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DAlO' ORlAN CHEE KHUAN
A consultant psychiatrist in Penang, he is also a popular patron of the arts. Together with his late wife, he opened his gallery known as The Art Gallery, Penang in September 1989. He has organised nearly 200 exhibitions and published more than 30 books and catalogues on the local art scene. Amongst the beneficiaries of his donated paintings are the National and State Art Galleries, hospitals, and numerous other charitable bodies.

DR JASVINDER SINGH
He is a wellness, aesthetic and anti-aging physician in Kuala Lumpur. He is a board certified physician by the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, US and a Diplomat in American Board of AntiAging & Regenerative Medicine, US. He has a Fellowship in Dermatological Laser Surgery and is an active member of the Malaysian Society of Aesthetic Medicine. He is a life member of the Society for AntiAging Aesthetic & Regenerative Medicine Malaysia and a member of Malaysian Medical Association.

HELEN ONG
Grew up in Kuala Lumpur, but spent nearly three decades in Europe. Back again in Malaysia, she writes for The Expat magazine and reviews restaurants for The Star newspaper. Here she offers us a lighthearted, sometimes controversial look at life.

ADLINE A. GHANI
Curator at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Adline possesses a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art and a Masters Degree in Art and Design. A contributor to the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, she frequen:!, . ':,,5:J arious topics for maga::i-,,: :;-:: ::::::-:£::

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By Adline A. Ghani

e land Down Under is known for its natural beauty and unique fauna, but Muslim cameleers? Maybe not so much. In keeping with its efforts to promote he diversity of Islamic culture and heritage, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, in collaboration with the South Australian Museum, sharesthe intriguing tale of these far-flung camel handlers. To the uninitiated, the Australian outback appears to be a lunar-like landscape, but if it can teach us anything, it is that appearances can be deceiving. Its vast openness may seem barren at first glance, but the outback isactually teeming with mineral riches and extraordinary animals. It also guards an obscure part of Australian history - the Muslim cameleers. The cameleers, who hailed mainly from Afghanistan and present-day Pakistan,first came to Australia about 150'years ago. At the time, European explorers and pastoralists in Australia saw the need to bring in camels so that the inland could finally be uncovered and developed. The horses and bullocks they had simply could not cope in harsh and arid terrains.

of seven men, including Burke and Wills. Learning from this bitter experience, later explorers relied heavily on Muslim cameleers and were more successful for it. Who else but the cameleers could coordinate up to 70 camels at once, or secure loads as heavy as 600 kg with just a single length of rope? The cameleers not only looked after the camels, but they also did all the heavy lifting, made and repaired saddles, found water, hunted game and ensured safe passagefor the teams and the specimens they collected. Incredibly efficient and possessing remarkable stamina, they walked alongside their camels from sunrise to sunset, covering hundreds of kilometres on foot per expedition. Their relationship with the camels was also quite special. The animal was not merely a beast of burden to them, but as mentioned in the Holy Quran, it is a 'blessed animal'. So profound was their respect for the creature, that they knew each one by name!

It is rather ironic perhaps that camels,the 'ships' of the desert, were brought to Australia via steam ships. They could indeed provide an efficient mode of transportation in the outback, but it was soon realised that cameleers were needed too. They were the only ones who knew how to handle and care for these rather temperamental creatures, and they had a knack for survival and navigation in the great outdoors. Initially, the camels From 1870 to 1900, about 15,000 camels and 2,000 were employed to deliver wool and supplies from sheep stations to the ports and back. cameleers were brought to Australia, boosted in part by Later,they would become an integral part of exploratory and scientific expeditions. the gold rush of Kalgoorlie and (oolgardie in the 1890s. Most of the cameleers were young, in their twenties A particularly memorable expedition was led by Burke and Wills in 1860, which or thirties, and many had to leave their womenfolk employed 24camelsanda handful of cameleers.Althoughtheysuc ceededinbecoming behind. Some would later return home at the end OC the first to cross Australia, their expedition would end in tragedy, claiming the lives their contracts, but a number of those who chose to sta

ended up marrying local European or Aboriginal women. They established close-knit communities in outback towns such as Bourke, Broome, and Cloncurry, which they equipped with religious teachers, hawkers, halal butchers, herbalists,date groves and small mosques. As a tiny minority group and outsiders in colonial Australia, however, the cameleers were not spared adversity and discrimination. Dubbed 'Afghans', they were tolerated until Asian immigration eventually became an issue in elections. Regulations and policies were later put into place to restrict camel grazing rights and unlicensed halal butchers. Their relationship with the Aboriginal community was far more cordial. They willingly shared knowledge on camel handling with the Aboriginal peoples they encountered, who in turn gave insight into desert waters and food resources. Muslim cameleersundoubtedly played an important role in unlocking the Australian interior. History simply would not have been made without them, and yet they have not been given due credit for their many contributions. Overlooked by the history they helped to create, the story of these unsung heroes is finally seeing the light of day, thanks to the researchof South Australian Museum curator and historian Dr Phillip Jones,and anthropologist Anna Kenny. Through Australia's Muslim Cameleers: Pioneers of the Inland 1860s - 1930s, which is being exhibited outside Australia for the first time at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (21October 2011 until 20 January 2012), we can finally pay tribute to these hardiest of individuals.

1. The camel for exploring expedition just landed. July 1860.Courtesy of the Parliamentary Library of Victoria. 2. A Marree school teacher playing the gramophone for the sons of cameleers, with their aboriginal housekeeper or nanny looking on. Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. 3. Beltana cameleers at a steam-chaff mill, possibly in the ,Welrose district, 1880s. Courtesy of the State LibrarY of South Australia. 4. Members of elder expedition at Warrina, South of Oodnadatta, late April 1891. Courtesy of the South Australian Museum Archive. 5. Sons of cameleers in Marree, 1910. Photographer: A.M Hopewell. Courtesy of the State ~brary of South Australia. 6. Queensland cameleer and el, c. 1900.Courtesy of the State Library of Queensland. i. ['loading a camel from a steamship at Port Augusta, c. "e5) reState I 'brary of South ,: "

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