Conference at Fort James, Skrang. After the Kayan

Conference at Fort James, Skrang.

After the Kayan expedition was over, the Tuan Muda assembled all the leading chiefs of the Second Division in 1863 at Fort James in the Skrang. At this meeting he thanked them for their service during the Kayan expedition, The Tuan Muda also stressed that, due to OKP Nanang’s good conduct after his submission at Sadok in 1861 and during the Kayan expedition, the time had come for the government to return to him the security deposit of 400 jars, according to the formal agreement made at Sadok on 25th September, 1861. Furthermore, the Tuan Muda said that for the benefit of the country’s trade among the Iban in particular, they should henceforth:

1. Trade with chupak, gantang and pasu measures and use daching weights and ela measurement.
2. Permit a widow or widower to marry six months after the death of the spouse, if she or he paid the initial fine to the deceased’s relatives in accordance with customary law.
3. Observe only three months of mourning (ulit).
4. Stop placing a mourning marker (tanda ulit) outside the deceased’s long-house compound.

These latter measures where intended to limit the period of mourning and so reduced the hardships that mourning observances imposed on the survivors.

Soon after this historic conference was over, Fort James was moved to a better and hillier place at Simanggang, about seven miles below the Skrang junction. After the arrival of Ranee Margaret in Sarawak in 1870, this fort was officially named Alice after one of her names, and the fort at Betong, which was built in 1858, was given another of her names, Lily.




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