Tag Archives: james brooke

Orangutans and Betel Juice

21 Jul

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]They say you learn something new every day. And today I learn that gambier, AKA catechu, is a common ingredient used by Asians in chewing betel.

Which nice for me, nice for my mother, and absolutely blinding news for the staff of any museums in our path across Malaysia. Continue reading

The Man who Mistook his Capital for a Cat

20 Jul

Astana, the fortress-like state residence of the Governor of Sarawak, illuminated at night, reflecting in the Sarawak River. Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia.[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]This is Astana, the little place which James Brooke, the first “White Rajah” of Sarawak, built for himself in his capital, Kuching (“Cat”).

A Victorian adventurer somewhat in the mould of George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman, James Brooke spent his inheritance on a schooner, The Royalist. He stuffed it with cannons; crewed it with sailors who didn’t think he was insane (or weren’t that fussy); and headed to Borneo to remake the fortune he’d spent on the boat.

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