Saturday, July 24, 2010

Espeed - Eslow

I saw this on Borneo Bulletin the other day but unfortunately it was not in colour. As usual only Cuboiart can capture the essence of the subject with just one cartoon. I saw the cartoon and I wanted to do the same. Laugh my head loud while rolling on the floor. Sometimes I think that Ours must be the most expensive and least fast of all nations in ASEAN for broadband. I could be wrong but it feels like that sometimes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wild Orchids of Brunei

I was at the landscape and flower show at the Centrepoint yesterday. Her Majesty graced the occasion and I have to admit the flowers and orchids on display was way out of my league. I did not the flowers could grow to such height and beauty especially the orchids. I was told that once an orchid started to flower, the flowers can last for months under the right weather and conditions.

Anyway, the Philatelic Unit at our Postal Services Department had issued two sets of commemorative stamps on the Wild Orchids of Borneo. The first came out sometime September last year and the first day cover look like this:

According to the leaflet in the first day cover, orchids form one of the most diverse families of flowering plant in the world. They occur all over the globe except at the poles, and are the most abundant in the tropics. Estimates of the size of the family range from 17,500 to some 25,000 species. In the South East Asian region alone specialists think there may be 4,000 to 8,000 species. In Borneo alone, there are perhaps 2,000 species or more, including many that remain to be scientifically identified.

The three orchids highlighted in this Wild Orchid first series are:

Phalaenopsis comucervi (Breda) Bl & Rchb. f.
Bulbophyllum longiflorum Thouars
Dendrobium secundium (Blume) Lindl

and their stamps looked like these:-

For the collectors, the technical details of the stamps:-

Issue: Wild Orchids of Brunei first series

Date of Issue: 9th October 2009

Value: $1.00, 20c, 10c

Designer: Ajihis bin Haji Terawih

Printer: Southern Colour Print New Zealand

Size: 30mm x 30mm

Printing Process: Offset printing

Paper: 110 gsm

40th Year LNG

In the midst of His Majesty's Birthday, a new set of commemorative stamps were issued on 7th July 2010. This set of stamps was to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of our Brunei LNG. It has been with us for so long that many have forgotten when it was first commissioned. Brunei LNG was formed on 9 December 1969 and the first cargo to Japan was on 9 December 1972. The plant was officially opened by His Majesty on 4 April 1973.

When the plant was open, it was the largest facility in the world. Today it is one of the world's oldest but it has established a reputation of uninterrupted delivery of cargoes to Korea and Japan. The stamps issued were:

The first day cover:

The technical specifications for the collectors:

Official: Commemorative stamps issued to commemorate the 40th Year of Brunei LNG 1969-2009

Issued: 7 July 2010

Value: 40 cents x 3

Designer: Abdul Rahman Ahmad

Printer: Joh Encede Security Print, Netherlands

Size: 30mm x 40mm

Process Printing: Offset and Screen

Paper: 102 gsm

Perforation: 13 per 2 cm

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Congratulations to those who were awarded during His Majesty's Birthday on 15th July 2010. For those interested in the whole list and I tried to keep up with their job titles, the list is as follows (and do let me know where I got it wrong or inaccurate):-

Darjah Kerabat Laila Utama Yang Amat Dihormati (The Most Esteemed Family Order Laila Utama) 1st. Class, DK - carries the title Dato/Datin Laila Utama

- YAM Pengiran Bini Hajah Faizah Dato Haji Nasir
- Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi

Darjah Paduka Keberanian Laila Gemilang (The Most Esteemed Order of Paduka Keberanian Laila Terbilang) 1st. Class, DPKT - carries the title of Dato Paduka Seri

- General Djoko Santoso, Commander of the Indonesia National Armed Forces
- General Tan Sri Dato Azizan Ariffin - Commander or the Malaysian National Armed Forces
- Major General Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Commander of the Brunei Armed Forces

Darjah Paduka Seri Laila Jasa (The Most Distinguished Order of Seri Laila Jasa) 2nd. Class, DSLJ - carries the title Dato Seri Laila Jasa

- Rodman Bundy, France
- Prof Alan Vaughan Lane, Oxford University

Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Brunei Yang Amat Mulia Mulia (The Most Honourable Order of Seri Paduka Brunei) 2nd Class, DPMB - carries the title Dato Paduka:

- Haji Bahrin Abdullah (Deputy Finance Minister)
- Haji Mahadi Ibrahim (Auditor General)
- Haji Abd Ghafar Ismail (Ambassador)
- Haji Sidek Haji Ali (Ambassador)
- Janin Erih (Ambassador)
- Hj Murni Hj Mohammed (SUT, JPM)
- Sabali Abas (SUT, JPM)
- Hj Omar Hj Abd Rahman (SUT, JPM)
- Hj Erywan Pehin Yusof (SUT, MOFAT)
- Hj Mohd Daud Hj Mahmud (SUT, MOE)
- Hj Alaihuddin Pehin Hj Taha (SUT, MOC)
- Dr Hj Amin Liew Abdullah (SUT, MIPR)
- Hj Md Mahdi Pehin Dato Hj Abd Rahman (SUT, MORA)
- Dr Hj Omar Hj Khalid (VC, ITB)
- Hj Rosli Hj Mustafa (TSUT, MOH)
- Pehin Hasrin DP Hj Sabtu (Police)
- Hj Mohd Nur Lubis Abd Razak
- Hj Abu Bakar Hj Samad (Adat Istiadat)
- Pg Maun Pg Hj Said
- Lim Seng Kok (Registrar of Chinese Marriages)
- Hjh Seri Hj Simpun (Asst Private Secretary to HM)
- Pg Hjh Mariana PDNLD Pg Momin (TSUT, MIPR)
- Hjh Zasia Sirin (Director, Pusat Dakwah)

Darjah Seri Ugama Negara Brunei Darussalam Yang Amat Bersinar (The Most Eminent Order of Islam Brunei) 3rd Class, SSUB - carries no title

- Pg Hj Bahrom Pg Hj Bahar, Deputy Minister Religious Affairs
- Hj Johar Hj Mohamad
- Hj Kamis Hj Ali
- Hj Abd Kahar Hj Hussain
- Pg Hj Yunos Pg Hj Md Salleh
- Hj Zaidin Hj Ibrahim
- Datin Hjh Maliha Hj Sanif
- Hjh Salmiah Mohd Yusof
- Hjh Siti Azizah Hj Musa
- Hjh Nora'aini Hj Abu Bakar

Darjah Setia Negara Brunei Yang Amat Bahagia (The Most Blessed Order of Setia Negara Brunei) 3rd Class, SNB - carries no title

- Datin Hjh Adina Osman (Deputy Minister Culture, Youth & Sports)
- Orang Kaya Maha Bijaya Osman Uking (Member Legislative Council)
- Hj Mohd Rozan DP Hj Mohd Yunos (SUT, MOD)
- Hj Ismail Pehin Hj Hashim (TSUT, JPM)
- Hj Rosli Hj Sabtu (TSUT, MOF)
- Hj Md Zin Hj Salleh (TSUT, MOD)
- Hj Mahmud Hj Md Daud (TSUT, MOC)
- Hj Ibrahim Hj Hassan (Director General JPA)
- Bahrin Mohd Noor (ACP, Police)
- Pg Hj Abd Wahab Pg Hj Omar (Police)
- Pg Hj Mohd Ali Pg Hj Othman (Chairman, BSB Municipal)
- Marzuke Hj Mohsin (Director Housing Development)
- Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar (Director General JKR)
- Hj Abd Rahman Hj Hussain (SAO, MOC)
- Metusin OKS Hj Tuba (DO, Belait)
- Hj Mohd Zakaria Hj Sarudin (Director, Environment)
- Hj Saidin Salleh (Director, Forestry)
- Hj Mohd Jamil Hj Ali (Surveyor General)
- Hj Abd Kadir Tengah (Postmaster General)
- Hj Mohd Panglima Askar Hj Abdullah
- Pg Hj Mohd Tahir Pg Hj Yusof
- Hj Mohd Hussin Metassan (SPA)
- Lim Jock Jin (SPA)
- Hj Umar Hj Mohd Tahir (Electrical)
- Hj Abd Wahab Hj Tuah (MOD)
- Song Kin Koi (CEO, Telbru)
- Hj Awang Hj Mat Daud (formerly Deputy DG, JPKE)
- Mohiddin Hj Daud (Director, Printing)
- Pengarah Hj Mokti Md Salleh
- Pengarah Hj Abd Rahman Hj Naim
- Pengarah Hj Abdullah Sunny Hj Bakar
- Major (Rtd) Hj Tahamid Hj Kula
- Hj Abd Aziz Abd Latif
- Ang Swee Chuan
- Hjh Rosliah Hj Hasbullah (Commissioner of Labour)
- Hjh Normah Pehin Dato Haji Jamil (formerly Director Agriculture)
- Datin Hjh Shireen Hj Mustafa (Director, MCYS)
- Emaleen Abd Rahman Teo (Director, MOFAT)
- Hjh Misnah Hj Bolhassan (Director, Community Development)
- Dr Hjh Fatimah Hj Abd Hamid
- Hjh Asmah Hj Saman (Director, MIPR)

Darjah Paduka Seri Laila Jasa Yang Amat Berjasa (The Most Distinguished Order of Paduka Seri Laila Jasa) 3rd Class, SLJ - carries no title

- Kichinosuke Sada

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brunei Awards and Honours Explained

I wrote an article about medals and awards and honours and this was published on my column on Brunei Times on Monday. All this while, awards and honours have not featured in my life compared to my colleagues who have been gathering them by the handful. Ironically on that Monday morning, I received a letter from the Grand Chamberlain telling me that His Majesty had kindly consented to give me the award of Darjah Seri Setia Brunei Darjah Ketiga SNB. This was my first big award after about 23 years in the service of His Majesty. The last time I received an award was a medal, the PIKB (the Pingat Indah Kerja Baik or Meritorious Service Medal) in 2001. I have two other medals, both commemorative, one is the Pingat Jubli Perak, this was handed out for work done during the 25th Anniversary of His Majesty's ascencion to the throne in 1992 and the other medal is the 25th Anniversary of the National Day in 2009 and this was because I was in the National Committee.

Here is a photograph of the Ministry of Development's Senior Officials who received the SNB, there were eight of us. In the photograph are Haji Wahab (Head of IMU), Haji Jamil (Surveyor General), Me, Haji Md Zin (Acting PS), Marzuke (Director of Housing Development) and Haji Suhaimi (Director General PWD). Not in the photo are Haji Zakaria (Director of Envivronment) and Hajah Marhani (Acting Deputy Director General PWD).


Here is that article on awards and honours as published in Brunei Times on Monday:-


Brunei’s Orders and Decorations

There are still many people who do not know how the titles of Pengiran Cheterias or Pehin Menteris are awarded. Some even confusing them with the awards of Orders and Decorations handed out annually by His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during his Birthday Celebrations. Many confused them with the Malaysian system.

In Malaysia, an award made by the Federal Government, may entitled one to be called a Tun or a Tan Sri. For instance, an award of the Order of Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara, First Class will entitled one to be called a Tun and carry the designation of SMN behind one’s name. An award of the Second Class of the same Order allows one to carry the title Tan Sri and a PMN. An award of the Order of Seri Setia Malaysia, First Class also carries a Tun and an SSM; a Second Class carries a Tan Sri and a PSM. For the ladies, the titles they carry would be Tun and Tan Sri if the awards are to themselves but Toh Puan and Puan Sri, if their husbands are the recipients.

Malaysian states also award their own Orders and Decorations. However most of these would only allow the recipients the title Dato, Datuk or the various Datukships. Sarawak has an award which is the Order of the Satria Bintang Sarawak (SBS) which allows one to carry the title Pehin Sri.

In Brunei, the titles of any Pengiran Cheterias or Pehin Manteris are not awarded through the annual award. The titles are conferred to the recipients in special ceremonies and usually these ceremonies are carried out once every several years. The awards are very special and only those fully deserving to serve His Majesty will be awarded a title.

Indeed, in a few days time, His Majesty will indeed by awarding Orders and Decorations of which a lucky few will be entitled to carry the title of Datoship with some of them.

The Brunei Birthday Honours is similar to the British Birthday Honours given by the Queen. The honours system is a means of rewarding the citizens and other individuals for their personal bravery, achievement, or service to the country. The system consists of three types of award: honours, decorations and medals:

• Honours are used to recognise merit in terms of achievement and service’

• Decorations tend to be used to recognise specific deeds;

• Medals are used to recognise bravery, long and / or valuable service and / or good conduct.

Historically, it is not known when the first honours and titles were awarded. But certainly by the 14th century, when the Brunei Sultans were already reigning in Brunei, titles and presumably honours were already in place. The Sultan was at the top of a pyramid of officials with wazirs and cheterias as well as pehin manteris assisting him. Titles must have been given to lower officials who assisted them including the title of Dato.

Honours awarded by His Majesty are given at separate occasions depending on the level of award. The ‘Bintang Kebesaran’ or Decoration Orders are awarded during His Majesty's Birthday by His Majesty himself. If there are too many recipients to be awarded on a single morning, some will be awarded by His Majesty at another smaller ceremony after the birthday.

In the past, the honours were also awarded during His Majesty’s visit to that particular district. Honours can also be awarded during visits by foreign dignitaries to Brunei. Sometimes it can also be awarded to the foreign dignitary when His Majesty is visiting those countries.

Each category has several classes. It is the first (Grand Commander) and second class (Knight Commander) of each category which will give the title Dato.

However for being awarded the decoration or bintang kebesaran, the recipients in addition to the title in front of their names, if any, will also get to keep the letters behind their names. The list of different categories of Orders, the classes in each Order, the letters to be used at the end of one’s name and the titles, if any (to be used in front of the recipients’ names), associated with that class:-

• Darjah Kerabat Mahkota Brunei (The Royal Family Order of the Crown of Brunei) - 1st. Class only: DKMB

• Darjah Kerabat Laila Utama Yang Amat Dihormati (The Most Esteemed Family Order Laila Utama) – 1st. Class only: DK – carries the title of Dato Laila Utama

• Darjah Kerabat Seri Utama Yang Amat Dihormati (The Most Esteemed Family Order Seri Utama) - 1st. Class only: DK – carries the title of Dato Seri Utama

• Darjah Seri Ugama Islam Negara Brunei Yang Amat Bersinar (The Most Eminent Order of Islam Brunei) - 1st. Class: PSSUB – carries the title of Dato Paduka Seri Setia; 2nd. Class: DSSUB – carries the title of Dato Seri Setia; 3rd. Class: SSUB – carries no title; 4th. Class: SUB – carries no title; and 5th. Class: PUB – carries no title

• Darjah Paduka Seri Laila Jasa Keberanian Gemilang Yang Amat Cemerlang (The Most Illustrious Order of Paduka Laila Jasa Keberanian Gemilang) - 1st. Class: DPKG – carries the title of Dato Paduka Seri; 2nd. Class: DKLG – carries the title of Dato Laila; 3rd. Class: DKG – carries no title

• Darjah Paduka Keberanian Laila Terbilang Yang Amat Gemilang (The Most Exalted Order of Paduka Keberanian Laila Terbilang) - 1st. Class: DPKT – carries the title of Dato Paduka Seri; 2nd. Class: DKLT – carries the title of Dato Laila; 3rd. Class: DKT – carries no title

• Darjah Pahlawan Negara Brunei Yang Amat Perkasa (The Most Gallant Order of Pahlawan Negara Brunei) - 1st. Class: PSPNB – carries the title of Dato Seri Pahlawan; 2nd. Class: DHPNB – carries the title of Dato Hamzah Pahlawan; 3rd. Class: PNB – carries no title; 4th. Class: PJB – carries no title

• Darjah Setia Negara Brunei Yang Amat Bahagia (The Most Blessed Order of Setia Negara Brunei) - 1st. Class: PSNB – carries the title of Dato Seri Setia; 2nd. Class: DSNB – carries the title of Dato Setia; 3rd. Class: SNB – carries no title; 4th. Class: PSB – carries no title

• Darjah Paduka Seri Laila Jasa Yang Amat Berjasa (The Most Distinguished Order of Paduka Seri Laila Jasa) - 1st. Class: PSLJ – carries the title of Dato Paduka Seri Laila Jasa; 2nd. Class: DSLJ – carries the title of Dato Seri Laila Jasa; 3rd. Class: SLJ – carries no title

• Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Brunei Yang Amat Mulia (The Most Honourable Order of Seri Paduka Mahkota Brunei) – 1st. Class: SPMB – carries the title of Dato Seri Paduka; 2nd. Class: DPMB – carries the title of Dato Paduka; 3rd. Class: SMB – carries no title

It is possible to get even higher and higher orders. The title that will be used will be the highest one that the recipient received. Normally the lowest decoration order government officers get will be the PSB and for religious officers the PUB.

So, hopefully in a few days time, if you are watching on television or reading the news of His Majesty handing out the awards, this writer hopes that this article can be used as a guide and offers his heartiest congratulations to those receiving an award.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dirgahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik

Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik. Dirgahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik. Happy 64th Birthday to His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

What is the right way of greeting His Majesty on his birthday? I wrote about this 3 years ago and I thought I will repost it here:-

I was watching the news on RTB last night, partly because where my wife and I sat during the banquet for uniformed personnel the night before, we were smack in the direction of the camera and there was no way the camera could have missed us so I just wanted to see what I looked like on tv (not very pretty, I tell you) but partly because what I really wanted to watch was the segment where RTB news focused on a number of Bruneians giving greetings to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on the occassion of His Majesty's birthday.

All the viewers that were shown on tv all wanted to wish His Majesty's a Happy Birthday. But a lot of them sounded as if they did not know what the right greeting is or are afraid of making mistakes. So you hear a number of versions and you get confused as to what is the right way of greeting His Majesty on his birthday.

So, what is the right way of greeting? I have asked that question myself and unfortunately I don't have the right answer, myself. I am sure if I was to ask the Adat Istiadat people I would get the right answer but since this blog is written in the middle of the night, I am not sure any Adat Istiadat people would welcome my midnight calls. Besides, I am sure readers would provide me the right answers.

The English greeting seemed to be the easiest "Happy Birthday Your Majesty". This phrase translated into the proper Royal Malay phrase become "Selamat Hari Puja Usia Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" or "Selamat Hari Keputeraan Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" or the slightly longer "Selamat Menyambut Hari Keputeraan Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik". Some advertisement took on the slightly third party phrasing such as "Greetings to His Majesty on the Occassion of Your Majesty's 60th Birthday" which to me is slightly off. Why greetings? But despite the slight off nature, that seemed to be used widely too.

Another long Malay phrase is "Hamba Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik menyembahkan Sembah Kesyukuran sempena Hari Puja Usia Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" which very loosely translated to be "I feel so happy during Your Majesty's Birthday". The English translation does not seemed to be so appropriate but the Malay phrasing sounded grand. Of course with an extra $200 each for the civil servants this phrasing seemed to me the most appropriate and most apt to be said. Imagine. Someone else's birthday but you get the present. It should be the other way round, shouldn't it?

Another one which is very widely used is "Dirgahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik". "Dirgahayu" is an interesting word. I know the 1,000+ readers of this blog together with the hundreds of thousands of Bruneians driving past by huge banners that say "Dirgahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik" are taking the banners for granted. But here is the interesting bit - how many actually would know what the word "Dirgahayu" means? Do you know? I know because I checked.

"Dirgahayu" according to the Kamus Nusantara, my trusted 3,092 page dictionary with tiny little fonts that hurt my eyes, defined it as "(mudah-mudahan) lanjut usia; berumur panjang (biasanya ditujukan kpd raja, negara, atau organisasi yg sedang memperingati hari jadinya)". So, "Dirgahayu" just means "long live", thus the English equivalent of "Long Live the King". The next time you passed by one of those banners you can tell everyone in the car what that means.

So, if ever an RTB newscamera was to approach you and ask you to wish His Majesty a Happy Birthday, you know what to do. Dirgahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brunei 1920

The other day I was surprised when I saw two more postcards said to come from the 1920s. I have managed to acquire six of these postcards and I had to have these other two postcards. Luckily I did not have to pay as high a price as I paid for the others. This one cost around US$200. You have to pay for the rarity of the postcard.

This one is entitled "Copper and Blacksmiths River Brunei" which means it is somewhere in Kampong Pandai Besi (Blacksmiths). Though copper smithing was also done in Sungai Kedayan, if I am not mistaken. I don't know the Kampong Ayer well enough but if someone could hazard a guess where the exact location of this photo, it would be great. The bakut in the background certainly gives a clue.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday

I celebrated my 47th birthday at the airport. I just arrived from Jakarta via Singapore and waited for my bags to come out. When it did, it was past 12 midnight and it was time to celebrate my birthday. It was on Saturday and I was tired. I just wanted to go home knowing that I have to attend the Israk Mikraj function at the ICC in the morning and then a farewell dinner in the evening. Celebrating my birthday was the last thing in my mind.

I was really surprised and touched when my colleagues and friends at MOD surprised me with a cake at the end of the farewell ceremony for our former minister. There was a cake and both my wife and I blew the candles. Thank you guys.

In fact it has been years since I last really celebrated my birthday. A couple of birthday dinners with the family here and there but not real celebrations. Certainly not with a cake and with lots of people singing Happy Birthday. My wife and I with our 10 year old son, would generally celebrate it somewhere quiet. Both my wife and I are Cancerians, and it was easier celebrating ours at the same time.

Sometimes I wonder why we celebrate birthdays? Especially as we grow older, it becomes less fun. Do we celebrate it because we survived another year? Another year in our cumulative achievements?

I see birthdays as I see milestones along the highways and the roads we traveled. Each one an indicator of how far you have traveled but more importantly how nearer you are to your destination. In a way birthdays are celebrations of surviving another year.

But birthdays are also reminders how close you are to the end of your journey. Who knows you might not even see the end of your journeys and you could end your journey any time. Birthdays are time to stock of yourself and to be muhasabah diri. To remember how mortal you are. How prepared you are for the end. It is also a time to look back and remember the fun you had with your family around you. Watching the family and children grow. They will replace you and hoped that you had left enough knowledge and ability for them to have grown up and be able to become responsible parents one day.

Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sarawak's Mount Santubong and Brunei's Princesses

[My friend, the Deputy Accountant General asked me what did the Sarawakians think of my article trying to link the Santubong legends to Brunei? I told him that I did not start it. I was researching about Sarawak when I came across a few blogs on the origins of the Mount Santubong in Sarawak written by Sarawakians. They were arguing about where the origins of the Santubong legends. If you add in a little history, suddenly the connection of the Santubong princesses linked to the Sultanate of Brunei became very clear and clearly not impossible. Here is the article that I wrote for Brunei Times and published on 28 June 2010.]


Mount Santubong and the Brunei Legend

In Kuching, one of the popular tourist attractions is Mount Santubong. On a clear day, the mount can be seen from Kuching. Some say that Mount Santubong resembles a woman lying on her back.

‘Santubong’ is derived from the Iban words ‘Si-antu-ubong’ which means ‘spirit boat.’ These are boat-like coffins carved out of a single log designed to represent the vessel for the dead person’s spirit to travel to the afterlife.

However Santubong is more well known for its legend about a beautiful princess and her sister named Sejinjang, the name of another mountain nearby.

According to the legends, two princesses once lived in the heavens named Puteri Santubong and Puteri Sejinjang. Puteri Santubong was known for her weaving skills because she made the most beautiful cloth in the Kayangan. Puteri Sejinjang was known for her rice. All the rice she pounded became the tastiest rice.

One day, two villages, Pasir Kuning (Yellow Sand) and Pasir Putih (White Sand) started to have an argument which escalated into a quarrel. The quarrel worsened each day. The King sent Santubong to Pasir Kuning and Puteri Sejinjang was sent to Pasir Putih to bring peace.

They did and because of their talents, they helped both villages busy prospering from clothes and rice, they had no time to fight. So, Pasir Kuning and Pasir Putih were at peace with one another.

Meanwhile, both princesses became best friends. However their friendship did not last. Many suitors from near and far tried came to them. But none caught the princesses’ hearts until they met Putera Mahkota Serapi. He was so handsome, that both the princesses fell in love with the prince at the same time. Both tried to catch the prince’s eyes with their beauty and talents.

The Prince could not decide. He asked both to be his wives. Santubong and Sejinjang however believed that only one of them was suitable to be his wife. They started to quarrel.

After verbally abusing each other, they became more violent and started to hit each other. Sejinjang took a ‘pounder’ and hit Santubong’s cheek till it cracks. Even though she was hurt, Santubong hit back using her belidak, a tool for her to weave cloths. The belidak hit Sejinjang’s head. Because of the heavy and sharp tool, Sejinjang’s head broke into million pieces and scattered in the sea to become the small islands around Kuching such as Pulau Kerak, Pulau Satang, Pulau Talang-Talang, Pulau Lakir and other islands. Santubong also died.

The King was angry with both of them for fighting over a mere mortal. He cursed them to become Mount Santubong and Mount Sejinjang.

However, there is another version to the legends. In this version, the princesses did not come from heavens.

In this version, both the princesses were the daughters of a Sultan of Brunei, who ran away with their seven brothers after their father was assassinated.

According to the legends, when the nine brothers and sisters wanted to cross the sea to the Malay Peninsula, they decided that the two sisters stayed behind and they left them at today’s Mount Santubong.

The Dayaks who frequented the place were astonished to find the two beautiful princesses and thought that these two were sent down from the heavens to become guardians of the mountain.

Similar to the other legend, both princesses lived peacefully with each other but over time, they became enemies as both wanted to be the most beautiful princess. After a fight, both moved out, to Santubong and Sejinjang. But the argument and the fight continued until one killed the other.

The lyrics of the song Puteri Santubong though focused more on the first legend:

Puteri Santubong,
Sejinjang sayang,
Kisah lama, Zaman mensia maya.

Puteri Santubong, Puteri Sejinjang,
Penjaga gunung Negeri Sarawak,
Manis sik ada dapat dilawan,
Anak dak Dewa turun kayangan.

Santubong puteri bertenun kain malam,

Sejinjang puteri menumbuk padi siang.

Satu hari nya dua kelahi,
Beranuk anuk sik renti-renti,
Seorang madah dirik bagus agik,
Seorang sik ngalah walau sampai ke mati.

Udah lejuk nya duak kelahi,
Lalu bertukuk nya duak puteri,
Sejinjang mengayun aluk ke pipi,
Tebik Santubong sampai gituk ari.

Tapi Santubong membalas juak,
Lalu ditikam batang belidak,
Sampei terkena Sejinjang kepala,
Lalu bertabor jadi Pulo Kera.

Kisah Santubong, kisah Sejinjang,
Asal berkawan jadi musuhan,
Kinik tuk tinggal jadi kenangan,
Pakei ingatan sepanjang zaman.

Interestingly enough, around the turn of the 17th Century, Sarawak had its first and only Sultan. The tenth Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar had a younger sibling named Pengiran Muda Tengah Ibrahim Ali Omar Shah or was better known as Raja Tengah. Since Sarawak was then owned and governed by Brunei, Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar appointed Pengiran Muda Tengah as the first Sultan of Sarawak.

According to the Salsilah Raja-Raja Brunei, Pengiran Muda Tengah accepted the appointment and he made preparation to go to Sarawak. When he went to Sarawak, more than 1,000 warriors of Sakai, Kedayan and Pulau Bunut origins accompanied him. A few nobilities went along with him to help him administer the new country. Many of these are the forefathers of some of today’s Malay community in Sarawak.

In Sarawak, the new Sultan and his men built a palace and a fort to surround the palace. Sultan Tengah began to appoint his senior officials. Among them was Datu Petinggi Seri Setia, Datu Shahbandar Indera Wangsa, Datu Amar Setia Diraja and Datu Temenggong Laila Wangsa. After everything was done, Sultan Tengah coronated himself as Sultan Ibrahim Ali Omar Shah, the first Sultan of Sarawak.

Around 1599, on his return from visiting Johor, his ship lost its main sail and the ship ran aground in Sukadana. In Sukadana, Sultan Tengah married one of the princesses, Puteri Surya Kesuma, the younger sister to Sultan Muhammad Saifuddin. Sultan Tengah stayed on in Sukadana and asked to be allowed to help spread Islam around the area. It was decided that he should do it around the Sambas River. And so around 1600, Sultan Tengah left Sukadana via the Sambas River with about 40 boats all equipped with weapons. To cut a long story short, he founded the Sambas and the Matan Sultanates.

After a few years’ stay in Matan, Sultan Tengah went back to Sarawak. On his return to Sarawak, he stopped at a place called Batu Buaya in Santubong. It was there he was killed by one of his followers. When news of his death reached Sarawak, Datu Petinggi, Datu Shahbandar, Datu Amar and Datu Temenggong came to Santubong to complete the funeral rites according to royal Brunei tradition.

Meanwhile, Sultan Tengah was buried in Santubong in today’s Kampong Batu Buaya. The grave stone marking the grave was fit for a Sultan. With Sultan Tengah’s death, came the end of the Sarawak Sultanate made up of the one and only Sultan. Sultan Tengah’s grave is located at the foot of Mount Santubong. Could it be then the two princesses were both the daughters of Sultan Tengah which in turn lead to the legends of Mount Santubong?

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