Pengembara: The Road Less Travelled

Sometime in April I wrote an entry about a book entitled 'Wanderer in Brunei Darussalam' written by Pengembara which is a pseudonym for CH Gallop. A number of people still remembers him as he was a very active man when he was a teacher in Brunei. For those who don't know him, he actually wrote numerous articles for Borneo Bulletin about Brunei when he was here and some of those articles were reproduced in that book.

He found the entry and emailed me sometime in May thanking me for writing 'appreciative comments' on his book. He was also glad to see the individual comments from people who remembered him and his family. He and his wife are currently in Penang on retirement. He hopes to bring out two more Pengembara books, one about Brunei and the other about Sabah and Sarawak.

I was intrigued about one particular project which he wrote about the Sungai Ketam project and searched for that particular river only to find out that the river has disappeared. I wrote that as the Mystery of the Brunei Missing River sometime in May 2006.

While waiting for Mr. Gallop to produce another Pengembara book, in 1997, HSBC in commemoration of their 50 years in Brunei produced a special edition of the Pengembara articles entitled "Pengembara: The Road Less Travelled". My sister who worked there got the book for me and I have forgotten about it more or less until I was searching for another book and found this one. The book contained some more of Mr. Gallop's writings and it was edited by Sharon Meyers who also wrote a coffeetable book on Brunei entitled "The Golden Legacy" which I mentioned a couple of entries back.

This book contained 14 articles all about Brunei. The first article actually is a review of a very rare book, which UBD managed to purchase, about Brunei entitled 'City of Many Waters' written by Peter Blundell and published in 1923 describing events which took place around the turn of the century in Brunei. The author met Sultan Hashim (reigned 1895-1906) and assisted the Sultan in English correspondence. Brunei had a population of 21,000 then.

Mr. Gallop also wrote about community life in Brunei talking about invitation, dress codes, protocols, speeches etc. His subjects moved on from Snakes to Hills (spectacular views from Bukit Kelangkong (*I have to search for that hill*)) to Brunei's old driving licenses (little red or blue book). He talks about subjects ranging from Sinarubai Volcano to an old man's vigil reciting the Quran at the former Sultans of Brunei's graves. He went as far away as Kuala Balai to as near as Kampung Dadap. I will have to reproduce some of those articles as entries to the blog in the future. There are more things to know about Brunei if only we take the time to do so.

In a way, he was the earlier Mr. BR if that's how you want to know him. I am more or less continuing that tradition but unfortunately I am not that adventurous yet going as far as what Mr. Gallop has done. I realised that the book is available at some bookshops in Brunei despite its age but you have to know what you are searching for. So keep a look out at the top shelf and open your eyes wide. This book is as rare as the Blundell's book now and just as valuable.


kamakazi said…
"The author met Sultan Hashim (reigned 1995-1906)" i think u meant from "1885-1906"?
MAKC said…
I choose to comment on your log dated October 1st below (hooking it up with your latest Weblog):
"Another book written by TS Monks entitled "Brunei Days" (1992) is also very interesting from the point of view of how the modern Brunei Government started after the second world war. 'Tuan Besar Monks' was part of the original British Military Administration (BMA) taking over from the Japanese immediately after the second world war. The first three, you might just be able to find in the Malay bookstores such as Mega Bookshop or Pustaka Remaja but the last one is almost impossible to find, I bought mine for about $37 but the last time I saw it on the internet, the price has gone to about US$210."

I am of the opinion that further research on what had been written by T.S. Monks could lead to some very interesting findings on the root causes of how Negara Brunei Darussalam evolved to be what she is now - dynamic and versatile.

Based on my reading of the book, though, 'Tuan Besar Monks' purposely did not elaborate on the relevance of Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien II in the context of the history of modern Brunei although the late Father of the reigning monarch is known as the "Architect of Modern Brunei".

TS Monks could have been a key Military Intel for Britain, then?
MAKC said…
I correct myself - Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III, rather. Some more books about Brunei in include:

1. "Rebellion In Brunei by Dato Harun Majid (Hardcover - Jul 10 2007)

Buy new: CDN$ 93.95 CDN$ 62.01 Available for Pre-order
You save: CDN$ 31.94 (34%)"

(Why Amazon post-dated it to 2007? Or just typographical error. I think you know the author a King's College Fellow, no?)

2. "Historical Dictionary of Brunei Darussalam by D. S. Ranjit Singh, Ranjit, and Jatswan S. Sidhu (Hardcover - Jan 1997)

Buy new: CDN$ 82.76 Usually ships in 7 to 10 days
from CDN$ 81.93" ( I think you've mentioned about this book before.)

3. "Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III and Britain : The Making of Brunei Darussalam by B. A. Hussainmiya (Hardcover - Jan 1997)

Buy new: CDN$ 58.50 Usually ships in 10 to 13 days" (Again you mentioned this book before, too.)

4. "A History of Brunei by Graham E. Saunders (Hardcover - Aug 1994)

Out of stock"! (Not available in Brunei, as you have said before.)

5. "Brunei by Sylvia C. Engelen Krausse and Gerald H. Krausse (Hardcover - April 1989)" (Sounds like a nice and simple book).
Anonymous said…
Just wondering if anyone knows how to contact Mr. Pengembara. His wife was an old teacher of mine and would like to see how she is doing.
Anonymous said…
Yes anyone knows how to contact Mr & Mrs Gallop? Address anyone? My parents soo much would want to see how both are doing. Been a long time since my parents last saw them.
devic said…
Is CH Gallop ex Abbey House Sherborne? born c1930 CdeVC
Anonymous said…
Mr & Mrs Gallop now reside in Penang, Malaysia.

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