Nyanggau anak Mail of Awik, Kalaka.

Nyanggau anak Mail of Awik, Kalaka.

After the death of his father, Munan suggested that the party proceed to the nearby town of Jambi. But his brother-in-law Nyanggau did not agree with this. He urged them all to return to Singapore quickly, to catch a steamer to Sabah. But Munan would not go, as he knew that their companions had not enough money for the voyage. This was why Munan suggested they work first at Jambi. Nyanggau could not be persuaded to stay any longer in Sumatra, so he returned alone to Singapore where he caught a steamer about to sail for Sabah.

When he arrived at Sandakan, Nyanggau met a number of Iban who had come from Paku and Rimbas to work there. He joined their company to go up the Kinabatangan River and tap gutta percha along the Kuamut tributary. Here, Baai anak Kadam and his friends from the Paku joined the group. After they had worked for some months in the Kuamut they sold their rubber in Sandakan where they received $200 each. After their rubber had been sold, Nyanggau suggested that they should cease working in the jungle. He thought that it would be more profitable to work for the European Tobacco Company than to tap wild rubber in the forest. All his friends agreed with this, so they asked him to meet the tobacco estate manager to ask for jobs. The manager agreed to engage the Iban at 35 cents a day. So they began to work on the estate with Nyanggau as mandor, or overseer.

At this time Nyanggau’s brother Ambu arrived in Sandakan. Shortly after his arrival he worked in another estate, where he earned $150 for one year’s work. After they had worked for the estate for over a year, Nyanggau and his friends including Ambu, Ngadan apai Simbah of Rapong, Gayong apai Gurang of Babu and Asan “Lang Rimba” of Nanga Gayau of the Rimbas went to Mindanao to purchase old jars. They sailed there in a boat which they had purchased for $150 from the Bajau. The voyage was very dangerous. They saw many Bajau and Illanun pirates hiding among the small islands on the way, waiting to rob trading vessels. On their arrival at Mindanao, the people were afraid when they told them that they were Sea Dayaks from Sarawak. So Nyanggau asked the police to escort him to meet the ruler of the country. At this meeting, Nyanggau told him that he and his friends had come from Sarawak hoping to purchase valuable jars. Hearing this, the ruler gave Nyanggau a permit to trade freely in his country. In addition to this, the ruler ordered Nyanggau to berth his sailing boat at his own wharf.

Eventually, after they had visited many places, Nyanggau bought eleven jars for himself. His brother Ambu and others such as Gayong of Babu, Ngadan of Rapong and Asan “Lang Rimba” of Nanga Gayau only bought one or two jars each. After he bought the jars, Nyanggau told his friends that he was running short of money, and urged them to return with him as soon as possible to Sabah. However, when his friends learned of his decision, a sharp argument arose, for they did not want to go back until they had bought jars with the money already in their hands. But Nyanggau insisted. After a long argument, Ambu, Ngadan and Gayong told Nyanggau to return to Sabah alone. They refused to let him use their sailing boat, so Nyanggau returned with his property to Sandakan in someone else’s boat. After Nyanggau had gone, Gayong apai Gurang bought six jars, Ngadan six, Asan “Lang Rimba” six and Ambu two. After they had bought these jars, they sailed back to Sabah and there met Nyanggau who was working in Sandakan. He had sold one of his jars to an Iban, as he was in need of money for expenses. He joined them again and they returned to Sarawak. Their arrival home with so many jars pleased their relatives and friends in the Awik and Sebetan rivers.

Shortly after he had returned successfully from Mindanao, Nyanggau again sold two jars to get money for a trip to Kotei in southeast Kalimantan. When he came to Kotei he and his friends tapped wild robber. At the sale of his rubber Nyanggau received $1500, which he kept to purchase jars. While he was thinking about buying jars a Malay friend of his chanced to meet him and told him that he would like to help him buy jars, if Nyanggau would trust him. They were close friends, so Nyanggau handed over all his money to this man without hesitation. The Malay went off and Nyanggau never saw him again. After being swindled by his friend, Nyanggau could not bring himself to start to tap rubber again in that country. So he returned to Sarawak, but in his shame he did not come home to his wife and children in the Sebetan. Instead he settled at the mouth of the Rejang, where he married a local woman from the region. While he was living in his new wife’s house, he planted padi with the members of her family. With the proceeds from farming, Nyanggau started to trade bubok (shrimps) and blachan (shrimp paste) with the Iban who lived in the lower Rejang. After he had earned a consider¬able amount of money from selling shrimps and shrimp paste, Nyanggau started to trade gongs and modem jars manufactured in Sarawak with the upriver Iban of the Rejang. He made a lot of profit from this trade. In 1902 he joined the “Cholera Expedition” against Bantin and died at Nanga Delok in the epidemic which killed several thousand people.



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