Poisoned Darts and Dyak Trackers – Part 1

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A man raises a bamboo tube to his mouth, blows in it, and a poison dart hits an evildoer and kills him. This is always cool when they do it in the movies but I always wondered such a thing really existed in decades past. Good News! There is. Or was. And maybe it isn’t such good news. But interesting.

I have been reading, War of the Running Dogs: Malaya, 1948-1960, which is about the Malay Emergency, in which the British and all the various ethnic groups comprising Malaysia fought a vicious eight year war against Communist terrorists supported by Mao and the other gangsters in the Peoples Republic of China.

The British recruited Dyak trackers from Borneo, which happens to be an interesting place. It is the third largest island in the world. About 70% of the island is part of Indonesia which would have made it a Dutch colony until the end of World War Two. Most of the rest of the island is divided into the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabeh.

However, the Sultanate of Brunei takes up about 2% of island and is an independent country. It also produces lots of oil. It had been a British colony for the last half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th Century. Since it is a very small country, no bigger than Delaware, predator countries probably have an interest in swallowing Brunei. That’s why the British keep a battalion of Gurkhas stationed in the country.

[Source: War of the Running Dogs: Malaya, 1948-1960 by Noel Barber.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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