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Poison used by Malays as pesticide
Published on: Saturday, October 23, 2021
By: British North Borneo Herald
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FEBRUARY 16, 1931  

Dr R Stewart Macdougall, consulting zoologist to the Highland and Agricultural Society, told a meeting of the society in Edinburgh recently that a plant used by Malays to poison their arrows would shortly be employed to annihilate the warble fly pest, which every year inflicts a loss of more than £1,000,000 on British farmers by its destructive activities in the hides of cattle. 

The plant, he said, was called derris, and an extract from it would be used in a weak solution to kill the pest. Experiments with a powder made from the same had been very successful.

[Tuba (Derris elliptica) is not unknown out here as an insecticide, and it has been used successfully for treatment of such troubles as mange. 

If suitable arrangements can be made for collection and marketing, it might form a profitable crop for some of our gardeners.]. 

Tropical Medicine 

MEDICAL science in the Far East owes a great deal to the biennial conferences of the Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine. Quite a youngster among medical bodies, the Association had its genesis in a very small way in Hongkong (or was it Saigon?) sixteen years ago, and since then it has met at two year intervals, each time in a different country. Its latest gathering took place last month in Bangkok, and it says much for the Association’s power to attract that no less than 177 delegates went to the Siamese capital. 

British India and various provinces were represented by nine delegates, all Europeans, Iapan, Formosa, Korea and Kwantung together sent seven; the Dutch East Indies five; the Straits Settlements, Federated Malay States, Hongkong, and Indo-China three each, and the Philippines two.

Other countries represented were Hawaii, British North Borneo and Macao, while the League of Nations was represented by Professor R Nocht, and the Rockefeller Foundation by Dr Victor 0 Heiser. 

China was the only Far Eastern country not officially represented, though there were Chinese members of the Association in attendance, and it is reported that China has invited the Association to confer in Nanking two years hence. 

Bangkok, it appears, gave the Association a wonderful reception, and well it might, for Siam has every reason to be proud of its royal association with modern medical science, and the wonderful progress it has made in recent years in supplanting old methods with the new. 

Modern methods were introduced by an American missionary named Gutzlaff in 1828, over a hundred years ago. 

Now, after a long period of struggle against prejudice and superstition, the roll of Western-trained physicians in Siam totals over 500, and the old type practitioner is fast disappearing. 

Hospitals are working in all parts of the country; a beginning has been made in dealing with leprosy; public health work has greatly developed; and training schools for nurses are busy in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai. 

More than most Government, hard to educate her people in hygiene, and the Rockefeller Foundation is guiding the development of the medical school on strictly Western lines. 

Sandakan Notes 

An Eclectic Golf Tournament for prizes kindly presented by the Honourable Mr Sherlock and Captain Grant was held recently. Captain Houston was the winner of the men’s prize with a nett score of 28 and Mrs Key won the Ladies’ prize. 

A small fire occurred on the 22nd at No. 21 Jalan Ampat which spread to the corresponding house in Jalan Lima. It was however soon got under control with Minimax extinguishers and not much damage was done. 

The sloop Altair of the French Navy arrived from Saigon on 26th and left on 28th after coaling for Tarakan. She is expected back in about another week or fortnight. 

The well-known steamer John Williams, the third of her famous name, arrived at the end of the month from Australia with a cargo of flour. This ship used to belong to the London Missionary Society and perpetuates the name of one of the pioneer Missionaries who have worked for it. The names of Livingston, Moffatt, Chalmers and John Williams are amongst the most famous. This ship has been sold and a modern vessel of the same name will take her place in the South Sea islands. 

The North-East monsoon brought welcome rains to Sandakan during the first fort-night of January, when the rainfall amounted to 10.14 inches on eight days. This rainfall is considerably below the average and the weather prophets are wondering if this fore-tells another period of drought. The rainfalls of both the previous years were scanty and a third year of scarcity will cause much hard-ship. 

Cicely Road is now in the hands of the Public Works and has been reconstructed with two pairs of hair-pin bends. It is shortly to be metalled and to be continued by means of an eight-foot path to join the Sibuga road at mile 8. 

The road programme also includes the construction of a path through Bokara village to Batu Sapi, a distance of 4 miles. At Batu Sapi this path turns North to meet the Sibuga road, forming a circular road. The projected path will be available for light motor traffic in dry weather. 

Tenom Notes 

Mr R F Evans departed on transfer to Papar on January 6th. A dindang in his honour on the evening of January 5th was well attended and rain failed to damp the enthusiasm of a large crowd. Mr Jones of Melalap was a welcome visitor. 

Major E Jukes Hughes O.B.E., R.M., and Lieut. Commander W St J Cobley from H.M.S. Kent came up to Tenom by trolley on January 13th. They were loud in their appreciation of the Gorge. Unfortunately they could only stay a few hours and returned to Bangawan that afternoon. 

The Chinese Consul and Vice-Consul visited us on 19th. They were met by a deputation of towkays and a guard of honour consisting of school children. Refreshments were served in the Club. 

We have, unfortunately, to report two further murders in the district. A Chinese and his Murut wife living in a lonely but at Bangsal were found on the morning of the 6th dead, their heads partially severed and their bodies brutally hacked with a parang. As a result of the Preliminary Enquiry three Tagals are committed for trial, but the crime appears motiveless. 

 





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