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  • In the beginning of the Season of the Japanese, a child was born. The priest named him Priam. He was the youngest child, the youngest son, of Tati and Golingai.

    Golingai was the son of Tinggamai. He was widely known to be a skillful builder of houses and rice mills. Tati, like all the other women of the country of North Borneo, took care of the children. They lived in the wooden house that Golingai built.

    Everyone lived with blue Mt Kinabalu, the Sacred Abode of the Dead, looming out of its foothills into the white clouds in the distance.

    Priam was still a baby when the Japanese announced they wanted his wooden house, all big wooden houses, for their quarters.

    The Japanese had landed in the British Protectorates of Sarawak and Brunei - below Priam's country, the British Protectorate of North Borneo - simultaneously at dawn on 16 December 1941, taking Miri and Seria. (Seria was originally known as Padang Berawa which is Wild Pigeon's Field in Malay.) And soon after, Lutong.

    In the meantime, on the last day of 1941, another Japanese force moved up to occupy Brunei, the British Crown Colony of Labuan Island, and Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu, state capital). Eighteen days into the new year 1942, small fishing boats filled with Japanese soldiers landed at Sandakan. The 650 men of the North Borneo Armed Constabulary were outnumbered in their bid to protect the seat of government. The next morning, 19 January 1942, saw the yielding of British North Borneo to the Japanese invasion by Governor Charles Robert Smith who was interned with members of his staff.

    Priam had no way of knowing any of this. That something called a flag had been taken down and another flown in its place.

    His father, my Aki (Grandfather) Golingai, built a new house with the help of fellow villagers.

    On the day that they finished, his mother collapsed while preparing the chicken soup to thank everyone for their help.

    Instead of moving her and Priam and the other children (my mother was the eldest daughter, second oldest child, and she was ten) into their new home, according to plan, Golingai the carpenter had to return her to Her Father.

    For she was unable to hold on to life with 8-month-old Priam and her six other children needing her. Despite her best efforts she passed away four days later.

    Priam followed her four months later, at one year of age.

    These are dedicated to the ones I love
    The Death of Xion, the 14th Member (she was one too many) to my young grandmother Tati
    To you, Uncle Priam, a lullaby from Orchestra Japan: To Zanarkand Final Fantasy X

    I hope you will enjoy these too, Cowbirders, and If I Were A Carpenter by Peter Maffay und band - please click at Golingai the carpenter above.
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