— left handed typing since 2001

Magnifying glass for search box

Time travelling with 23 18.05.2006

10 years ago, I had the opportunity of going to Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo with a friend of my family, who is an anthropologist. She had been living with, and studying the lives of the people of the Punan Bah, living in longhouses on the banks of the Rejang river, that goes deep into the heart of Malaysian Borneo. I took some pictures back then, and some weeks ago, I put them online on 23, which is quite big in Asia, as far as I know.

The trip 10 years ago was fantastic, the Punan are very very hospitable and friendly, and I immediately felt welcome in the village. I spoke to some of the people there, mostly a guy who spoke English. I remember I got his address, so I could write him, when I went back to Denmark, but I never managed to stay in touch, and as time went by, no contact was established. However, the visit to Punan Bah shaped my last 10 years. It played a major part in me choosing Human Geography as my first studies at university.

When I uploaded the photos from the trip recently, I thought about trying to make contact with Punan Bah again, but 10 years is a long time for anybody, and stuck with just uploading the pictures. And this is where social software enters the stage. Calvin, who lived in Punan Bah, came across my pictures and recognised the friend of my family on some of them. So Calvin dropped me a comment, and showed me he had made a website about the Punan, and has been kind enough to correspond with me and tell me about what happened in the last 10 years.

I now know, that the chiefs son, whom I spoke to back then, has 4 children, that a government project has ruined sacred burial grounds of the Punan Bah, to make way for oil palm plantations, and that the logging, which was very dominating in the area already back then, is now even more dominating. I know, they weren't terribly good news, but I am so happy to have a bit of contact with something that makes me remember a very special trip on my life.

And that wouldn't have happened without the advent of social software, in the shape of 23. Thanks for that.


Thomas Madsen-Mygdal | web | @ / 22:39 / 19th of may / 2006

Love the story, but really - don't thank 23.

Thank the internet. Thank the web. Thank open sharing. Thank the concept of photo blogs. Thank the concept of personal homepages. Thank openness.

23 and other services are nothing. Not compared too all the stuff above. We're just a tool for doing some of the above. The stuff above is the real deal - we're just a tool for making it possible.

Jonas | web / 11:50 / 21st of may / 2006

Thomas, you are right, I should thank the internet, the web, and the open sharing foremost, but right after that, I'll thank 23 for making it a snap to accomplish the sharing.

kelley / 6:33 / 31st of october / 2006

Hi jonas
Just to say hi..
I'm a Punan and living in Punan Bah and i'm happy with your positive comment about us the Punans whic often wrongly refer to as same as the Penans which is very much a different group of ethnic in Sarawak.
Thanks jonas


mikal | @ / 17:21 / 23rd of november / 2007

i'm a Punan and also a Punan Bah community. may be last year i've see u while your trip in Punan Bah. i'm so glad with your views about the Punans. hope u can help us to promote Punan of sarawak, especially Punan Bah. actually, i've read a good news in The Borneo Post about some effort to realize Punan Bah as a "cultural heritage village" in sarawak.

seloma wilson edward / 2:11 / 29th of march / 2008

wat pa/

seloma wilson edward / 2:13 / 29th of march / 2008

hi....apa khabar semua....saya harap semua bangsa punan happy selalu....x lama lagi ari gawai....

› Bio (sort of)

Bio is the personal website of me, Jonas Voss, and this is my blog. I've lived in Dublin, Ireland from 2005-10, currently live in London, and was born and fully customized in Copenhagen, Denmark. I write about anything that comes to mind. Really.
You can send me an email › if that's how you roll.

Disclaimer: I speak for myself, not my employer. srsly. || This work is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa License.