Katam-Katam again...

It is still His Majesty's birthday celebrations and I was wondering whether to write about something serious or anything. I wanted to write about Harun Majid's book entitled 'Rebellion in Brunei: The 1962 Revolt, Imperialism, Confrontation and Oil' which is an interesting read. But I will do that review in the future.

I was searching for a topic to write for my Golden Legacy column and found something else which I should have put up for my 'gambling in Brunei' article two weeks ago.

In Peter Blundell's City of Many Waters, which I often quoted from I found a description about Chinese gamblers. One thing about Peter Blundell is that even though he wrote endearingly but his writings are sharp and hurts but I guess that's where the good writing lie. He calls a spade a spade and every races and every single strata of society gets written about in his book and most of them not exactly writing about our best sides.

He described a game called 'put and take' which was 'a favourite form of gambling among the Brunei Chinese years before it came to England. Thes dies of the top used are ornamented with pictures of a fish, a crab, a cock, a prawn, a frog ....' Recognise that? Peter Blundell was describing the katam-katam gambling in Brunei more than 100 years ago. I didn't realise katam-katam has been with us for that long.

Another game is called ti-chow. In those days too, gambling was 'legal'. It was controlled by a syndicate of chinese businessmen who were given a license by the government to collect fees etc.


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