and his administration. Datu McBryan left for Singapore. Now. On the following day.’ Shortly afterwards. Datu McBryan managed to get two bodyguards to protect him wherever he went. that’s fate. Expecting trouble. . Datu.’ Sarinah thought. I am going out to the Sarawak Club. Now Malay women in Sarawak began to make public protests. ‘What a contrast between Gerald and Stephen. . it’s Datu Patinggi’s fault. the local Malays showed disrespect to him. I foresee great repercussions. He called the four Datus to the Native Affairs Secretariat. ‘You’d all better do that. They called him Tukol Datu. look me in the eyes. the divorce proceeding was carried out quietly and amicably accordingly to Muslim rites.

Frustrated and desperate supporters of anti-cession started to imagine all sorts of political scenarios.’ Anne Bryant. from there Peter wanted to petition the Crown to repeal the Order-in-Council of the 26th of June 1946 and to make the Rajah accountable for the transfer of the above-mentioned funds. Peter applied for leave to appeal to the Privy Council in England. ‘Damn the local court!’ Peter screamed. The British and Colonial Government actions and reactions provided the fire and sustained interest unintentionally—they revived enthusiasm and soon hardened the lines of political confrontation. How wrong when the Sarawak Gazette proclaimed as follows—‘This controversy [our cession] is now dead and possibly would never have flared in such splendour if the flames had not been fanned. Ignorance can seldom have flouted itself with so much brazen courage and so little shame.’ Peter actually had no complete confidence of the outcome of the case apart from the fact that it would draw public attention to the issue. for they had heard that Rev.’ ‘We will succeed in the final Appeal. regardless of whether it was constitutional or not. ‘They are under the thumb of HMG. others more extreme started to plan action. especially now news from London had confirmed the British Government’s difficulties over the Malayan Union in Malaya. The intention was to recall the line of succession as set out in the political will of Sir James Brooke and Vyner’s extraction of $2. ‘It looked as if a happy day is coming very soon’ reflected the new-found stimulus. Timing was the only issue for the fanatics! The British press predicted violence. the Resident Court held that it was beyond Brunei’s court jurisdiction to summon the Rajah. ‘I hope so. Cession might be reversed? There was a slim chance.000. by ignorant adherents of the contending parties.000 from the Sarawak state funds in 1941. After Peter announced in the Observer that legal action had been taken to declare the cession of Sarawak illegal. However. kept anti-cession sentiment alive with the MNU and SDA.1946-1952 was evident and Bertram recognised that. then the people in England would certainly believe that everybody in Sarawak 311 . Something had to give way. the anti-cessionists were smiling when this news was repeated in Sarawak Tribune. This decision was upheld by the Judge of Appeal in Brunei. Naturally.                             The first salvo was fired at the Resident’s Court in Brunei by Peter on behalf of his father. the sister of Peter. outside Sarawak.’ Bertram tried to console him. Dissatisfied. Howes had written and told the SDA that if the people of Sarawak did not protest. The relatively harmonious and happy bygone days of the pre-war Raj were history already.

000 annually to Ranee Sylvia and £500 to each of their children.’ advised Stephen. I recall that your late father had made an arrangement. ‘The Colonial Office agreed to implement a financial settlement made between Lord Esher and your late father. After a series of threatening cables. then people in England would support them. “Not worse off ” were the actual words of Hayes .’ ‘All right. ‘Vyner here . .’ ‘That’s splendid. . ‘Your Highness.’ ‘Do that. . Sir Charles Brooke. I will write to the King and the Prime Minister and put on a little pressure. Stephen. Stephen?’ ‘Yes. . Somehow. See you in London soon. I’ll cable the Colonial Office. . Let me check it out.’ ‘Remember the letter I wrote to you on payment of more money on cession. In so far as the ‘compensation’ was concerned for the cession of Sarawak he always argued that he had not had a fair settlement.                             Back in England. . Your Highness.’ ‘It’s not too much. The Rajah called up Stephen again after hearing the compromise. an annual payment of £3. and make the government give up cession one day. Vyner called Stephen from London.Twilight of the White Rajahs wanted cession. ‘But it may be futile.’ replied the Rajah. is that you. . Why not? Goodbye. the Colonial Office gave way by way of compromise. Do what you can . If sufficient people kept on speaking the truth. under its terms.’ ‘Yes. Grimberg in the Evening News concluded that the people of Sarawak did not care whether or not the Raj was brought to an end. In a year’s time. That arrangement had been overlooked both by the Colonial Office and Your Highness at the time of cession. we must pressure the British Government to pay you more money for the cession.’ The Rajah was still hopeful that something might be squeezed out from the British Government or out of Sarawak revenue. How much?’ ‘Well. in 1911 before Your Highness and the Ranee were married. ‘Well done .’ So Stephen started to refer to Hayes’ verbal assurance of 24th October 1943 that His Highness and his family would be ‘not worse off ’ as a result of cession. . you will lose nothing. The Tuan 312 . What’s the final figure?’ Vyner asked.

a poetic verse from Datu Patinggi expressing his deep feelings. A dead man leaves his reputation behind. The letter stated that cession did not have the lawful assent of the representatives of the indigenous people and that five of the native members who had voted for cession were under monetary influence. Datu Patinggi again on the following day made an announcement in Sarawak: ‘As the fourteenth hereditary chieftain and representative of the people of Sarawak since before Brooke rule.’ 313 . a letter signed by Datu Patinggi was dispatched to Prime Minister Attlee in London. There was a struggle between the younger group of MNU members against the older ones who were regarded as perabangan—they preferred the constitutional approach. Peter received a pantun. there was no state of Sarawak with hereditary chieftains before James Brooke . . In a desperate attempt the MNU and SDA requested Tuan Muda to assume the prerogatives of the Raj. . . It was their fervent hope that the Prime Minister would uphold justice and the political will of the Second Rajah. When an elephant dies. since the Rajah had breached the Accession Oath and had relinquished the office of Raj. So. I would invite Bertram and Peter to return to Sarawak to initiate fresh discussions on the question of cession .’ Vyner’s reply in The Times stated that it was impertinent for Datu Patinggi to state his hereditary chieftainship. . . His bones remain. invoking the United Nations. ‘We stand resolutely against cession and strongly and wholeheartedly desire the Raj of Sarawak must not be ended . the Datu Patinggi’s influence in the Colony now is utterly unimportant.’ Datu Patinggi had also cabled Bertram asking him to return. such as invoking British Justice and the political wills of the first two Rajahs rather than undergoing the embarrassment caused by public demonstrations and posters. His striped skin remains. Bertram. Harimau mati meninggal belang Gajah mati meninggal tulang Manusia mati meninggalkan nama When a tiger dies.1946-1952 Muda and Datu Patinggi strongly denied that. he had committed a ‘breach of faith [towards] the people of Sarawak’ and therefore he should be replaced by his brother. I completely trust His Majesty the King and the British Government which is supremely just to take my request into consideration in order to satisfy the people’s wish. Not satisfied with that. invoking the Atlantic Charter to uphold his cause for the sake of peace. .

Second. We assure Your Highness of our humble allegiance and full support. the successor of the short-lived Sarawak Times.the birthday of Bertram. Second. As St George stands for England.’ The Colonial Office was so furious with Peter and his father’s letters that it terminated correspondence on the issue of cession with them. Danson. Something was bound to happen. as the Acting Governor. half of Third. In response Danson made July 8th. I don’t want to see any public protests. watched carefully and patiently. The stand-off was getting worse.Twilight of the White Rajahs On behalf of the SDA. Get a few hundred policemen and round them up in a silent operation. By October. the Jitams made also a passionate appeal to Peter: ‘Dayak Communities in the First. the Observer flashed a headline: ‘Peter Brooke is seeking a judicial decree declaring the cession of Sarawak illegal. The anti-cessionist Malays made their own sighting of the moon. another opportunity they had waited for to demonstrate their strong anti-cession feeling was open to them—the installation of the first Governor of Sarawak. That evening. so a Brooke is to us. Fourth and Fifth Divisions have rejected cession. Datu Patinggi signed a letter of protest to the Governor and a controversy arose between the MNU and YMA in the Sarawak Tribune’s correspondence column.’ The MNU and SDA started to put their boycott policy into full swing. By late October. Is that clear?’ ‘Yes. The MNU and SDA rejoiced when the proposed legal action of Peter Brooke was reported in Sarawak Tribune. Your Excellency. holding the end of the fasting month on a different date and using Hari Raya Puasa and ceremah as opportunities for further canvassing. only Datu Bandar was present to speak on behalf of the Malays. in London it was known that the Malayan Union Constitution had to be radically altered and perhaps even abolished. remove and destroy all the posters! We have British press reporters here. Do not fail us. When Arden-Clarke was installed in Kuching. . Arden-Clarke. In October.a holiday—observed by government officers and most shops. Trying to foster improved relations with the Malays. The cave-in of the British Government over the Malayan Union gave another spark of hope to anti-cessionists. . Mufti Haji Nawawii’s support for cession had resulted in a boycott of the Malay mosque in Kuching. Bertram and Peter saw that at the end of the dark tunnel there was a spark of hope. Danson proposed a visit to the Malay kampongs but it was turned down by Datu Patinggi. Fourth and Fifth Divisions in the Council Negri which I attended . something was bound to give way. the MNU met at the Indian mosque where they sang the Sarawak Anthem and made fiery speeches. Cession was opposed by representatives of First.’ 314 . Soon. ‘Danson. that gave anti-cession a fresh stimulus and platform.

 . Another Sherip Masahor perhaps might arise.’ ‘Your Excellency. the new Governor learnt that the Rejang Malays who were not from the Perabangan class. Worst of all. the Governor turned to Danson. the Pergerakan Pemuda Melayu (PPM—Malay Youth Movement) put up placards at the last minute so that the police could not destroy them.’ Somehow. . ‘You told me that only a handful of Malays in Kuching was against cession. the police waited patiently at dark corners of Datus Road and caught those posting new placards and destroyed them before dawn. . However. the Sarawak Tribune reprinted the British press which reported that Peter Brooke wanted to fight annexation to the end and support the Malay boycott in Kuching. Two days later. we need to do something very quickly. ‘Take those damned bloody placards down! Mr Danson. . By that time. 315 . it will be carried out . The followers of Awang Rambli. Tear them down at night. . I have to say your assessment of the anti-feeling among the Malays is totally wrong. his European officers had led him to believe that scattered feeling of anti-cession were limited to one or two Malay kampongs in Kuching and that in the upcountry areas the people were solidly behind the new government. don’t use force openly. The constitutional approach of the Kuching elite Perabangan class was hocus pocus to them. Be mindful of the press from London following us .1946-1952 All the posters were removed.’ The PMM’s protests in Sibu with placards dispelled any misconception Arden-Clarke might have had. Datu Patinggi and the MNU filed an official complaint at the Resident’s Court which. After the Governor arrived in Miri. Now Sarawak was saddled with more bad news. On arriving in Sibu.’ ‘Good. The waves created were beyond expectation. on the same day. . Peter had asked the Colonial Office to get him a seat on a plane to Singapore and Sarawak—all seats were still under military control—on the grounds that he had been invited by the anti-cession movement in Sarawak and that he had to collect information to defend the libel suit brought by Datu McBryan. now look at Sibu . organising from Brunei. Early the following morning. Inside his car. were ready to take direct action. dismissed the case as in their complaint they could not specify or produce the names of the police officers nor their identities in court. the Governor went to Sibu with Danson. had a tradition of armed rebellion. a book called The Facts About Sarawak has been published by Peter and circulated to British MPs and the press.

’ Peter was grinding his teeth. .’                             On arrival in Miri.’ ‘How about the Chinese?’ ‘Well.Chapter 45 I n London. Bertram discussed with Peter what steps to take after briefing him on events subsequent to cession in Sarawak. So the problem is more than just malcontents and Japanese collaborators. we must use the local Malays in Kuching to fight cession along with the Dayaks and others in the Divisions. . That’s what you told me. . Arden-Clarke asked Danson.’ ‘I see. Good. and seek an appointment with him. ‘We must fight on.’ 316 . ‘Where are the Malays?’ ‘I believe the Kuching Malays have misled them. Then there is the citizenship question . ‘Yes. if necessary. You will draft another letter to Datu Patinggi while I will write to Hayes.’ ‘I quite understand their attitude. ‘Yes. I suppose apart from a few of them they choose to remain quiet on this issue. Nordin and Datu Patinggi to stir up the Kelabits and Kayans and also to show to the world that there is a general and overwhelmingly strong opposition to cession. .’ advised Bertram. just to force the British Parliament to debate or at least raise the anti-cession issue again. the Chinese are generally practical and business-oriented people who do not want to get involved with politics. I think we have a chance of turning the tables against the British Government . I have written to Mohd.’ ‘I will go to Sarawak shortly and stir up the Malays until they create a riot.

Datu Tunku Mohamad—who incidentally had voted against cession in the Council Negri—was forthright: ‘Your Excellency. Give a good example as a government officer of Sarawak and lead them by example. Equally. it’s that plus other factors. slightly irritated. could you be good enough to call up the local headman tomorrow. It’s history now already.’ ‘But.’ On the following morning. You’d better forget anti-cession.’ ‘It would seem the anti-cession groups are bigger and wider spread over Sarawak. Bertram and Peter are trying to see him too!’ ‘I doubt whether he wants to see them. Now. I heard from Datu Bandar that the MNU and SDA had written to the new Secretary for the Colonies in London. a committee of local Malay dignitaries and officials was convened. I cannot force them to change their stand.’ ‘I will do my best to convince them. yes. Soon after the Governor had returned to Kuching. wealth and prosperity for all. As he paced along the verandah of the Astana looking into the sluggish Sarawak River.’ ‘Yes. there was not yet a strong anti-cession lobby in England like the groups of Malaya veterans with strongly vested financial interests and the backing of commercial firms.’ ‘Tell them that that will never happen. many Malays. suddenly had become turbulent like the water in the upper Kapit rapids. But. hear me loud and clear. ‘They have gone too far!’ fumed the Governor. The first to be questioned. pale native officer. generally like the indolent Sarawak River waters. ‘I quite agree. Sarawak should look forward under the Colonial Government to better prospects. the thin. all of you. The British Government will never change. I hope you too will change your attitude and stand now. Your Excellency. they want Peter Brooke to be the Rajah of Sarawak. One thing he took comfort from was that unlike Malaya.’ After the Governor left for Kuching by boat.’ cried the Governor. he was wondering why the Malays. Your Excellency. Anti-cession movements will harm your own people’s interests.1946-1952 ‘Your Excellency. Your Excellency. Ibans and Kayans objected to cession and they still maintain that position.’ ‘I see. In the case of 317 . that very same local Malay committee decided to send a delegation to Kuching to receive Peter there and to prepare a reception for him when he was due in Miri.’ Somehow Arden-Clarke knew that the new anti-cession fever would create a bitter political wave in Sarawak’s politics and government. if I may convey their views. ‘Cession is over. he received numerous petitions from the MNU and PPM from various Divisions including Ibans from Song and Kayans from Belaga to restore Peter as the next Rajah of Sarawak. Now.

You mean Gerald McBryan!’ ‘Yes. ‘Mr Green. Be sure to put an end to the speculation of the repeal of cession initiated by Bertram or Peter. you realise that I only gather information for my superiors. After ascertaining the depth of anti-cession feeling. Not in Sarawak.’ ‘Oh! McBryan. the Governor cabled the Secretary of State explaining Sarawak’s position. He gathered that although there were sympathisers in London.’ ‘We have done that. Refusing to give up. that’s perfectly understandable.’ replied the Secretary of State. . the British had to give way over the Malayan Union. As for the reasons for my visit to Sarawak. I need to collect material and requisite evidence in my defence against Mr McBryan’s libel suit against me.’ Luckily Shell Oil and the Borneo Company wanted British Government so that they could get faster concessions and favours respectively. Peter went to see the Colonial Office. most British officers in Malaya had a poor opinion of the institution of Rajah and the Brookes’ history and one of them even made a damning remark. Chinese. Ibans and Malays . . in the process of collecting evidence—documentary. Best not to communicate with them at all in London to prevent misinformation and misinterpretation. Arden-Clarke hoped that somehow he would be transferred out of Sarawak before a seriously volcanic anti-cession eruption took place. could you please assist me in obtaining a passage from Singapore to Kuching as the British Military still controls the allocations of seats on aircraft?’ ‘May I ask what is the purpose of your visit to Sarawak? Of course. An officer by the name of Green attended to him. . affidavits and circumstantial—I would meet various people there.Twilight of the White Rajahs Malaya. that’s correct. ‘I understand Rajah Vyner to have been a great manufacturer of cheese during his later residence in the Astana so that he may have become assimilated to his own creations. Of course. .’ ‘Given the present wave of anti-cessionist feeling in Sarawak wouldn’t your visit incite the passion for anti-cession more?’ ‘That’s not my intention at all. so rich in timber.                             Bertram’s and Peter’s request to see the Secretary of State was flatly rejected.’ ‘Is there any other reason?’ ‘That’s the sole reason.’ ‘Of course. 318 .’ Peter tried to camouflage his feeling on this issue. oil and natural resources. ‘ .

1946-1952 Green. I would say.’                             Before leaving London.’ ‘Could you repeat that?’ said one of the reporters.’ ‘What’s your objective?’ asked one reporter while another one snapped a shot.’ As he was leaving the cold and grey Colonial Office. ‘Yes. I want to find out exactly what they want. They are expecting me. you will get a reply from us. etc . a stout Colonial Officer who had thick hands but a clear head was no fool. he proudly announced: ‘Well. . . I’ll turn the tables against the bloody colonialists.’ ‘Do you think that’s possible?’ ‘The chances are more than fair. I’ll forward your request to my superiors and in due course. Peter had the distinct feeling that a bureaucratic answer would be forthcoming. cowards and imbeciles! They are a useless lot who know only how to suck blood out of the Colonies. ‘I am certainly not going to incite the native chiefs or start a civil commotion or war. I am leaving for Sarawak to consult my friends in Sarawak. since the Colonial Office has refused to communicate with us.’ 319 . . I am going to Sarawak. we regret to inform you that the Colonial Office could not arrange a priority passage for you from Singapore to Kuching by air . I must add that I have been invited by the Malayan National Union (MNU) too. ‘I’ll leave for America and then proceed to Sarawak. . .’ ‘Damn the bloody Colonial Office! Damn the bloody Secretary for the Colonies! They are a bunch of idiots. ‘Well.’ After landing at New York. Peter told the press confidently. . .’ ‘What can you achieve?’ ‘After hearing what they want in respect of anti-cession. . Peter changed his tune.’ ‘That’s a good idea. ‘ . He could smell a rat. Mr Brooke. the land ruled by the Brookes for a century . Good day. the reply came.’ cursed Peter in his father’s house. Mr Brooke. and the people want independence from the British Government and I am going there to discuss with them about legally and constitutionally regaining independence. A few days later.’ ‘I’ll do my best.’ ‘Please treat my request on an urgent basis in view of the filing of defence and interrogatories. When asked by the reporters there of his intended objective. I will speak to the British Government or the Colonial Governor there. ‘I said regaining independence legally and constitutionally.

’ 320 . and if in the meantime it becomes crystal clear that the people did not want Colonial status. . .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘We heard that you have lodged an appeal in the Privy Council to decide whether cession is legal or not. But it’s up to them to show their disgust at British rule. . and put pressure on the British to give early independence to the Sarawakians. pending the outcome of the legal battle in the Privy Council. . .’ ‘Thank you. Personally I won’t encourage it.’ ‘That’s correct. I am sure the British politicians asked the same question when you Americans fought for your independence. I can help them to achieve a progressive independence in the way they want. You see the Crown could still use its powers legally under the Order-in-Council to revoke cession. in Sarawak first. Political matters have to be handled politically.’ ‘Will you organise a Boston Tea Party there in Sarawak?’ ‘I won’t organise it.’ ‘Will you succeed?’ ‘Look here.  .’ ‘Are they ready for it?’ ‘Well. that’s important. It is in line with that spirit and in line with my duty as a member of the Brooke family to hand over independence to these people. the Atlantic Charter . Benjamin Franklin asked the French for help .  . you Americans fought for your independence over a hundred and fifty years ago against the British. we will request the United Nations to intervene  . I cannot overrule that distinct possibility.’ ‘Why don’t you wait for the legal decision first if you are so confident of the outcome in your favour?’ ‘Look here.’ ‘What difference politically will that make?’ ‘Well. I want to use political pressure and the courts to resolve the legality issue according to the wishes of the people—the political principle of self-determination as enunciated in the United Nation Charter.’ Arden-Clarke had already learnt from the Secretary of State that Peter had left for the United States heading for Singapore and Sarawak. good luck!’ ‘Thank you. . He assured him that cession in Sarawak ‘is no longer a matter for discussion or negotiations. the Privy Council may take two to three years to deliver the judgement. if you know what I mean. I sure need it.’ ‘What’s your chance?’ ‘Good. with continuity of old customary law and protection from foreign commercial exploitation .

the Datu of all Malays and a Sarawakian whom we should be proud of. No matter what the pressure of the British Colonial Office. 5.Chapter 46 D atu Patinggi secretly used the MNU platform to win over PMA members in Kuching and Sibu. . he did not crack. albeit strong enough to cable to Bertram: ‘Please come to Sarawak with your son.’ 321 . we are gathered here today to witness the passing of the greatest Datu. ‘His supreme example and effort to refuse recognition of cession only inspires us to continue to fight harder . . . Independence. Please hurry . believe to be right. the fires of which were flaring up sporadically along the coastal and riverine regions of Sarawak.000 mourners came to attend the funeral rites which were followed with a passionate speech from Abang Sharkawi. May Allah bless you. No cession. Datu Patinggi was gravely ill. The Kaum Ibu was getting stronger—one of the main side-effects of the anti-cession movement in Sarawak.’ Bertram cabled back immediately. Saudara. . For the last few years. Ibans and Kayans . Saudara. to perpetuate the Raj and the Brookes’ rule. I now have the feeling that I will not live very long. Merdeka. friends. By mid—November 1947. ‘ . he has fought for the cultural heritage of Sarawak to continue. . Peter. We fight for the Raj and the Brookes and independence one day. .’ ‘Peter is on the way to Sarawak. . for he has behaved and struggled for what the MNU and many Malays. Yes. as soon as you can. I want to meet you once more while I am still in this world. That gave another focus to and increased the tempo of activity of the anti-cessionists. Datu Patinggi died. My end is near. . Four days later. but instead stood tall and proud.

He had a slim figure.  . . ‘We must not lose sight of our objective and we must refrain from violence.’ ‘Yes. Development of strategy was the foremost activity among members of MNU. ‘I am afraid that some extremists may take the law into their own hands. Amidst this tension. but at the same time worried. Stephen and Datu Bandar Mustapha who had previously been known as Datu Pahlawan before his elevation.’ responded the congregation at the graveyard with clenched fists raised to the blue sky.’ he shouted again.’ replied Sharkawi. . how do you assess the mood of the anti-cession movement in Sarawak since Datu Patinggi’s death?’ ‘Well. Back at the Astana. I fear the worst is still to come .’ The whole graveyard seemed to vibrate and rebound with echoes of ‘Merdeka’. . Cession is final and irreversible. But two members. Arden-Clarke told the Council Negri members. as these Datus were supposed to have already voted for cession . .’ Sharkawi repeated. the house of Datu Patinggi—became the headquarters of the MNU and later on of the Barisan Pemuda of Sarawak too. ‘Merdeka. So let us endeavour to keep down the temperature and temper of our Malay youths who now seem to be about to embark on a holy war against the British Colonial Government. to be frank. ‘  .’ Surprisingly.                             At the Council Negri meeting in early December. Arden-Clarke was furious. . dark hair and the eye of a hawk. suddenly their loyalty had become questionable. ‘Merdeka. Your Excellency. all the members took the oath unlike Datu Patinggi who had refused. Arden-Clarke met Danson.’ came the tumultuous response. All of you must take the oath of allegiance to the King .’ What Arden-Clarke feared came to pass: Darul Kornia—Abode of Peace. Datu Menteri and Datu Hakim refused to confirm the minutes. ‘My dear Datu Bandar. Raj and nationhood. that’s quite possible. it’s bad news! Datu Patinggi’s death has been looked upon as that of a martyr.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Merdeka. It has also served as a rallying point 322 . . Tears and determination inspired by the senior Datu’s death only increased the anger of the patriotic Malays and made them more desirous of independence. the moderate Abang class such as Mohd Nordin told his colleagues.  . ‘Merdeka. ‘Merdeka.

who had received the green light from the Colonial Office to do so. Peter must not be allowed to step foot in Sarawak. Merdeka will follow suit without the British Government. invoked the same legislation used against Datu McBryan in the Undesirable Alien Order of 1936 and issued a prohibition order. our fourth Rajah. otherwise their heads will swell even bigger.’ ‘That is a calculated risk. ‘Peter Brooke. we can do something! We must do something. is coming.1946-1952 for Malays and members of the SDA and the fragmented MNU and led to defections from the PMA to the MNU.’                             A jubilant mood. appeared on the faces of MNU members. All hell broke loose. worthwhile though. ‘Peter Brooke banned from entering Sarawak’ was the headline of the Sarawak Tribune the following day. .’ Upon receiving this news. Arden-Clarke.’ Stephen commented. we can only forbid them to hold rallies or public meetings or gatherings in public. . if I may suggest . The local MNU in Sibu and Miri have decided to invite him to speak and stay. that’s a good start. ‘I agree to that . I suppose it’s the lesser of two evils. Brooke rule and Merdeka and nationhood in one breath. The whispering campaign had began. leading to more daring. SDA members and others in the smaller towns in Sarawak who had been so cheerful and hopeful over the last 323 . . the meeting for evening prayers and dinner. . like the sun coming out again in a clean blue sky after the rain. they view his death as enhancing their moral strength and an additional reason for them to clamour for Raj.’ ‘Is it really that serious?’ ‘Yes. but that does not matter to them—basically all their rallying cries are anti-establishment and anti-British Colonial Government. That’s a traditional practice. I will speak to Malcolm MacDonald and the Colonial Office.’ ‘Legally. . . dare-devil acts.’ ‘Your Excellency. We will send a delegation to meet Peter Brooke at Singapore and invite him and his wife to come to Sarawak . I hear that Peter Brooke is now in America giving statements to the press and will be in Manila very shortly.’ ‘Can you suggest anything to break up this anti-cession movement. But the action of banning him may have a boomerang effect. Their aims are totally conflicting and confused. MNU members. Our rich cultural heritage will be preserved and our Datu Patinggi’s death will not be in vain.’ Stephen interrupted. ‘I recognise that risk. At ceremah.’ ‘Surely. Yes. you cannot touch them.

Singapore and London to embarrass the British Government.’ ‘What are you going to do?’ ‘I’ll fight on. By mid December Peter had arrived in Manila. You must ask why as a descendant and next in line as the Rajah Brooke’s successor I am not allowed to enter Sarawak. Others argued that Peter should ignore the ban and come by boat under an assumed name to Sarawak and then confront the police with 4. They could not ever dream or believe that a member of the Brooke family. did you know that you had been banned from entering Sarawak?’ ‘No.’ ‘It’s also said that your mere presence would influence popular feeling by exploiting the affection and prestige attached to the Brookes’ name.000 male and female members on the wharf to block the police enforcement of the ban—win or lose. Some went to Singapore to seek Malcolm MacDonald’s help to clear the impasse for Peter. The local chieftains. Placards of protest round the mosque and on several roads in the kampongs became more visible. Is that true?’ ‘Not necessary myself as the Rajah. ‘Mr Peter Brooke. could be denied entry to Sarawak. I’ll do all I can. I believe in my cause. The people’s wishes in Sarawak are the critical issue on cession. like tigers. the temperature rose high with fervent prayers for a safe return of Sarawak’s freedom and a restoration of the Raj.’ ‘What?’ ‘Ask the British Government. Ibans. If that’s true. People in Sarawak are waiting for independence from the British Colonial Government.’ 324 . And why is the Colonial Government afraid of me going back to Sarawak for which I have every right? There is something “rotten” in the State of Sarawak. were awaiting him in the airport. Kanyan and others have invited me to Sarawak.Twilight of the White Rajahs few days now looked lost. I will help them through the transitionary period from Brooke rule into full independence. Don’t ask me!’ ‘I have a press release from the Colonial Government accusing you of wanting to restore Brooke rule with yourself as Rajah. Some suggested smuggling Peter in first and then creating publicity in Sarawak.’ ‘But Sarawak is already a British Colony!’ ‘We can force the issue to get independence for Sarawak just as in India and Egypt. ever ready to tear him up. the adverse publicity would be devastating for the British and enhance the cause of anti-cession. I am ready to believe that the cowardly Sarawak Government is afraid that the day of reckoning is at hand. the prospective fourth Rajah of Sarawak. as Shakespeare might have said. while some wanted to appeal to the Colonial Office direct. Reporters. Malays. In the Kuching mosque.

The basis of their assumption is wrong.’ ‘I have another question. ‘Why may I ask?’ Peter asked the counsellor in the British Consulate in Manila. I don’t need that.’ ‘Thank you for your comments. and that I can guarantee. I thought that’s what democracy meant!’ ‘Do you agree that there is a real danger of violence and that you should stay away to ensure that the present peaceful state of the country is not unnecessarily disturbed and to protect the people against the danger of disorder. If there is to be violence. Mr Brooke. I am not going to exploit it. I am merely following instructions.’ ‘All that is a cock-and-bull story. ‘Well. They are treating me like an alien under Alien Orders during the Second World War in England under Emergency legislation. the British Government has directed us not to issue any visa to you unless you undertake to refrain from indulging in any political activity which would be prejudicial to the safety and security of Sarawak now. That’s just a shameless excuse to prevent me from getting into Sarawak to find out the truth. they must be allowed to express that in line with the principle of self-determination enshrined in the United Nation Charter. I am truly sorry. It’s the current government’s drumming up this fear to frighten people and justify their unjustifiable acts of cowardice and unfair discrimination.1946-1952 ‘That’s a lie! If the people want Brooke rule in the interim period. which might be of a grave character? Irreparable damage could follow too. fears and rumours could stir up violence?’ ‘That argument is fallacious. Besides I have to gather material evidence in Sarawak for my defence in libel suits filed by Mr McBryan.’ ‘Absolutely not! Not a chance! Not over my dead body!’ ‘Well.’ First Peter had learnt about the prohibition order. the former secretary to the last Rajah of Sarawak. in that case. it will happen whether I am there or not. Is it true to say that in a place like Sarawak where there is such high illiteracy. for the whole world to know and for me to act on. Let the people decide on the issue of independence. I regret to inform you that no visa to Singapore can be issued to you. then his visa for Singapore was turned down. not Brooke expatriates and local officers under undue influence or duress from the Rajah to support cession. The fact is that there is no emergency or war in Sarawak. You do know there are time limits to filing of defences. I want the truth—a referendum of the true wishes of people not only in the towns but also in the villages and interior of Sarawak—the decision of the Sarawakians. false reports. I will not try to influence that. It’s an exaggerated fear. There is no war nor rebellion in Sarawak.’ 325 .

Mr Brooke.’ replied Jack Jacklin. Is that true?’ ‘That’s a lie. Peter left for Hong Kong. ‘Yes. ‘Yes. . We have the means and determination. Mr Brooke. Don’t tell me democracy does not exist here!’ snapped Peter. which has 326 . They do not want me there in case I get evidence to reveal how they bribed some members of the Council Negri and Supreme Council to push cession through with expatriate officers of the Brookes. Plus we have very rich resources of oil. can Sarawak look after itself bearing in mind the enormous cost of rehabilitation and reconstruction after the war?’ ‘The simple answer is yes. Sarawak. ?’ ‘Well.’ ‘How do you foresee raising funds . Put that on the record. pepper and rubber that foreign companies can come to develop. ‘Anyway. if ever there was one. . We can pay back the loans. now being hounded down like a fugitive. If the people want me to help them in any way through a transition period to full independence. a member of the distinguished Brooke line. I mean it. I am a British subject.’ The officer did not reply to him.’ ‘Are you going to be the fourth Rajah of Sarawak?’ ‘I have no particular ambition. . we’ll see. My father will get someone to raise this matter in the British Parliament. On arrival. ‘Really? Is that another order of the British Colonial Office?’ Peter demanded.’ ‘Tell me .’ On the following day. Barter trade is still possible. or from the World Bank under the United Nations. Peter called a press conference. we have heard that despite the appeal to the Governor by local Malays in Sarawak you have been banned from entering Sarawak because they are afraid that you may cause trouble there.’ After kicking his heels. . I will serve them in any capacity. Sarawak can borrow from banks in England such as Chartered Bank or a consortium of banks. any capacity. We have received that directive. who has more reason to be in Sarawak then the British Government. Yes. the British authority in the Colony of Hong Kong warned him not to communicate with the press. ‘This is Hong Kong. I have told you what I am instructed to tell you. That is not British justice nor Brooke justice. timber. a young blonde officer from the Colonial Government Office in Hong Kong.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘All of you are the same! Afraid of truth and unable to face the realities of the wishes of the people who want independence. ‘It’s as if I were in Russia. feeling also totally unfairly treated by his own government. unrepentant and more angry and humiliated than ever before.’ ‘All of you are the same. Good day. I am extremely sorry about it. North Korea or China.

Many oil companies are looking for oil concessions in Sarawak . . Mr Brooke. had deliberately created a lot of misunderstandings between my uncle and myself. And he has brought a libel suit now against me. By hook or by crook.1946-1952 survived before and during the Brookes’ rule. that’s just his personal opinion.’ ‘Do you believe the international banking community will lend Sarawak the money it needs?’ ‘Give me one reason why not and I will give you ten reasons why they will. I have to go to Sarawak to gather materials and evidence for my defence. will continue to go from strength to strength. the former Rajah. I never really wanted to be the fourth Rajah. what do you intend to do now?’ ‘Appeal to the British public and Parliament in England and of course. ‘Peter Brooke appeals to the British Government and Parliament for justice. That’s the honest truth!’ ‘Well. would you care to tell us why your uncle. the Sarawak people. . In fact. So. did not consider you fit to be the next Rajah?’ ‘First of all. on this point. a dramatic article appeared in the Hong Kong Times. .’ ‘Why is the British Government so keen to hold on to Sarawak and British North Borneo after the war? ‘For the abundance of natural resources that I have mentioned.’ ‘Now. Mr McBryan. my uncle and McBryan pushed cession through with the collaboration of the British Government. they provide very strategic and convenient bases for British trade and the flag . His personal secretary.’ ‘There must be other reasons?’ ‘My uncle is getting old and wanted to get out of Sarawak but only once a financial settlement had been worked out by McBryan who acted like an eunuch to an emperor. “Not yet fit to be the next Rajah”. They are afraid of my presence in Sarawak where I will get direct evidence on affidavit . Incidentally. Besides. I want to see the majority of people deciding what they really want. Actually. 327 . Hayes was forced to reply in the British Parliament when Bertram through his friends there raised the issue of a British citizen denied justice and the normal right to travel to Sarawak—a Crown Colony. for right to return to Sarawak. for Sarawak’s right to independence. . the majority in Sarawak is anti-cession. and kick up a stink about this denial of justice until the Secretary of State or the Sarawak Governor wakes up and does something fair—British justice in foreign soil. . On the following morning.’ The press quickly left him. .’ The Colonial Office was mad. On a lot of things we don’t see eye to eye. the Colonial Office just repeated my old uncle’s cliché.

Mr Secretary . . ‘Come. the Ibans and Kayans want to invite Peter Brooke to their planned welcome contrasts to the cold cession ceremony—where there wasn’t even an Iban representative—is not a ground to speculate that he is bringing violence to Sarawak. Perhaps a constitutional one too! That’s not a ground to bar him. . ‘Mr Peter Brooke is attempting to subvert the existing authority under Arden-Clarke.Chapter 47 T he Secretary of State defended his position in the British Parliament. . The Governor justifiably believes that his presence will create more confusion: restoration of Brooke rule is contradictory to the demand for independence . jeered.’ ‘Why another constitutional problem?’ ‘The restoration of the Brookes’ rule . we need more proofs than rumour and speculation. the Sarawak Dayak Association.’ The Conservative member. 328 . Is the government afraid that he will reveal the truth of money politics in the Council Negri and Supreme Council? Is the government afraid that the people there—I mean the majority is still against cession—now want independence under the principle of self-determination according to the United Nations Charter?’ ‘The honourable member knows as well as I do.’ ‘But the people in Sarawak will further be confused at this moment with another constitutional problem. the government harbours no such sinister intention to prevent what Peter Brooke wants to do. come. . . Being a member of the Brooke family he can create hostile emotion against the government and incite commotion against Arden-Clarke’s government. . The fact that the Malay National Union. Stubb. That’s a legal issue.’ ‘That issue is already in the hands of the Privy Council.

 . I dare say . Surely he has the right to go to Sarawak and gather materials and critical evidence to defend himself against the libel suit of Mr McBryan. However. for money and for positions in history are common follies of mortals. . Peter’s passport was endorsed with a visa for Singapore and the Malayan Union. the parliamentary debate included Sir Winston Churchill’s comment on Sarawak’s cession and the anti-cession movement of Peter Brooke which was ‘ . It’s just a typical family squabble. the very declaration of tyranny. Peter is on the receiving end.’ ‘Well. But still not for Sarawak. The only salient point is that the one who is in power calls the shots.1946-1952 really one can add that the various anti-cessionists have different views and agendas on the issue of anti-cession. But public security and order come first. and line by line . ‘Hear! Hear!’ On the following morning. . .’ The Conservative members jeered at the Secretary for the Colonies. . of getting social services running. don’t you agree. ‘Our Colonial Office had already decided to take a tough line on Sarawak because they feel that it would be fatal at this moment to confuse the Sarawak public again. 329 . when the great work of rehabilitation of Sarawak. the security and safety of Sarawak are the most important considerations. it’s still our considered opinion that in the interests of public security and order.’ Eventually through the public outcry in the press and publicity and cries of ‘Shame! Shame! Mockery of British Justice abroad’. ?’ ‘I don’t claim to be an expert on the Brookes’ history. gentlemen. Rajah Vyner Brooke.’ ‘I thought that’s what our model democracy means—freedom of speech and action within limits. Mr Secretary .’ ‘Surely the Honourable Minister knows full well that he has no evidence that it is Peter’s intention to set up himself as the fourth Rajah. .’ ‘That’s not a fair answer.’ ‘In view of the fact that Peter has been demoted three times as the Rajah Muda by his uncle and certainly from the records of the Colonial Office’s dealings with him. of restoring order. must at once be taken in hand. be that as it may. phrase by phrase. for power.’ ‘I must say the Honourable Minister’s knowledge of the Brookes’ family history is very shallow and limited. In the foreign press he has already denied that!’ ‘That’s true. Then the Secretary stood up again. he should not be allowed to enter Sarawak.’ The Labour backbenchers cheered. . . Fighting for inheritance. the Personal Secretary of the last Rajah. one can fairly form an opinion that he is a completely irresponsible person.

The banning of Peter was a god-given chance for the MNU and SDA to unite and exploit politically. Arden-Clarke. We must crush them at all costs. We greet you with joy.’ echoed the members. I must make it clear to the people of Sarawak that cession is not likely to be revoked in a sudden or abrupt fashion according to their way of thinking.’ 330 . anyone who feels that he is unable to comply with that instruction is required to inform his head of department by 31st December. used as the headquarters for the anti-cession movement in Singapore. Suhaily. ‘Your Excellency. a political issue which the government had no answer to—nor did it have any idea how to contain the surging tide of anti-cession—a contradictory passion for Brooke rule and the independence of Sarawak at the same time. We must resist!’ ‘Yes. a strong-willed Malay. ‘We must strangle the anti-cession movement as soon as possible. Welcome. . we must resist.                             ‘Any government servant who associates himself with any activity designed to keep over the question of cession or commits any act of disloyalty to government will render himself liable to instant dismissal . Suhaily advised them. 9 was served on those members who were civil servants. We must not let the anti-cessionists become recklessly brave in organising the opposition. Abode of Peace. once and for all. they felt as if an atomic bomb had been dropped on them when Circular No.’ That was Circular No. Your Highness. 9’ Datu Bandar commented. and some inner-circle members of the MNU organised the Malay government servants at Darul Kurnia to calm their followers. to Sarawak. It was a political issue too big to be ignored by the Sarawak Government. Mohd Nordin even composed a special pantun verse in Peter’s honour. We pray to God that your reign will be long. Back in the Astana. after discussing the matter with Stephen. 9. backed by the British Government. hoping you will remain on the throne. May your reign be long so that the people may live in peace. instructed Datu Bandar. if they disobey Circular No. I am sure that 80% of all Malay government servants would resign rather than give up their birthrights for their bread and butter. ‘Don’t sign the form as every signature of yours will have great value to the government.Twilight of the White Rajahs Peter’s mother and wife came to give him moral support in Singapore where they rented a house called Rumah Sarawak—Sarawak House. .

‘Yes.’ Easier said than done. . Then. Compared to Malaya.’ 331 . the members of the MNU and SDA regularly go to visit Peter in Singapore for advice and to gather new ammunition from cuttings of foreign press articles and editorials. the local Malay women’s organisation has been brainwashed by Kathleen Brooke as she was allowed to come here.’ The Governor showed him a seat. often ending up with bitter conflicts of loyalty within a family. Resign and bring the administration to a standstill until it is withdrawn. ‘We have to play it tough and cool and watch carefully where to strike.1946-1952 ‘I am not so convinced. there was no Utusan Melayu and Warta Negara media to fight for their cause. With equal gusto the MNU tried to persuade the people with their counter-circular. There are a few hundred hard nuts out there in the schools now set up by the anti-cessionists.’ ‘What’s your specific duty now?’ ‘Counter-propaganda. the MNU managed to get 353 government employees to sign special forms protesting against the Government. Your Excellency. That campaign caused much personal dissent. confrontation between the anti-cession activists and the government reached perilous new heights as the latter tried to force the loyalties of the Malay government servants. Datu Menteri. ‘Now you tell me. there will be a few martyrs—they think they are on a Jihad holy mission and will be rewarded in heaven for their heroic sacrifices and deaths. they reprinted anti-cession articles by translating editorials and correspondence appearing in the Singapore and British press. Sibu. She became a rallying point wherever she went—Kuching. He was in a belligerent mood. have you got any plan to neutralise the anti-cession activists?’ Datu Bandar asked Stephen when he had been appointed to this new office.’ ‘Yes. ‘For a start. in Malay: ‘Don’t acknowledge Circular No. . . Stephen was specially appointed by Arden-Clarke to counter Peter’s continuous propaganda appearing in the Singapore press by refuting the allegations in the Sarawak Tribune and the Sarawak Gazette. thought Stephen. 9. See you later . However. supported cession.’ ‘Please do sit down.’ warned Stephen. .                             From the end of 1946 through the first quarter of 1947. The MNU at least succeeded in inciting Abang Moalim until he ran amok in his father’s house because his father. Miri . Your Excellency. Mr Young.’ The Governor’s eyes widened like a hawk’s as he deliberately emphasised every word. I suppose! Now I have to rush and see the Governor.

’ ‘Good day. .’ ‘Agreed.’ ‘As the government’s public relations officer please appoint Tom Wilkins.  .’ ‘Do you think it will work?’ ‘It will. . . yes. Your Excellency . 9.’ ‘Why don’t you ban Peter’s wife entry to Sarawak? She seems to be a rallying point for the Malays. Datu Menteri’s. I have full confidence. I will try to increase their salaries. Compensate her for her work.’ Now most outgoing mail from Sarawak was secretly checked. warning and persuasion were used to dissuade resigners who would forfeit bonuses and government contributions to their superannuation. get Datu Patinggi’s son over on our side or neutralise him if possible and  . the Colonial Development Fund with an allocation of £5.’ ‘Results. . the MNU and SDA.’ ‘I will consider it. . when you can report to me . of course.’ ‘That will be tough. (3) Non-establishment government staff should cease work on 1st April in protest at Circular No.000 was made to Sarawak to upgrade the pay of the Junior Administrative Service. Datu Bandar’s . after meeting Peter in Singapore. . any other suggestions?’ ‘Get Sarinah to help—she is a resourceful woman. She can counter the women’s section. . To counteract this. came back to maintain a continuous campaign. improve the salaries of Malay and other government servants . Hold ceramah in the evening with food to launch counter-propaganda in various houses. those expatriate officers who were still anti-cessionists were asked to leave the commission.’ ‘Good.’ ‘It will be effective. . they decided on the following: (1) That they would boycott government schools after 1st April 1947. After five hours deliberation.’ ‘Good . and 332 . I’ll see you for dinner. e.’ ‘Goodbye.’ ‘Splendid! I want results.g.  . Datu Hakim’s.’ ‘I will revamp the editorial of the Sarawak Gazette.000. (2) Resignation notices to the government would not be withdrawn. .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Now what can you do to counter the anti-cession movement?’ ‘Please order the Sarawak Tribune not to print anti-cession news except that already published in Singapore or in the British press. Together we will counter Peter’s articles in the Sarawak Tribune correspondence column—under noms de plume. . With the Ibans and Kayans. With the Malays in this situation it takes time.

when boycotts and threats against the simple-minded kampongs folks fail . Stephen’s list of proposals and recommendations to deal with the anti-cessionists fell into the hands of the anti-cessionists who gave it to Peter in Singapore. ‘Peter Brooke to sue Stephen Young. Peter fired his next salvo in the Singapore Times. and a better training programme for Sarawak’s development. however. whatever the cost may be. Only the British have the full resources. many Ibans and Kayans have been totally misled by the MNU and Peter. Through carelessness in the Secretariat.’ Peter knew that it was not easy to deal with Stephen who knew Sarawak better in many ways. A separate article appeared in the Sarawak Tribune in the correspondence column—under a nom de plume. which means Peter has no place in Sarawak politics any more. And Peter has yet another agenda too! ‘The majority of people of Sarawak would never accept Peter as the next Rajah. 333 . . ‘In this confusion. There was a slight confusion. It’s right that Sarawak should ban people like him—Peter who is determined to subvert the lawful government. the Sibu YMA switched its allegiance to the anti-cession cause. 28 out of the 353 withdrew their resignations after having being persuaded by Stephen’s initiative. Anti-cession does not equate to merdeka. ‘There’s a contradiction here: some Malays want Brooke rule to continue—which means Peter coming in as the fourth Rajah. The SDA agenda is different from the MNU’s. But the Rajahship itself is already out of date. ‘Peter Brooke has deliberately confused the Sarawak people.’ The Sarawak government and Stephen took it coolly. The next step is for the locals to achieve independence when Sarawak is ready. the Sarawak Gazette and Sarawak Tribune for libel. As expected. ‘Peter Brooke wants to be Rajah and therefore he must fight against cession even it is a fait accompli.1946-1952 (4) The religious and social boycott of pro-cessionists should be continued until they surrendered. Everybody knows that. deliberately inciting them to be violent against the government when civil disobedience fails. twenty-three more Malay teachers resigned on 31st March. . Rajah Vyner has stated many times that he has “Yet to prove to be fit as the next Rajah”. others want independence. Most people who mattered knew Stephen was quick and shrewd not devilish and cunning like Datu McBryan. ‘The Council Negri and Supreme Council have approved cession legally. ‘We will defend all frivolous actions of Peter Brooke’ was the headline of the Sarawak Tribune the following day. merdeka.

all I can tell you is that he is a tough customer.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             The MNU thought it was all plain sailing now.’ ‘No. ‘Could it be that it is a Colonial Office plan hatched so as to “re-constitute Sarawak under the nominal suzerainty of Brunei—a move which might defuse the problem of Sarawak’s Colonial Status”. it can’t be! I heard a rumour here that the British Government may have a plan to annex Brunei and administer Sarawak and Brunei as a single territory. ‘If Sarawak were to be ceded to anyone.’ ‘What do you want me to do?’ ‘Fight all the way.’ Peter did not know how to react. now I am told that Stephen is helping the Sarawak government in the Sarawak Gazette and also in the Sarawak Tribune against the anti-cession activists and others . Peter said. not necessarily. Don’t underestimate him. . . out of the blue. Good luck. He is quite thorough and careful.’ ‘Incidentally. Then. came a statement from the Sultan of Brunei reported in the Singapore press. Sarawak is not a Kebun Getah (rubber garden) to be sold off by the Rajah. But wait for further developments. He is really shrewd.’ ‘Well.’ His father commented.’ ‘No. But I have sued him and the Sarawak Tribune. ‘It seems that the Sultan of Brunei is a British government stooge. . On the phone to his father in London. .’ ‘I know and I won’t.’ ‘Make sure of your facts first. He is no McBryan. it should be him .’ 334 .

Chapter 48


eter was still obsessed with the anti-cession movement and simmering at his ban from Sarawak. So he wrote articles and letters to the correspondence column of The Times in London and the Straits Times in Singapore. But the Sarawak Tribune would not publish his articles and letters. Stephen replied to them in all the papers as well as in the Sarawak Tribune, which only published those extracts from Peter’s letters that Stephen quoted. So that there would be a logical and comprehensive reply to Peter’s constant stream of accusations, Stephen took issue on every point raised by Peter in the press. Headlines in the correspondence column read as follows: ‘Rebutting Peter Brooke’s misleading and false (in some cases) allegations: On expatriates voting in the Council Negri meeting in Sarawak on 10th-15th May 1946, Peter alleged that the European vote was clearly carried out against the express will of the indigenous people. That’s untrue. a) Firstly, the MPs from England saw no reason why those expatriate officers could not vote. b) Secondly, the Council Negri as then constituted, one could argue, did not reflect the proper racial composition of Sarawak. There were 31 seats. The Dayaks, representing 50 percent of Sarawak’s population had only 4 seats; the Chinese, representing 25 percent had only 3 seats while the Malays, representing 25 percent had 17 seats. To be representational, Dayaks should have had at least 15 seats and the Malays 4 seats, and then cession would have been won hands down as the majority of the Dayaks accepted

Twilight of the White Rajahs

cession because they trusted the Rajah to act in the best interests of Sarawakians as a whole. Under the circumstances, it would be grossly unfair and wrong to ignore the voting of the European members who voted as individuals with knowledge of Sarawak and not as an official bloc. Indeed, some European members voted against cession. The truth is that the majority of Sarawakians—the Dayaks, Chinese and a portion of the Malays supported cession. (II) Peter alleged that the whole Council Negri proceeding was irregular, unconstitutional and biased. The voting procedure was weak, the President, Mr Cable, had to urge members thrice to vote for the Bill of Cession out of loyalty to the Rajah. Whatever allegation on the irregularity there might be in those proceedings they had been accepted by those present. There is no proof of any definite gross breach of regularity that would make those sittings void. There is nothing wrong in the President telling the members that the Rajah expected his subjects and officers to vote for cession. The behaviour of some of the Council members must be seen in the context that they were government officials not professional or seasoned parliamentarians. In any event, the controversy of the proceeding must be deemed as irrelevant. There is no point in crying over spilt milk. On the contrary, it would be of mutual advantage if the people of Sarawak would throw off the garments of pride and prejudice and instead work together with the British Colonial Government for the common good of the people. (III) Peter alleged that Great Britain had crudely snatched away the independence of Sarawak and pushed for cession because two British MPs had ascertained that cession was acceptable to the majority of the people. Great Britain which had condemned fascism herself now has proceeded along the same lines by annexing other independent country, namely as Sarawak. It’s part and parcel of the British policy of colonisation in the Far East. This is not true. The Rajah, acting on behalf of Sarawak, suggested and concluded that cession was the best choice for Sarawak. Both MPs and Council Negri and Supreme Council had voted for it—that’s the key issue. The annexation by consent can be seen in the light of Britain undertaking a humanitarian responsibility towards those people who were living in blissful ignorance of the prevailing conditions.



(IV) Again Peter alleged that Circular No. 9 was designed to eradicate the popular resentment of the natives against cession. Those civil servants resigned out of their free will. That is untrue. Natives here means certain sectors of the Malays only. Government civil servants must follow rules of department. The automatic dismissal procedure is fair as no government can tolerate it if its civil servants want to go on strike against the government because of an external factor—a certain political organisation wanting to oppose cession—the very foundation of the Sarawak Colonial Government and the legality of its establishment would be at risk. Of course, many of those who resigned were under family and social or religious pressures, suffering boycotts from the anti-cessionists. Such resigners were made known to several government officers. Naturally, some of them when pressed by their heads of department would publicly deny that their resignations were not of their free will. If one understands the culture here, one would know what that meant. We should leave that matter on that level. The circular was legitimately designed to prevent any dislocation of work in the government service as a result of political sentiment. Civil servants must show their loyalty and accept cession. The ultimate idea was to prevent those government servants from indulging in any activity that might aggravate and perpetuate the cession controversy. (V) Peter was banned from entering Sarawak because of his immense popularity with the Malays who still want Brooke rule to continue. The Sarawak and British Governments are afraid to face the truth of their unpopularity. He has every right as a British subject to go where he likes within the British Empire. Fundamental liberties should not be sacrificed for administrative convenience. Besides, he has been denied the opportunity of gathering critical evidence and affidavits for his defence of libel suit from Datu McBryan. We must look at the case in a proper perspectives. Peter has repeatedly made several public announcements that he wanted to change the existing form of government in Sarawak and reinstate the Brooke dynasty with himself probably as Rajah—at least for an interim period. This naturally gives a reasonable basis to the British and Sarawak Governments’ strong fear that his presence would be prejudicial to the safety and security of Sarawak and the preservation of law and order. His very presence in Kuching, if allowed, would have stirred up emotional feelings foreseeably leading to the danger of clashes between rival groups, grave misunderstandings and disturbances of peace. That’s also the view of Mr Malcolm MacDonald, the Governor-General at Singapore.

Twilight of the White Rajahs

It’s evidently clear that Peter Brooke’s attempts to subvert the existing authority in Sarawak will not only confuse and distract the people but most likely will cause strikes and disorder in Sarawak. Democracy needs to be protected especially when there are strong grounds to believe that certain actions based on past declarations would be prejudicial to the security, order and safety of Sarawak and its people. The issue of the legality of cession is over already; but negative political and emotional appeals to subvert Sarawak will still cause trouble until the Sarawakians realise that cession is the best thing that ever happened to Sarawak. (VI) The other allegation was that Datu Patinggi and the MNU always had been against cession. That’s untrue. Datu Patinggi supported cession at first; but after communications between the Tuan Muda, the Heir Presumptive, and Peter, Heir Apparent, he changed his mind. Only Peter and his father know the real reason. Who knows? One can only surmise that the logical deal that would be attractive for the Datu Patinggi would be as follows: Peter would let Datu Patinggi be the Rajah eventually while Peter would act as the Rajah and then groom Datu Patinggi or his son hopefully as the next Rajah. But Datu Patinggi predeceased Peter. Datu Patinggi became an anti-cessionist only because he did not receive the revenues from the turtle eggs from the Talang Talang and Satang turtle islands exclusively for himself and family and the government had turned down his four other requests namely, that the title of Datu Patinggi should be made superior to other Datus, that the title of Datu Patinggi should be hereditary, that his eldest son be made the Datu Bandar and that he should have Sarawak’s revenue Kehasilan for the last 100 years and for the future as promised by Datu McBryan under the Special Agreement dated 5th January 1946 and signed between himself and Datu McBryan who was then acting on behalf of Rajah Vyner. That ‘janji’ agreement was reneged on by the Brooke government and he responded likewise. The truth is that there was never a ‘janji’ by the Brookes that the Rajahship will last forever. A similar piece of evidence in question is the case in 1943 when Datu Patinggi wrote to Major Kozoki who was administering Sarawak for a short time during the Japanese Occupation complaining how he had been ‘forced’ to abdicate the rights to the turtle eggs in the Talang Talang and Satang islands for compensation of $15,000 and how he wished to play a more active part in assisting the Japanese Military Administration. And he ended that letter by saying, ‘In concluding this


letter I should like to assure you of my loyalty towards the new regime and to express my good wishes for the success of the new government.’ Although the Japanese were unlikely to accede to his request that he get back his exclusive right to the revenues of the turtle eggs, yet it showed that whatever his personal feeling might be about the Japanese regime, he was prepared to work under them, hopefully deriving some advantage from them. This line of action could be due to his age and confused thinking, caused by the people surrounding him, on the positive effects of cession even though from the outset, he had agreed to accept cession and the documents he signed evinced such an intent. The documents were also translated into Jawi. (VII) The last allegation is that the Governor’s speech in the Council Negri was strongly reminiscent of those which the Germans made in West Africa before the 1914-18 war. The text of Arden-Clarke’s speech was that he had declared that the cession issue was closed and the chance of the people being misled was very great because many of them were ignorant and uneducated. Admittedly His Excellency Arden-Clarke is no doubt a tough governor, able and ready to prove that he can maintain peace and order and bring about a moral showdown with the anti-cession associations. The truth is that the more educated a person he or she is, the better chance that he or she would understand the issue with fewer emotional influences and would tend to be less likely to be misled by political demagogues. In fact the real complaints are the ban on Peter’s entry into Sarawak and strict implementation of Circular No. 9. The obvious conclusion therefore is that Peter Brooke could never have the financial capability, administrative ability and experience and facilities to run Sarawak as the British Government does. It’s like one man against an army. While Brooke rule served Sarawak well before, now it is quite obsolete. Besides, the majority of the people of Sarawak do not want Peter to be the fourth Rajah nor Brooke rule. That was Peter’s dream but would be the Sarawakians’ nightmare.’ When copies of the Sarawak Tribune were sent to Peter, he was hopping mad, threatening to file another suit against the paper. ‘Incite more protests against Circular No. 9 all over Sarawak,’ was the message conveyed by Peter to the MNU. Incidentally the Kaum Ibu, the MNU women’s section, along with men and children, demonstrated against Circular No. 9. ‘No Circular No. 9.’ ‘We do not want to be colonised.’ ‘Peter Brooke is not criminal, why ban his presence in Sarawak?’

Twilight of the White Rajahs

Stephen’s fears came true. Mrs Peter Brooke arrived in Sarawak at the high point of the anti-cession movement. As an unofficial representative of the Brookes, she was given unprecedented support by the Sarawak Malays in Sibu, Kuching, Miri and Bintulu. ‘Your Excellency, we should ban her too, as I suggested earlier!’ strongly urged Stephen. ‘There I may have a problem. You know the politics back home.’ Arden-Clarke showed slight hesitation. ‘Your Excellency, I agree that is a very valid point,’ chipped in Danson, the Chief Secretary. ‘Well, she is going to inflame the Malays and some may run amok,’ Stephen warned. ‘On the other hand, allowing her in is a safety valve for the dissatisfaction of those who are against the ban on her husband. They would feel that at least they could speak to Peter’s wife.’ ‘I don’t know, look at the photographs of Mrs Brooke with the Sibu Pergerakan Memuda Malaya and Kaum Ibu. Now look at her photograph with Lily Eberwin in Sibu. Look at all these photos of the sixty school teachers resigning . . . and I have told you that Circular No. 9’s intended effect might not come about.’ Stephen cautioned. ‘I am sure they will come crawling back, knocking at our doors again. How can they sacrifice their means of living and worldly happiness just to live up to their protests?’ Danson commented. Stephen interrupted. ‘I beg to differ. The so called spirit of the Pergerakan 338 movement is kept alive by young MNU members. They provide the backbone of a political movement which might never have been sustained had it not been for Circular No. 9. I heard from the grapevine that they intend to establish sekolah ra’ayat people’s schools in Kuching and Sibu to keep the anti-cession movement alive.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes . . . therefore we must split the strength of the MNU and break up the close working relationship between the MNU and SDA.’ ‘That’s a thought. Of course, you realise that the Governor must draw to your attention that that is strictly outside the official scope of the Sarawak Government.’ ‘I know  .  .  . but the operation will be discreetly and indirectly carried out without any reference officially to the government. And, naturally, the government must not be seen to have a hand in it. I’ll talk to Datu Bandar about your proposal . . .’ suggested Stephen confidentially.


Chapter 49


he vitriolic campaign against cession, public disgust at and the boycott against Circular No. 9, and the barring of Peter Brooke from entering Sarawak had stirred up an emotional cauldron among the Sibu Malays. Dislike of the Colonial Government, the desire for a return of the Brookes’ rule and for independence from British rule, all mixed in one hotchpotch, had caused a few extremists among the PMM Sibu Malay youth to form a clandestine underground movement called ‘Rukun Tigabelas’ (Thirteen Precepts) that decided to take the law into its own hands. Awang Rambli, the leader of the PMM called together ten daredevils, who had declared that they were ready to act as a suicide squad, to meet at his house. Rambli had a well-trimmed moustache and a pair of ferocious eagle eyes, the face of a man ready to take any risky adventure. ‘What you suggest we should do, Chikgu—Master?’ asked a young Malay recruit, Rosli Dhobie, in his native tongue. ‘Something dramatic!’ replied Rambli. ‘Like putting up posters.’ ‘Bukan . . . No. No. That’s a boy’s job. You must do a man’s job. Putting up posters is a small affair; there is another line of action. Fighting in the old constitutional way is of little importance—that’s the Kuching Perabangan’s style, like waiting for golden rain to fall from the sky, and that is useless. We must remember that independence is in our hands, we must dare to sacrifice ourselves.’ Immediately there was silence. The members of the Rukun Tigabelas looked at each other. It dawned on them that they would have to assassinate the successor to Arden-Clarke, George Duncan Stewart, the second Governor of Sarawak, and other expatriates including Stephen, Danson and Cable. The

SDA and YMA got nowhere with their cables on petitions and demonstrations with posters. If we fail this secret mission. Yes. this time the anti-cession parties would win. The MNU’s members in Kuching had some idea that Rambli would do something dramatic—but not an assassination. ‘Now it’s our chance to change history. ‘I’ll let you know. ‘When?’ asked Rosli Dhobie. when the new Governor. We want to prick the conscience of the British public. We lost only because it was the orang puteh majority in the Council Negri which turned the tables and let cession succeed. As for the Kuching Perabangan Malay they are too soft. and care for only themselves. In a serious and solemn mood. Cable was mainly responsible with the rest of the cronies of the British Government and Rajah Vyner.Twilight of the White Rajahs whole plan of Rambli was to enlist trusted people including a Malay Datu so that the intended assassination would unleash a general and popular uprising and overturn the British Colonial Government. Therefore. all our Datus were bought off by the British. then Sarawak will never be able to reverse cession. starting with McBryan who on his last visit to Sarawak hired two bodyguards. we will gather here to create history. we want questions to be asked in the British Parliament. Now. it’s our last chance. ‘Tonight. All the other Divisions were anti-cession. an energetic Malay barely seventeen years old. my fellow heroes.’ Some of those who were present there were all tensed up while others found their hearts beating faster and louder. if a new referendum or finding were carried out again. ‘Only the Sibu Malay youth can change the tide of history against cession. we may force the British to 342 . the holy mission falls upon the Sibu Malays. Apart from Datu Patinggi. Sir Duncan Stewart. The MNU. otherwise the Kuching Malays would have had a chance to hammer him. that will be our time for action. Yes. ‘The British Government has refused to discuss anti-cession any more with the Tuan Muda and Rajah Muda. Speaking in Malay he appealed to the hearts and souls of these young Malay heroes and warriors. This is a chance to show the British they should hold a referendum and find out whether most Sarawakians really want cession. ‘You know well that only half of the Ibans under Temenggong Koh in the Third Division wanted cession. In a week’s time. Even if our mission fails. visits Sibu. Sibu will always create history in the political history of Sarawak. Rambli cast the dice.’ ‘Who?’ ‘We’ll decide that after the end of this meeting. We are going to teach the British a lesson they will never forget.

these patriots were ready for action. . . and you there . . ‘Now. . the heroic task now falls on you to carry out the assassination of Duncan Stewart. Nor Taha is blessed by Allah to carry out this mission. Each one of you will pick one. I will be stationed here. Nor Taha had an urgent mission to Brunei during the following week. ‘We are on a jihad martyr’s mission! Yes. Rentap. . Another secret meeting was again held in Rambli’s house. show me your straws. ‘Now. Rosli. All of them showed their straws.’ requested the Chikgu. . . fought against James Brooke’s oppression in Bau to the death. we swear by the name of Allah . yours is the shortest and Rosli you are the second shortest. children or girlfriends. we’ll walk over these places and take up positions in rehearsal . you are young and the British legal system gives special treatment to young offenders. . . since the new Governor has changed the date of his visit to Sibu. None of your parents. ?’ ‘Yes. If that happens. a change of plan was called for. our efforts. here is the map of the road near the Rejang River of our Sibu town. you will attack from this angle and . ‘On my left hand are ten straws of unequal lengths. Suddenly. so on.’ ‘We will. Since Nor Taha has to go to Brunei on another urgent mission. Chikgu. . Is that clear . I will start the first move. here . .’ Each of them was asked to draw a straw from Chikgu Rambli’s hand. wives. It will be Sibu—yes Sibu PPM not Kuching MNU that will change the course and speed of our run to independence. Nobody.1946-1952 give Sarawak independence earlier.’ ‘True. If I fail. ‘Rosli. heroism and sacrifices will not have been in vain. . the Malay hero who fought but never surrendered although exiled in Singapore. the Chinese freedom fighter. . May Allah bless you!’ ‘Yes. Those who have the five shortest straws will be the chosen heroes to undertake this secret mission. . . .’ ‘Tomorrow.’ 343 . we want Brooke rule but actually our sacred mission is to get Sarawak’s independence like the Malayan Union where the British backed down. . Is that agreed. so we have to change our date. . Now. Nor Taha. saudara?’ ‘Yes . No outsiders should know. never surrendered though defeated by Charles Brooke and Liu Siang Pang. The new Governor had postponed his trip for a week. ‘Remember Sherip Masahor. . ‘Good. Now the new plan is as follows . Maybe only life-imprisonment.’ ‘Now.’ After the rehearsal. We can achieve that. .’ they responded in unison. ‘We must be instilled with that fighting spirit although now against the British Colonial master . May Allah bless us to succeed in this sacred mission. you’re . the Iban warrior.

was just walking along the road parallel to Rejang River. smeared with poison. Great Britain. How could this be possible? Would there be a Malay rebellion against the government? Would there be a Malay uprising against the Sibu Chinese townsfolk? All such frightening thoughts dawned on Sibu dwellers. Fear was a stranger to him. about twenty yards apart. The Chief Secretary imposed a curfew in Sibu and Kuching for a week until things had returned to normal. He stabbed the Governor in the stomach—then gave a second and third thrust with his kris. Would the Sibu townsfolk be punished? The assassination brought grievous shock to all of Sarawak. For a moment the police were paralysed with disbelief. . ‘Tangap dia—arrest him. Morshidi’s attempt to strike with his kris was blocked by a policeman. SDA and others Malay organisation. the new Governor. when he was passing by Rosli. . All went away inspired imagining that they were Saracens in the Holy war against the Crusaders in Arabian deserts. then they dashed forward and apprehended Rosli and a few others who were running away from the scene of the assassination. Some of the schoolchildren screamed and wept while others were in total awe.Twilight of the White Rajahs Rosli nodded proudly as if possessed by a devil dying to carry out the dangerous mission. the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.’ The Governor screamed in pain before he passed out. He was waving to a gathering crowd mostly Chinese and some Ibans. quite similar to Sherip Masahor. and a few Malays and to the avenues of schoolchildren assembled in his honour. All the police were stunned as they gathered around the Governor who held his stomach with both of his hands. On the following day. . The question was why would the Malays want to kill a British Governor? Even rushing the Governor from the Sibu hospital to Singapore was not enough to save his life and he died on 9th December 1949. blood gushing out profusely. all tried to distance themselves from the Sibu PMM. . Kaum Ibu. Moderate Malays and the MNU. with two policemen in front of him and two behind. ‘Ouch . Without warning.’ shouted the police in disarray. and the repercussions over the assassination turned people against him instead. Many of their anti-government 344 . Rambli was of Brunei origin. where the motor launches often berthed. out sprang Rosli from the crowd with a kris hidden under his shirt as if to take a photograph. He collapsed. Sir Duncan Stewart.                             Amidst the fanfare of the lion dance. although they were still all thoroughly searched by the police. oor . every town in Sarawak went into quiet mourning.

tell me about your sons. . ‘OK. two . Now tell me who is the mastermind? Who else is involved? I give you one minute. The lower court convicted him but he won the appeal in Kuching even without legal counsel. both sets of parents knelt down in tears. . ‘We don’t know.1946-1952 documents were destroyed before the police laid hands on them. Horror and disbelief reigned among these members. If not. All PMM members were arrested and their houses searched. Yes.’ each of the parents replied. I am going to shoot them. three . Mr Barcroft. To flush out all those involved in the murder of the Governor. In his view. angry and exasperated. . Start now.’ After half a minute. . . ‘Now all of you. . He was over-confident. Morshidi and others were called to the Resident’s office. During the trial Temenggong Koh and his warriors stayed in Sibu to show that the Ibans fully supported the British Colonial Government—a promise the Temenggong also made to Sir Malcolm MacDonald. he had been asked to resign in June 1947 by the former Governor. he had been charged for unlawful assembly. actually the mastermind is Awang Rambli and the others are . now look out of the window into the courtyard! Both of your sons are blindfolded and tied to posts and two policemen are pointing their shot guns at them. . Under interrogation and torture by the police and Resident. ‘Tolong Tuan. Arden-Clarke. on allegations of involvement in smuggling cigarettes while he was a customs officer. The Resident of the Third Division. Rajah Vyner wrote to The Times saying that it was all Peter Brooke’s fault and the anti-cession group who was fronting this subversive group wanted to seize power illegally. .’ 345 . In London. This no doubt enhanced his status with his followers and lent credibility to his claim that he could ignore any charges that might be laid against them. Temenggong Koh came with seven Penghulus in full war regalia to Tolong Perentah—to help the government—an expression meaning that the Iban levies would come to fight against the ‘rebels’. In Rambli’s mind he had adopted the attitude that he could get away with murder. Rosli and Morshidi kept silent. Please Sir . Meanwhile. the British and Sarawak Governments were right to ban Peter Brooke from entering Sarawak for fear of instigating violence. . The PMM itself was proscribed. who had the unpleasant task of washing clean the blood spilled in Sibu town. thoroughly investigated the assassination. as the secretary-general of the Sibu PPM. Rosli and Morshidi? What sort of organisation do they belong to?’ screamed Barcroft in Malay. previously. . Previously. the parents of Rosli. One . Also.

can you tell us why you killed the second Governor of Sarawak. so long as it is intended to commit that offence. I want them alive. he is also a patriot of Sarawak who joined me to prove his patriotism. I mean alive. Certainly not for fighting for the independence of our country.’ 346 . Rosli Dhobie was the first to appear in court and the charges were being read to him.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Yes. sir. was assigned to the defence of the ten accused who had no right to appoint their own counsels. ‘It was planned by my compatriots to create history as in the War of Independence like the Americans against the British a few hundred years ago. .’ replied Rosli. if necessary. James Pike—not a qualified lawyer then—a district officer from Binatang. ‘Now. Arm yourself. . Mr Rosli . I am only seventeen and I should not be sentenced to death under British or Brooke laws. I want to hang them and teach these bloody criminals and murderers a lesson that they will never regret .’ ‘Morshidi is one of them.’ ‘Who told you that?’ ‘We all believe that.’ ‘Who are the members of that committee?’ ‘I told you I planned it. He is not involved. ?’ ‘I did it. . We were inspired by his public speeches. Yes.’ ‘Were you involved in the planning of the murder of .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘I knew it! Damn that rascal. as it’s only a political offence not a social crime. Duncan Stewart?’ asked the police prosecutor.’ ‘Why did they choose you to commit the murder?’ ‘It’s my honour and duty to achieve independence for Sarawak.’ ‘You are a young offender. ‘How do you plead?’ The police prosecutor asked.                             Appearing in front of Justice Lascelles. Do you know that murder carries a death sentence?’ ‘Yes. Yes. To let the world know the truth on cession and the strong feeling for independence—Merdeka. . ‘Not guilty.’ ‘Is Awang Rambli the mastermind or head of that committee?’ ‘No. appearing calm and steady. get the field force. Inspector Campbell go and arrest Awang Rambli and all these names written on this paper. .’ After three hours all the seven others as well as Awang Rambli were arrested and interrogated under torture. .

’ ‘Who told you that? Was it Awang Rambli?’ ‘No. . stating clearly that Awang Rambli was the leader of this conspiracy to murder the Governor and also ten expatriate officers of Sarawak Government. . . and are therefore not admissible. and by any standard the trials were shabby and highly vindictive in many ways.’ ‘No more questions. . I am only defending myself. we must remember that independence is in our hands. . . . Awang Rambli is the ringleader. No counsel of their choice was allowed to defend them.1946-1952 ‘Did Awang Rambli tell you?’ ‘No.’ ‘Who did?’ ‘Nobody told me that as far as I can remember.’ ‘There was a conspiracy among you . I am ready to accept any punishment. But leave my compatriots free . . 347 .”?’ ‘No. I am not.’ ‘Those confessions must have been obtained by torture. . .’ ‘Why are you protecting your Chikgu?’ ‘No. we must dare to sacrifice somebody. we have confessions here from two of the conspirators namely Abang . let them free because they did not kill the Governor . .’ ‘Didn’t Awang Rambli tell you this: “Putting up posters is a small affair .’ ‘Now. and Osman . Isn’t that correct?’ ‘No.’ Morshidi and the others who were likewise tried before the Sibu Court were asked similar questions. Not as a true patriot fighting for my country’s independence.’ ‘Do you regret what you have done?’ ‘No. .

’ ‘Not guilty of any criminal offence.’ ‘But that’s why we are all here. It was a joint decision of the patriots fighting for Sarawak’s independence from British rule. Isn’t that correct?’ ‘No.Chapter 50 A wang Rambli chose to have an interpreter during arraignment.’ The judge grew infuriated. . .’ warned the police prosecutor. I am innocent.’ ‘How do you plead?’ ‘Nothing to do with me.’ The judge directed Rambli. ‘Awang Rambli can’t you understand Malay? Only plead guilty or not guilty. Rosli Dhobie planned the assassination because those people are obstacles to Sarawak achieving independence. Your Honour . . . . . . .’ ‘Just answer the questions asked. ?’ asked the police prosecutor. . 348 .’ Rambli answered in Malay. ‘That’s not the question. I didn’t ask you that.’ thundered the judge. and planned to assassinate the Governor and actually also the Resident Barcroft and other European officers . They committed the heroic act.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then proceed with the trial. ‘You just answer yes or no. ‘Yes. ‘Yes. ‘Now Awang Rambli . ‘Awang Rambli. others . Duncan Stewart .’ ‘Not guilty as charged. . .’ The police prosecutor began. you just do that. do you deny that you are the leader of this suicide squad which has murdered the late Governor. you had conspired with . Even Rosli has only committed a political offence. .

 . According to my opinion.’ ‘The political crime of assassination of an unpopular ruler to wake up fellow Sarawakians and inspire them with the spirit of nationalism. . And I didn’t kill him. . They did.  . The evolutionary method with the British government would take too long so they resorted to revolutionary actions . That’s the truth. Of their free will and heroic spirit they wanted to kill him as far as I understand because the Governor represented the head of the British Colonial Government.g. .  . . we must dare to sacrifice ourselves”.’ ‘ .  . .’ ‘Such as . yes. They only asked me to resign to disguise administrative blunders and incompetence . . is that true?’ ‘Not true. .’ ‘But there was a conspiracy to do grievous bodily harm or to murder the Governor . Rosli and Morshidi are martyrs and patriots.’ ‘Didn’t you plan the assassination of the Governor?’ ‘I didn’t. True and sweet indeed to die for one’s country. My opinion is that the spirit of independence always in my speech will be recorded in Sarawak’s history of patriots fighting for Sarawak’s independence. wouldn’t you agree that it was on account of your plan and your speech and directives to Rosli and Morshidi that they went to kill the Governor quoting your words.’ ‘That’s enough!’ ‘I am only trying to answer your question. I didn’t say those words. stating unequivocally that you are the leader of the conspiracy . Now tell me.’ continued the police prosecutor. . . Now. I’m not even an accessory after the act. . “We must remember that independence is in our hands. and Abang  .1946-1952 ‘Rosli and Morshidi were chosen to kill the Governor under your master plan. They only used the pretext of Brookes’ rule as a legitimate front to keep the MNU and SDA happy. . ‘Not my master plan. resigning from government jobs because of Circular No. We have been carrying out sacrifices.’ ‘Were you not asked to resign when you were a customs officer last June because of a complaint about your complicity in a cigarette-smuggling case?’ ‘They never proved it.’ ‘I see you are trying to be clever and even know about accessory before and after the act. 9. The Malays would be the first race in Sarawak to inspire and plant the seed of nationalism—not the Chinese nor the Ibans nor the Orang Ulus. e.’ ‘We have written confessions from Osman  .’ 349 . .  . But I am not involved directly or indirectly with the assassination.’ ‘Did they have meetings in your house discussing your plan to kill the Governor?’ ‘Only to discuss protests against cession . .

 . Special gallows were despatched to Sarawak. Dumbar.’ ‘I’ll reserve my judgement. Not caring whether people would be running amok because of what you have said. we must dare to sacrifice somebody. they put the blame on me so that they may get lighter sentencing. Morshidi. in the appeals heard in Kuching before Judge R. At the end. Like the communists. Everyone expected the verdict to be the same. I didn’t do it.’ ‘Che! Che! What a thing to say! That’s an insult to the intelligence of fellow compatriots who are not afraid to die for our country’s independence. .’ ‘No. Somebody must have fabricated that . That’s a fundamental distinction.”‘ ‘No. Look at Russia and China!’ ‘In other words.’ ‘No more questions. . But in my opinion this is a political crime—a political murder.’ ‘No. Murder on political grounds. putting up posters is a small affair . Never. . .’ ‘I am telling the truth .Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Those must be involuntary confessions obtained under torture. However. . They are not gila—mad!’ ‘You planned this murder from the start.’ He tried to be evasive. Hedges. the others received sentences. . Awang Rambli and Bujang were sentenced to death for conspiracy to murder. .’ ‘You know murder is a heinous crime that will entail capital punishment?’ ‘Yes. .V. Your Honour. a lawyer from Singapore. they planned the whole political revolution . mostly Malays. .’ ‘So what? That’s your business. in the normal case. . there are revolutionists. If the revolutionists succeed nothing will be raised in court for they have killed people in order to overthrow the old government and establish a new government.’ ‘Do you regret what you have done?’ ‘I have not done anything I have regretted.’ ‘All of you . . the four found guilty of murder lost their appeals and eventually were hung at 350 . Peter’s supporters engaged T. ‘You conspired to do it . conspired to do it. to act for all the accused. sat and stood up all day along the street facing the main Court House. A large crowd of people. Is that right?’ ‘No.’ ‘This fact is expressly stated in both of the confessions . we must remember that independence is in our hands. . .’ ‘There are Crown witnesses.’ Rosli. . . therefore totally invalid and inadmissible. perhaps.’ ‘Let me repeat the question: Didn’t you tell all the accused and particularly Rosli Dhobie “.G. you don’t care what the laws say.

it was with your blessing. they had heard that the PPM in Sibu was going to do something dramatic. Awang Rambli and Bujang Suntong.’ ‘Surely. Rosli and his compatriots became heroes overnight among the Malays. ‘Murder or any form of violence is certainly out of the question. but permission to hold a demonstration was denied. That’s pure speculation and your conclusion. Sir Anthony Abell. ?’ ‘The fact that some extremists might have. The others were given different periods of sentencing. committed crimes or engaged in violence does not mean that the anti-cession movement itself is illegal or guilty of assassination. and a poem was written in his honour. . you have pushed events so that the PPM would inevitably take the law into their hands. The anti-cession movement is legitimate. Not with violence. Ajit Singh. that’s absolutely not true. I’ll not permit it nor fail to condemn it!’ ‘Indirectly.’ ‘But you can’t deny a link?’ 351 . Surely one can reasonably foresee the consequence. Somehow. Morshidi. . I mean that violence will be inevitable from some over-enthusiastic supporters who would consider that actions speak louder than words and that might have led and encouraged the radicals to tread along the inevitable path of achieving certain objectives by murdering the Governor.’ ‘But Kathleen Brooke with the Kaum Ibu has been both surreptitiously and openly campaigning for the Malays to take firmer and tougher action.                             In Singapore Peter Brooke told the Straits Times: the assassination was the inevitable result of the outcome of the Colonial Office’s stubborn refusal to take the issue of anti-cession seriously. In Sibu. if you did not carry out this crusade in Singapore to topple the legitimate Sarawak Government under the British.1946-1952 Kuching—Rosli Dhobie. I always have advised the MNU and SDA in Kuching to fight the cession issue constitutionally and legally. The PPM took the law to themselves. so as to demonstrate that the MNU and SDA were Kambing Gosong—had no guts when it came to the crunch. . planned to stage a demonstration again against the third Governor. The MNU. Wouldn’t you agree . . asked. I abhor violence. encouragement . still unrepentant. then this assassination would not have occurred?’ ‘That’s not correct.’ ‘No. ‘Surely. One reporter. All the investigations instigated into the MNU and other anti-cession groups did not bring any proof of their involvement. on their own initiative.

added to the sense of frustration and impotence which many Malays generally still felt.’ ‘Do you still want to become the fourth Rajah of Sarawak?’ ‘I have never personally entertained such an idea myself right from the start. 352 .’ ‘But. Though Mei Ling had visited Sarawak a few times since cession and Stephen had been back to England twice. even among the Malays. Do you agree?’ ‘I can’t speak for the others. anti-cession is now a dead duck.’ ‘Surely. I thought the Council Negri and Supreme Council have already voted for cession legally under the procedures of the local parliament. I would only do what the people of Sarawak want me to do.’ ‘What are you going to do now? Accept the status quo?’ ‘I’ll consult the MNU and others and soon I will advise them accordingly. and if I hear it correctly. one of the unintended legacies of the cession and assassination was that now more recruitment and promotion of Ibans and Chinese were carried out by the Sarawak Government which previously could always rely on the loyalty of the Malays. so will I do: he would abide by the verdict of the people on the issue of cession.’ ‘Now what do you intend to do? Do you still want to carry on pursuing this futile cause which is causing embarrassment to the Brooke family and legacy too. nobody would want to know about it.’ ‘Isn’t the choice obvious now?’ ‘Perhaps. they generally felt that it was wrong to kill the Governor though they might think that it was heroic in the context of wanting independence and forcing the authorities to take notice of that issue. now it is absolutely clear that the anti-cession movement gave a pretext for Rosli. Moreover those expatriates who opposed cession were sent on leave or extended leaves. with respect.’ ‘But that’s not illegal!’ ‘But it’s unfair!’ ‘Surely.Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘That’s a matter of opinion. Morshidi and Awang Rambli and others to fight on. Soon. However. they want Merdeka—independence—not really Brooke rule. I am sure none of the other members of Brooke family would like to back you on this. Now a dark shadow of suspicion had been cast over all the Malay kampongs.’ ‘I’ll wait and see. What do you say to that?’ ‘Again that’s not for me to comment on. At that stage Stephen knew he had no more useful role to play in Sarawak.’ In Sarawak. they both felt that it was about time to move on in life—recalling the romantic times of the Brooke rule but looking forward to living in England and revisiting Sarawak from time to time to satisfy their longing memories.’ ‘That voting reflected expatriate voting which swung the issue of cession. Just as my father has said.

Anthony Abell. ‘Where is our “Devil. Not as beautiful as Mom though. I believe he still has some of his previous collection of diamonds. gold and oil stocks are soaring.’ ‘I bet he gets a fat fee or commission out of any deals.’ ‘Poor fellow! He is a lost soul now. ‘Hello’ greeted George. is taking the Sarawak Government by the horns.Chapter 51 ‘W hat’s the latest news on Sarawak?’ Mei Ling asked.’ ‘I heard Peter Brooke is still soldiering on despite the execution of the assassins of the late Governor.’ ‘You probably know better than I do!’ ‘It’s just a female instinct. .’ replied Stephen. She is a Chinese and her name is Chin Chin. ‘The third Governor.’ ‘That’s wonderful news!’ Mei Ling’s heart nearly jumped out recalling her good old days in the Main Bazaar in Kuching and her romantic episode with Stephen. . 353 .’ ‘With the “Baron” you can never know. my son?’ Stephen asked fondly. the “Baron”?’ ‘As usual.’ ‘Well.’ Just then George walked into the dining room for dinner.’ ‘Oh! Pop and Mom. ‘Anything new. maybe he can afford it. A general who has very few soldiers left. she is very attractive. I am going to bring a girl I met recently .’ ‘You are not far off the mark. he is advising someone—this time the Sultan of Brunei. ‘Yes. Her Christian name is Susie. I learnt that the “Baron” had sold quite a sizeable stock just before the prices of stocks and shares shot up. Prince Charming”.

Twilight of the White Rajahs ‘Yes .’ ‘I know you will make the right choice. to his third wife. George. One day.’ ‘Here we are! The stolen goods have not disappeared.’ ‘Don’t leave without me!’ ‘I’ll remember that. ‘Dad. . . Hey! officer. Francisca. ‘I am sure she is. I am glad that both of you have no objection. . The fruit-seller did not miss a thing. .’ Mei Ling was anxious to fulfil her filial duty—the continuation of Liu’s lineage. are you planning to go to Sarawak in the near future?’ asked George. ‘Hey. put those peaches back or pay for them!’ he demanded. after starting a diamond-trading business between Johannesburg and London. magicians have their off days too!’ ‘Black magic! No use.’ ‘Incidentally. ‘Let me search you!’ ‘Fine.’ George guessed. Bring her back and I’ll confirm that right away. ‘Well. . whatever your name is .’ ‘Yummy yum! I smell curry. . ‘What peaches?’ asked Datu McBryan. She still looked very elegant in black at her mature age. ‘That’s right!’ The smell reminded George of the good old days in Sarawak.’                             During this time Datu McBryan visited Brunei a few times.’ ‘There are none!’ Datu always believed that he could make himself or things invisible. Well. mister. arrest this man for stealing my peaches. ‘She is very good and lovable. ‘What do you know?’ Stephen was slightly surprised. ‘You need a strong heart and a cool head!’ ‘I expect you do . ‘Perhaps sooner than you expect.’ 354 . Now I have caught you stealing. Datu McBryan was walking in Oxford Street when suddenly he grabbed a few peaches from a fruit barrow and hid them inside his overcoat. ‘Inside the pockets of your overcoat. how is your stockbroking going?’ she asked. He got married again.’ ‘I thought they had disappeared.’ Mei Ling’s smiling face was flushed with happiness.’ insisted George. let’s get some food.

he got into the cab and it sped away. But by then McBryan was already a lunatic asylum patient with a lost memory.’ the Ranee suggested after freeing herself from McBryan’s grasp.’ Somehow. ‘I agree with you.’ He tried to pull the diamond ring off her hand. He was already in chains tied to a hospital bed. I must say. . We’ll talk about this matter which is not insoluble. I want those diamonds. . What a shame! A pale figure now. paid the cabby and walked across Wellington Street and got into another taxi heading for the London Hospital. ‘Don’t come near me. The Datu got out of the cab. Isn’t that true? You look cute. Ranee took pity on this brilliant man with his sporadic touches of insanity. . ‘Datu McBryan. it all happened like this . screaming for his ‘diamonds’. Quickly. I think I’d better leave.’ McBryan started to pull the chains tying him to his bed again. ‘Who? Who is Datu McBryan? . any of you! I have a black box here. The strange thing was that once there he requested to be transferred to Epsom Mental Hospital as he knew that his splitting headache was the prelude to a period of lunacy. Gerald hailed it. . . . It’s only temporary insanity. true. ‘All right! Put that black box away.’ ‘I see.’ ‘Move back!’ Seeing a cab passing by. A Doctor Jekyll/Mr Hyde case. Then I have to arrest you. A few days later. . Ranee Sylvia came to visit him. sweetie! sweetie! .1946-1952 ‘Now. . ‘Bye bye .’ McBryan showed it to them. When the police caught up with him at Epsom Mental Hospital. I want them. If I throw it at you. your Ranee is here!’ Ranee Sylvia waved her hand over his face. . you will be blown into pieces. What’s your name?’ ‘Remember Rajah Vyner Brooke?’ ‘No . the frightened policeman calmed him down. but those diamonds . I’d better leave now. Chronic insanity.’ ‘You’re kidding—aren’t you?’ asked the police officer. . She was startled as she tried to prise off his manic grip.’ ‘Take good care of him . ‘Doctor. ‘Those diamonds are mine!’ he screamed. 355 . Now he has lost his sanity and memory too. . what’s your complaint?’ the policeman asked. . . But they will come back later on . . they found £40 in the Datu’s pocket. I don’t know you! Yes. . ‘Well. Not willing to antagonise him. No more that once-youthful face which had graced breakfast on the Astana’s verandah. . Hey. The policemen blew his whistle but Datu McBryan was already a hundred yards away. ‘It has explosives inside. What’s your name?’ The policemen looked at the Datu suspiciously.

the paramount royal regalia. Datu McBryan’s hopes were dashed. the Sultan had a fatal heart attack. the Tongkat Ular [the snake-headed staff of the Sultan’s office]. ‘Yang Mulia .’ The Attorney-General flatly dismissed it.’ ‘Why do you say that?’ 356 . Tunku Ehrsan. our legal experts’ opinion including that of the Colonial Office is that in the first place there was never a trust fund constituted.’ ‘Good. Pengerah Muda Omar Ali. . ‘Are you sure you can do it?’ asked Sultan Tajuddin impatiently. I’ll check with Sir Roland Braddell and confirm that the trust did not exist.’ ‘I see. . your daughter will be designated as heir apparent. It never rained but it poured. entrust to me for safe keeping.’ McBryan was completely shattered. Good. ‘No. Speak to the British Government . The British Resident in Brunei consulted Datu Bandar of Sarawak on the Islamic law of succession. as one can find precedents for female Rajahs in Aceh’s history . You raised that point but that point had never been agreed by the Colonial Office nor the Sarawak Government. I will speak to the British Government. You know well. While staying in Raffles Hotel. accepted as the next Sultan. go ahead then. Singapore.’ assured Datu McBryan. who was trying to get his daughter. The advice was accepted by the British Government—the Sultan’s brother succeeded as the next Sultan of Brunei. Brunei and British North Borneo.’ The following week McBryan went to Kuching and saw the Attorney-General about the trust fund. at least try it. . If you don’t try. I will make your dream come true. ‘ . He went to Brunei to see the Sultan of Brunei. . They haven’t paid me my commission and Rajah Vyner’s trust money as they promised. I can play behind the scenes to make your dreams come true.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             Four months later. Datu McBryan.’ ‘I will.’ ‘Good. I know how to twist their arms. ‘What do you suggest then?’ ‘Well. Datu McBryan was declared sane again. No matter what happens to you. However. is going to be the next Sultan.’ ‘I also foresee that the idea which you like will certainly work. . Datu McBryan told the Singapore press—‘The coronation of Sultan Omar Ali is invalid without the Tongkat Ular. . . namely a Bornean Union of Sarawak. your brother. Your Excellency. . Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin.

 . therefore.’ ‘Brilliant.’ ‘In other words. ‘An educated guess after listening to you. After a few weeks. however.’ ‘Good. he was sane again and proceeded to South Africa. I’ll drop my libel case against Stephen and Datu McBryan has also stopped the libel suit against me. He started screaming and shouting and throwing crockery and furniture about inside the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. . just as Chinese emperors must be installed with possession of the imperial seal. the symbol of power and an essential part of the ceremony.  . Support the status quo government  . the brother of the late Sultan. psychologically and economically during the five years of the cession controversy. with no royal seal or Tongkat Ular. my father and myself regretfully come to the conclusion that we should stop the anti-cession movement.’ On the following day. How come you are so smart? How did you arrive that conclusion?’ Datu McBryan asked. he read in the Straits Times that the British Government had proclaimed Pangerah Muda Omar Ali. His last dreams in the Far East were shattered beyond hope. to be his successor. The pressure was too much for McBryan. ‘After due consideration and recognition of the present state of Sarawak Government  . by the Adat law and law of the palace. He was not allowed to go to Brunei. The hotel manager called the police and they put him in a mental hospital after the doctor had examined him. we are eternally grateful for your concern and thoughts on the Brookes’ succession issue . my dear friends . The old headaches returned.  . He telegraphed the MNU. We know many of you have suffered emotionally. the ceremony is invalid. after the murder of Duncan Stewart and after the dismissal of Peter Brooke’s appeal to the Privy Council—and during this hysterical period of the Cold War—Peter came to the conclusion that the five years struggle against cession issue should stop.  . It was a growing experience for us all and let us hope that soon time will heal all the scars. Goodbye. .                             By 1951.  . We will always remember Sarawak fondly in our hearts and treasure the memorable time we spent together.1946-1952 ‘The coronation must have this Tongkat Ular. .’ 357 . the essential part of the ceremony is missing.

’ ‘I always quite liked that cunning fellow. . Don’t you agree?’ 358 . I have a young lady companion. They have more money to rebuild the country. my daughters see me only if they have problems. He wanted to sue the British Government for inducing the breach of contract by the Sultan .’ ‘Now tell me about Datu McBryan.’ ‘That’s a jolly good arrangement—someone to look after you now. Anyway.’ ‘Yes. I heard that he wanted to publish the scandalous British money politics and bribery episode in the Council Negri with all the Datus—and something on the breach of payment by the British Government on the trust funds and commission to him. that I have missed?’ queried the Rajah. enjoying herself. Stephen had a drink with Rajah Vyner in a pub called the ‘Lion Inn’ on Albion Street.’ ‘That’s good news!’ ‘Where is the Ranee?’ Stephen asked. The other rumour was that it was a neat job done by professional assassins. I hear the post-war rubber and pepper boom has boosted Sarawak’s economy under the British Government.’ ‘Yes. . I heard that he died in Hong Kong dockyard recently. Stephen. Yes. ‘Well. He was found hanged. The Iban’s support has given some weight to Anthony Abell to counter the Malays. Mip. of course .’ ‘Was it suicide?’ ‘Couldn’t tell. and there was something else—something about a secret deal over Brunei’s oil.’ ‘I don’t think so!’ ‘I agree that such a theory is far-fetched. You know. we are lucky to be still alive drinking here. to keep me young and tidy.Twilight of the White Rajahs                             One evening. living in a hotel of disrepute. ‘Any news on Sarawak.’ ‘Really? Did somebody kill him then?’ ‘One theory is that he was so mad and frustrated that he hung himself after he had money problems. . . called Sally. ‘She is somewhere in Jamaica or Barbados in the West Indies. she just loves that!’ ‘I see!’ ‘Now.’ ‘Who could have done it?’ ‘Some guess that it could be MI5. approved by Sylvia. Incidentally how are George and Mei Ling?’ ‘They are fine. He was already dead before being hung.

’ ‘It seems his death is shrouded with mystery.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes. The pressure was too much for him. Your Highness. .’ ‘I quite agree. I heard that his wife Francisca could not get an autopsy report from the Hong Kong Government nor the Colonial Office.’ ‘It will take years to heal the deep wounds!’ ‘Yes.’ ‘But somehow I do feel sorry for Peter Brooke whose dream to become the fourth Rajah of Sarawak was completely shattered. I wonder how he is now. So he had sleepless nights. I no more have a Kingdom now.’ ‘Hear! Hear!’ ‘Incidentally.1946-1952 ‘Yes.’ ‘I quite agree. that’s true. if he had been born six hours earlier 359 .’ ‘That sounds plausible.’ Meanwhile walking over Tower Bridge in London.’ ‘Stephen.’ ‘So was Datu McBryan.’ ‘Did you hear that Cable killed himself in his bed?’ ‘No. Plus. I must say is very convenient for the British Colonial Office too!’ ‘It certainly is. Peter looked into the River Thames and stared at the waves in the shimmering river—much the same as in the Sarawak River by the Astana.’ ‘Thanks for the thought anyway. forget that “Your Highness” bit. you deserve it. but let’s toast the future success of Sarawak—part of the Brookes’ legacy nevertheless. he has chronic insanity. Looking afar and up into the sky in a rare clear night. and I also heard that his wife slept with some prominent local Malays during the Japanese Occupation while he was imprisoned in the Batu Lintang camp. his death. Got into a depression.’ ‘Stephen. wondering whether his horoscope really was correct. you are a special breed.’ ‘The difference is that he would do things for personal gain.’ ‘I wonder why? Some say that the Malays branded him as a traitor for pushing cession through the Council Negri and Supreme Council.’ ‘Let’s give another toast to Sarawak. You are just the opposite. I know on grounds of principle you did not want the Star of Sarawak medal at first just after the proclamation of the 1941 Constitution. Neither he nor his father ever spoke to me again. Perhaps. . Your Highness . he gazed at the canopy of stars. I heard that the Governor of Sarawak has recommended an OBE for you.

Twilight of the White Rajahs he could have been the fourth Rajah of Sarawak. Kapitans with the rest of his friends. Still. 360 . some time I’ll revisit Sarawak—my sole surviving dream. Abangs. to breathe the Sarawak air. somehow. Gone forever. he would never give up a lesser dream. to hear the morning prayers from the mosque across the Sarawak River or the chirping of birds near the Astana—and then see the carefree and delightful faces of the Penghulus. some day. all he could ponder was when he would be allowed to visit Sarawak. God willing. and feel the pulse and heart of Sarawak that once was almost his. But now this hope was no more. It was a vanished dream—shattered beyond hope. Would politics always be a diplomatic name for the law of the jungle? Now.

before Sarawak became a member state of Malaysia in 1963. vehemently opposed Sarawak joining Malaysia. economic development. it was a blessing to all Sarawakians that the anti-cession and anti-Malaysian platforms at the critical crossroads of Sarawak history failed to carry the day so that Sarawak could reap the fruits of peace. bitterly opposing cession. the predominantly Chinese—led political party. With hindsight. with the subsequent development of two Malay political parties namely PANAS under Datu Bandar and BARJASA under Tuanku Bujang. The seed of nationalism in Sarawak could be said to have been sown in Sibu when Rosli Dhobie and the 10 kampong heroes dared to challenge British colonialism and its seat of authority in the open—they were the first to do so among the Malays. Historically. stability. Their slogan was “Brooke’s Rule and Merdeka (Independence)”. it must have been a painful and traumatic experience for Anthony (Peter) Brooke who for 17 years during the whole Colonial period of 361 . Along with the ‘fait accompli’ of cession of Sarawak. After 17 years of British Colonial rule. the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP). In retrospect. racial harmony and prosperity today. the pro and anti-cessionists inevitably engaged in bitter rivalry and intrigues. Other Malay extremists crossed over to Indonesia after the execution of Dhobie and some of his compatriots went to Mecca but never returned to Sarawak during Indonesian’s confrontation with Malaysia in 1963. it was Brooke’s rule followed by British Colonial Government before Sarawak achieved its independence within Malaysia. the Malays predominantly were up in arms.Epilogue W hen the controversial issue of the cession of Sarawak to Great Britain was raised and pushed through hastily in 1946 in Sarawak.

and thereafter practised for two legal firms. Rodyk & Davidson and David Marshall. Nevertheless. which lies on the Rejang River. who are eligible to apply for limited financial assistance for educational purposes in the United Kingdom. He later became actively involved in the timber business in Indonesia and Malaysia. He was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1970. has a keen interest in history in general. In writing this historical novel. and banking. It is a trust (The Rajah’s Trust) set up originally by the late Rajah Vyner Brooke. and a special interest in history of gold—its discovery. Alex Ling Lee Soon. a Trustee of the Sarawak Foundation. exploitation and influence on events. 362 . MA. he is the Managing Director of the Bukit Young Goldmine Sdn Bhd and Chairman of the Hock Hua Bank (Sabah) Berhad. Today one of the Brookes’ legacies still exists in London. England. Simon Brooke Mackay). extensive oral histories and unpublished official records. despite all the imperfections. Lord Tanlaw (The Hon. He was only able to do so after Sarawak joined Malaysia in 1963. England. Alex Ling was born in Bukit Lan. He has graduate (1968) and postgraduate (1969) degrees in law from Cambridge University. he has had unprecedented access to original source material through interviews with some of those involved and their descendants. Sibu. At the time of writing. It is the fervent hope of all Sarawakians and Malaysians that this fairy tale will hold true for millennia to come.Sarawak was not allowed to touch Sarawak soil. He has since broadened his interests into the exploration and mining of gold.).000 remains—the accumulating interest on which is still available to ‘natives of Sarawak’. which now goes under the name of the Sarawak Foundation—a small capital sum of money totalling £150. the most wonderful and fortunate thing about Sarawak is that there never were any real racial riots or any strong racial bitterness among Sarawak’s races from the time that Rajah James Brookes founded Sarawak on 24th September 1841. LLB (Cantab. is the son of (Dayang) Leonora eldest daughter of the late Rajah Vyner Brooke. in Singapore. coal and other minerals. in 1945. weaknesses and shortcomings of the Brookes’ rule and that of the British Colonial Government.

passion. he soon has the Rajah and Ranee eating out of his hand. War clouds in the Pacific and the South China Sea. The desire for self-determination. Twilight of the White Rajahs recounts in fascinating detail the lives of the chief actors during this period. An unscrupulous adventurer. Twilight of the White Rajahs is set in the Sarawak of the interwar and immediate postwar period. Twilight of the White Rajahs continues the saga of Golden Dreams of Borneo as the tough pioneering spirit of the 19th century gives way to the more sophisticated politics of the 20th. The turbulent wave of anti-cession created by the Rajah Muda. politics. But his own playboy nature. P .ower. The eminence grise of Rajah Vyner. The sleepy state of Sarawak is stirred up as never before by the arrival of Gerald McBryan. cunning and deviousness ensued. The bullying of the British Colonial Office. Peter Brooke. a war that everyone was determined to win at all costs. like Henry VII of England. Vyner. he forces through decisions that have shaped what Sarawak is today. Outside forces also increase the pressure on his regime. threaten the dynasty into which he was born. has inherited a tightly run ship of state. A war of hot tempers. the antics of his wife and – most important – his failure to produce a male heir.

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