My first love has and is always food. Eating or making them, it has always come easy to me.
But that’s a story for another day.
An ongoing passion of mine bloomed quite late in life.
I’m an amateur with no technical expertise nor qualification to label myself an anthropologist. I’m a wannabe. In fact, I seriously considered doing a part degree just for fun. The irony.
I read a lot of books on culture, history, humanity and peoples. Specifically the culture of Borneo.
A bit of an intro. Borneo is the 3rd largest island in the world, divided among 3 countries. Collectively home to hundreds of ethnic groups, the culture and tradition has evolved independently of outside influence until the 20th century. I am from one of these ethnic groups.
When I am at a new, unknown locale I would poke around and randomly interview people about the origins of places and traditions. At one point I was so obssessed I practically devoured anything that has the word Borneo in it.
I kept a blog which has fallen into a state of silence since I became busier with work. But the thirst never died. I don’t know everything there is to know, but what others call dusty and irrelevant, I call charming and enlightening.
One thing I learnt through my journey on amateur anthro, identity is fluid and dynamic. Everyone borrows something from everyone else and colonialist (eg. White People) created the need for neat categorization of ethnics.
During the spread of Islam and Christianity, many animistic practices were wiped out and for a period of time, Borneans were “civilized”. The younger generation knew less and the next forgot.
But I’m glad that there has been a rising tide of interest in the newer generation to discover what has been lost. The likes of Alena Murang and Alexianto Thomas are creating ripples in the pond, bringing new awareness and appreciation.