National Geographic : 1963 Nov
Hospitable Ibans, or Sea Dyaks, in a longhouse on Sarawak's Rajang River spread rice wine and cakes for visitors, author Maurice Shadbolt (center) and NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC photographer Winfield Parks (right). Once fierce warriors, these people now have one foot in the 20th century, as the sewing machine and radio reveal. But older women still go bare to the waist, and men wear elaborate tattoos. glers. And some were probably pirates. But it was the immigrants who claimed my atten tion-their lean bodies, thin faces, sad eyes. From as far as Timor, a month's journey, they had sailed to the promised land of Sabah. Often they are lucky and find a job and don't have to face the long voyage home on a pirate-ridden sea. For flourishing North Bor neo has room for more than its half a million 770 population. Thousands of desperate immi- grants pour each year through Sandakan and Tawau, twin boomtowns of North Borneo's expanding frontier. If they find work within two weeks, they may win permits to stay. Why do they come? "A man can get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work," one immi grant told me. "And there is no corruption," another said. Tawau's bustle typifies North Borneo, one of the hardest hit regions of World War II.