From 1965 to 1967, in addition to bringing to completion our programmes for planting, roads and buildings, we were also very preoccupied with the erection of our factory. At that time, the only company which could build a standard turn-key palm oil mill on contract, was Messrs Stork of Amsterdam.

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Having been given permission to expand, we acquired a large block of land from Kwong Borneo, a Sandakan trading firm. This was Kimansi Estate, a property of 10,000 acres, on the other side of the Tungud River. Kwong Borneo had already cleared about 400 acres to plant oil palm. We were thus able to start planting operations immediately.

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Although I thought I had done as much as I could to make everything ready for the family’s arrival, things were still fairly primitive. There was the persistent rat, or rather family of rats, which kept swimming up through the pipes into the bowl of the toilet.

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Although I thought I had done as much as I could to make everything ready for the family’s arrival, things were still fairly primitive. There was the persistent rat, or rather family of rats, which kept swimming up through the pipes into the bowl of the toilet.

Read more »

Although I thought I had done as much as I could to make everything ready for the family’s arrival, things were still fairly primitive. There was the persistent rat, or rather family of rats, which kept swimming up through the pipes into the bowl of the toilet.

Read more »

I was sitting in the office, struggling through the monthly report. Now that the family had arrived, I usually made an effort to get home in time to have afternoon tea with them. Today however, I was a bit later than usual.

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Some 12 hours later than anticipated, we were speeding up the Gum Gum Creek. The engines were going well. The steering was perfect. Again I took the wheel. Tundah sat on the front deck, to keep an eye out for sinkers. As we came out into the estuary, Tundah resumed his position at the wheel. Our mechanic friend had been right. It was almost dark. It was low water again, and the tide was starting to flow.

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The morning was cool. The tide was low. White wisps of mist rose from the oily surface of Gum Gum Creek and swirled around the exposed mangrove roots. The Land Rover was parked right on the jetty.

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Shortly after his encounter with the snake, James left my employ suddenly when the smouldering relationship between him and Kong Miew erupted into physical violence.

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It was pitch dark and I was in bed on the estate. A screeching noise came from somewhere above my head – something between the high-frequency atmospherics from an old-fashioned valve-radio and the opening of a very rusty cemetery gate in a horror movie.

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