Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

Antoni Gaudí
Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet (25 June 1852–10 June 1926) – in English sometimes referred to by the Spanish translation of his name, Antonio Gaudí was Spanish Architect who belonged to the Modernist Style ( ART Nouveau ) movement and was famous for his unique and highly individualistic designs.
The Casa Mila, in the Eixample, Barcelona. Gaudí was a devout Catholic, to the point that in his later years he abandoned secular work and devoted his life to Catholicism and his Sagrada Familia. He designed it to have 18 towers, 12 for the 12 apostles, 4 for the 4 evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus. Soon after, his closest family and friends began to die. His works slowed to a halt, and his attitude changed. One of his closest family members – his niece Rosa Egea – died in 1912, only to be followed by a "faithful collaborator", Francesc Berenguer Mestres, two years later. After these tragedies, Barcelona fell on hard times economically. The construction of La Sagrada Família slowed; the construction of La Colonia Guell ceased altogether. Four years later in 1916, Eusebi Güell, his patron, died.

Perhaps it was because of this unfortunate sequence of events that Gaudí changed. He became reluctant to talk with reporters or have his picture taken and solely concentrated on his masterpiece, La Sagrada Família .He spent the last few years of his life living in the crypt of the "Sagrada Familia"
On 7 June 1926 Gaudí was run over by a tram. Because of his ragged attire and empty pockets, many cab drivers refused to pick him up for fear that he would be unable to pay the fare. He was eventually taken to a paupers' hospital in Barcelona. Nobody recognized the injured artist until his friends found him the next day. When they tried to move him into a nicer hospital, Gaudí refused, reportedly saying "I belong here among the poor." He died three days later on 10 June 1926, at age 73, half of Barcelona mourning his death. He was buried in the midst of La Sagrada Família.
Although Gaudí was constantly changing his mind and recreating his blueprints, the only existing copy of his last recorded blue prints was destroyed by the Anarchists in 1938 during the Spanish Civil War. This has made it very difficult for his workers to complete the cathedral in the fashion Gaudí most likely would have wished. It is for this that Gaudí is known to many as "God's Architect". La Sagrada Família is now being completed, but differences between his work and the new additions can be seen.
As of 2007, completion of the Sagrada Familía is planned for 2026. They wish to do this because it is the anniversary of his death. However, this may prove wildly optimistic if the worst fears of many eminent engineers and architects are realized. They have pointed out the structural dangers posed by a tunnel for a TGV-style high-speed rail which would run within feet of the church’s foundations one might note the precedent of a metro tunnel in Barcelona’s Carmel district that collapsed and destroyed an entire city block on the 1st of February 2005. Others of Gaudí's works threatened by the city center route chosen by Barcelona's mayor Jordi Hereu for the new rail line include Casa Batllo and Casa Mila.
Design and Concept

Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, currently under construction.Gaudi’s first works was designed in the style of Gothic Architecture and traditional Catalan architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style. French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who promoted an evolved form of gothic architecture, proved a major influence on Gaudí. The student went on to contrive highly original designs – irregular and fantastically intricate. Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Família, have an almost hallucinatory power.
Gaudí spent ten years working on studies for the design of La Sagrada Família and developing a new method of structural calculation based on a model built with cords and small sacks of lead shot. The outline of the church was traced on a wooden board (1:10 scale), which was then placed on the ceiling of a small house next to the work site. Cords were hung from the points where columns were to be placed. The sacks of pellets, weighing one ten-thousandth part of the weight the arches would to support, were hung from each catenaric arch formed by the cords. Photographs were then taken of the resulting model from various angles. When the photographs were turned upside-down, the lines of tension formed by the cords and weights revealed the lines of pressure of the compressed structure. This is one of the ways that Gaudi obtained natural forms in his work
The same expressive power of Gaudí's monumental works exists in his oddly graceful chairs and tables. Gaudí's architecture is a total integration of materials, processes and poetics. His approach to furniture design exceeded structural expression and continued with the overall architectural idea

The Brooke Raj was a remarkable achievement. James Brooke had acquired the status of an independent ruler. Sarawak flew its own flag, minted its own coinage, issued its own postage stamps, maintained a small military and naval force and had the other trappings of an independent state. Yet the position of its ruler was anomalous. Could subjects of Her Britannic Majesty be ruler of the state not itself subject to the two minds? The acquisition of protectorate status in 1888 family regularized the situation in the manner of Foreign Office could understand, and even then there was some feeling that Sarawak did not fit precisely into any specific categories.

Rajah James had established the Raj with the aid of remarkable few European officers. He relied ultimately on the loyalty of the Sarawak Malay Datus without whom he could not have ruled. For many years the relationship was uneasy, but by his death in 1868 he was the accepted ruler and his nephew Charles Johnson Brooke who have been the factor ruler in the Rajah declining years, inherited a stable political situation. Rajah Charles continued the practice of allowing the Malays leader a key rule in the Government of the state and a leading role in the annual supreme council and the triennial Council Negeri, the major Government advisory bodies.

If effective Government depended on the Malay and European elite, the maintenance of the peace of the state and the imposition of the Rajah Government upon the people depended on the warlike prowess of the Ibans, the most numerous of the Dayaks peoples. The Ibans were at ones at most troublesome subjects and his most loyal defenders. Independently minded chiefs would rise against the encroachment of the Government while those who had accepted Brooke rule would rally to its defense when the war-spear was sent amongst them and they could satisfy their lust for the battle in legalized raid upon its enemies. Plunder, heads and the excitement of war were their rewards and Rajah Charles reliance upon his Iban allies preserves these warlike proclivities despite his professed desire to eradicate them. For the truth Rajah Charles was he and Iban war leader and never failed to be stirred by the sight of the Great War PHARUS with their hundred or more be-feathered warriors massing at the beginning of a punitive expedition.

Brooke rule was intensely personal. It was undisputable autocratic. And yet it was popularly based. The Rajah and his European officers moved amongst the people they governed with freedom and ease. In Kuching certain formalities were honored and Brooke ceremony was composite of Malay and British traditions. The symbols of power were important, but the same Rajah who walked remote austere beneath the yellow umbrella on ceremony occasions was at all other time accessible to his people.

The Rajah suffered too from some of the disabilities of any autocratic regime. The aging Charles had his favorites and jealousies and suspicions marked each succession. Rajah Vyner was slow to adapt to the changing conditions of the twentieth century so that the native peoples were ill-prepared for the post World War 2 period, but that war and the modern period could hardly have been foreseen by the Rajah and his officers of the 1930’s administrators of the state that had existed largely in isolation for almost a hundred years. Loyalty to Raj was deeply ingrained, government was minimal and the personalities of Rajah and his officers were more important than policy. Of these personalities that of Rajah Charles was the most pervasive. If James was the founder of Sarawak, Charles was the builder who set traditions followed by his successor. When an officer of the post-war government visited remote areas it took him some time to relies that the Rajah the old man revered was not Vyner but Charles Brooke.

This article illustration tries to recapture something of the flavor of the Raj. Its presentation sets against its informality. Against the formal photographs of the uniformed officer from the source place the Ranee Margaret relaxing on the Batang Lupar and Resident hose in conference with his warriors. Much about the Raj appears slightly ridiculous to modern eyes. The people of Sarawak are better placed finally to judge the Brooke achievement. This article also from the source record it here as a fascinating segment of history, as a political entity unique in European rule in Asia and as having had a life of its own of interest to those who now livw in what was the BROOKE RAJ.

( Government House as now knowns as Astana )
( Main Bazaar )

( Cherko Market ) ( In front Cherko Market )

( Before Now As A Waterfront )

With the exception of Brunie town northwest Borneo was almost wholly rural when James Brooke arrived in 1839. There was, however a small Malay settlement at Kuching the centre of the Brunei Malay administration for the Sarawak river areas, it was natural that Brooke made the town his capital. From that time on the former Malay village has been the leading town in northern Borneo as well as the political, administrative, commercial and social hub of Sarawak. It has only been since World War 2 that other town notably Sibu and Miri have begun to challenge Kuching for supremacy.

race course and people

activity at main Bazaar from Thompson Road

( Now as Known as Merdeka Padang )

esplanade and Bandstand,Kuching

Then as now the town centre around the Chinese bazaar district situated across the river from the Brooke Astana and fort, the tone of urban life was essentially Chinese, the bazaar providing the focus for commercial and social life. Most Chinese lived above their shophouses or in boarding houses in the Bazaar, only the wealthiest Chinese and the small European group live in Bungalows outside the town area. Padungan Road the centre of the thriving business district today was little more than Sago factories while the suburban areas to the west and south of the Bazaar were only beginning to be developed. Among other differences India Street was joined to Carpenter Street where Bnak Negara now stand, while the bandstand and an esplanade occupied what is today the Centre Padang. No go downs blocked the view of the river from Main Bazaar. The Sungai Kuching for which the town is named was only filled in a decade or two after the turn of the century. Temples Street occupies that spot today.

Kuching Leader 1910

Leading Citizens

Encik Abdullah House in Kuching 1870

St Thomas School ( now only this part has been maintain near St. Joseph Schools )
Old Museum and Rock Road

The Chinese began arriving with the establishment of Brooke Government and soon became the largest urban group especially after large-scale immigration commenced after 1870. There was also a number of India, many of them Muslims. Many Sarawak Malays also live in Kuching and other town indeed Kuching began as a Malay town and has always boasted a sizeable Malay population. But very few Malays lived in th bazaar area most lived in Kampung across the river and to the west and southeast of the bazaar. Some of these have now disappeared. The Kampung timeless institution combined many features of urban and rural life, being in reality a relatively self-contained village situation often with in or near a town. This was even more so in the old days.

Animony Worker

Santubong Outing ( kugiran santubong )

First S.G.P Sarawak Soccer Team in 1918

The population of Kuching grew from about 6’000 in 1848 to perhaps 20’000 by 1880 and close to 30’000 by the early 1900’s. Everyday life in the town was varied. For the Chinese, the ubiquitous general’s store and sundry goods store of the Bazaar were augmented by stall and shops providing an assortment of food, drinks and entertained. Occasional Chinese WAYANGS often sponsored by opium or gambling concessionaires, helped attract both TOWKAYS and worker to the gambling stall and opium dens, then and integral part of Sarawak Chinese culture. Religious processions both Christian and traditional Chinese, the yearly racing meetings, regattas and outings to Santubong on the coast, while the Sarawak Museum, opened in 1981, was the popular spot. Rickshaws were the common mode of transportation. There were several Chinese schools as well as the Anglican and Roman Chatolic schools which were both smaller and less sophisticated than today

Malays life was more genteel. Woman were usually veiled and seldom seen outside the home, this custom only ended with the Japanese Occupation. Some Malays were extremely prominent in the Brooke administration and active in community affairs, indeed the supreme council composed largely of Kuching Malay Leaders. There were several Malay schools teaching both practical subject at the Koran, and men like the schoolmasters ENCIK ABU BAKAR provided an intellectual focus for the town.

Kuching was not the only town but pictures are most easily available for the capital. Bau, Simanggang, Sibu an Bintulu were also important in the early days. In these Outstations life was generally quieter. Bau was the centre of the great mining district where Chinese and European work for gold and antimony. The Bornoe Company ltd. Even had a railroad in the Bid mine. Although an important town by the mid 1880’s, Sibu only began to suggest the modern bustling urban area with the advance of the Foochows in 1901. More typical perhaps of the smaller outstations was Marudi, and then called Claudetown with Chinese general’s stores fronting the river and the various Dayaks costumers supplying the clientele for the Chinese shopkeepers. The populations of these towns seldom exceeded a few hundred.

The illustrations selected for this section suggest that urban life has, at least on the surface, changed more than rural life over the years. Certainly the pace and nature of social, economic and cultural change can more readily be seen in an urban setting. The face of Kuching has changed a great deal since these photographs were taken, although the main contour of the town would still be recognizable by the resident of an earlier period. If the high sailed Bandongs on the rivers have been replaced by freighters, and ATAP and BERLIAN shop houses by brick and concreted structure, urban life retains a bazaar orientation similar to former times

The largest group of rural dwellers in traditional Sarawak was the various peoples known collectively as Dayaks the non-Muslim Iban (or Sea Dayaks), Bidayuhs (or Land Dayaks), Kayans, Kenyahs, Kelabits and other who lived primarily along the river of the interior. For these groups the longhouse was the basics for social and economic organization. Among such group as the Sabuyaus and Kanowits the longhouse life among the other groups foreshadowed the tenacity with which it would later survive the onslaught of modern influences. The traditional animistic religion permeated many aspects of life, frequently even among Christians and Muslim alike. The cultivation of the hill rise was the main activity for inland peoples and migration in search of virgin land was common, especially among the Ibans. Indeed, migration was the manor force impelling this energetic people, the largest of Dayak groups, from their older settlements in the upper Batang Lupar across the face of Sarawak.

A notorious aspect traditional Dayak culture was particularly pronounce among the Ibans, although most of other Dayak group had at one time or another practiced it. Several of our pictures illustrate aspects of the ritual surrounding head-hunting, such as the dance performed by maidens when receiving the heads. Both head-hunting and migration were a constant source of friction between groups as well as with the Brooke government, which stamped out the former and curtailed the letter. In eradicating head-hunting and in ruling the recalcitrant Dayaks, the Rajahs relied heavily on the leadership of grate’s chiefs. Among the most famous were the Tama Bulan Wang, a Kenyah, and Temenggong Koh and Penghulu Dalam Munan, both Ibans.

Life in the Malay and Melanaus Kampung was a good deal quieter. Unfortunately few photo of early Malay life are available, in part because foreign visitors were generally more interested in the Dayaks, who excited the western imagination more. The Malays and Melanaus were primarily coasted dweller: most was fisherman and among the Melanaus sago cultivators. Many of the Muslims still retained elements of pre-Muslims past.

Dayaks, Malays and Melanaus were not the only rural dweller of course. There were many Chinese goldmines in the Bau area and by the 1870’s thousands of Chinese were growing pepper, Gambier and others crops. Some of the agricultural estates employed both Chinese and Malay labors and helped transforms Sarawak’s economy from subsistence agricultural pursuits.

Longhouse and Kampungs, hill rice and Sago these and other aspects of the traditional rural life a still important today and certainly do suggest a large amount of the continuity with the past. Yet, an emphasis on continuity obscures some very real if sometimes subtle changes which were not present
in earlier times but were starting to spread by the turn of the century. Such cash crops as rubber began to appear to Dayaks and Malay areas, primarily at first in certain favorable situated areas.

Christianity, introduced in the mid-nineteenth century began to spread from early bases in the First and Second Divisions to other part of the country. Islam continued to grow slowly but steadily among the Melanaus so that this once animistic group became predominantly Muslim people. The influence of the Chinese, with their example of frenetic energy and wealth, became gradually more apparent outside of the heavily Chinese areas of the First Division.
Although a few isolated Chinese trader had penetrated at Baram and Rejang river basins some years earlier, large numbers Chinese began to settle in these areas only in this century, so Chinese began to settle in these area only this century, so Chinese influence grew more slowly there.

Changes in rural life were slow to take root. The typical longhouse was exceedingly isolated as communications under the first two Rajahs were quite primitive and largely riverine. Few schools were available for rural students, and those in assistance were associated with the Christian mission’s stations which were the centered for the century. The people nearest those stations were likely to be exposed to more non-traditional influences. Such people, such as the Kelabits were far from both missions and Government outpost and were scarcely known even to Brooke administrators. Nomidic jungle dwellers such as the Punans also had little contact with outside influences.

A superficial glance to our picture may give impressions of a way of life that differs little from that of todays. Rural life throughout the world generally shows a higher degree of continuity that does urban life, and
Sarawak is no exception but a closer scrutiny of the pictures revels that things have by no means been static. Costumes and fashions have obviously been altered to some extent over the years. A number of traditional technological methods picture here have now almost died out, to be replaced by modern
technological advances. The traditional religion and medicine represented for example by the Kenyah DAYONGS has now been strongly challenged by modern influences. Head-hunting and some of the ritual which accompanied it has for the most part long since disappeared. Some traditional arts such as Iban weaving are now seldom seen. The longhouse may today be a some what more prosperous than it was in the days when these picture were taken. Yet the rural scenes of yesteryears from longhouse verandahs to wizened old chiefs still remain familiar to contemporary


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