- 2008/07/30 Brooke descendant 'returns' to Sarawak

Jason Brooke has always been fascinated by Sarawak, having grown up hearing stories about the place from his father and grandfather.

Now, the great-great-grandson of Sarawak's second White Rajah, Charles Brooke, is here to see the place for himself.


Afbeelding: 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
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.


"I used to approach my grandfather, Anthony Brooke, for his memories of Sarawak when I was young. I always bothered him for more and more stories," he said when visiting the Sarakraf Pavilion here yesterday.

"They were mainly old stories about travelling upcountry and meeting people and, on one occasion, how he gave toys to small children."

He added that his father, who lived in Sarawak as a baby in 1940, also maintained a great interest in the state.

"He told me stories when I was very young, and showed me the old flags and bits and pieces from Sarawak that he still possessed. So, it's always been a great fascination for me."

As a result, he said, he felt a connection with Sarawak and had always wanted to come here.

He arrived last Sunday for a 3 week visit, and will be leaving on Aug 9.

At 23, he is the youngest Brooke descendant to visit Sarawak since the state gained independence.

"I've just finished university Ė I was studying English Literature at University College Dublin in Ireland Ė and I thought this was the right time to do some travelling. Sarawak was first on my list," he said.

In his first week here he has walked around the city and visited such places of interest as Fort Margherita, the Sarawak Museum, the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and the Sarawak Cultural Village.

"I was thrilled to find so many old buildings still in evidence and well looked after. It's very interesting to see that most of them have been turned into museums of some sort," he said.

"It's still possible to walk around the main part of Kuching on foot. So it was very nice for me to walk down the Waterfront and take the sampan across the river."

Brooke will be attending the Sarawak Regatta this weekend, and plans to visit Bako National Park and take a trip upriver before he leaves.

"There are so many things I want to see that three weeks probably isn't enough. I'm sure I'll plan another visit in the future," he added.

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