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Gender in Sarawak: Mission and Reception

  • Brian Taylor

Extract

The interaction of gender and religion affects a developing as much as a developed church. A missionary church raises appropriate issues not merely as they affect those spreading the message, but as they affect the receivers, both immediately and in a later period of establishment. This paper deals with such matters as they appear in the history of the Anglican Church in Sarawak, where the missionary activity began in 1848.

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1 Bunyon, Charles John, Memoires of Francis Thomas McDougall… and of Harriette his Wife (London, 1889), p. 21.

2 Bosch, David J., Transforming Mission (New York, 1991), p. 328.

3 Bunyon, Memoires, p. 21.

4 For the history of the Anglican Church in Sarawak see Saunders, Graham, Bishops and Brookes (Singapore, 1992); Taylor, Brian, The Anglican Church in Borneo 1848–1962 (Bognor, 1983); from 1909 The Chronicle, the magazine of the Borneo Mission Association (the name was changed to The Borneo Chronicle in 1934).

5 McDougall, Harriette, Sketches of Our Life at Sarawak (London, 1882), p. 20 . Further information about the early attempts can be found in this book, and, with later developments, in Brian Taylor and Pamela Mildmay Heyward, The Kuching Anglican Schools (Kuching, 1973). For mission schools, not only Anglican, see Ooi Keat Gin, ‘Mission education in Sarawak during the period of Brooke rule, 1840–1946’, Sarawak Museum Journal [hereafter SMJ], 42, ns no. 63 (1991), pp. 283–373.

6 Bunyon, Memoires, p. 44.

7 Ibid., p. 182.

8 Thompson, H. P., Into All Lands (London, 1951), p. 657.

9 Borneo Chronicle (Nov. 1924), p. 4.

10 Tee Hock, Joseph Ko, ‘A socioeconomic study of the Iban today’, SMJ, 40, ns no. 61 (1989), Part 4, p. 81.

11 John Perham, articles in The Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1878–87; William Howell, articles written for the Sarawak Gazette, collected in Anthony Richards, ed., The Sea Dyaks and other Races of Sarawak (Kuching, 1963); also idem, Sarawak-Historical Notes [written c. 1928] (Guildford, 1993).

12 McDougall, Sketches, pp. 73–5.

13 Morrison, Hedda, Sarawak, 2nd edn (Singapore, 1965), p. 217.

14 Brooke, Charles, Ten Years in Sarawak, 2 vols (London, 1866), I, pp. 66, 70.

15 Mashman, Valerie, ‘Warriors and weavers: a study of gender relations among the Iban of Sarawak’, in Sutlive, Vinson H., ed., Female and Male in Borneo (Williamsburg, 1990), p. 246.

16 Ko, ‘Socioeconomic study’, p. 82.

17 For Belabut see Varney, Peter D., ‘Some early Iban leaders in tbe Anglican Church in Sarawak’, SMJ, 40, ns nos 34–35 (1969), p. 276.

18 Fr Dennis Gimang to the author, 28 Mar. 1996.

19 For Linton see Taylor, Brian, ‘A triumph of patience and purposefulness: Linton of Betong’, SCH, 28 (1989), pp. 43344.

20 With a new constitution, the members were called sisters from 1944.

21 Borneo Chronicle (Mar. 1958), p. 4.

22 Borneo Chronicle (Aug. 1963), p. 3.

23 Sister Ena Florence to the author, Mar. 1994.

24 For further information see Rooney, John, Khabar Gembira (London and Kota Kinabalu, 1981). Up-to-date details have been received from the Vicar General, Fr John Ha to the author, 2 April, 1 July 1996.

25 Rooney, Khabar Gembira, p. 87.

26 Brother Alfred Boon Kong to the author, 10 July 1996.

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