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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:42 am 
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I want to draw the attention of the forum to an exciting book project being spearheaded by one of our members, Vernon Kedit. He is currently in the midst of completing the manuscript for a bi-lingual book (Iban and an English translation) which is based on a historical account of the Iban nation from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. He hopes to have the book printed and published before Christmas this year (2010).

The book is both an account of (part of) the Iban nation and also the story of Vernon’s own direct family as his ancestors were very much leaders of their people, the Saribas Iban. I have had the privilege of reading the first chapter (of 9) of the book. I was personally excited to encounter in this chapter the Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana Bayang from just before his birth when he was still in the womb. I already knew of this illustrious ancestor (although as an old and wizened warrior leader recorded in an 1842 journal entry of Sir James Brooke) from helping Vernon with some research into a textile in a UK museum earlier this year.

Vernon’s book – yet to be titled – is based as closely as possible on what are probably the first written records of the oral history of his ancestors given to Vernon by his grandfather, Ivory Kedit Ipa, in the 1980s. As Vernon says in the Preface to the book: “These treasures include historical accounts, genealogies, customs, chants, songs, folk tales and even minutes of meetings! Many of these documents, some by grandfather’s hand, and others by his uncle Lionel Bediman, record hitherto unpublished information from primary sources that are valuable not only to future generations of my family but also new information that would add to knowledge and the vast corpus of Iban studies.” Vernon notes that the document transcribed by Lionel Bedman was copied by him in 1936 from an earlier manuscript purportedly written by his uncle Langie Boudyne Gerasi, now lost. It is only very recently that Vernon has realised the documentary treasure which he has been safekeeping. (see http://ourbookproject.blogspot.com/p/preface.html )

The text in the book is presented in alternate paragraphs of the original Iban and then as faithful as possible a translation into English. As Vernon says, when he rues the fact that the book is not commercially viable, “It is a cross between an academic work and a historical novel, with no pretty pictures.” I might describe it as a fascinating mix of legend, incorporating the ancient gods of the Iban; cultural customs; large-scale historical events; very specific family records; and considerably more besides. We now live in an age where we are losing/have lost the ability to pass on our history based on a recitation from memory; everything is ephemeral, just catching the moment and increasingly recorded via technology. To be able to present in book form for both the Iban and a wider interested audience these precious oral records as they were first transcribed provides an opportunity which should not be missed and which, I believe, deserves our support.

To find out more about ‘out book project’ see the blog that Vernon has set up to explain the project and to invite friends to donate; even very small amounts are welcome. http://ourbookproject.blogspot.com/

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:49 am 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
This project is really exciting to anticipate and think about. Not only will it provide an invaluable record for the Iban people now living, as well as those in the future, it also shows that books continue to be relevant even in this technologically advanced age. Kudos to Vernon!

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Susan Stem

http://www.tribaltrappings.com
http://tribaltrappings.blogspot.com/


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:43 pm 
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Hi Pamela,

What a wonderful project! Illustrations would increase the price, but would also greatly increase the impact of the book.
You might point out to Vernon that the book by Hose and McDougal, which he has (photo posted on one topic), is no longer under copyright; the last author died in 1940. It has many b&w photos, and has been reprinted in India.

Regards, Larry


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:43 pm 
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Hi Larry,

I will certainly draw Vernon's attention to your post - truly entering into the spirit of the project! I too had thought about the odd black & white engraving in an older style and mentioned it to Vernon - whose thoughts were not a million miles away! He is pretty bogged down with the text ..... but he might come up for air! However, cost, unfortunately is very critical.

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: will people buy it?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:00 am 
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I applaud Vernon Kedit's initiative. Furthermore, I think it will be a book that will "sell" for generations and generations to come.

People on this forum probably know that I undertook my Back to the Villages project last June to give weavers copies of my latest book, Legacy in cloth, Batak textiles of Indonesia. That would have been that, for me....if it hadn't been that the Indonesian photographer who went along with me on the trip, MJA Nashir, was so taken by the purpose of it, the fact that it happened at all, and the reactions of the Batak people, that he wanted to announce he trip more widely. He is now writing 18 chapters about our trip that will eventually be turned into a book. Currently, he is publishing the chapters serially on Facebook. Each time he finishes a chapter, he posts it as a Note.

This may seem like a red herring relative to the amazing work by Vernon Kedit, but I am writing this to say that he must not underestimate the current hunger of indigenous peoples to have more information about their own heritage. I have been terribly moved by this -- both when I was giving away books in North Sumatra and now when I am reading responses to MJA Nashir's writings on Facebook. Within a day of publishing each chapter for the internet community, he gets dozens of reactions: stories from people about their youth, messages from relatives of the people we met, anger at the loss of culture, resolve to do something about it, encouragement to him to keep on and never stop writing because the Batak love it so much, heightened awareness at the loss of culture, nostalgia and on and on. I would hazard to say that such books as Vernon and Nashir are working on just might turn into the Harry Potters of the indigenous world.

All strength to you, Vernon! Don't doubt the importance of what you are doing!

For those of you who read Indonesian, there are links on my blog at http://bataktextiles.blogspot.com/p/men ... engan.html to the posts on Facebook about the Back to the Villages project. The writer is currently deeply in the market in Nainggolan and I look forward to Post number 6 any day now...

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Sandra Niessen

www.bataktextiles.com
http://bataktextiles.blogspot.com/


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
susan stem wrote:
This project is really exciting to anticipate and think about. Not only will it provide an invaluable record for the Iban people now living, as well as those in the future, it also shows that books continue to be relevant even in this technologically advanced age. Kudos to Vernon!


Dear Susan

I love books, especially hard covers with quality recycled paper and well-thought out type-faces, layouts and designs.

This book will, hopefully, not just be a physical document of an important record of the Iban people but also a beautiful work of art that would transcend style, fashion and vogue.

Thank you for the support.

Vernon


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:00 pm 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
larry wrote:
Hi Pamela,

What a wonderful project! Illustrations would increase the price, but would also greatly increase the impact of the book.
You might point out to Vernon that the book by Hose and McDougal, which he has (photo posted on one topic), is no longer under copyright; the last author died in 1940. It has many b&w photos, and has been reprinted in India.

Regards, Larry


Hello Larry

I have discussed the matter with the printer and she says that she could squeeze in a few more b&w images without affecting the overall cost of the book. So we're now looking at about 20 pages of b&w pictures and really interesting lithographs which I shall be 'borrowing' from Hose and a few others in the same genre to illustrate certain passages and chapters of the book.

I am mulling over the inclusion of at least 4 colour pages for some really important images. But that's a definite cost increase. Oh well, we shall see.

Thank you for the suggestion, Larry.

Vernon


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 Post subject: Re: will people buy it?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Sandra Niessen wrote:
I applaud Vernon Kedit's initiative. Furthermore, I think it will be a book that will "sell" for generations and generations to come.

People on this forum probably know that I undertook my Back to the Villages project last June to give weavers copies of my latest book, Legacy in cloth, Batak textiles of Indonesia. That would have been that, for me....if it hadn't been that the Indonesian photographer who went along with me on the trip, MJA Nashir, was so taken by the purpose of it, the fact that it happened at all, and the reactions of the Batak people, that he wanted to announce he trip more widely. He is now writing 18 chapters about our trip that will eventually be turned into a book. Currently, he is publishing the chapters serially on Facebook. Each time he finishes a chapter, he posts it as a Note.

This may seem like a red herring relative to the amazing work by Vernon Kedit, but I am writing this to say that he must not underestimate the current hunger of indigenous peoples to have more information about their own heritage. I have been terribly moved by this -- both when I was giving away books in North Sumatra and now when I am reading responses to MJA Nashir's writings on Facebook. Within a day of publishing each chapter for the internet community, he gets dozens of reactions: stories from people about their youth, messages from relatives of the people we met, anger at the loss of culture, resolve to do something about it, encouragement to him to keep on and never stop writing because the Batak love it so much, heightened awareness at the loss of culture, nostalgia and on and on. I would hazard to say that such books as Vernon and Nashir are working on just might turn into the Harry Potters of the indigenous world.

All strength to you, Vernon! Don't doubt the importance of what you are doing!

For those of you who read Indonesian, these are the posts so far on Facebook about the Back to the Villages project. The writer is currently deeply in the market in Nainggolan and I look forward to Post number 6 any day now...
Nashir, MJA 2010. Menyusuri ulos Batak: Berkelana dengan Sandra. (18-part series of which 5 are now completed). Part 1: http://www.facebook.com/notes/mja-nashi ... 4462987855 ; Part II: http://www.facebook.com/notes/mja-nashi ... 327202855; Part III: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=438797277855; Part IV: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/not ... 961277855; Part V: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/not ... 7382062855


Hi Sandra!

Guess which book I showed the book designer and said, "Can you design something like this?" and later also took to the printer and said, "I want something like this please." Legacy in cloth, of course! Of course, we won't be copying the design of the book but rather the quality of craftsmanship and care that went into its making.

Another idea that has been swirling in my head is gifting the book to school children i.e. school libraries and rural youth centres. Again, you have shown the way. I think once the book is published, NGOs and foundations may be more receptive to this idea.

Sandra, you are my beacon of light! Don't ever stop shining!

Vernon


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:16 pm 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
I really could not have started this project without the constant support and advice of Pamela. And I don't think I can finish it without her too! So Pamela, fasten your seat-belt. The journey's only just beginning!

THANK YOU EVERYONE.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Hi Vernon

Thanks! I have just had a fascinating read of your latests posts on the book project blog. You clearly had a very moving visit to the burial place of your rajah rajah ancestors. I have tingles across the back of my neck from reading .... Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana Bayang is very real to me. I so look forward to knowing more about him. I know the first part of his story from the first chapter of 'the book...' and the sunset of his life from our research. You have quoted my favourite extract from Rajah James Brooke on the blog:

Quote:
“The Orang Kaya Pomancha, of Sarebas, is now with me - the dreaded and the brave, as he is termed by the natives. He is small, plain-looking and old, with his left arm disabled, and his body scarred with spear wounds. I do not dislike the look of him, and of all the chiefs of that river I believe he is the most honest, and steers his course straight enough.” (The First Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke, in 1843, [pg 78, 1848, Narrative of Events in Borneo and Celebes down to the Occupation of Labuan, Vol. II].)"


I have just got back from a day trip to Oxford for the AGM of the Oxford Asian Textile Group followed by Sandra Niessen as the guest speaker on her 'Back to the villages' project. Sandra was very much on form with her light shining brightly!

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:46 am 
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Location: Beijing
One way to raise funds might be to "pre-sell", meaning to offer a small discount to those prepared to pay for the book up-front and wait for publication.

Chris

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:37 am 
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Location: Kuching, Malaysia
Chris Buckley wrote:
One way to raise funds might be to "pre-sell", meaning to offer a small discount to those prepared to pay for the book up-front and wait for publication.

Chris


Hi Chris,

Yes, I have been thinking along those lines too. In fact, Pamela had suggested it as well. The problem is we do not have a retail price yet. Until the printers and distributors have settled on the cost price and the retail price, it would be difficult to gauge and put a figure on the book. The cost price still stands at RM40 a book, but that may change if I add more illustrations. The distributors have still not decided if they want to take on the book. So you see, I am in a limbo and am technically 'stuck'.

The latest development is that PayPal has declined my appeals. Now I am forced to tell donors that the only way they can contribute to the project is by way of a direct bank transfer. For people with bank accounts in Malaysia, a bank transfer is easy and relatively cheap (and free within the same bank). For people living outside Malaysia, it is a pain, and EXPENSIVE.

Nevertheless, I soldier on!


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