Bangau – respected chief of the Muruts and Tagals
Published on: Saturday, February 20, 2021
By: British North Borneo Herald
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Scenes from the past: The best known hotel in Jesselton in 1937. It was situated at the site of the present KK police station. - pic for illustration only.
1ST JUNE. 1938 

Nobody who has ever served as District Officer, Sipitang, needs reminding of Bangau, whose death was reported in our issue of 17th March, 1938. 

Bangau was one of the real personalities of the Sipitang district and the remarkable hold be had over the people of upper Padas has been acknowledged by many District Officers of by-gone days. We are glad to ‘publish an appreciation of Bangau written by an erstwhile District Officer who knew him well:-

“As I was Cadet and Assistant District Officer at Sipitang from May 1914 to September 1917 when Bangau was Government Chief of the Muruts and Tagals I feel that the somewhat brief notice of his decease gives little idea of the good work he did before he resigned over some minor (possibly) disagreement with the District Officer. 

He had a wonderful hold and influence over his semi-wild people and I am of the opinion that owing to him they did not openly join in the Murut Rebellion. He stood up for them and did not mind expressing his opinions to Residents and would not be silenced until he had had his say. 

He was a most entertaining companion to travel with and walked behind one never ceasing to talk and tell little stories of the idiosyncrasies of previous Officers. 

At different places a hand was always ready to steady one or give a shove sometimes and often unexpectedly. I remember my first meeting with him on the path near Sindumin. He was dressed in a dirty white coat with Royal Navy buttons and Lieutenant’s epaulets and white topi and, I think, had on a pair of white trousers tucked in puttees. 

On our journeys, usually soon after arriving at our night’s camp, he would disappear for his pipe of opium. He gave this evil habit up for a time but I think took more tapai to make up. 

I met him again in 1926, when I was D.O., Province Clarke, after he had retired and was only a headman and used to seek his opinions. In fact I suggested his being asked to come back after the troubles of undiscovered shooting, at or near Melamam. 

As the D.O. Beaufort in 1930 and from 1932 to 1935 I often met him and he was one of the last of British North Borneo natives I saw as he ‘came over to Labuan to say farewell.” 

Wedding at Penampang 

A wedding took place at the Church of St Michael on Monday morning, 9th May when Mr Ferdinand Norman of Penampang was married to Miss Veronica Lajun, the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Lajun of Kampong Enabong, ulu Penampang. The ceremony was conducted by Rev Father Staudachar. Mr Stanislaus Tindabal was the best man and Miss Caroline Norlio, the bridegroom’s cousin, acted as bridesmaid. The flower girls were Misses Dora and Elizabeth Ryman, also cousins of the bridegroom. 

The bride looked charming in a simple dress of white silk. She carried a bouquet of art lilies. 

At the conclusion of the wedding ceremony a group photograph was taken outside the Church. 

The reception was held on the following day at “Tabasan Villa”, Penampang home of the bridegroom’s aunt. 

At the reception, Mr P E A Ryman, proposed the health of the bride and bridegroom in a short and appropriate speech, to which the bridegroom suitably replied. 

The reception was further enlivened by the Native dance Mangglai to which many guests took part. 

Later Messrs A K Krishnan Nair, K George and Wong Seng Guan of Jesselton of Survey Department, also spoke a few words. The bride-groom replied. 

The happy couple received many useful presents. 

Retirement of Mr C D Martyn 

A distinguished career in the Service of the Government of North Borneo came to a conclusion on May 23rd when Mr C D Martyn, Resident of the East Coast, left Sandakan by the s.s. Kajang on three months leave prior to retirement on pension. 

Mr Martyn arrived in the State in September 1912 and saw service as District Officer in Mempakul, Tuaran, Labuk and Sugut, Papar, Tambunan, Rundum, Sipitang, Kota Belud and Lahad Datu, before becoming Protector of Labour and Inspector of Schools for the first time in 1923. 

Thereafter he became almost a permanency in the Protectorate to which Office his wide knowledge of almost all the districts of the country and their inhabitants rendered him singularly well suited. 

In 1932 the duties of Commissioner of Lands were added and these duties he continued to discharge until his appointment as Acting Resident of the West Coast in December 1934. 

In September 1936 he was appointed an Officer of Class I becoming at the same time Resident, East Coast, the appointment he held up to the date of his retirement. On one occasion in 1928, during the Governor’s absence, he was appointed to administer the Government of the State. 

Not only by reason of his long service but by his quick wit and good nature which gained him friends wherever he went, Mr Martyn was one of the best known figures in the country, as indeed befitted his position. 

And it was a graceful tribute to his popularity and an acknowledgement of the sincere regret which the Service felt at his departure when His Excellency the Governor invited Mr Martyn to meet a gathering of his brother Government Officers at Government House at noon on Sunday May 15th. 

His Excellency said that the loss of Mr Martyn to the Civil Service was one which the Service would find it hard to repair; but besides the loss to the corporate whole of the Service the departure of Mr Martyn would have its effect individually upon all his brother officers. 

For this reason His Excellency had asked all Mr Martyn’s brother officers in Sandakan to be present on this particular occasion for, while Mr Martyn’s departure would affect the country as a whole, it was particularly a personal and domestic occasion, which had the most direct effects upon the members of the Civil Service. 

While touching appreciatively upon Mr Martyn’s tact, good humour, sound judgment and skill as an administrator, His Excellency happily reminded those present of that quality of Mr Martyn which has made him best remembered by those who have served with and under him in his long career as District Officer, Commissioner of Lands, Protector, as Resident of the West Coast, and finally as Resident of the East Coast in Sandakan. 

There can have been no one, claimed His Excellency, who has been brought into contact with Mr Martyn in the course of their duties, who has not been convinced that here was a man not only charming and easy to get on with, but also eager that a quiet feeling of concord should exist all about him. 

In saying goodbye to such a man, his brother officers were eager that he should not rely solely upon his memories of the country he had served so well, but that he should possess some memento in more solid form which might be to him a constant to reminder of the esteem and regard with all his brother officers would always think of hint in Borneo. 

His Excellency asked Mr Martyn accept a cheque which had been subscribed by the members of the Civil Service throughout the country, and with it the best wishes of all concerned in the presentation thereof, for a long and happy life in retirement.

His Excellency’s remarks were greeted with acclamation by Mr Martyn’s brother officers present, and afterwards his health was heartily drunk, the toast being proposed by His Excellency. 

On Tuesday, May 17th a bridge drive was held in the Sandakan Club in honour of Mr and Mrs Martyn, when the Hon. Mr H J R Beckett, the Chairman of the Club, in a short farewell address expressed the good wishes of all the members of the Club to one of the Club’s oldest members in his retirement. 

And at the Golf Club on Saturday the 21st a group photograph of the members was taken, a copy of which we hope will help to remind Mr and Mrs Martyn of many happy afternoons at what Mr Martyn himself rightly described as the “premier social meeting place of Sandakan at the present time”. 

The top deck of the Kajang was filled to overflowing on Monday eight before the vessel sailed, and when the time for parting came and we went rather sorrowfully ashore to watch the ship slowly putting off the wharf, all felt that such a parting was not as, easy one. 

All sang “for they are jolly good fellows” and followed this up with their hearty cheers. And we went out of the Customs, homewards and to bed, all thinking how much we should miss Mr and Mrs C D Martyn. 

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