Into the Heart of Borneo

By Redmond O'Hanlon

The tale of a 1983 trip to the guts of Borneo, which no excursion had tried considering 1926. O'Hanlon, followed by way of pal and poet James Fenton and 3 local publications brings wit and humor to a deadly trip.

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Rounding a bend at the direction, we came upon ourselves staring instantly at a raven-sized chicken with a deep chestnut-coloured again, a hooked beak, a crimson eye and a protracted black tail. It hopped off the department of a small tree, flapped two times and floated, its wings outstretched, its legs placing, throughout a small clearing and into dense trees the place it disappeared from view. “What the hell used to be that, Leon? ” I acknowledged. “Bubut,” acknowledged Leon. “He is a pal to the Iban. We depart him on my own. He is helping us develop padi. He devour the entire insect. ” whilst I appeared up the Chestnut-raven-glider in Smythies, later, there has been no danger of mistaking this sort of forceful id: it used to be a standard coucal, Centropus sinesis, a cuckoo that builds its personal nest, a very good, sincere, “bulky ball of grass with the doorway on the side”. within the coucal's case, in spite of the fact that, it will probably were wiser to place one's eggs in different people's incubation baskets, simply because In Sabah the younger of either this and the Lesser Coucal are used medicinally by means of natives and chinese language alike. once they find a nest they retain a really shut watch upon it till the chicks are hatched after which, an afternoon or later, they holiday the legs of the chicks. they think that upon discovering the chicks injured the dad or mum birds forage for therapeutic herbs which they half-digest after which regurgitate to exploit as a dressing at the limbs. The legs fast heal and mend, and the goodness of the medication is (they think) retained within the blood of the chicks. The technique can be repeated and sometimes the chicks are hand fed with cooked rice for a couple of days earlier than being amassed and bottled complete in brandy or different spirit. The ensuing liquid is used either internally and externally as a cure-all, specifically for rheumatic proceedings. The music straightened and Dana's longhouse used to be published in entrance people. Pressed right into a small area among the conical hills, it was once gigantic. There had evidently been no room to extend the payment lengthways, so the longhouse were break up into sections, rows of continuing dwellings raised a few fifteen toes from the floor on a mass of stilts and sharing a wide communal verandah, the doorways of the person rooms dealing with one another throughout it. extra up the hill and attached to the most longhouse via wood steps was once the Headman's residence. It used to be storeys excessive, roofed with corrugated iron and outfitted with machine-made planking. among the democratic, socially easy-going Iban whose chiefs home is frequently exceptional from the others exclusively by way of its critical place within the line of dwellings, Dana's comparative palace used to be very distinct certainly. yet then Dana, I fully grasp now, used to be no usual Iban. He should have been named after his recognized ancestor, the nice pirate and headhunter Orang Kaya Pamancha Dana, one of many few Iban (as Charles Brooke himself testifies in his memoir, Ten Years in Sarawak, 1866) who really led Malays into conflict instead of the opposite direction approximately; Pamancha Dana got here from a protracted line of leaders at the Saribas and was once that Iban rarity, an hereditary leader.

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