My Friends the Savages - Notes and Observations of a Perak settler (Malay Peninsula)
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My Friends the Savages - Notes and Observations of a Perak settler (Malay Peninsula)

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Project Gutenberg's My Friends the Savages, by Giovanni Battista CerrutiThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: My Friends the SavagesNotes and Observations of a Perak settler (Malay Peninsula)Author: Giovanni Battista CerrutiTranslator: I. Stone SanpietroRelease Date: February 25, 2009 [EBook #28189]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MY FRIENDS THE SAVAGES ***Produced by A Project Gutenberg volunteer working withdigital material generously made available by the InternetArchiveMY FRIENDS THE SAVAGES BYCaptain G. B. CERRUTI TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIANby I. Stone Sanpietro Notes and observations of a Perak settler(Malay Peninsula). Richly illustrated with originalphotographs taken by the Author. COMO (Italy)TIPOGRAFIA COOPERATIVA COMENSE1908 Every copy of this work not bearing theauthor's signature will be retained by himas an infringement of his rights. Signature of Author These notes, the fruit of much sacrifice, I dedicate to thememory of my dear ones.The fond embrace of parents and a sister, which for me wasa sweet augury at my departure, greeted me no more at myreturn! Varazze, June 1906. Transcriber's Note: This table of contents was originally at the end of the ...

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Project Gutenberg's My Friends the Savages, by
Giovanni Battista Cerruti
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no
cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,
give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg
License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: My Friends the Savages
Notes and Observations of a Perak settler (Malay
Peninsula)
Author: Giovanni Battista Cerruti
Translator: I. Stone Sanpietro
Release Date: February 25, 2009 [EBook #28189]
Language: English
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK
MY FRIENDS THE SAVAGES ***
Produced by A Project Gutenberg volunteer workingProduced by A Project Gutenberg volunteer working
with
digital material generously made available by the
Internet
Archive
MY FRIENDS
THE SAVAGES

BY
Captain G. B. CERRUTI

TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN
by I. Stone Sanpietro


Notes and observations of a Perak settler (Malay
Peninsula). Richly illustrated with original photographstaken by the Author.


COMO (Italy)
TIPOGRAFIA COOPERATIVA COMENSE
1908

Every copy of this work not bearing the
author's signature will be retained by him
as an infringement of his rights.

Signature of Author

These notes, the fruit of much sacrifice, I dedicate to
the memory of my dear ones.
The fond embrace of parents and a sister, which for
me was a sweet augury at my departure, greeted me
no more at my return!
Varazze, June 1906.
Transcriber's Note: This table of contents was
originally at the end of the book but has been moved
here for the convenience of users.
CONTENTS

Chapter I: Malacca and its contrasts—D
evourers of the soul and devourers of th P
e body—The realization of a poet's drea a
5
m—Temptations—A call from the forest g
—Auri sacra fames—Baggage—Farewelle
to civilization
Chapter II: My escort—By steamer to Te
lok Anson—The other bank of the Perak
—Towards the forest—First news—Bloo
d-letting in the swamp—Robbed and fors 1
"
aken—Revenge in due time—The Malay' 1
s instigation—My little Sam Sam's fidelity
—Philosophical reflections under a heav
y weight
Chapter III: A fearful nocturnal concert—
Fire! Fire!—A clearing in the forest—A g
eneral flight—Masters of the camp!—Mo 2
"
rtal weariness—A morning greeting witho 2
ut any compliments—A first meeting—In
the village—Alà against the Orang-putei
Chapter IV: New friends—Gold—An Engl
ish official—The purchase of my future tr
easure—Administrative simplicity—Engla
3
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​3
nd teaches!—The "sla pui"—Bitter disap "
1
pointment—The Sam-Sam—The poison
of the Savage and the venom of the Civil
ized
Chapter V: Great Mother Earth—A dang
erous meeting—A living statue—Here or
there?—An unrelished supper—A dread
ed immigration—A glance into the past—
4
A rape which was not a rape—A noble ta"
2
sk—Towards the mountain—Tiger-shooti
ng—The Sakais in town—Alloyed sweets
—Musical tastes—Hurrah for the free for
est!
Chapter VI: The great Sorceress—The f
orest seen from above—A struggle for lif
e—The crimes of plants—Everlasting twil
ight—Births and deaths—Concerts by fo
5
rest vocalists—The "durian"—The "ple-lo "
9
k"—Vastnesses unexplored by science—
Treasures intact—Para Rubber—The Sa
maritans of the jungle—The forest and it
s history
Chapter VII: The snares of civilized life—
Faust's invocation—The dangers of the f
7
orest—Serpents—A perilous adventure "
5
—Carnivorous and herbivorous animals
—The "sladan"—The man of the wood
Chapter VIII: An official appointment—A
tour of inspection—Lost in the forest—I f
ind a philosopher—Lycurgus and his law
s—A contented mind is a continual feast 8
"
—A night among the tigers—On the Ber 5
umbum—I sleep with a serpent—The las
t of many—Safe from trap and arrow—T
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​he coronation of King Edward VII
Chapter IX: The origin of the Sakais—Hy
pothesis and legend—Physical character
—Thick tresses, gay flowers and trouble
some guests—Hereditary antipathy—Th 1
e five senses reduced to two—Food and " 0
drink—Tranquil life—Intolerance of autho 7
rity—Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law
—Logical laziness—A Sakai journalist—T
he story of a mattress
Chapter X: The Sakai woman—Conjugal
fidelity—A life of labour—Betrothals and
1
nuptials—Love among the Sakais—Divor
" 2
cement—No kissing—Chastity—Bigamy
5
—Maternity and its excesses—Aged bef
ore the time—Fashion and coquetry
Chapter XI: A Sakai village—The "elder"
—The family—Degrees of relationship—
1
Humorists disoccupied—On the march—
" 4
Tender hearts—Kindling the fire—A heca
1
tomb of giants—The hut—Household go
ods and utensils—Work and repose
Chapter XII: Intellectual development—S
akais of the plain and Sakais of the hills
—Laziness and intelligence—Falsehood 1
and the Evil Spirit—The Sakai language " 5
—When the "Orang Putei" gets angry— 2
Counting time—Novel calendars—Moral
gifts
Chapter XIII: First attempts at industry—
The story of a hat—Multiplicity—Primitiv 1
e arts—Sakai music—Songs—Instrumen" 7
ts—Dances—Ball dresses—Serpentine g 2
racefulness—An unpublished Sakai song
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Chapter XIV: The beliefs and superstitio
ns of the Sakais—Metempsychosis—Th
e Evil Spirit—Superstition among savage
s and ignorance among civilized people
—The two sources of life—The wind—Th 1
e Alà priest and physician—A scientific vi" 8
gil—Venerable imposture!-Tenac and Ci 3
ntok—Therapeutic torture—Contagion—
A Sakai's death—The deserted village—
Mourning—Births—Fire—Intellectual dar
kness—The Sakais and Islamism
Chapter XV: Sakai arms—Shooting—Ser
pent catchers—The Sakai and his poison
s—Toalang, rengas and sagol—Slà dol,
slà plek and slà clob—Akar toka—Ipok—
An antidote—The labar, lampat, masè a 2
nd loo—The legop—The Mai Bretaks—T " 0
he preparation of legop—Curious and su 2
perfluous ingredients—The effects of leg
op—Strange contradictions—Experiment
s—Poisons and antidotes—The settler a
nd science
Chapter XVI: Past and future geography
2
—Mountains and plateaus—An attempt
" 2
at a census—Temperature—Maladies a
1
nd remedies—Alà a quack
decorative panel
AMONG THE SAKAIS
CHAPTER I.
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Malacca and its contrasts—Devourers of the soul and
devourers of the body—The realization of a poet's
dream—Temptations—A call from the forest—Auri
sacra fames—Baggage—Farewell to civilization.
From the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Siam the
Malay Peninsula, once known as the Golden
Chersonese, jets out into the Indian Ocean like an arm
stretched forth to unite once more within its embrace
the innumerable isles that belt its coasts and that have
probably been severed from the mainland by the
combined force of Time and Sea.
In these surrounding islands, some as large as
continents, others as narrow as reefs, over which
civilization passes in squalls of cupidity, are concealed
the strangest contrasts, for whilst around the shore
human wolves disguised as civilized men are
devouring souls, or (with due observance of the law)
are usurping and stealing their neighbour's property
and products, (the cleverest and most respected being
he who best dissembles his rapacity or who knows
how best to substitute unscrupulous shrewdness for
industrial activity) not far off towards the centre of
these scattered lands other men, in primitive
ignorance of the law, are devouring their neighbours'
flesh and skin or stealing their live bodies to serve as
slaves.
But such curious contrasts are not after all so very
striking when one considers that to devour souls and
to devour flesh are both natural instincts of Man!
Around the coast of the Peninsula are many
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​flourishing towns where every modern and up-to-date
accommodation is to be found. These seaside resorts
are thronged with a cosmopolitan population
composed of tourists, business men, nabobs and
adventurers. There life rolls on in the refined
corruption of fashionable society amidst sports and
amusements, scandals and intrigues, every race and
every tongue contributing its share of good and evil. A
motley crowd swarms their streets, presenting to the
eye of an onlooker the picturesque spectacle that the
contrast of costumes always produces. They are
people of different colours, dress and education,
attracted thither by the loadstone of wealth. The
fortunate, the clever, the unscrupulous have already
gained the victory in Life's struggles and now ride
about in motor-cars of the newest types; the others
look at them, most likely envy them, and work all the
harder to get rich themselves. Will they succeed? The
way, here is a short one but can only be successfully
trodden by those who possess sound energy and blind
confidence in their own brains and in their own
muscles. It must not be thought, however, that the
motor-car is a prerogative, in these parts, of opulent
Europeans and Chinese for it is also a powerful
auxiliary for those who are striving to make their
fortunes through agricultural and mining speculations
in the wildest regions of the Peninsula.
But whilst near the sea the inhabitants and travellers
can enjoy all the luxuries and conveniences of the 20th
century, in the interior of the Peninsula, leading a
nomadic life in the thick of the jungle, which covers the
range of mountains from north to south, a primitive
people still exists. All unconscious of the violent

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