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July 26, 2017

And the search continues…..

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Have you ever wondered where you came from? I have. I am Scotch-Irish on my father's side and Irish on my mothers.


My mother's side are all Catholic but I just found out my father's people were Presbyterian. This has been relatively easy to discover because, being a white man, with name like McLaughlin, I must have come from the Irish part of England.


Here in Borneo, the answer is not so simple. I have been tracing back a tribal people here in Sarawak known as the Bidayuh. Everybody has known they are the earliest group because they speak a language that is not related to anybody else's.


I have found a paper, by a Dr. Tim Jinam, (more about him later) that says in the abstract that the Bidayuh came from the area around Burma, Tibet or someplace around there. That was fine with me. The rest of the paper was totally incomprehensible using genetic language, charts that looked like a bunch on birds flying on both sides with the Bidayuh in the middle and other detailed data.


I was fine with the abstract until a friend of mine came along. He has a doctorate in Biology and informed me that on page 5 sub paragraph B (or someplace like that), the author was not quite sure where they came from. I ask how he could say in the abstract that they were from north Southeast Asia and later change his mind in the very same paper. He couldn't answer that, so I will stick with the abstract.


In a fit of reflection, I decided to email the author and see what he thinks. His name is Tim Jinam and I couldn't find him anywhere on the Internet. If any one of you guys who have more than a lap top can locate him for me, please do email. His paper is "Evolutionary History of Southeast Asians."


Another problem that I am having is the village of Jaie. It is/was along what I will call the Tiger River. First it was located at the headwaters near the mountains, next to the mouth and finally over about 10 kilometers along another inlet. My problem is how a kampong can jump around like that. Experts say that villages move around, but I just can't see it. If true, this kampong has packed up and moved three times in about 100 years, from one end of the river to the other.


I should go up the Tiger River to the headwaters and try to find the old settlement. But I don't want to. I know what I will find. The old people have died off and the remaining ancients will tell stories unrelated to my quest. I have been there before. But I guess I should in the hope that one old timer will remember the history of the area. I should think that moving from one end of the river to other should spark some kind of memory.


I realize this paper will not be read by many, maybe not at all, but it is my quest and my search. For this reason, it makes all the difference.


...Life is good. . . . .


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