I recently discovered this book, and bought it online. It turned out to be one of the best descriptions of the period Sir Charles Brooke spent in Sarawak. It delved into his relations with his uncle Sir James Brooke, his wife Margaret de Windt (who preferred her childhood name Ghita) and Esca Brooke Daykin, the child Charles sired with a local woman Dayang Mastiah.
I found it a very well-researched work and a fascinating read, covering areas the official history books of our boyhood stayed away from.
The blurb on the back cover has this to say ... "This enthralling saga of conflict and betrayal among the famous White Rajahs of Sarawak explores the bizarre history of the Brooke family and the English dynasty they established in the topical jungles of Borneo .... Combining the flair of the novelist with meticulous research, prizewinning historian Cassandra Pybus has pieced together the hidden story of the White Rajahs to create three spellbinding narratives of adventure and passion; of personal anguish and political intrigue. Set against the wild beauty of Sarawak and the harsh but stunning terrain of Northern Canada, these three tales of power and loss are unforgettable."
Let me share a few pictures ...
Fig 1: Cover of "White Rajah" book
Fig 2: Opening pages
Fig 3: Published in 1996
Fig 4: The Contents pages
Fig 5: Photo of the young Esca Brooke Daykin
If you are keen to get a copy, this book is available on Amazon.com (which is where I got mine).
I think it would be most interesting to meet and have a chat with Ms Pybus one day ...
This interesting item came out in Borneo Post in April or May last year..
Any of you guys and gals who are interested in Sarawak history, especially the Brooke era, should try to visit this Expo about the last Raja Muda of Sarawak, Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke when it opens .
Anthony Brooke passed away on 2nd March 2011 at the age of 98. Click HERE for more details in one of my previous postings.
The Expo opens on 8th June and continues till the end of the month. I for one will try my best to be there.
Added on 9th June 2011
This came out in the Borneo Post today (thanks Leo!). I still don't know if any of our brothers attended ....
A historic occasion
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From "The Sarawak Tribune" (9 June 2011)
In Memory of Anthony Brooke
by Elmer Yeo
KUCHING: The passing of Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke, who was the Raja Muda (heir apparent to the throne of the White Rajah) before Sarawak was ceded to the British, marked another important chapter in the history of Sarawak.
Brooke, who was 98 years old when he passed away in New Zealand on 2 March, 2011 is survived by his wife Gita Keiller, son James Bertram Lionel Brooke and a daughter Celia Margaret Brooke.
An exhibition in his memory, highlighting his ties and links with Sarawak, is being held at the State Library in Petra Jaya here 8 to 30 June.
The Chairman of the State Library Board of Management, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Hamid Bugo, officiated at the launching of the exhibition by James Bertram Lionel Brooke, yesterday.
In his short speech, James Brooke described his father as a man of integrity and strong will.
He said he regretted not having the opportunity to get close with his father who was a travelling man and was constantly away.
He said the family had to leave Sarawak hastily in 1941 due to the impending Japanese conquest of South-East Asia, and their return to the UK where they were relocated at Liverpool.
James also spoke briefly about the decision of the Third Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke to cede Sarawak to the British government in 1946 in return for a pension, thus ending the rule of the White Rajah.
Meanwhile, the small but informative exhibition showcases Anthony Brooke’s life from his early years to the period when he was appointed the Raja Muda, and his opposition to the cessation of Sarawak to the British.
Anthony’ Brooke’s anti-cessation campaign ended in 1951 when the spread of communism became a greater threat to the stability of Sarawak.
When the anti-cessation movement came to an end, Anthony Brooke devoted his time to promote peace, unity and the protection of the environment and the indigenous people.
He divorced his first wife, Kathleen Hudden in 1965 and remarried in 1982.He and his second wife Gita Keiller visited Sarawak in 1983 to participate in the 20th anniversary celebration of the formation of Malaysia.
Anthony Brooke’s month-long stay in Sarawak (from 18 Aug to 18 Sept) in 1983 gave him the opportunity to meet with old friends, former co-workers and government officials, being invited as guest of honour at numerous functions and excursions to other parts Sarawak.
In his later years, he settled down at Wanganui in the north island of New Zealand, and to keep alive the fond memories of Sarawak, he even had a special memorabilia room called the Sarawak Room’ in his house.
The exhibition reveals that Anthony Brooke, towards the end of his life, forgave family members “who had conspired to deprive him of his singular inheritance”.
Besides the pictorials and written stories, there was also a small collection of government documents that were related to the anti-cessation period.
Al so present at the ceremony were the State Library’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Japri Bujang Masli and Anthony Brooke’s grandson, Jason Brooke.
“By the act of your ancestors and mine, and by the accident of birth, I was born to be your servant – a relationship formally recognised by the British Government in its treaties with Sarawak and my family.
That relationship was impugned but not changed by my uncle’s cessation of Sarawak, and its annexation by the British Government.
In good or ill, so long as you wish to maintain that relationship, I shall continue with gratitude, affection and pride to regard myself as your servant” – Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke.
KUCHING: Former Rajah Muda, Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke, 98, passed away in Wanganui, New Zealand on March 2.
As the heir-apparent, he briefly administered Sarawak from 1939 to 1940 in the absence of his uncle Charles Vyner Brooke, the third and last White Rajah to rule Sarawak.
He is survived by his wife Gita, son James Lionel, daughter Celia and grandchildren Jason, Laurence and Sura.
In an email to Sarawak Tourism Federation’s Heritage Development Committee chairman Lim Kian Hock, Jason wrote that his grandfather passed away with his wife by his side at their home Rumah Brooke.
“His cremation took place yesterday (Thursday) at 3pm in Wanganui, in keeping with his wishes, with a memorial service to follow later this year,” said Jason.
Born in England in 1912 to His Highness the Tuan Muda of Sarawak, Anthony received his education at Eton and Magdalene Cambridge, before pursuing studies in Malay and Mohammedan Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Anthony’s uncle Sir Charles Vyner Brooke was the third Rajah of Sarawak. Sir James Brooke became Rajah in 1841 and the Brooke family ruled Sarawak until the Japanese invasion in 1941.
As Sir Charles had no male heir, Anthony’s father, the co-ruling Tuan Muda was the heir-apparent. He, however, renounced his claim in favour of his son, duly appointed Rajah Muda (Crown Prince) and heir-apparent in his place.
Anthony had one son James (born 1940) and two daughters Celia (1942) and Angela (1944).
Anthony was the last member of the Brooke family to govern Sarawak (1939 to 1940).
After WWII ended, and with Sarawak liberated from Japanese rule, Anthony strongly opposed the annexation of Sarawak as a British colony in 1946, and responded to calls coming from the Malay National Union, Sarawak Dayak Association, Sarawak Youth Movement, Sarawak Women’s Association and other newly formed political groups in Sarawak to lead the independence campaign against British rule.
Campaigning vigorously for five years, he withdrew in 1951 only when the spread of Communism seemed a greater threat to stability in Sarawak.
Anthony then embarked upon a programme of world travel, speaking with groups large and small on the rights, responsibility and power of the individual in helping to bring about a democratic world order.
Co-founding with his wife, a charitable trust, Peace Through Unity, Anthony embarked upon a personal crusade that would span 60 years, meeting world leaders and spiritual thinkers from Chinese premier Chou En Lai to India’s Vinoba Bhave who dubbed him ‘shanty doot’ or Ambassador of Peace.
After Sarawak achieved independence through Malaysia, Anthony returned to the state as a guest on two occasions - in 1964 and 1983 - when he rekindled old friendships from the anti-cession days.
More info on Anthony and the other Brookes can be found in a Daily Mail article HERE.