By Azlan Othman
The much anticipated event to mark His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 62nd birthday anniversary in the Temburong District - the get-together ceremony - was held yesterday at the field of the Temburong Civic Centre in Bangar town.
Besides the field performances, His Majesty also viewed the handicrafts and cultural heritage gallery showcased by the four ethnic groups - Kedayan Malay, Iban, Murut and Chinese.
During the exhibition, His Majesty took a closer look at the chart which showed the local paddy production in Temburong District. The production in the 382-hectare site was run by 354 people and constituted to some 406.96 metric tonnes or 26.9 per cent in production.
The massive influx of the Malay Kedayan community into Temburong occurred in 1916 after the First World War. They came mostly from the Brunei-Muara District notably from Kg Salar, Tanah Jambu, Muara, Serasa and Berakas. They settled at Batu Apoi and Labu in search for better life by working in the rubber plantation and sago industry. Ibans are believed to have come from Sumatra to Borneo about 200 years ago. They were also believed to have originated from China. They enjoyed the traditional lifestyle of hill farming and settled along the river banks in clusters or groups. They live in longhouses built along the river banks and roads.
Meanwhile, the Murut community was among the early settlers which dated thousands of years ago. It was believed that Muruts originated from the Indonesian tribes that migrated to Borneo. Traces and evidences of early settlement can be found from tombs in Nibung, Nagalang Kutub, Senukoh, Labu and Tepolo.
Many names of rivers, hills, places and villages originated from Murut dialects including Bangar, Labu, Senukoh, Buda-Buda, Selangan, Bokok, Selapon, Rataie, Batang Tuau and Sagan hills.
The Chinese TiongHua community settled in Temburong in 1920's. The need to recruit more labourers for the rubber plantation encouraged Brunei to bring in workers from China, Singapore and Malaysia.
The declining rubber production forced the foreign labour back to their country of origin, but somehow, a minority of the Chinese TiongHua decided to stay and start small businesses. They settled in Puni and Bangar.
His Majesty also exchanged greetings with the citizens and residents in the district and received pesambah.
- Borneo Bulletin
(25th July 2008)