About the book (from jacket flap):
This is a book about the romantic country called Sarawak, the sometime realm of the famous White Rajahs and now one of Britain’s youngest coonies. It is an account of Mr. Malcolm MacDonald’s travels in the country, and particularly of his meetings with the jungle tribes who were once notorious as among the worst head-hunters in Asia. Although they are still in some ways primitive peoples, they have a charm, friendliness and intelligence which make them very attractive characters.
During the last ten years the impact of influences from the outside world has begun to bring many changes, some of them revolutionary, in the natives’ ways of life and beliefs. From primitive simplicity they are awakening to the complexities of the mid-twentieth century. Owing to the pace of contemporary developments, changes in their society are occurring much more rapidly than would be normal, and, as usual in such circumstances, some of the results are good and others are not so good.
Mr. MacDonald traces these changes as they are reflected in the personal lives of numerous Iban, Kayan and Kenyah individuals, old and young, men and women, chiefs and commoners, conservatives and progressives, who all became his friends. He presents an authentic picture of a native society in a state of transition from primitive conditions to something more modern and sophisticated.
In addition he gives glimpses of the parts played by the Malayas, Melanaus and Chinese in multi-racial Sarawak.
About the author:
Malcolm MacDonald was Governor-General of Malaya and British Borneo from 1946-48, then Commissioner-General for the UK in Southeast Asia. He was also the Chancellor of the University of Malaya and the UK Representative on the South-East Asia Defence Treaty Council.