Google Doodle honours Sarawak-born ethnographer Benedict Sandin


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 18 Oct 2020

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PETALING JAYA: Google honoured Sarawak-born folklorist and ethnographer Benedict Sandin on Sunday (Oct 18), by featuring him on their doodle on the occasion of his 102nd birthday.

Sandin served as the curator of the Sarawak Museum, the oldest museum in Borneo.

He was born in 1918, in the Kerangan Pinggai longhouse located in the Saribas basin of Saratok.

Sandin, who is Iban, earned scholarly acclaim as one of the world's foremost experts on the culture and dedicated his life to the preservation of his native heritage.

"It was his father who first introduced him to the poetic Iban language, which Sandin went on to master and champion. In 1941, Sandin began work in the Sarawak civil service, and his gift for writing eventually led to an assignment as the editor of Pembrita – the first news publication in the Iban language.

"His articles attracted the attention of the Sarawak Museum's curator, who recruited him to join the museum's staff in a special post in 1952," Google said in a note.

Sandin was then accepted into a Unesco fellowship program in New Zealand, where he studied museum techniques and anthropology.

He returned home determined to chronicle the Iban history, culture, and language by absorbing and recording the wisdom of local genealogists, bards, and historians.

As a testament to Sandin's invaluable ethnographic achievements, he was named the Curator of the Sarawak Museum and Government Ethnologist in 1966, a position he held for the better part of a decade.

Sandin passed away on Aug 7,1982 aged 64.

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