Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Brooke Family Tree

A short and simple posting, to show the family tree of the Brookes.

Good for reference.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"White Rajah: A Dynastic Intrigue" by Cassandra Pybus

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 (which is where I got mine).

I think it would be most interesting to meet and have a chat with Ms Pybus one day ... 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Remembering Anthony Brooke

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

section 1 of 3 of clipping

section 2 of 3

section 3 of 3

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.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Passing of Anthony Brooke on Mar 2, 2011

This article is from early 2011, and has also been shared in the blog "Josephians of the Seventies"

[Source: The Star Online]

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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On Raja Muda Hashim

Raja (also Pengiran) Muda Hashim was the uncle of the Sultan of Brunei, Omar Ali Saifuddin II (1828-1852).

Fig 1: Picture of Raja Muda Hashim

The exact family ties between the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II and Pengiran Muda Hashim is depicted in the following chart.

Fig 2: Brunei royal genealogy

On the subject of royal succession, let me quote from Frank Marryat's book Borneo & the Indian Archipelago: "At the death of the late sultan, Muda Hassan (sic) was the heir-apparent to the throne, but he resigned in favour of his nephew, retaining the office of prime minister, which office he had held during the former reign, not only to the satisfaction of the sultan, but also of the people, with whom he was deservedly a great favourite."

Around 1835, the Sultan sent Muda Hashim to Sarawak to restore order there. Sarawak had been a loosely governed territory under the control of the Brunei in the early 19th century. At that time, an anti-Brunei force of Malays and Bidayuhs led by Datu Patinggi Ali was revolting against Pengiran Indera Mahkota, the Brunei-appointed Malay governor of Sarawak.. By various accounts, Mahkota was a harsh man, forcing the locals to work like slaves to extract antimony from the mines in Sarawak. Hence the uprising.

However even after Raja Muda Hashim’s arrival in Sarawak, very little happened for a few years, with both sides not making much progress. Also it appears that Muda Hashim and Mahkota didn't see eye to eye, and a certain tension developed between them.

When the English adventurer James Brooke reached Singapore on his Far East voyage, he heard that the ruler of Sarawak, Raja Muda Hashim had shown that he was friendly to Europeans. Earlier on the Raja Muda had been hospitable to some British sailors shipwrecked on the coastal waters of Sarawak and even sent them back to Singapore. James Brooke was curious to see what the fabled Borneo was really like. Besides Mr Bonham, the British Governor of Singapore wanted James to give a letter of thanks and some presents to Raja Muda Hashim for his kind treatment of the sailors.

And so it was on 15 August 1839 that James Brooke in his schooner “The Royalist” sailed up the Sarawak River, and anchored off Kuching.

Raja Muda Hashim gave him a friendly welcome. As one writer described Muda Hashim and the first meeting: "His appearance was not imposing but his manners were a pattern of courtesy and he maintained a certain shabby dignity. He returned the Royalist's  salute of 21 guns with a salute of 17 and received his visitor with some pomp in the palm-leaf shed which went by the name of audience hall"   All in all their meetings were amicable enough  and Muda Hashim did request his help in quelling the rebels but James Brooke declined, not wanting to get involved. He departed after a short stay.

James Brooke then spent a year cruising in the Archipelago and had decided to return to England. But before he did so, he thought he would first pay another visit to Kuching. In  August 1840, he landed in Sarawak again and found that the fighting was still continuing. This time when Raja Muda Hashim asked again, he agreed to assist.

With his powerful cannons and superior military tactics, Brooke was able to quell the rebellion. In reward for his success, Muda Hashim signed a treaty on 24 September 1841 surrendering territory from the westernmost tip of Sarawak, Tanjung Dato, to the Samarahan river  to Brooke and bestowing on him the title of Governor of Sarawak.

This appointment was made official on 18 September 1842 by Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II.  In return Brooke promised to pay the Sultan an annual tribute of $2,500, to preserve the customs and religion of the people in Sarawak and not to separate Sarawak from Brunei without the Sultan's consent. It was a big political mistake on the Sultan’s part to appoint Brooke but the Englishman had the backing of the British Navy.

Fig 3: Artist impression of James Brooke at the court of
the Sultan of Brunei

In 1844 Pengiran Muda Hashim returned from Sarawak to Brunei, accompanied by James Brooke and a British naval captain, Sir Edward Blecher. While in Sarawak, Muda Hashim had lost his high status at home due to a palace coup in Brunei. His opponent Pengiran Usop has become Bendahara in his absence. 

In that visit, Brooke and the British Naval Forces were able to re-install Pengiran Muda Hashim as the new Bendahara. Muda Hashim also secured official recognition to become the next Sultan of Brunei. This upset the chances of Pengiran Temenggong Pengiran Anak Hashim, the son of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II, who then plotted to kill Muda Hashim.

James Brooke needed someone in Brunei that he could rely on and Pengiran Muda Hashim seemed to be the one. The British also managed to get Brunei to destroy the defensive forts on Pulau Cermin and along the Brunei River as well as an agreement to give Labuan to the British.

When Pengiran Muda Hashim and his family were eventually murdered in 1846, the British navy under Rear Admiral Thomas Cochrane came and occupied Brunei Town, setting part of it ablaze and even forcing Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II to flee to Damuan.

Fig 4: Brunei Town under attack in 1846

To end the occupation, Brunei had to recognize James Brooke as the Rajah of Sarawak and ruled without interference, free to appoint his own successor and he was no longer the Sultan’s representative in Sarawak. The Island of Labuan was also surrendered.

James Brooke was subsequently knighted and appointed as the first British Governor of Labuan in 1847.

In the city of Kuching, there is a road called Jalan Muda Hashim, in memory of Raja Muda Hashim. I think it is appropriate as this gentleman played a significant, albeit inadvertent, role in shepherding in the Brooke dynasty which lasted a hundred years, and brought significant progress to Sarawak.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Brooke exhibits in the Sarawak Museum

Here are a few photos of the Brooke exhibits at the Sarawak Museum in Kuching, when I visited some time ago. Probably time I made another visit ...

Fig 1: On Sir James Brooke, First Rajah

Fig 2: Sir James Brooke's sword

Fig 3: Masthead from "The Royalist" (I think)

Fig 4 Bust of the Second Rajah, Sir Charles Brooke

I'll try to add more photos when I next visit ...