Archive for category June Rubis

The Dayak tea party

by June Rubis
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 10, 2012

SEPT 10 ― It must have been a beautiful day for an outdoor tea party in West Kalimantan. It is the early 1980s when Borneo’s forests are still comparatively lush although the forests would have to struggle to survive an onslaught of slash-&-burn for commercial rubber plantations and wide-scale logging.

In the meantime, all is serene along the banks of the Kapuas River where the Javanese and Sumatran wives of managers of a rubber plantation wait for their guests to arrive.

The guests were the wives of local Dayak tribesmen, who upon arrival, gathered up all the food, and left, leaving their shocked hostesses in their wake.

The managers dismissed this as part of the “strange and difficult culture” of the Dayaks, while ignoring the fact that this behaviour was aberrant in Dayak culture and thus was a political statement of conflicting economic and political interests.

The Dayaks of the area were facing the loss of their forests and subsequently source of food, due to the appropriation of traditional lands for the rubber plantation. There were reports that the Dayaks were unhappy with the compensation received.

An eye for an eye, albeit a small victory of appropriating the plantation’s food, in protest of unfair appropriation of their native lands, one might say. Read the rest of this entry »


Bersih 2.0: Why I will march

By June Rubis
June 23, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 23 — We can only look back at our past to recognise the pivotal points that have brought us to where we are today.

Today, I am blessed to have a boss who supports and shares the same passions as I do: playing a role in strengthening civil society in Malaysia, along with wildlife conservation and rural community-based initiatives.

I particularly look forward to her mentorship as she has played a very significant leadership role in Green Surf, a home-grown Sabah coalition that successfully fought to stop a coal power plant being built in the state. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t give up on Malaysia

June Rubis
The Malaysian Insider
May 19, 2011

MAY 19 — Discovering the fresh corpse of an orangutan was probably the last straw. It had been shot several times and left to die on a riverbank. We discovered the corpse while paddling up a river in Batang Ai National Park.

Killing an orangutan, a totally protected animal, in Sarawak is an offence that could lead to two years’ imprisonment or a fine of RM30,000. Very few have been prosecuted for wildlife crimes in Sarawak, and the lack of prosecution or arrests does not necessarily mean that no crimes have been committed.
Read the rest of this entry »