Fiction Map Of The World- Borneo

by Travelbag on 23 December 2014, 12:12PM Fiction Map Of The World- Borneo

The tiny island of Borneo is unique in that no less than three different countries own it. In the north, it is controlled by Brunei and Malaysia, and it is controlled by Indonesia to the south. Whilst this does mean that the region has a turbulent history, it has also resulted in an extremely diverse and varied mix of cultures. 

A trip to Borneo means many different things, for many different people. For some, there is one enduring image, however, and it is the orangutan. This island is home to both one of the oldest rainforests on the planet, and one of the few remaining orangutan populations in the wild. There is a heavy focus on ecology here, and it is not hard to see why – the island itself is staggeringly beautiful.
Essential Holiday Reading
The remarkable British writer and scholar, Redmond O’Hanlon, has the perfect holiday tome for anybody looking to jet off to Borneo in the near future. The fascinating travel memoir Into the Heart of Borneo: An Account of a Journey Made in 1983 to the Mountains of Batu Tuban with James Fenton might be a bit of a mouthful to say, but it is an extremely worthwhile and delightfully exciting account of an expedition through one of the wildest locations on the planet. If you want to get to know this little island, pick up this book and follow Hanlon and Fenton as they battle their way through the jungle conquering creepy crawlies, poisonous fauna and crocodiles aplenty.  
Notable Bornean Books
The really rather charming Footprints in the Paddy Fields, by Tina Kisil, is part autobiography, part literary preservation. It takes the form of both childhood memoir and protector of lost traditions, resulting in a novel which is both thrilling and highly engaging. It is set amongst the rural provinces of Sabah, and details the joys and woes of a simpler time – when a single buffalo could change the fate of an entire family. There is a real sense of time and change in this book, as it documents the development of both a young girl and her country. For something a little more light hearted, pick up Bumbling Through Borneo, by Tom Schmidt – a witty, light hearted graphic novel depicting a journey from Hong Kong to the longhouses of Borneo.
Notable Bornean Authors
One of the most famous writers to come out of Borneo was not actually born there at all. The remarkable Agnes Newton Keith has a story which is bound to fascinate all and fortunately, she committed it to paper before she passed away. In 1934, Keith followed her husband, Director of Agriculture in Borneo, to the island to start a new life. However, the Japanese imprisoned them both in 1942, during the outbreak of war. The spirited author and her husband both survived their internment, and Keith went on to write a moving three-part autobiography. It is made up of the books Land below the Wind, Three Came Home, and White Man Returns, the second of which details her experience in the prison camps.
Notable Bornean Films
Whilst there aren’t many films set on Borneo itself, primarily due to its small and wild nature, there are a handful of well-known Hollywood movies set in and around Malaysia. The 1999 heist film Entrapment, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery, takes its action filled narrative to Kuala Lumpur, where a bank robbery is planned, in the world famous Petronas Towers. For those who prefer their visual treats to have a little more substance, there is 2004 film The Beautiful Country, starring Nick Nolte and Bai Ling. It tells the tale of a young Vietnamese boy, forced to flee the country after an incriminating accident, which he has no other way of escaping.
Essential Holiday Listening
There is a plethora of Malaysian pop stars, who take great influence from American artists like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. For instance, the Malaysian singer known as Nikki, is renowned for her ability to sing in the whistle register, just like the aforementioned Mariah Carey and US singer Christina Aguilera. The half Chinese, half Kelabit singer Hannah Tan is also very popular in this part of the world, for her upbeat sound and easy going lyrics. She has shared a stage with world famous artists like Elliott Yasmin, Shaggy and Whitney Houston. For a light hearted holiday playlist, search out a tune or two from this intriguing Malaysian artist.    
Notable Bornean Musicians
If you have not heard of Yuna, it is time to change that. She is the proud writer and singer of a track produced by no other than Pharrell Williams, so you know that she has to be an artist to watch. In fact, she has spent the last six years gaining critical acclaim around the globe, everywhere from Conan and Last Call with Carson Daly, to the soundtrack of major Hollywood movie Savages. This young, sassy musician is completely independent – she writes all of her own songs, and is just as remarkable when playing acoustic as she is with a live band. 

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