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  • Borneo’s Red Dragon
    Mythical Borneo is home to many mythical creatures, and there is one that lives beneath our calm dark waters. This is the awesome Arowana, or the Dragon fish. Officially, its English name is the Asian Bonytongue. The Latin word Sclero means hard, and Phage means something that devours. Formosus means …
  • When People of Borneo Come TogetherWhen People of Borneo Come Together
    Mysterious Borneo. There have always been mysteries about Borneo. There still are. For example, we don’t quite know when people first set foot on the island. The latest archaeological research indicates that modern humans were present in northern Borneo at least 46,000 years ago. Whether some people got there even …
  • Is there a Wild Dog on Borneo, hiding in plain sight?Is there a Wild Dog on Borneo, hiding in plain sight?
    Walk to any longhouse throughout Borneo and chances are you will be met first by a dog. Or a whole lot of dogs! Those of us afraid of dogs will cringe, and wait for someone to chase them away. Those of us who love dogs will say hello to them, …
  • Burnt Alive!Burnt Alive!
      The month is Oct, the year is 2015. For the past weeks, we have been shocked with images of orange flames reaching into the skies. Our town’s skyline is a faint outline of nearby buildings. We wake up to dry throats, runny noses and a smoky taste in our …
  • Going Camping with Alfred Wallace
    Early Europeans began arriving on Borneo in the late 1700s, and throughout the 1800s. To these first pioneers coming to the vast tropical island of Borneo, this was the most fascinating place in the world! They knew nothing about it, and they wanted to find out. In order to do …
  • Band of Brothers
    Borneo's endemic Colobines There are five doctors in the house. All of them are gynaecologists. There are five lawyers in town, all of them only do divorce cases. Not very useful situations, wouldn’t you say? In fact, society would have a serious problem if every contractor built bridges, and couldn’t …
  • The Unusual Bearded Pig of BorneoThe Unusual Bearded Pig of Borneo
    What is the most important animal or plant species on Borneo? Depending on whom you ask, you will surely get very different answers. The timber towkay would say Borneo’s giant hardwood trees are the most important, because one tree alone could buy you a house. The oil palm grower would …
  • There be Giants amongst us
    Seventeenth century Europeans were terrified of the unknown parts of the world. Thankfully some bright spark, with a frizzy beard and funny hat, eventually convinced them that the world was not flat. They would not fall off the edge into hell if they traveled too far from home. This new …
  • A commodity gone off the scalesA commodity gone off the scales
        Folklore is full with tales of the underdog, the small but wily creature outsmarting the larger and less agile. In Malay and Sri Lankan folklore it is said that there is a small animal that can kill elephants by biting the giant beast’s feet, then coiling itself tightly …
  • The Tale of the IbisThe Tale of the Ibis
      The Egyptian God Thoth is depicted as a man with the head of an ibis. He is a powerful god, overseeing the balance between good and evil, and preventing either from ever triumphing over the other. Thoth is also the scribe of the Gods, patron of the art of …
  • Going places no man has gone before
    People like to leave their mark on the world. Something we did, or something we discovered or invented. Or something we built. We leave our names behind for all time, because we want our names to be immortalised. The highest mountain on earth bears Sir George Everest’s name. The Eiffel …
  • Big-footed Little Dinosaur on Borneo?
    Here’s a story of a really eccentric but genius resident of Borneo. It is so eccentric it chooses to live not really on Borneo, but just off – it lives on the small islands off Borneo’s coast. And it is a brilliant chemist! Until today, no one has been able …
  • Broken Roads, Broken Families
    Here’s an unlikely story. You build a house, a home for your family. You have a nice road leading to your house. Then you decide you would like to plant some vegetables, your own little garden to supply nice fresh vegetables for the family. You decide to plant your vegetable …
  • Ancient Blue Eyes on Borneo
    When it comes to the island of Borneo, one expects the unexpected. One expects plants and animals that are found nowhere else on earth. One even expects these unique animals to be strange, look completely different from any other animal in nature, and do things no others do. And those …
  • Are we alone on Borneo?
    When scientists discovered, in 2003, fossils of a small human-like creature on the Indonesian island of Flores, the news literally shook the world. It wasn’t that a race of human-like creatures closely related to us existed in the past. What shook the world was that they lived just 12,000 years …
  • Bars and Hands
    Through the inch-thick iron bars, she reached her hand out to me. It was a huge leathery hand. I looked into her eyes, more than a little afraid. Her hazel brown eyes looked straight into mine. A full minute passed. This large orangutan and I, looking into each other’s eyes. …
  • May the Birds keep talking to us
    The Maya of central America believe that every person has an animal companion who shares their soul, and that you could transform into your animal companion. The Haida of Canada believe animals are another type of people, more intelligent than humans and able to transform themselves into human form. The …
  • Ghost of the Mountains
      Eternally covered by clouds, Borneo’s mountains are wrapped with a blanket of forest that takes one straight into the fairy-tale world of fantasy. Gnarled dwarf trees with curtains of lichens blowing in cold winds. It is both a beautiful world, and a strange eerie world. This is the high …
  • The Otters of Borneo
    Otters are amongst the most instantly lovable animals in the world. Without ever seeing a living otter, most people would attest to how adorable they are, how their fluffy fur makes them most huggable, and they are the most playful of animals. There is no doubt that few wild animals …
  • The Mysterious Pink Dolphin of Borneo
    Human beings come in many colours. Domestic dogs come in many colours too. It seems very few other lifeforms on earth are like humans and dogs. Have you ever wondered why? “I saw this large animal on television yesterday. Do you know what it is?” “What colour was it” I …
  • Planning a Path to Perdition
      From the Editor: This article depicts the nature and impact of wildlife trade on wild species. Names and places used are fictitious. It all began in 2011, in Taipei. Mr. Hsien was in a meeting with his suppliers. On the table was a most exquisite carved piece of ivory, …
  • River Thunder
    Nature's force unleashed, all before it flee! It begins with a distant rumbling. Within two minutes, the rumbling has turned into a thunderous roar, punctuated with loud cracks. Run is what you must do, run as far away from the stream where you are standing. And run fast! This roar …
  • The Curious case of a Chinese visitor
    Silently they come, unbeknown to most... People and animals have been visiting Borneo for 50 million years. Many of these visitors have made an impression on this great island. Some lived for a while, then died out, and have become our past, our history. Many others stayed, and evolved into …
  • A decepticon amongst us
    Bumble bee is arguably the most popular Transformer in the world. He is cool, funny and transforms into that sleek yellow and black sportcar everyone wants. Bumble bee is the good guy, and a superhero. When talking about autobots and decepticons, most adults wouldn’t know what you’re talking about, but …
  • Why Wet Feet, not Happy Feet?
    In February and March 2016, newspaper headlines all across Borneo looked something like this: Samarinda flooding spreading; Banjarmasin paralysed by floods, West Kalimantan capital Pontianak hit by flash floods; Kuching’s general hospital evacuated because of flooding; Miri submerged! One might think someone up there emptied a huge bucket of water …