Early Brunei Papers

People asked me where I get my materials from. I said the same places where everyone get theirs - through reading journals, articles and whatever I can get hold of - and believe it or not, I also read history textbooks both primary and secondary and I have them in my bookshelves.

Articles about Brunei have been written during the Chinese Dynasties and that goes some 1,500 years ago. The more recent western ones were written in the 19th century mostly. One of the earliest was written by Hugh Low, entitled Selesilah (Book of the Descent of the Rajas of Brunei) which was published in June 1880. Another was a similar one written by WH Treacher entitled The Genealogy of the Royal Family of Brunei published in June 1885.

In the early 20th century we have the A Brunei Code written by RO Winstedt published in 1923 and A Sketch of the History of Brunei by HR Hughes-Hallett published in 1940. Given that the Brunei Museum Journal which contained all the historical writing about Brunei, was not published until 1969, so where were all these old articles published?

They were in fact published in the Journals of the Straits Branch, the Malaya Branch (JSBRAS) and later in the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS). The Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society has collected all these papers and compiled 12 articles published in those journals and compiled them in a book entitled "Papers Relating to Brunei". This in fact was published in 1998 and is also getting harder to find.

Some of the earlier papers about the genealogical lineage are interesting. There is a debate as to whether Sultan Ahmad was the Chinese who married a princess and became Sultan Ahmad or was he a royal who married a Chinese princess and becamse Sultan Ahmad. All these came from the various versions of the tarsilah. Of course when you deal with matters more than 600 years ago, it's a little bit hard to be accurate. I have not seen this book in Brunei, I think if you were to bring it in, it probably would cost about $100 a book, a price not many people are willing to pay. But I have been told that they are available in Australia second hand book stores. So do search for this and you can even in it a copy of Manuscript A and Manuscript B of the Brunei Selesilah (written in old Malay).


Anonymous said…
Assalamualaikum BR I believe in U, aku pun membaca teks sejarah my kids, dulu2 tani cuma belajar sejarah dunia luar. Alhamdulillah, masa ani kem.pendidikan sudah menerapkan sejarah berunai dari pendidikan awal anak2 kitani.
Tom Hughes said…
I am keen to contact anyone who has information about the Hughes-Hallett family in Brunei and Malaysia.
I am tracing descendants of Col Francis Charles Hughes Hallett MP who died in 1903.
Tom Hughes
Anonymous said…
Can anyone tell me when will the art contest end in giant ? I heard the art contest start 25 dec 2011 so i want to join , please help. :)

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