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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jason Brooke traces Sarawak legacy through visit.

Ancestral connections: Sape maker Rahman Bujang demonstrating his craft to (from left) Sarawak Tourism Federation president Wee Hong Seng, Temenggung Datuk Kenneth Kanyan and Brooke in Kuching yesterday.

KUCHING (Bernama) - Jason Brooke has always rooted for his roots in Sarawak. The 23-year-old brooks no compromise on the issue as he zealously cherishes the colourful legacy of his forefathers - the legendary Brookes of Sarawak.

It was this unwavering interest, says the great-great grandson of the second Rajah Sir Charles Brooke of Sarawak, that prompted him to make a three-week private visit to Sarawak.

Sarawak was associated with the White Rajah Brooke era for a century until it was ceded as a British colony in 1946.

Incidentally, the 23-year-old's visit coincides with the state's 45th anniversary of development within Malaysia.

"For a long time, I have always wanted to come here. When I was younger, I used to approach my grandfather (the former Rajah Muda Anthony Brooke) for his glimpse of Sarawak," he said at a tea reception hosted by the Sarawak Tourism Federation at the Sarakraft Pavilion here in his honour.
"It seems the right time has come," said Jason. who arrived here last Sunday after graduating recently from the University College of Dublin in Ireland with a major in English Literature and Arts.

His grandfather, the heir apparent and nephew of the Third Rajah Sir Vyner Brooke, was banished from Sarawak after the end of the Second World War for opposing the cession of the Rajah's territory to the British Crown but was allowed to return 17 years later, after it gained independence through Malaysia.

In tracing his family's long heritage in Sarawak, Jason said he also grew up knowing about his family's connection through his father, James Brooke, who had actually lived here as a baby in the early 1940s and now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"I kept in touch with a lot of people in Sarawak, including various writers such as Vincent Foo, who authored the "Sarawak Steamship Company" and "A History Of Sarawak Club" and through family photographs," said Jason who delighted many guests present when he wore a tie of the Sarawak Association which traced its roots back to 1924.

He was also actively involved with the United Kingdom-based association, which will mark its centennial celebration in 16 years' time and whose membership is drawn from British expatriates who had served in the state, as well as Sarawakians.

The younger of two brothers, Jason is thrilled that Kuching city had lived up to his expectation, with so many historic buildings which could be traced to the Brooke era, still in existence and well adapted to the present time.

"It is still possible to walk around the main part of Kuching. I enjoyed a beautiful walk along the waterfront, traversed the Sarawak river and spent a lot of time meeting up with people...I am quite overwhelmed by the warm reception," he said, adding that he hoped to promote the Sarawak heritage tourism to the world at large.

(Sumber: Borneo post.)

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