Simply orphans of the present

The word birthplace in Malay is ‘tanahair’ which word for word translates to ‘earth water’. I was thinking about the origin of the word. Does it refer to the soil and the river of my village? Or does it refer to the origin of the earth and water that made up my body during birth?

I would like to think it is the latter. That people back in the day had a huge appreciation to the amazing fact that we came from the ground and eventually, back to earth and water we shall return to.

I want to learn more about the culture of my birthplace and I am not talking about the culture of Brunei per se. History in Borneo goes back hundreds, even thousands of years back yet no one can even remember the predecessor of the sultan beyond his father, sultan SOAS.

Only in the last hundred or so years have borneans lived to the tune of technology and modern life and yet it feels like the idea of living a sustainable life side by side with nature is a far fetched and backwards idea even though our people did it for centuries.

Will our generation end up as a stub in the history books of tomorrow as well? Maybe they won’t even mention us as we are the children of a generation stuck between the pioneers of the yesterworld and the explorers of tomorrow. I am okay with that though. Maybe we can find some narcissistic solace in the fact that although history might not remember us, we have been leaving huge marks to the environment that at least the planet will.




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