Malay Sketches

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    ir r i~ti i - -

    "lomcisa D'fiCfiOEnitj

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    University of California.Class

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    Crown 8vo, 6s. Third Edition"Deep gratitude is due to Sir Frank for giving

    these letters to the world . . . the lazy descriptionsof Eastern life, the musings on great scenes, thestories, and the utterances of social wisdom are alldelightful, and add body to a book remarkable fora rare delicacy and charm."The Athenceum.

    ' ' His narrative style is admirable, and his episodesare always interesting. One could read for manyhours of the clever mongoose and tigers and croco-diles. ... Sir Frank Swettenham has a prettyhumour. . . . The style in which these UnaddressedLetters' is written is excellent."The Pall MallGazette.


    Crown 8vo, 6s."No pen except that of Mr. Conrad has drawnthe Malay character so faithfully or so graphically. . . .

    It is a combination that is very alluring, and weconfess to finding Sir Frank Swettenham's book ofMalay sketches most fascinating reading. "The PallMall Gazette."Sir Frank Swettenham understands perhapsbetter than any other roving Englishman ' The Real

    Malay.' "The Morning Post.

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    OF THE ^

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    PREFACEr I 'HIS is not a book of travels, nor is it, in even* the smallest sense, the record of a traveller'sexperiences in a foreign land. It is a series ofsketches of Malay scenery and Malay characterdrawn by one who has spent the best part ofhis life in the scenes and amongst the peopledescribed.

    These pages contain no statistics, no history, nogeography, no science, real or spurious, no politics,no moralising, no prophecy,only an attempt toawaken an interest in an almost undescribed butdeeply interesting people, the dwellers in one ofthe most beautiful and least known countries in theEast.The traveller will come in time, and he will

    publish his experiences of Malaya and the Malays ;but while he may look upon the country with a


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    PREFACEhigher appreciation and paint its features witha more artistic touch, he will see few of thosecharacteristics of the people, none of that inner lifewhich, I make bold to say, is here faithfully por-trayed. FRANK SWETTENHAM.The Residency,

    Perak, 28 March 1895.


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    "Quel est done ce pays, disaient-ils Tun a l'autre, inconnu a tout lereste de la terre, et ou toute la na-ture est d'une espece si differentede la notre?"


    T MAGINE yourself transported to a land of eternalA summer, to that Golden Peninsula, 'twixt Hin-dustan and Far Cathay, from whence the earlynavigators brought back such wondrous stories ofadventure. A land where Nature is at her bestand richest : where plants and animals, beasts ofthe forest, birds of the air, and every living thingseem yet inspired with a feverish desire for growthand reproduction, as though they were still in thedawn of Creation.And Man?Yes, he is here. Forgotten by the world, passed

    by in the race for civilisation, here he has remainediz

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    INTRODUCTIONamongst his own forests, by the banks of his well-loved streams, unseeking and unsought. Whencehe came none know and few care, but this is theland that has given to, or taken from, him the nameof a Race that has spread over a wider area thanany other Eastern people.

    Malaya, land of the pirate and the amok, yoursecrets have been well guarded, but the enemy hasat last passed your gate, and soon the irresistibleJuggernaut of Progress will have penetrated to yourremotest fastness, slain your beasts, cut down yourforests, " civilised" your people, clothed them instrange garments, and stamped them with the sealof a higher morality.

    That time of regeneration will come rapidly, butfor the moment the Malay of the Peninsula is as hehas been these hundreds of years. Education andcontact with Western people must produce theinevitable result. Isolated native races whosenumbers are few must disappear or conform to theviews of a stronger will and a higher intelligence.The Malays of the Peninsula will not disappear,

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    INTRODUCTIONbut they will change, and the process of " awaken-ing " has in places already begun.

    It might be rash to speculate on the gain whichthe future has in store for this people, but it ishardly likely to make them more personally inter-esting to the observer. This is the moment oftransition, and these are sketches of the Malayas he is.

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    Jetons-nous dans cette petite barque, laissons-nousaller au courant : une riviere mene toujour* a quelqueendroit habite ; si nous ne trouvons pas des chosesagreables, nous trouverons du moins des chosesnouvelles

    " 'Allons,' dit Candide,


    recommandons-nous a laProvidence ' "VOLTAIRI

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    THE REAL MALAYHe was the mildest manner'd manThat ever scuttled ship or cut a

    throatByron, Don Juan

    TO begin to understand the Malay you must livein his country, speak his language, respecthis faith, be interested in his interests, humour hisprejudices, sympathise with and help him in trouble,and share his pleasures and possibly his risks. Onlythus can you hope to win his confidence. Onlythrough that confidence can you hope to under-stand the inner man, and this knowledge can there-fore only come to those who have the opportunityand use it.

    So far the means of studying Malays in their owncountry (where alone they are seen in their true

    I A

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    MALAY SKETCHEScharacter) have fallen to few Europeans, and a verysmall proportion of them have shown an inclinationto get to the hearts of the people. There are ahundred thousand Malays in Perak and some morein other parts of the Peninsula ; and the white man,whose interest in the race is strong enough, may notonly win confidence but the devotion that is readyto give life itself in the cause of friendship. TheScripture says : "There is no greater thing than this,"and in the end of the nineteenth century that is aform of friendship all too rare. Fortunately this isa thing you cannot buy, but to gain it is worth someeffort.The real Malay is a short, thick-set, well-builtman, with straight black hair, a dark brown com-plexion, thick nose and lips, and bright intelligenteyes. His disposition is generally kindly, hismanners are polite and easy. Never cringing, heis reserved with strangers and suspicious, though hedoes not show it. He is courageous and trust-worthy in the discharge of an undertaking ; but heis extravagant, fond of borrowing money, and veryslow in repaying it. He is a good talker, speaks inparables, quotes proverbs and wise saws, has a strongsense of humour, and is very fond of a good joke.He takes an interest in the affairs of his neighbours


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    THE REAL MALAYand is consequently a gossip. He is a Muhammadanand a fatalist, but he is also very superstitious. Henever drinks intoxicants, he is rarely an opium-smoker. But he is fond of gambling, cock-fighting,and kindred sports. He is by nature a sportsman,catches and tames elephants, is a skilful fisherman,and thoroughly at home in a boat. Above allthings, he is conservative to a degree, is proud andfond of his country and his people, venerates hisancient customs and traditions, fears his Rajas, andhas a proper respect for constituted authoritywhile he looks askance on all innovations, and willresist their sudden introduction. But if he has timeto examine them carefully, and they are not thrustupon him, he is willing to be convinced of theiradvantage. At the same time he is a good imitativelearner, and, when he has energy and ambitionenough for the task, makes a good mechanic. Heis, however, lazy to a degree, is without method ororder of any kind, knows no regularity even in thehours of his meals, and considers time as of no im-portance. His house is untidy, even dirty, but hebathes twice a day, and is very fond of personaladornment in the shape of smart clothes.A Malay is intolerant of insult or slight ; it issomething that to him should be wiped out in


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    THE REAL MALAYhe is not a bigot ; indeed, his tolerance comparesfavourably with that of the professing Christian,and, when he thinks of these matters at all, hebelieves that the absence of hypocrisy is the begin-ning of religion. He has a sublime faith in God,the immortality of the soul, a heaven of ecstaticearthly delights, and a hell of punishments, whichevery individual is so confident will not be his ownportion that the idea of its existence presents noterrors.

    Christian missionaries of all denominations haveapparently abandoned the hope of his conversion.In his youth, the Malay boy is often beautiful, athing of wonderful eyes, eyelashes, and eyebrows,with a far-away expression of sadness and solemnity,as though he had left some better place for a com-pulsory exile on earth.

    Those eyes, which are extraordinarily large andclear, seem filled with a pained wonder at all theysee here, and they give the impression of a constanteffort to open ever wider and wider in search ofsomething they never find. Unlike the child ofJapan, this cherub never looks as if his nurse hadforgotten to wipe his nose. He is treated withelaborate respect, sleeps when he wishes, and sitsup till any hour of the night if he so desires, eats


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    MALAY SKETCHESwhen he is hungry, has no toys, is never whipped,and hardly ever cries.

    Until he is fifteen or sixteen, this atmosphere ofa better world remains about him. He is oftenstudious even, and duly learns to read the Koranin a language he does not understand.

    Then, well then, from sixteen to twenty-five orlater he is to be avoided. He takes his pleasure,sows his wild oats like youths of a higher civilisa-tion, is extravagant, open-handed, gambles, getsinto debt, runs away with his neighbour's wife, andgenerally asserts himself. Then follows a periodwhen he either adopts this path and pursues it, or,more commonly, he weans himself gradually froman indulgence that has not altogether realized hisexpectation, and if, under the advice of older men,he seeks and obtains a position of credit and use-fulness in society from which he begins at last toearn some profit, he will, from the age of forty,probably develop into an intelligent man of miserlyand rather grasping habits with some one little petindulgence of no very expensive kind.

    The Malay girl-child is not usually so attractivein appearance as the boy, and less consideration isshown to her. She runs wild till the time comesfor investing her in a garment, that is to say when

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    THE REAL MALAYshe is about five years old. From then, she istaught to help in the house and kitchen, to sew, toread and write, perhaps to work in the padi field,but she is kept out of the way of all strange men-kind. When fifteen or sixteen, she is often almostinteresting ; very shy, very fond of pretty clothesand ornaments, not uncommonly much fairer incomplexion than the Malay man, with small handsand feet, a happy smiling face, good teeth, andwonderful eyes and eyebrowsthe eyes of the littleMalay boy. The Malay girl is proud of a wealthof straight, black hair, of a spotless olive com-plexion, of the arch of her brow" like a one-day-old moon "of the curl of her eyelashes, and of thedimples in cheek or chin.

    Unmarried girls are taught to avoid all menexcept those nearly related to them. Until mar-riage, it is considered unmaidenly for them to raisetheir eyes or take any part or interest in theirsurroundings when men are present. This leads toan affectation of modesty which, however over-strained, deceives nobody.

    After marriage, a woman gets a considerableamount of freedom which she naturally values. InPerak a man, who tries to shut his womenkind upand prevent their intercourse with others and a


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    MALAY SKETCHESparticipatidh in the fetes and pleasures of Malaysociety, is looked upon as a jealous, ill-conditionedperson.

    Malays are extremely particular about questionsof rank and birth, especially when it comes tomarriage, and mesalliances, as understood in theWest, are with them very rare.

    The general characteristics of Malay women,especially those of gentle birth, are powers ofintelligent conversation, quickness in repartee, astrong sense of humour and an instant appreciationof the real meaning of those hidden sayings whichare hardly ever absent from their conversation.They are fond of reading such literature as theirlanguage offers, and they use uncommon words andexpressions, the meanings of which are hardlyknown to men. For the telling of secrets, theyhave several modes of speech not understanded ofthe people.

    They are generally amiable in disposition, mildlysometimes fiercelyjealous, often extravagantand, up to about the age of forty, evince anincreasing fondness for jewellery and smart clothes.In these latter days they are developing a prettytaste for horses, carriages, and whatever conducesto luxury and display, though, in their houses, there


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    THE REAL MALAYare still a rugged simplicity and untidiness, absolutelydevoid of all sense of order.A Malay is allowed by law to have as many asfour wives, to divorce them, and replace them. Ifhe is well off and can afford so much luxury, heusually takes advantage of the power to marrymore than one wife, to divorce and secure successors;but he seldom undertakes the responsibility of fourwives at one time. The woman on her part can,and often does, obtain a divorce from her husband.Written conditions of marriage, " settlements " ofa

    kind, are common with people in the upperclasses, and the law provides for the custody ofchildren, division of property, and so on. Theancient maiden lady is an unknown quantity, so isthe Malay public woman ; and, as there is no societybugbear, the people lead lives that are almostnatural. There are no drunken husbands, no hob-nail boots, and no screaming viragoesbecause aword would get rid of them. All forms of mad-ness, mania, and brain-softening are extremely rare. " A

    The Malay has ideas on the subject of marriage,ideas born of his infinite experience. He has evensoared into regions of matrimonial philosophy, andreturned with such crumbs of lore as never fall tothe poor monogamist.


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    MALAY SKETCHESI am not going to give away the secrets of the

    life behind the curtain ; if I wished to do so Imight trip over difficulties of expression ; but inspite of the Malay's reputation for bloodthirstiness,in spite of (or because of, whichever you please) thefact that he is impregnated with the doctrines ofIslam, in spite of his sensitive honour and hisproneness to revenge, and in spite of his desire tokeep his own women (when young and attractive)away from the prying eyes of other men, he yetholds this uncommon faith, that if he has set hisaffections on a woman, and for any reason he isunable at once to make her his own, he cares notto how many others she allies herself provided shebecomes his before time has robbed her of herphysical attractions.

    His reason is this. He says (certainly not to astranger, rarely even to his Malay friends, but tohimself) " if, after all this experience, she likes mebest, I have no fear that she will wish to go furtherafield. All Malay girls marry before they aretwenty, and the woman who has only known onehusband, however attractive he may be, will comesooner or later to the conviction that life withanother promises new and delightful experiencesnot found in the society of the first man to whom


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    THE REAL MALAYdestiny and her relatives have chosen to unite her.Thus some fool persuades her that in his worshipand passion she will find the World's Desire, andit is only after perhaps a long and varied experiencethat she realizes that, having started for a voyageon the ocean, she finds herself seated at the bottomof a dry well."

    It is possible that thus she becomes acquaintedwith truth.


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    THE TIGERYon golden terror, barred with ebon

    stripesLow-crouching horror, with the cruel

    fangsWaiting in deathly stillness for thy

    spring Anon.

    SOME idea of what Malays are in their owncountry may best be conveyed by taking thereader in imagination through some scenes of theirdaily life. The tiger, for instance, is seldom delibe-rately sought ; if he kills a buffalo a spring gun isset to shoot him when he returns for his afternoonmeal, but sometimes the tiger comes about a village,and it is necessary to get rid of so dangerous avisitor. Let me try and put the scene before you.

    But how describe an Eastern dawn ? Sightalone will give a true impression of its strangebeauty. Out of darkness and stillness, the transi-


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    THE TIGERtion to lightintense brilliant lightand the soundsof awakened life, is rapid and complete, a short halfhour or less turning night into tropical day. Thefirst indication of dawn is a grey haze, then theclouds clothing the Western hills are shot with paleyellow and in a few minutes turn to gold, whileEastern ranges are still in darkness. The lightspreads to the Western slopes, moves rapidly acrossthe valleys, and suddenly the sun, a great ball offire, appears above the Eastern hills. The fogs,which have risen from the rivers and marshes andcovered the land, as with a pall, rise like smoke anddisappear, and the whole face of nature is floodedwith light, the valleys and slopes of the Easternranges being the last to feel the influence of therisen sun.

    That grey half-light which precedes dawn is thesignal for Malays to be stirring. The doors areopened, and, only half awake and shivering in theslight breeze made by the rising fog, they leavetheir houses and make for the nearest stream, thereto bathe and fetch fresh water for the day's use.A woman dressed in the sarong, a plaid skirtof silk or cotton, and a jacket, walks rapidly to the

    river, carrying a long bamboo and some gourds,which, after her bath, she fills, and begins to walk

    f OF THE A

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    MALAY SKETCHEShome through the wealth of vegetation that clothesthe whole face of the country. She follows a narrowpath up from the bed of the clear stream, the jungletrees and orchards, the long rank grasses and tangledcreepers almost hiding the path. Suddenly shestops spellbound, her knees give way under her, thevessels drop from her nerveless hands, and a speech-less fear turns her blood to water ; for there, in frontof her, is a great black and yellow head with cruelyellow eyes, and a half-open mouth showing a redtongue and long white teeth. The shoulders andfore feet of the tiger stand clear of the thick foliage,and a hoarse low roar of surprise and anger comesfrom the open mouth. An exceeding great fearchains the terrified woman to the spot, and thetiger, thus faced, sulkily and with more hoarsegrumbling, slowly draws back into the jungle anddisappears. Then the instinct of self-preservationreturns to the woman, and, with knees still weakand a cold hand on her heart, she stumbles, withwhat speed she may, back to the river, down thebank, and to the friendly shelter of the nearestdwelling.

    It takes little time to tell the story, and the menof the house, armed with spears and krises and anold rusty gun, quickly spread the news throughout


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    THE TIGERthe kampong, as each cluster of huts and orchardsis called. Every one arms himself with suchweapons as he possesses, the boys of sixteen orseventeen climb into trees, from which they hopeto see and be able to report the movements ofthe beast. The men, marshalled by the ka-tuakampong, the village chief, make their plans forsurrounding the spot where the tiger was seen, andword is sent by messenger to the nearest police-station and European officer.

    Whilst all this is taking place, the tiger, probablyconscious that too many people are about, leaveshis lair and stealthily creeps along a path which willlead him far from habitations. But, as he does so,he passes under a tree where sits one of the youngwatchmen, and the boy, seizing his opportunity,drops a heavy spear on the tiger as he passes, andgives him a serious wound. The beast, with a roarof pain, leaps into the jungle, carrying the spearwith him ; and, after what he considers a safeinterval, the boy climbs down, gets back to thecircle of watchers, and reports what has occurred.

    For a long time, there is silence, no one caring togo in and seek a wounded tigerbut this monotonyis broken rudely and suddenly by a shot on the out-skirts of the wide surrounding ring of beaters where


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    MALAY SKETCHESa young Malay has been keeping guard over ajungle track. Instantly the nearest rush to thespot only to find the boy badly wounded, afterfiring a shot that struck the tiger but did not pre-vent him reaching and pulling down the youth whofired it.

    Hardly has a party carried the wounded man toshelter, than news arrives that, in trying to breakthe ring at another point, the tiger has sprung uponthe point of a spear held in rest by a kneeling Malay,and, the spear, passing completely through the beast'sbody, the tiger has come down on the man's backand killed him. The old men say it is because,regardless of the wisdom of their ancestors, foolsnow face a tiger with spears unguarded, whereas inthe olden time it was always the custom to tie acrosspiece of wood where blade joins shaft to pre-vent the tiger "running up the spear" and killinghis opponent.

    The game is getting serious now and the tigerhas retired to growl and roar in a thick isolatedcopse of bushes and tangled undergrowth fromwhich it seems impossible to draw him, and whereit would be madness to seek him.

    By this time, all the principal people in the neigh-bourhood have been collected. The copse is sur-


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    THE TIGERrounded and two elephants are ridden at the cover,in the hope of driving the wounded tiger from hisshelter. A vain hope, for, when the huge beastsget inconveniently near to him, the tiger, with agreat roar, springs on to the shoulder of the nearestelephant and brings him to his knees. The terrifiedoccupants of the howdah are thus deposited on theground, but lose no time in picking themselves upand getting away. The elephant with a scream ofterror whirls round, throwing off the tiger with abroken tooth, and, accompanied by his fellow,rushes from the place and will not be stopped tillseveral miles have been covered and the river isbetween them and their enemy.

    Severe maladies want desperate and heroicremedies. After a short consultation, a youngMalay chief and several of his friends, armed onlywith spears, express their determination to seek thetiger where he lies. They immediately put the planinto execution. Shoulder to shoulder and withspears in rest, they advance to the copse. Theyhave not long to wait in doubt for the wounded andenraged beast, with open mouth and eyes blazingfell purpose, charges straight at them. There is theshock of flesh against steel, an awful snarling andstraining of muscles and the already badly woundedn b

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    A FISHING PICNICI have given you lands to hunt in,I have given you streams to fish in,Filled the river full of fishes


    NOW come to a Malay picnic.Again, it is early morning, the guests havebeen invited overnight and warned to come on theirelephants and bring " rice and salt." By the timethe sun is well up there are fifty or sixty people (ofwhom about half are women), mounted on twelve orfifteen elephants, and some boys and followers areprepared to walk.

    The word is given to make for a great limestonehill rising abruptly out of the plain, for, closeround the foot of this rock, eating its way into theunexplored depths of subaqueous caves, flows aclear mountain-bred stream, and, in the silent poolswhich lie under the shadow of the cliff, are the fish


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    MALAY SKETCHESwhich with the rice and salt, will make the comingfeast.The road lies through six or seven miles ofopen country and virgin forest, and it is 9 or10 a.m. before the river is reached, the elephantshobbled, and the men of the party ready forbusiness.

    In days gone by, the method would have been totuba the stream above a pool, but this poisoning ofthe water affects the river for miles, and dynamitewhich is not nearly so destructive is preferred. Theplan is to select a large and deep pool round whichthe men stand ready to spring in, while the womenmake a cordon across the shallow at its lower end,ready to catch the fish that escape the hands of theswimmers. Two cartridges of dynamite with a de-tonator and a piece of slow match are tied to a stoneand thrown into the deepest part of the pool, there isan explosion sending up a great column of water,and immediately the dead fish come to the surfaceand begin to float down stream. Twenty menspring into the pool, and with shouts and laughterstruggle for the slippery fish ; those which elude thegrasp of the swimmers are caught by the women.It will then be probably discovered that no very bigfish have been taken ; and, as it is certain that some

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    A FISHING PICNICat least should be there, the boldest and best diverswill search the bottom of the pool and even look intothe water-filled caves of the rock that there risessheer out of the stream. Success rewards thiseffort, and, from the bed of the pool, some sixteenor eighteen feet deep, the divers bring up two at atime, great silvery fish weighing ten to fifteen poundseach. There is much joy over the capture of theseklah and tengas, the best kinds of fresh water fishknown here, and, if the total take is not a largeone, the operation will be repeated in another andyet

    another pool, until a sufficient quantity of fishhas been secured and every one is tired of thewater.

    There is a general change of wet garments fordry ones, no difficult matter, while long before thisfires have been made on the bank, rice is boiling,fish are roasting in split sticks, grilling, frying, andthe hungry company is settling itself in groupsready for the meal. It is a matter of honour thatno plates should be used, so every one has a piece offresh green plantain leaf to hold his rice and salt andfish, while nature supplies the forks and spoons.Whether it is the exercise, the excitement, or thecoldness of the two hours' bath, that is most re-sponsible for the keen appetites is not worth


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    MALAY SKETCHESinquiring, but thorough justice is done to the food ;and if you, reader, should ever be fortunate enoughto take part in one of these picnics, you will declarethat you never before realised how delicious a mealcan be made of such simple ingredients. Some onehas smuggled in a few condiments and they addlargely to the success of the Malay bouille-abaisse,but people affect not to know they are there, andyou go away assured that rice and salt did it all.That is part of the game.And now it is time to return, the sun has long

    passed the meridian, and there is a mile or two offorest before getting into the open country. Thetimid amongst the ladies feign alarm (Malays aresensible people who take only the young to picnics,and leave the old to mind the houses), and a desireto get away at once, but there are others who knowwhat is in store for them.

    The elephants are brought up and each pannieris found to be loaded with jungle fruit, large andsmall, ripe and unripe, hard and soft, but generallyhard as stones. Every one knows the meaning ofthis and, as the elephants kneel down to take theirriders, you may observe that usually two men sit infront, two women behind, and the latter are anxiousabout their umbrellas and show a tendency to open

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    A FISHING PICNICthem here where, in the gloom of the forest, theyare not needed. The first two or three elephantsmove off quickly, and, having turned a corner in thepath, disappear. It is necessary to proceed in Indianfile, and as the next elephant comes to this cornerhe and his company are assailed by a perfect showerof missiles (the jungle fruit) from the riders of thefirst section of elephants who are slily waiting hereto surprise those behind. The attack is returnedwith interest and the battle wages hot and furious.The leaders of the rear column try to force theirway past those who dispute the path with them, andeither succeed or put the enemy to flight only to finda succession of ambuscades laid for them, eachresulting in a deadly struggle, and so, throughoutthe length of the forest, the more venturesomepushing their way to the front or taking up anindependent line and making enemies of all comers,until, at last, the whole party clears the jungle and,taking open order, a succession of wild charges soongets every one into the fray and, the supply of am-munition having run out, there is nothing left but tocount the damage done.

    It is principally in broken umbrellas which havebeen used as shields, but some garments are stained,and there may be a few bruises treated with much


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    MALAY SKETCHESgood humour, and, by the time the party hasstraightened its dishevelledness, it is found thatmiles of otherwise tedious journey have beenpassed and every one is home ere the lengtheningshadows suddenly contract and tell the sun hasset.


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    THE MURDER OF THE HAWKERIt is a damned and bloody work,The graceless action of a heavy hand

    King John

    ONE afternoon, in 1892, a foreign Malay namedLenggang, who made a living by hawkingin a boat on the Perak River, left Bota with hisusual cargo and a hundred dollars which his cousin,the son of the Penghulu, had been keeping for him.He was alone in the boat and dropped down stream,saying he would call at some of the villages thatline at intervals the banks of the river.

    The next day this man's dead body, lying partlyunder a mosquito curtain, was discovered in theboat as it drifted past the village of Pulau Tiga.The local headman viewed it, but saw nothing toarouse his suspicions, for the boat was full ofvaluables and a certain amount of money, whilenothing in it seemed to have been disturbed, and


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    MALAY SKETCHESthere were no marks of violence on the corpse, whichwas duly buried.When the matter was reported, inquiries weremade but they elicited nothing. Some months afterthe relatives of the dead man appeared at TelukAnson, and said they had good reason to believe thathe had met with foul play, indeed that he had beenmurdered at a place called Lambora few milesbelow Bota and above Pulau Tiga. An intelligentMalay sergeant of police proceeded to the spot,arrested a number of people, who denied all know-ledge of the affair, and took them to Teluk Anson.Arrived there, these people said they were able togive all the necessary information if that wouldprocure their release, as they had only promised tokeep their mouths shut so long as they themselvesdid not suffer for it.

    The details of the story as told in evidence are asfollows, and they are very characteristic of theMalay :

    It appears that the hawker duly arrived in hisboat at Lambor, and there tied up for the night toa stake, about twenty feet from the bank of theriver. Shortly afterwards a Malay named NgahPrang, stopped three of his acquaintances walkingon the bank, asked them if they had seen the


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    THE MURDER OF THE HAWKERhawker's boat, and suggested that it would be a goodthing to rob him. They said they were afraid, andsome other men coming up asked one of those towhom the proposal had been made what they weretalking about, and, being told, advised him to havenothing to do with the business and the partydispersed.

    That evening, at 8 p.m., several people heardcries of " help, help, I am being killed," from theriver, and five or six men ran out of their housesdown to the bank, a distance of only fifty yards,whence they saw, in the brilliant moonlight, NgahPrang and two other men in the hawker's boat, thehawker lying flat on his back while one man hadboth hands at his throat, another held his wrists,and the third his feet ; but it is said that those onthe bank heard a noise of rapping as though feetwere kicking or hands beating quickly the deck ofthe boat. It only lasted for a moment and thenthere was silence.

    As those who had been roused by the cries camedown the bank they called to the men in the boat,barely twenty feet away, and lighted at their workby the brilliancy of an Eastern moon, to know whatthey were doing ; they even addressed them bytheir names, but these gave no answer, and, getting


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    MALAY SKETCHESup from off the hawker, untied the boat, one takinga pole and another the rudder and disappeared downthe river. The hawker did not move. He wasdead.

    The witnesses of this tragedy appear then to havereturned to their homes and slept peacefully.Several of them naively remarked that they heardthe next day that the hawker had been found deadin his boat, and it appears that when one of thesewitnesses, on the following day, met one of themurderers, he asked him what he was doing inLenggang's boat, and the man replied that theywere robbing him, that he held the hawker by thethroat, the others by the hands and feet, but thatreally they had got very little for their trouble.

    Meanwhile the three murderers told several ofthe eye-witnesses of the affair that, if they saidanything, it would be the worse for them, andnothing particular occurred till a notice was postedin the Mosque calling upon any one who knewanything about Lenggang's death to report it to thevillage Headman. Then Ngah Prang, who appa-rently was the original instigator of the job, as sooften happens, thought he would save himself at theexpense of his friends, and actually went himself tomake a report, and, meeting on the way one of the


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    THE MURDER OF THE HAWKEReye-witnesses going on a similar errand, he per-suaded him to give a qualified promise to help indenying Ngah Prang's complicity while convictingthe others.

    Needless to say that, from the moment the firstdisclosure was made and communicated to thepolice, resulting in the arrest of a number of thosewho had actually witnessed the crime, every smallestdetail was gradually brought to light, the hawker'sproperty, even his own clothes, gradually recovered,the money stolen from him traced, and no singlelink left wanting in the chain of evidence strongenough to convict and hang the guilty men. Thatindeed was the result.

    I have told the story of this crime, which isdevoid of sensational incident, because it will givesome idea of the state of feeling in a real Malaykampong of poor labouring people far from anyoutside influence. The man murdered was a Malay ;the idea that he was worth something which couldbe obtained by the insignificant sacrifice of his lifeseems to have at once suggested that Providencewas putting a good thing in the way of poor people,and those who were not afraid determined that theopportunity was not to be lost. The murder isdiscussed practically in public ; it is executed also


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    MALAY SKETCHESin public, in the presence of a feebly expostulatingopposition, and then every one goes to bed. Theonly further concern of the community in the matteris as to how much the murderers got. For themthe incident ends there, and, if any one has anyqualms of conscience, they are silenced by thethreats of the men who so easily throttled thehawker.

    It is only when inquiries are pushed, and thingsare made generally unpleasant for every one, thatthe truth is unwillingly disclosed, and the penaltypaid.


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    MALAY SKETCHESfive miles to the appointed place of meeting, andthere find a crowd of one or two hundred Malaymen, women, and children, who have been dulybidden to mZng-gtlunchor and to take part in thepicnic which forms a recognised accompaniment tothe proceedings.A walk of a couple of miles along a shady junglepath brings the party to the foot of a spur of hills,whence a clear mountain stream leaps down a suc-cession of cascades to fertilise the plain. There isa stiff climb for several hundred feet until the partygains a great granite rock in the bed of the stream,large enough to accommodate a much more numerousgathering. In a " spate " this rock might becovered, but now the water flows round it anddashes itself wildly over the falls below. Up-stream, however, there is a sheer smooth face ofgranite, about sixty feet long, inclined at an angleof say 45 , and, while the main body of water findsits way down one side of this rock and then acrossits foot, a certain quantity, only an inch or two deep,flows steadily down the face. The depth of waterhere can be increased at will by bamboo troughs,leading out of the great pool which lies at the headof the waterfall. At the base of the rock is an in-viting lynn not more than four feet deep. On either

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    MENG-GELUNCHORside, the river is shut in by a wealth of junglefoliage through which the sun strikes at rareintervals, just sufficiently to give the sense ofwarmth and colour.

    It is delightfully picturesque with all these peoplein their many-coloured garments, grouped in artisticconfusion, on bank and rock. They only sit for abrief rest after the climb, to collect wood, make firesand get the work of cooking started, and you willnot be left long in doubt as to the meaning ofnrtng-gllunchor. It is to slide, and the game is to"toboggan" down this waterfall into the lynn at itsbase.A crowd of little boys is already walking up thesteep, slippery rock. They go to the very top, sitdown in the shallow water with feet straight out infront of them and a hand on either side for guidance,and immediately begin to slide down the sixty feetof height, gaining, before they have gone half way,so great a speed that the final descent into the pool

    like the fall of a stone. They succeed each otherin a constant stream, those behind coming on thetop of those who have already reached the lynn.

    But now the men, and lastly the women, are drawnto join the sliders and the fun becomes indeed bothfast and furious. The women begin timidly, only

    33 c

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    MALAY SKETCHEShalf way up the slide, but soon grow bolder, andmixed parties of four, six, and eight in rows of two,three, or four each, start together and, with a gooddeal of laughter and ill-directed attempts at mutualassistance, dash wildly into the pool which is almostconstantly full of a struggling, screaming crowd ofyoung people of both sexes.

    If you understand the game, the slide is a gracefulprogress, but, if you don't, if you fail to sit erect, ifyou do not keep your feet together, above all, if youlose your balance and do not remain absolutelystraight on the slide, then your descent will be farfrom graceful, it may even be slightly painful, andthe final plunge into the lynn will be distinctlyundignified. It is well to leave your dignity athome, if you go to meng-gZlunchor with a Malayparty, for those who do not weary themselves withtobogganing become absolutely exhausted withlaughing at the sliders. The fascination of thething is extraordinary, and, to read this poor de-scription, you would think it impossible that anysane person would spend hours in struggling up asteep and slippery rock to slide down it on twoinches of water, and, having gained a startlingvelocity, leap into a shallow pool where half a dozenpeople will be on you before you can get out of the


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    MENG-GELUNCHORway. And yet I am persuaded that, if your jointsare not stiff with age and you are not afraid ofcold water, or ridicule, or personal damage (and youwill admit none of those things) you would mbig-gllunchor with the best of them, nor be the first tocry " hold, enough."

    It is usual for the men, when sliding down therock, to sit upon a piece of the thick fibre of theplantain called upih. It is perhaps advisable, butthe women do not seem to want it. It is surprisingthat there are so few casualties and of such smallimportancesome slight abrasions, a little bumpingof heads, at most the loss of a tooth, will be theextent of the total damage, and with a little carethere need be none at all.

    By I p.m. every one will probably be tired, drygarments are donned, and a very hungry companydoes ample justice to the meal. An hour will bespent in smoking and gossip, and, as the shadowsbegin to lengthen, a long procession slowly wendsits way back, down the slippery descent, across thesunny fields, and through the forest, to the trysting-place where all met in the morning and whence theynow return to their own homes.

    The intelligent reader will realise that this is agame abounding in possibilities, but the players


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    There comes a timeWhen the insatiate brute within the

    man,Weary with wallowing in the mire,

    leaps forthDevouring .... and the soul sinksAnd leaves the man a devil

    Lewis Morris

    MENTION has been made of the Malay amok,and, as what, with our happy faculty formispronunciation and misspelling of the words ofother languages, is called " running amuck," is withmany English people their only idea of the Malay,and that a very vague one, it may be of interest tobriefly describe this form of homicidal mania.

    Mbtg-amok is to make a sudden, murderousattack, and though it is applied to the onslaught ofa body of men in war time, or where plunder is theobject and murder the means to arrive at it, theterm is more commonly used to describe the actionof an individual who, suddenly and without apparentcause, seizes a weapon and strikes out blindly, kill-


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    AMOKing and wounding all who come in his way, regard-less of age or sex, whether they be friends, strangers,or his own nearest relatives.

    Just before sunset on the evening of the nthFebruary, 1 891, a Malay named Imam Mamat (thatis Mamat the priest) came quietly into the houseof his brother-in-law at Pasir Garam on the PerakRiver, carrying a spear and a golok y i.e. a. sharp,pointed cutting knife.

    The Imam went up to his brother-in-law, tookhis hand and asked his pardon. He then approachedhis own wife and similarly asked her pardon, imme-diately stabbing her fatally in the abdomen with thegolok. She fell, and her brother, rushing to assisther, received a mortal wound in the heart. Thebrother-in-law's wife was in the house with fourchildren, and they managed to get out before theImam had time to do more than stab the last ofthem, a boy, in the back as he left the door. Atthis moment, a man, who had heard the screams otthe women, attempted to enter the house, when theImam rushed at him and inflicted a slight wound,the man falling to the ground and getting away.

    Having secured two more spears which he foundin the house, the murderer now gave chase to thewoman and her three little children and made short


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    MALAY SKETCHESwork of them. A tiny girl of four years old anda boy of seven were killed, while the third childreceived two wounds in the back ; a spear thrustdisposed of the motherall this within one hundredyards of the house.

    The Imam now walked down the river bank,where he was met by a friend named Uda Majid,rash enough to think his unarmed influence wouldprevail over the other's madness.He greeted the Imam respectfully, and said, "Yourecognise me, don't let there be any trouble."

    The Imam replied, " Yes, I know you, but myspear does not," and immediately stabbed him twice.

    Though terribly injured, Uda Majid wrested thespear from the Imam, who again stabbed him twice,this time in lung and windpipe, and he fell. Anotherman coming up ran unarmed to the assistance ofUda Majid, when the murderer turned on the new-comer and pursued him ; but, seeing Uda Majid getup and attempt to stagger away, the Imam wentback to him and, with two more stabs in the back,killed him. Out of the six wounds inflicted on thisman three would have proved fatal.

    The murderer now rushed along the river bank,and was twice seen to wade far out into the waterand return. Then he was lost sight of.


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    AMOKBy this time the news had spread up stream and

    down, and every one was aware that there wasabroad an armed man who would neither give norreceive quarter.

    For two days, a body of not less than two hundredarmed men under the village chiefs made ceaselessbut unavailing search for the murderer. At 6 p.m.on the second day, Imam Mamat suddenly appearedin front of the house of a man called Lasam, whohad barely time to slam the door in his face andfasten it. The house at that moment contained fourmen, five women, and seven children, and the onlyweapon they possessed was one spear.

    Lasam asked the Imam what he wanted, and hesaid he wished to be allowed to sleep in the house.He was told he could do so if he would throw awayhis arms, and to this the Imam replied by an attemptto spear Lasam through the window. The latter,however, seized the weapon, and with the help ofhis son, wrested it out of the Imam's hands, Lasamreceiving a stab in the face from the golok. Duringthis struggle, the Imam had forced himself halfwaythrough the window, and Lasam seizing his ownspear, thrust it into the thigh of the murderer, whofell to the ground. In the fall, the shaft of thespear broke off, leaving the blade in the wound.


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    MALAY SKETCHESIt was now pitch dark, and, as the people of the

    house did not know the extent of the Imam's injuryor what he was doing, a man went out by the backto spread the news and call the village headman.On his arrival the light of a torch showed the Imamlying on the ground with his weapons out of reach,and the headman promptly pounced upon him andsecured him.

    The Imam was duly handed over to the police andconveyed to Teluk Anson, but he died from loss ofblood within twenty-four hours of receiving hiswound.

    Here is the official list of killed and woundedKilled.

    Alang Rasak, wife of Imam MamatBilal Abu, brother-in-law of MamatNgah Intan, wife of Bilal AbuPuteh, daughter of Bilal Abu .Mumin, son of Bilal AbuUda Majid . .

    Wounded.Kasim, son of Bilal AbuTeh, daughter of Bilal Abu .Mat SahLasam



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    AMOKIt is terrible to have to add that both the women

    were far advanced in pregnancy.Imam Mamat was a man of over forty years of

    age, of good repute with ilis neighbours, and I neverheard any cause suggested why this quiet, elderlyman of devotional habits should suddenly, withoutapparent reason, develop the most inhuman instinctsand brutally murder a number of men, women, andchildren, his nearest relatives and friends. It is,however, quite possible that the man was suffer-ing under the burden of some real or fanciedwrong which, after long brooding, darkened hiseyes and possessed him with this insane desireto kill.An autopsy was performed on the murderer's

    body, and the published report of the surgeon says :11 I hereby certify that I this day made a post-mortemexamination of the body of Imam Mahomed, andfind him to have died from haemorrhage from awound on the outer side of right thigh ; the internalorgans were healthy except that the membranes ofthe right side of brain were more adherent thanusual/'

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    THE JOGETEvery footstep fell as lightly

    As a sunbeam on the riverLongfellow's Spanish Student

    MALAYS are not dancers, but they pay profes-sional performers to dance for their amuse-ment, and consider that M the better part " is withthose who watch, at their ease, the exertions of asmall class whose members are not held in thehighest respect. The spectacle usually provided isstrangely wanting in attraction ; a couple of womenshuffling their feet, and swaying their hands ingestures that are practically devoid of grace or evenvarietythat is the Malay danceand it is accom-panied by the beating of native drums, the strikingtogether of two short sticks held in either hand, andthe occasional boom of a metal gong. The enter-tainment has an undoubted fascination for Malaysbut it generally forms part of a theatrical perform-


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    THE JOGETance, and for Western spectators it is immeasur-ably dull.

    In one of the Malay States, however, Pahang, ithas for years been the custom for the ruler and oneor two of his near relatives to keep trained dancinggirls, who perform what is called the u J6get "areal dance with an accompaniment of something likereal music, though the orchestral instruments arevery rude indeed.

    The dancers, budak jdget, belong to the Raja'shousehold, they may even be attached to him by acloser tie ; they perform seldom, only for the amuse-ment of their lord and his friends, and the publicare not admitted. Years ago I saw such a dance,and though peculiar to Pahang as far as the MalayStates are concerned, it is probable that it cameoriginally from Java ; the instruments used by theorchestra and the airs played are certainly far morecommon in Java and Sumatra than in the Peninsula.

    I had gone to Pahang on a political missionacompanied by a friend, and we were vainlycourting sleep in a miserable lodging, when atI a.m. a message came from the Sultan inviting usto witness a jdget. We accepted with alacrity,and at once made our way to the astdna, apicturesque, well-built and commodious house on


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    MALAY SKETCHESthe right bank of the Pahang river. A palisadeenclosed the courtyard, and the front of the housewas a very large hall, open on three sides, butcovered by a lofty roof of fantastic design supportedon pillars. The floor of this hall was approachedby three wide steps continued round the three opensides, the fourth being closed by a wooden wallwhich entirely shut off the private apartments savefor one central door over which hung a heavy cur-tain. The three steps were to provide sittingaccommodation according to their rank for thoseadmitted to the astdna. The middle of the floor,on the night in question, was covered by a largecarpet, chairs were placed for us, and the rest ofthe guests sat on the steps of the dais.When we entered, we saw, seated on the carpet,four girls, two of them about eighteen and twoabout eleven years old, all attractive according toMalay ideas of beauty, and all gorgeously andpicturesquely clothed.On their heads they each wore a large andcurious but very pretty ornament of delicate work-manshipa sort of square flower garden where allthe flowers were gold, trembling and glittering withevery movement of the wearer. These ornamentswere secured to the head by twisted cords of silver


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    THE JOGETand gold. The girls' hair, combed down in a fringe,was cut in a perfect oval round their foreheads andvery becomingly dressed behind.

    The bodices of their dresses were made of tight-fitting silk, leaving the neck and arms bare, whilsta white band of fine cambric (about IJ inches wide),passing round the neck, came down on the front ofthe bodice in the form of a V, and was therefastened by a golden flower.

    Round their waists were belts fastened with largeand curiously worked pinding or buckles of gold,so large that they reached quite across the waist.The rest of the costume consisted of a skirt of clothof gold (not at all like the sarong), reaching to theankles, while a scarf of the same material, fastenedin its centre to the waist-buckle, hung down to thehem of the skirt.

    All four dancers were dressed alike, except thatthe elder girls wore white silk bodices with a redand gold handkerchief, folded cornerwise, tied underthe arms and knotted in front. The points of thehandkerchief hung to the middle of the back. Inthe case of the two younger girls the entire dresswas of one material.On their arms the dancers wore numbers of goldbangles, and their fingers were covered with diamond


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    MALAY SKETCHESrings. In their ears were fastened the diamondbuttons so much affected by Malays, and indeednow by Western ladies. Their feet, of course,were bare.We had ample time to minutely observe thesedetails before the dance commenced, for when wecame into the hall the four girls were sitting downin the usual* Eastern fashion, on the carpet, bendingforward, their elbows resting on their thighs, andhiding the sides of their faces, which were towardsthe audience, with fans made of crimson and giltpaper which sparkled in the light.On our entrance the band struck up, and our

    special attention was called to the orchestra, as theinstruments are seldom seen in the Malay Peninsula.

    There were two chief performers, one playing ona sort of harmonicon, the notes of which he struckwith pieces of stick held in each hand. The other,with similar pieces of wood, played on invertedmetal bowls. Both these performers seemed tohave sufficiently hard work, but they played withthe greatest spirit from 10 p.m. till 5 a.m.

    The harmonicon is called by Malays chelempong,and the inverted bowls, which give a pleasant and

    * The attitude is that obtained by transferring the bodydirectly from a kneeling to a sitting position.


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    THE JOGETmusical sound like the noise of rippling water, agambang. The other members of the orchestraconsisted of a very small boy who played, with avery large and thick stick, on a gigantic gonganold woman who beat a drum with two sticks, andseveral other boys who played on instruments liketriangles called chdnang.

    All these performers, we were told with muchsolemnity, were artists of the first order, mastersand a mistress in their craft, and if vigour of execu-tion counts for excellence they proved the justice ofthe praise.

    The Hall, of considerable size, capable of accom-modating several hundreds of people, was onlydimly lighted, but the fact that, while the audiencewas in semi-darkness, the light was concentrated onthe performers added to the effect. Besides our-selves I question whether there were more thantwenty spectators, but sitting on the top of the daisnear to the dancers it was hard to pierce the sur-rounding gloom.

    The orchestra was placed on the left of theentrance to the Hall, that is rather to the side andrather in the background, a position evidently chosenwith due regard to the feelings of the audience.

    From the elaborate and vehement execution of49 d

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    MALAY SKETCHESthe players, and the want of regular time in themusic, I judged, and rightly, that we had entered asthe overture began. During its performance, thedancers sat leaning forward, hiding their faces as Ihave described ; but when it concluded and, withoutany break, the music changed into the regularrhythm for dancing, the four girls dropped theirfans, raised their hands in the act of S^mbah orhomage, and then began the dance by swaying theirbodies and slowly waving their arms and hands inthe most graceful movements, making much andeffective use all the while of the scarf hanging fromtheir belts.

    Gradually raising themselves from a sitting to akneeling posture, acting in perfect accord in everymotion, then rising to their feet, they floated througha series of figures hardly to be exceeded in graceand difficulty, considering that the movements areessentially slow, the arms, hands and body beingthe real performers whilst the feet are scarcelynoticed and for half the time not visible.

    They danced five or six dances, each lastingquite half an hour, with materially different figuresand time in the music. All these dances I was toldwere symbolical ; one, of agriculture, with the till-ing of the soil, the sowing of the seed, the reaping


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    THE JOGETand winnowing of the grain, might easily have beenguessed from the dancer's movements. But thoseof the audience whom I was near enough to questionwere, Malay-like, unable to give me much informa-tion. Attendants stood or sat near the dancers andfrom time to time, as the girls tossed one thing onthe floor, handed them another. Sometimes it wasa fan or a mirror they held, sometimes a flower orsmall vessel, but oftener their hands were empty, asit is in the management of the fingers that the chiefart of Malay dancers consists.

    The last dance, symbolical of war, was perhapsthe best, the music being much faster, almostinspiriting, and the movements of the dancers morefree and even abandoned. For the latter half ofthe dance they each held a wand, to represent asword, bound with three rings of burnished goldwhich glittered in the light like precious stones.

    This nautch, which began soberly, like the others,grew to a wild revel until the dancers were, orpretended to be, possessed by the Spirit of Dancing,hantu mZndri as they called it, and leaving theHall for a moment to smear their fingers and faceswith a fragrant oil, they returned, and the twoeldest, striking at each other with their wandsseemed inclined to turn the symbolical into a real


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    MALAY SKETCHESbattle. They were, however, after some trouble,caught by four or five women and carried forciblyout of the Hall, but not until their captors had beenmade to feel the weight of the magic wands. Thetwo younger girls, who looked as if they too wouldlike to be " possessed," but did not know how toaccomplish it, were easily caught and removed.

    The band, whose strains had been increasing inwildness and in time, ceased playing on the removalof the dancers, and the nautch, which had begun at10 p.m., was over.The Raja, who had only appeared at 4 a.m., told

    me that one of the elder girls, when she became" properly possessed," lived for months on nothingbut flowers, -a pretty and poetic conceit

    As we left the Astana, and taking boat rowedslowly to the vessel waiting for us off the river'smouth, the rising sun was driving the fog from thenumbers of lovely green islets, that seemed to floatlike dew-drenched lotus leaves on the surface of theshallow stream.



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    THE STORY OF MAT ARISI smote him as I would a worm,With heart as steeled, with nerve as

    firm ]He never woke againWhittier

    IT was in the year 1876 that a man named MatAris, of no occupation and less repute, per-suaded one Sahit to take his wife Salamah andstart on a journey through the jungle to a distantcountry. The interest of Mat Aris in this couplewas a desire to get rid of Sahit and possess himselfof the woman Salamah, for whom he had conceivedan overmastering passion.

    The travellers began their journey at a spot manymiles up the Perak River; their road lay along ajungle track, and so sparsely inhabited was thecountry they were to pass through, that they couldnot even find a habitation in which to pass thenight. They had to look forward to many days'


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    MALAY SKETCHESjourney through the primaeval forest, the home ofwild beasts and Sakai people, aboriginal tribesalmost as shy and untamed as the elephant, thebison and the rhinoceros, with which they share theforests of the interior.

    Sahit and his wife started on their journey in thecompany of two brothers of Mat Aris, but meetinghim the brothers returned, Mat Aris undertaking thepart of escort. In the afternoon of the first day'smarch a Sakai named Pah Patin met the three, and,being known to Mat Aris, that worthy ordered himto accompany them. Pah Patin did as he was told,and when evening came on, as there was no dwellingwithin miles, a shelter was built in the junglewherein the night was to be passed.

    It is as well to understand what a Malay jungleis like, for a good soil, well watered, in one of thehottest and dampest climates in the world, producesa forest that is not altogether the counterpart of allother forests.

    The reading public, no doubt, believes that thejungle of Darkest Africa is a place of gloom, terrorand difficulty without parallel. It may be so, butfew of those who know it have visited Malaya,and one is apt to exaggerate one's own troubles.Whatever gruesome peculiarities there are about


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    THE STORY OF MAT ARISthe African jungle, it seems possible for large bodiesof men and women to make their way through it ata fair pace without great difficulty. In that respectat least it has the advantage of the Malay forest.To begin with there are the trees of all sizes,

    from the smallest shoot to the giants of the jungle,towering to a height of 150 feet. I know that isnot excessive, but in this forcing climate there arean enormous number of such trees, treading on eachothers roots and crowding the older and feebler outof existence. These are nothing, they afford apleasant shade from the pitiless rays of the sun, andthough this mitigated light cannot by any stretch ofimagination be called darkness, it is possible to takeoff your hat without fear of sunstroke. If it wereonly for the trees jungle walking would be pleasantenough.

    Under them, however, there is an undergrowthso thick as to beggar description. Every conceiv-able kind of palm, of bush, of creeper, flourishesthere with a luxuriance, with a prodigality of vege-table life, that shows how richly Nature deservesher title of Mother. It is a curious fact, remarkedby every one who has been brought in contact withthe Malay forest, that a very large number of itsshrubs, many of its palms, and most of its creepers


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    THE STORY OF MAT ARISTo force a way through such a place is an im-

    possibility, even on all fours it could not be crawledthrough, the only means of progress is by cutting apath.No one attempts to walk through virgin forestunless he be in pursuit of game, or has some specialobject and the means to clear his way. All Malayjungle is not as thick as that I have described, andas the beasts sought by the sportsman naturallyfrequent the more open places, tracking is possible,though severe enough work even at the slow rateof progress necessary to enable the pursuers toapproach the quarry without being seen or heard.

    The lower and more swampy the country thethicker the undergrowth, and I have often noticedthat, where a river flows between low banks clothedwith virgin forest, it would be almost impossible foreven a strong swimmer to force his way out of thewater on to the land through the thickly interlacedtangle of branches, rattans, and other thorny creepersthat stretch their uninviting arms from the bank farover the water of the stream.

    It will naturally be asked how travellers maketheir way through jungle such as I have described.The reply is that there are existing tracks (notworthy of the name of footpaths) which have been


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    MALAY SKETCHESused for ages, originally no doubt formed by thepassing and repassing of wild beasts, then adoptedby the Sakais, and lastly by Malays. In othercases similar means of passage have been formed bydriving tame elephants through the forest from placeto place. For the pedestrian, especially if he beclad in the garments and boots of western civilisa-tion, progress through the succession of holes filledwith water and mud which marks the track ofelephants is neither rapid nor pleasant.

    That is the jungle of daylight.When once the sun has set darkness falls uponeverything within the forest, and it is a darkness soabsolute as to give to wide-open eyes the impressionof blindness. Those who have been so unfortunateas to be benighted in a Malay jungle without torchesor lanterns know that there is nothing to be donebut to sit down and wait for day.Such were the surroundings in which Sahit andhis wife found themselves compelled to spend anight in the company of Mat Aris and his Sakaiacquaintance.

    Mat Aris had a house in this neighbourhood,and on the day following the events already narrateda Malay went to the Headman of his village and saidthere was a woman in the house of Mat Aris sobbing


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    THE STORY OF MAT ARISand saying her husband had been murdered. TheHeadman went to the place and saw Mat Aris wasthere and a woman with him. Mat Aris had areputation which probably induced this Headmannot to attempt to interfere with him further than tokeep a watch on his proceedings.

    In places where there are no roads, and oftenwhen they do exist, Malays live on or close by thebank of a river, and, on the following day, the Head-man observed Mat Aris and the woman in a boatgoing down the stream, here a succession of rapidsand very difficult to navigate. The Headmanfollowed by a jungle track, and getting near to aplace called Kota Tampan, the first police station,he hurried on and gave the information he pos-sessed.When Mat Aris arrived at Kota Tampan he

    landed, and was at once arrested by the nativesergeant in charge of the station, who accused himof murdering Sahit. Mat Aris denied the charge,but the woman said her name was Salamah, and thesergeant said he must take them both to his Divi-sional Headquarters at Kuala Kangsar, distant thirtymiles or more by river. Accordingly the sergeantand some police entered the boat and a start wasmade for Kuala Kangsar. It shortly appeared that


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    MALAY SKETCHESthe police, who were natives of India, were not veryskilful in the management of the boat, and, as MatAris offered his services to steer and there was nodoubt of his ability, this important post was givento him. Choosing a convenient place where thestream was both deep and rapid, Mat Aris upsetthe boat and threw every one into the water. Thenseizing the woman, he swam with her to the oppo-site bank and they both disappeared. The policehad enough to do, hampered by their uniforms, toget out of the river with their lives.

    For the next eight years Mat Aris eluded allattempts at capture. He lived in the jungle beyondthe jurisdiction of the Perak Government, and, withhis brothers, became the terror of the neighbour-hood, levying black mail on all who passed his way.Mat Aris was the ringleader, and even more seriouscrimes were laid at his door.

    The woman Salamah was known to be living withMat Aris as his wife, and it was also known thatshe had a child by him. Of Sahit nothing more wasseen or heard.

    Meanwhile the Government of Perak had estab-lished a station in the neighbourhood of the spotwhere Sahit had disappeared, and complaints of thelawless proceedings of Mat Aris were constantly


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    MALAY SKETCHESsaw what took place in that hut in the forest,whither the unsuspecting Sahit had been luredwith his wife under the escort of Mat Aris.

    That witness was a Sakai man who had beencollecting getah (gutta-percha), and, attracted bythe firelight, noiselessly approached the hut and,whilst wondering at the unusual sight of thesestrangers sleeping in his wild and lonely jungle, hesaw Mat Aris get up and stab to death the man,who stood between him and the woman he haddetermined to possess.

    The Sakai saw more than that, but when oncehe had disclosed what he knew, Pah Patin wasfound and induced to tell his tale, and other Sakaiscompleted the narrative.

    It will be remembered that Sahit and his wife,Mat Aris and the Sakai Pah Patin had built ashelter where they proposed to spend the night. Afire was lighted, food was cooked and eaten, andthe four lay down to sleep. On one side of thefire Mat Aris, next him Salamah, and then Sahit;on the other was the Sakai.

    The man and his wife slept, the other Malaypretended to sleep, and the Sakai fell into thatstate which passes for sleep with creatures that arealways on the alert for possible danger.


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    LATAHOfttimes he falleth into the fire and

    oft into the waterMatthew xvii. 14

    INthe spring of 1892 I was privileged, by thekindness of a friend and the courtesy of Dr.

    Luys, to visit the Hospital de la Charite in Paris,where I witnessed some very remarkable and in-teresting experiments in suggestion. There werepatients undergoing successful treatment for nervousdisorders where the disease was in process of gradualrelief by passing from the afflicted person to amedium without injury to the latter ; there wasthe strange power of hypnotising, influencing andawakening certain sujets whose nervous organisationsseem to be specially susceptible, and there was theastonishing influence of the magnet over these samesujets when already hypnotised. There is some-thing more than usually uncanny in the sight of a


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    LATAHperson filled with an inexplicable and unnaturaldelight in the contemplation of the positive endof a magnet, and when the negative end is sud-denly turned towards him, to see him instantlyfall down unconscious as though struck by light-ning.

    The sujets (there were two of them, a man and awoman) described the appearance of the positive endof the magnet as producing a beautiful blue flameabout a foot high, so exquisite in colour and beautythat it transported them with delight. As to thenegative end, they reluctantly explained, in hesi-tating words and with every appearance of dread,that there also was a flame, but a red one of fearfuland sinister import.

    I was deeply interested in these " manifestations,"both for their own strangeness and because I hadin the Malay Peninsula seen equally extraordinaryproceedings of a somewhat similar kind.

    Amongst Malays there is a well-known disease(I use the word for want of a better) called latah ;it is far more common at certain places than at others,and amongst certain divisions of the great Malayfamily. Thus while there is generally one or more6rang latah to be found in every kampong in Krian,where the Malays are mostly from Kedah, in other

    65 e

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    MALAY SKETCHESparts of Perak it is rare to ever meet a latah person.Again, speaking generally, the disease seems to bemore common amongst the people of Amboina, inNetherlands India, than those of Java, Sumatra orthe Malay Peninsula. In both cases heredity is pro-bably accountable for the result, whatever may havebeen the original cause to produce the affliction incertain places more than in others. I can onlyspeak of my own experience and what I havepersonally seen, for no English authority appearsto have studied the matter or attempted to eitherobserve latah people, diagnose the disease (if it isone), search for its cause or attempt to cure it. Ican vouch for facts but nothing more.

    In 1874 I was sent in H.M.S. Hart to residewith the Sultan of Selangor. Though His High-ness's personal record was one of which he mightbe proud, for he was said to have killed ninety-ninemen (sd rdtus kurang sdtu) with his own hand, hisState was not altogether a happy one, for it hadbeen the fighting-ground of several ambitious youngRajas for some years. An unusually hideous piracy,personally conducted by one of the Sultan's ownsons, and committed on a Malacca trading vessel,had necessitated a visit from the China fleet, andwhen the perpetrators, or those who after due


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    LATAHinquiry appeared to be the perpetrators, had beenexecuted (the Sultan lending his own kris for theceremony), I was sent to see that these " boyishamusements," as His Highness called them, werenot repeated. The place where the Sultan thenlived was hardly a desirable residence, even froma Malay point of view, and it has for years nowbeen almost deserted. Bandar Ttrmdsa, as it wasgrandiloquently styled, was a collection of huts on amud flat enclosed between the Langat and Jugrarivers. It was only seven miles from the sea, andat high tide most of the place was under water.With me there went twenty-five Malay policefrom Malacca, and we lived all together in an oldstockade on the bank of the Langat river. Whetherit was the mosquitoes, which for numbers andvenom could not be matched, or whether it was theevil reputation of the place for deeds of violence isneedless to inquire, but the police were seized withpanic and had to be replaced by another batch fromSingapore, selected not so much on account of theirvirtues as their so-called vices. The exchange wassatisfactory, for whatever sins they committed theyshowed no signs of panic.

    Later on I was encouraged by the statement thatBandar TSrmasa, for all its unpromising appearance,


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    MALAY SKETCHESwas a place for men, where those who had a differ-ence settled it promptly with the krts, and cowardswho came there either found their courage ordeparted. A story that amused the gossips wasthat, as a badly wounded man was carried from theduelling field past the palisade which enclosed theSultan's house, His Highness had asked, throughthe bars, what was the matter, and, being told, hadlaconically remarked, " If he is wounded, doctorhim ; if he is dead, bury him."

    During my residence in the place a lady, forjealousy, stabbed a man of considerable note thirteentimes with his own dagger, and sent the nextmorning to know whether I would like to purchaseit, as she did not much fancy the weapon. Theman was not killed, and made no complaint.Another lady, for a similar reason, visited ourstockade one night, pushed the sentry on oneside, and, finding the man she wanted, attemptedto stab him with a long kris she had brought forthat purpose.

    That was then the state of society in BandarTermasa.

    I have said we lived all together in a stockade.It was a very rude structure with log walls aboutsix feet thick and eight feet high, a mud floor, a


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    LATAHthatch roof, and no doors. Outside it was a highwatch-tower of the same materials, but the ladderto it had fallen down. Of roads there were none,but a mud path ran through the stockade fromriver bank to village, distant some 300 yards. Myown accommodation was a cot borrowed from theHart and slung between two posts, while the menslept on the walls of the stockade.

    The place had drawbacks other than mosquitoes,for the public path ran through it, the tide at highwater completely covered the floor, and the logwalls were full of snakes. The state of the sur-roundings will best be understood when I say thatduring the many months I lived there I did notwear boots outside the stockade, because there wasnothing to walk upon but deep mud, and that theonly water fit to use was contained in a well orpond a quarter of a mile off, to which I walkedevery day to bathe.

    With the second batch of police had come anEuropean inspector, and he and I were the onlywhite men in the country.

    Amongst the twenty-five police were two men ofthe name of Kasim ; they were both natives ofAmboina, but very different in disposition, and theywere known among their comrades as Kasim Bhar


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    MALAY SKETCHESand Kasim Kkhilthat is Kasim Major and KasimMinor.

    Kasim Major was a quiet, reserved, silent man ofabout twenty-five, and I afterwards realised thathe had a somewhat violent temper when roused.Kasim Minor, on the contrary, was a smiling,talkative, happy, and pleasant-looking young fellowof about twenty. They were not related to eachother in any way.

    I used often to be away on the coast and upriver, and on my return from one of these expedi-tions I noticed the men teasing Kasim Minor, andsaw at once that he was latah. I questioned theinspector, and he told me that during my absencehe had one day been away on duty for some hours,and when he returned, about 4 p.m., he saw KasimMinor up a coco-nut tree just outside the stockade.On asking him what he was doing there, he repliedhe could not come down because there was a snakeat the bottom of the tree. In reality there was abit of rattan tied round the tree, and, this beingremoved, Kasim came down.

    Now, it is no easy matter to climb a coco-nuttree ; it requires a special training to do it at all,and Kasim did not possess it. But the inspectorascertained that the other police had found out by


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    LATAHaccident that their comrade was latah, that they hadordered him to climb the tree, which he had atonce done, and that then, out of sheer devilry,some one had taken a bit of rattan, said, u Do yousee this snake ? I will tie it round the tree, andthen you can't come down," and so left him fromIO A.M. till the afternoon, when the inspectorreturned and released him.The time of Kasim's penance was probably

    greatly exaggerated, but that is how the story wastold to me, and of all that follows I was an eye-witness.

    I made Kasim Minor my orderly, and as he wasconstantly with me I had better opportunities ofstudying his peculiarities. About this time also Ilearnt that Kasim Major was also latah.

    Speaking generally, it was only necessary for anyone to attract the attention of either of these menby the simplest means, holding up a finger, callingthem by name in a rather pointed way, touchingthem or even, when close by, to look them hard inthe face, and instantly they appeared to lose allcontrol of themselves and would do, not only what-ever they were told to do, but whatever was sug-gested by a sign.

    I have seen many latah people, male and female,71

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    MALAY SKETCHESbut never any quite like these two, none so sus-ceptible to outside influence, so ready to blindly obeya word or a sign.

    The kindly disposition of Kasim Minor made himquite harmless, but the other Kasim was rather adangerous subject to play tricks with, as I will pre-sently explain.The latah man or woman usually met with, ifsuddenly startled, by a touch, a noise, or the sightof something unexpected, will not only show all thesigns of a very nervous person but almost invariablywill fire off a volley of expressions more or lessob cene, having no reference at all to the circum-stance which has suddenly aroused attention. Asa rule it is necessary to startle these people beforethey will say or do anything to show that they aredifferently constituted to their neighbours, and whenthey have betrayed themselves either by word ordeed their instinct is to get away as quickly aspossible. Children and even grown-up peoplecannot always resist the pleasure of " bating " alatah person ; for one reason because it is so exceed-ingly easy, for another because they are inclined onthe spur of the moment to do ludicrous things orsay something they would under ordinary circum-stances be ashamed of. Almost invariably latah


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    LATAHpeople of this class (and it is by far the most commonone) are very good humoured and never seem tothink of resenting the liberty taken with theirinfirmity. If by word or deed they commit them-selves (and that is not uncommon) they either runaway, or appear to be unconscious of having saidor done anything unusual (this however is rare), orthey simply say, " I am Idtah" as a full explanationand excuse.

    If any one present accidentally drops something onthe floor, if a lizard falls from the roof on to or neara Idtah person, if the wind blows the shutter of awindow to with a bang, a Idtah person of the classI speak of will probably find it necessary to at leastsay something not usually heard in polite society.Of this class by far the majority are women.

    I have never seen a Idtah boy or girl, but I knowthey are to be found, though the disease certainlybecomes more evident as the subject grows older.

    It must be understood that except when underinfluence, when actually showing the evidences ofthis strange peculiarity, Idtah people are undis-tinguishable from others. It is sufficient proof ofthis that amongst my twenty-five police thereshould have been two men more completely Idtahthan any I have seen before or since.


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    MALAY SKETCHESI took occasion to carefully observe the two

    Kasims. It was impossible to always prevent theircompanions teasing them, especially in a placewhere there was absolutely no form of amusementand all the conditions of life were as unpleasant asthey well could be, but no harm was ever done, andI am satisfied that while influence was in any wayexercised over the latah man he was not consciousof his own actions, and directly it was removed hebecame his reasoning other self, and the utmostthat remained on his mind, or came to him with therecovery of his own will, was that he might havedone something foolish.

    If the attention of either of these men wasarrested, as I have said by word, sign, or a mean-ing glance, from that moment until the influencewas removed, the latah man would do whatever hewas told or signed to do without hesitation, whetherthe act signified were difficult, dangerous, or painful.When once under this influence any one presentcould give the order and the latah man wouldimmediately obey it ; not only that, but even atsome distance (as in the coco-nut tree incident), heappeared to be equally subject to the will imposedon his actions.A curious thing about both these men was that,


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    LATAHhaving attracted the attention of either, if you said," Kasim, go and hit that man," he would invariablyrepeat what was said, word for word, including hisown name, while he carried out the order. Whenthe person hit turned on him, Kasim would say,11 It was not I who hit you, but that man whoordered me."

    I have seen Kasim the younger, when the maninfluencing him put his own finger in his mouth andpretended to bite it, imitate the action but reallybite his finger and bite it hard. Similarly I haveseen him, in imitation and without a word beingsaid, take a lighted brand from the fire, and he wouldhave put it in his mouth if the experiment had beencarried so far. Some one told him one day tojump into the river, and he did not get out againtill he had swum nearly two hundred yards, for thestream was both broad and deep, with a terriblecurrent, and infested by crocodiles. If at anymoment you called out " Tolong Kasim " ("help!Kasim "), the instant he heard it he would jump upand crying " Tdlong Kasim," dash straight to youover all obstacles. If then you had put a weaponin his hand and told him to slay any one withinreach I have not the slightest doubt he would havedone it without hesitation.


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    MALAY SKETCHESI have said there was a ladderless watch-tower

    outside the stockade. The police wanted firewood,they were not allowed to burn the logs forming ourwalls, but at the top of the watch-tower there werealso log walls that they were told they could burn.They were lazy, however, and did not see how theywere going to get up, so they ordered Kasim theyounger to climb up, which he did as he hadclimbed the coco-nut tree, and, when once there,they told him to throw down logs until they thoughtthey had enough. I watched that operation, andthe feverish haste with which the man swarmed upone of the supports, gained the platform of thetower, and threw down huge logs as though hislife depended on it, was rather remarkable. I gaveorders that the man's infirmity was not to be usedfor this purpose again, but in my absence I knowthat when more firewood was wanted Kasim wentup to the watch-tower for it until that supply wasexhausted.

    The path from the stockade to the village was insight of the stockade throughout its length, and oneday I noticed Kasim Minor, as he walked leisurelydown this mud embankment, stop every now andthen and behave in a peculiar fashion as though hewere having conversation with the frogs, snakes and


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    LATAHother denizens of the ditches that bordered the path.When he had gone half way he stopped and peepedup into the branches of a small tree on the roadside, then he seemed to be striking blows at aninvisible enemy, ran to the ditch and began throw-ing lump after lump of hard mud into the tree. Ihad not seen this phase of his peculiarities beforeand could not make it out, but suddenly his armswent about his head like the sails of a windmill,and I realised that his enemies were bees or hornets,and that he was getting a good deal the worst ofan unequal fight. I sent some of the men to fetchhim back and found he had been rather badly stung,and when I asked him why he attacked the nest hesaid his attention was caught by things flying outof the tree and he was impelled to throw at them.

    I understood that the hornets flying out of thenest appeared to be thrown at him, and he couldnot help imitating what he saw in the best way hecould, and so he took what was nearest his handand sent it flying back.

    Kasim the el