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.