Saturday, October 31, 2009

A touch of History and so-called rivalries

Rajah Brooke, is an important name in the history of Sarawak. The name dwells in the mind of the people in the land of the hornbill every time the histories of Sarawak are being remembered. This also proved the significant of the white rajah character in the development of Sarawak.

Based on the history, he arrived in Kuching in August to find the settlement facing a Bidayuh uprising against the Sultan of Brunei. Offering his aid to the Sultan, he and his crew helped bring about a peaceful settlement. Having threatened the Sultan with military force, he was granted the title of Raja of Sarawak on 24 September 1841. After that, Brooke began to establish and cement his rule over Sarawak: reforming the administration, codifying laws and fighting piracy, which proved to be an ongoing issue throughout his rule. However, during his rule, Brooke faced threats from Sarawak warriors like Sharif Masahor and Rentap, but remained in power.
He ruled Sarawak until his death in 1868. His nephew Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke became Rajah after his death; he was succeeded on his death in 1917 by his son, Charles Vyner Brooke. Their territory was greatly expanded over the coming years. The Brooke dynasty ruled Sarawak for a hundred years and the Brooke family was intent on a policy of paternalism to protect the indigenous population against exploitation. This was proved when they governed with the aid of the Muslim Malay and enlisted the Ibans and other "Dayak" as a contingent militia. They also encouraged the immigration of Chinese merchants but forbade the Chinese to settle outside of towns in order to minimize the impact on the Dayak way of life.
During the period of their ruling, many things change including the academic aspect and the religion. During the reign of the white rajah, they also bring indirectly their religion along with them (Christian). As you can see, James Brooke invited a party of missionaries and the team was led by a person named Francis Thomas Francis McDougall. The main purpose of the invitation was to establish an Anglican church and fortunately, Francis McDougall was more than suitable for the job because besides being a priest, he was also a doctor. The Rajah gave the missionaries a piece of land on which to build their base. An allocation was made for a church which was to serve as pro-cathedral for many years. The stories does not ended here, in fact a school which named St. Thomas’ and St. Mary’s are built and this speedily won McDougall the affection and trust of the Native people who lived nearby. Nowadays, the schools are still called by the name of St. Thomas and St. Mary. The fact about being the oldest school in Sarawak is true and indirectly, this is what a Thomian can be proud of. Not long after the establish of St. Thomas school, another school was built and it was named St. Joseph. Both of the schools are good achievers in their academic and co-curriculum.

The other purpose that drove me to write this is to talk about the so called rivalry among the two schools. In fact, before I enter SMK St. Thomas, I already thought about it and I am curious about the root for the rivalry issue. However, the curiosity only became a mind playing issue because during my studying years in St. Thomas, many things need to be accomplish and these leads me to a busy life.
Years passed, and without noticing, now I’m in the University and the experience of becoming a thomian gives me the best memories in my whole life. In fact, the question about the root of the so-called rivalries is answered during my second semester in the University. I was in the library doing a research for my history assignment and I Stumbled upon a book which was written by an author from Kuching and now she is staying abroad with her families, and because of her love for Kuching, she wrote the book which contains history of Kuching. However, I am really sorry because I can’t remember the name of the author and neither the book title. I will tell you guys if I found the book in the library. According to the author, the rivalry between the two schools happens since the old days. She stated that it started because during the old days, there are rumors that claim about the student of St. Thomas are easier to get a job in the government sector. This rumor sparks a rivalry between the relationships of the two schools. Due to the rumor, the two schools usually competes each other in every aspect. At last, my question is answered. However, we must know that despite the rivalry issue, these two schools always help each other when ever there are things that required to be done together.
For your information, I wrote this article not to offend any sides but I just want to share what I discover to all of you out there. =)


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