Datuk Hj Ibrahim and the Isle of Lakei

An old friend dropped by for Raya.  After the usual pleasantries he disclosed his purpose: a side quest to Pulau Lakei, the final resting place of the fabled Datuk Hajji Ibrahim.  Of course I said yes.  Pulau Lakei!  The lone island at the far tip of Bako peninsula.  Reaching Bako National Park requires a boat […]

MRE: Botok and Pulut Udang

As Ramadan winds down, I race to give credit to local foods that got me through the month. These MREs, Malaysia Ramadan Essentials, are practically complete meals in one package. Add rice as needed. Pulut Panggang Udang   Wrapped in banana leaves held in place by bamboo pins, pulut panggang udang is beras pulut, sticky […]

America Bombs Indonesia over Drug Deal Gone Bad … in 1832

American troops bombed and invaded Aceh in 1832, becoming the USA’s first military intervention in Asia.  The affair began with the Friendship, a trading vessel flying American colors, coming to port in Kuala Batu, Aceh on the 7th of February 1831.  This was not unusual as American merchant ships had been trading regularly on the western […]

Who Killed Sultan Tengah?

The story of Sultan Tengah ends abruptly. Throughout his life, Sultan Tengah was a tireless Caller to Islam and was a guest in the royal courts of three kingdoms. Returning from an odyssey of 40 years, he was assassinated by one of his own followers within the shadow of the solitary mountain that marked his domain. What clues to his murder can we find in the legend of Sultan Tengah?

The Maqam of Sultan Tengah

Mount Santubong rises out of the South China Sea a lone mountain.  Two rivers meet the sea on either side, a narrow isthmus of land between them.  Mount Santubong has its own weather, with clouds cresting, writhing or settling around the peaks most days regardless of what the day brings the flat swamps beyond.  No wonder fairy […]