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IjgL . EVENING DULLET1N, HONOLULU, T.,H., WEDNESDAY, FED..12, 1808. , 7
I Wild Life of Scientists On Borneo Trails
Writes of Travels
Extracts From Letter of Man 'Who Has
Discovered Parasite For Hawaiian
Cane Borer After Months of Toil
The stories of a scicnti-it lire not mindly put up in n form
tlmt attracts the ucnonil public. As n usual thing tho scorcher
sifter greater knowledge is no deeply engaged in his scientific
tik that lie docs not lliink to jot down the human-interest invi
ili'iits along the way.
An exception to the rule arc tlio letters of Fred. K. lluir,
assistnnt entomologist of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Experi
ment .Station. Prof. .Muir, it will Ih recalled, lias discovered u
parasite for the Hawaiian eaue-l)orcr. The exclusive announce
ment of this fact in tlio 15 u 1 1 e t i n a few days ago was es
pecially good news for (lie people of Hawaii, for there is n
prospect that, after much struggle and toil, this parasite may
lie transferred to this Territory and wipe out one of the greatest
ilr. Muir has heeii literally traveling in the wilds of Portico.
In his letters to tlio ollicers of the Experiment Station ho has
devoted eonsiderahlo space to a description of the country
through which he has lieen moving. Extracts from ono of theso
letters the Bulletin gives herewith, it tells a few of the
extraordinary hardships a mini encounters when lie gives him
self over to an enthusiastic study of applied eience. He travels
in very unusual paths. The letters from which extracts aio
I left llntavia on the :21s! .Inly, ly S.S. Altong, rind landed
in Pontiauak on the morning of the 21th.
I was very fortunate in meeting two Englishmen on lioiiril,
Messrs. White and Oirdlestone. hoth residents of West Borneo.
Tliiough their kindness and hosptality 1 was enahlcd to visit
two very different localities. The former is manager of the
Tanailina Coy, and lives at Teloe Aver, a small island situ
n.led in the lower part of the Kapoeas delta; the latter has
milling concessions at Moewong, in the .Meinpawah district,
ill x it i ( seventy miles north of Pontianak.
Owing to Iho shallowness of the water on the liar large lxmts
cannot enter the main branch of the river, liit liuvu to take n
morn southerly entrance, and steam for nine hours through,
winding channels, mid enter the main stream a little aliovo
l'ontiauak. For the first two-hours the sides of the channel
are lined with uopa'paInis,-foniCing a thick even' wall; ns you
continue on the nepa thins out and various .species of man
grove appear, and, where the land is a foot or two high, the
banks are covered with lowland forest trees. , The wholo.nspcct ,
is" Very tropical, especially where" the rattans slioot their grace
ful tops above the, trees.
uJ'ontianak was a C'him-o town before the Dutch camo to
tlio country, and most' of ,tho inhabitants are still Chinese,
through whose hands most of the trade passes. Copra oil is
the chief product, there being two mills for the manufacture.
" The town is situated on the western sido of the rivor on low
swampy ground, a moM unsuitable site; the roads are .all re
iilniuicd ground, 'mill .f is the ground that a few of .the -homes
bland on, tlio majority -being built on wooden piles, and havo
a couplo-offect of water under them at high tide. Tlio town
js lntorsecled by numerous ditches along, which natives movo
Jin sm'all clinocs.iif high tide." T was surprised to hear that such
ifsituatioti'-was healthy. During my stayIvas '.never, troubled
hy-niOMiiilo('s, but, I was inforuJeVl thai times they are. ex- -4
ccrdingly bad. ( ' , . , .... .'' . s
' At ihc" hacljqf tjni tnwm-Uiq Chinese, have c.lcar'ed.n. good
ijoiil if groiuiil, and gijiw various market garden product. ,.
Sugar eano is ul-o grown in fair quantities for market,, aid.
making inter sugar. The cane is (crushed ju touo mills, and
boiled in iipen pans in the Fame primitive, manner us iirChiiiu. .
()ii,"thc eastern sido f thn' river some of tjjo forest libecn .
cfciired and a small rubier plantations started.
All the land around bore is liny; and belongs to the delta
iWniution. .TJui soil consists of it! soft forest peat six to ten t
feet thick when' first cleared of trees,' but it mioiu sinks when .'
exposed to. Vain aitd cultivated. Tlio .water drained from this '
peat" land is of the colour of strong tea. After heavy rains .
the river Kapoeas is strongly coloured by this" peat Water, and
the sago washed with it acquires a dirlvc'oloiir. It is.not un
healthy to drink.. , N
i. As I wished to visit some of the native villages on' tlieileltii,
and to search among the paudauus nml.othcr.w-ump.loviug
plants, I accepted an invitation from Mr. White to,visit.Telot:
Aycr, anil .went down in his steam launch. Wo sJarted at .! .
li. ml, and arrived uliout 7 a. m. 'the next morning.
The river by night had a very different aspect than '.when
1 wont up by day. The night was very dark, and" innumheiT. ,
able iit'iillies illuminated the vegetation along the banks. In
wane places' thousands had congregated together,, and ,all kept
tiilio iiutlie pulsation of their light; in other, places a cloud :,
df. them would move rapidly up ami down tho.-lmuk, at ono ,
time bunching all together, and then trailing off ljko the tail
o'l'j a comet. Tim larvae ejjf thepo beetles arc very , interesting
crejituressomo attaining' three inches in length." All'lhat-I t,
took. inhabited old tines mid rotten wood, where thoyiproy, upon
other insects. One that I kept alive- in Java entered the runs,
and fed on the larvae, of beetle borers. They do not devour
their prny.-Jnit ."stick their juices, a process their mouth is
specially adapted, for. The mandibles aro long and pointed,
with n groove dowji the center, the mouth is closed lietow by
a greatly developed liypopluirynx ( ), and the maxillary palps
Ikrgntiiml used for grasping its prey. Tlio auteuuao nro thick,
reminding ono of' tlure.Vestalks of a snail, ami are capable of
being withdrawn, into tlio head, Tho'lioad is alo capable of
beijig withdrawn, into the-prouotum. Few of these larvae havo
U'en reared and identified; ouo that I biedjiml 'idjiwiugcd. -, I
mao nntl female, nfulitliKlnlotfthinrts, ai hougn, greatly, ,rJi.
ducod, wero very like tlio larval forms. Each. BCguiout. of jtlie,
body We a lateral process, articulated nt the base.
The delta fornieddiy tlio Kapoeas, l.nndak, and Some smaller
rivers, is of large extent; the land is low and' flat, with .in
numerable channels cutting it up into rfumll islands; man
grove is the chief tree, especially in the lower parts of tlio
delta. A few isolated hills, of a sandstono formation, with
occasional quarts veins running through it, stand out from
the general flatness of the country, These hills arc covered
with large forest trees different from those of the surrounding
Teloe. Aycr is such a hill, forming a crescent, looking east.
The forest, along the shore, between the points of the crescent,
lias been cleared, and tlio factory built near the lench. A
stream of good water conies down from tho hills and supplies
tlio factory. This stream has given tho namo to tho island
(Teloe, bay Aycr, water), native boats having inhde this a
plaeo of call for setting fresh water.
The majority of the "eutch" (catechu) manufactured hero
was chipped to America, but a recently iniocd heavy duty
has closed this market. Should the customs duties ever be
aliolished, or lowered, in favour of the Philippines, this indus
try would bo very profitable theie.
Sir. White's jiomo is situated on the northern point of tlio
crescent, and looks toward the east. Front it rino gets a fine
view of the surrounding country. Tho tops of tho mangrovo
trees form a flatj green surface, cut up by channels; where tlio
light green of the Nepa palm growing along it)( edge. On a
clear day ouo can distinguish tho Sockiidaim hills somo fifty
miles away. Th'is flat view may havo charms! for a visitor,
hut becomes a monotonous sight to those few Europeans living
Ono of the few' .forms of excitement hero is ke ping chickens,
not that this in itself is very exciting, but when you go to get
your breakfast eggs and finds a fifteen foot pytlion curled up
in your hen houo, lazily digesting two or three of your
chickens, it adds to tho excitement, if not to Mho profit, of
poultry rearing. We caught one such in Mr. White's hen s
house 'while I was there, jly boy got its head through a slip
, knot and dragged it down to the factory, where it was skinned
and tanned. Its intestine, like mi many snakes in this part 'of
the world, was full of parasitic worms.
1 found u few clumps of sugarcane growing near the fac
tory, on which I took a species of lcaf-hoppcr and its attendant
egg parasites. These insects I found wherever 1 went
in West Uorneo. Theso parasites are the main factors keeping
this hopper in check, and appear to lie very efficient. ,
.Before leaving Java,! hud ohlaimSll the services of a mitjivo
collector wlio had worked a long time! for the Puitcimirg'Suu
scum. I soon recognized tho valuo otitis services, as between
1 1 a. m. and t p. in. I generally found the heat joo grcat'fli do
much field work. N .!
I spent twelve days in this district, ami (lien, rWnnjtit to Pon
tiauak. Hero T met 3fr. A. ,T. Simons, airE)tglislimau, with
whom I travelled from Singapore to Butnviiu-. lie invited mo
to visit him t(Sockadana, Aitunied on tlltVeysslfliihWjiiMAhj but
having just returned from a similar Tocujity, I considered it
best to get inland, so-1 accepted' an iuMtntio'ii to visit Mttiflir
dli.'hlon tt -Iocwong. To roach this yliteoJWfi three days' jour-
,ney, tio ilrt 1y canoe, and then 'two flttyff walk. ;
Having procured letters, through thVikiiidncss of tho Assist
ant Resident of Poutiiuuik, to tho CapViiHiM'of the Chiueso Kant
pongs through which I 'had to pass, 1 ftftrtcrf at 5 p. in., bo as
to benefit by tho tide.
2Ay canoe was about 10 inches wide, and alioiit 18 feet long,
covered with a bamboo frame, thatched with palm leaves, except
at tho lww ami ntcrit, whero .the two natives, who formed tho
crow, sat and paddled. After stowing away my baggage .tltero i
. wioi.iittlo room left-for' myself and boy.
J The first few mites 'Our cburso.lay eastward, along tliOi'ta'n- w
dnki.Kivcr, then we turned off into flip JIandor Kivcr,' niiil
Tho banks aro low'' and Covered with lowland forest trees;
paudnnus grows almitllontly along tho edges, in many placet!
-forming a boljd WinMitovcnior eigh't years thick. About nine
o'clock n:thuijd6v-fitnriu eatiio-onaitil my men tied upultclor,,
tho 'nholter of suclnaiwoll. "These riyers aro said to Iio full 'of H
"crocks," but" I onlyisaw one. It would lie inconvenient to bo
upset in such n phwxtfas ono might havo to swim a mile ortnoro
,to fjnd a laiiding'ipijice; to got through the pamlanus to' tho -
bank' would Ikj almodt impossible.
. ' . I was agreeably surprised not to lie troubled by mosquitoes
insiieh a gitilatioiij' In Kjji, whenever I, passed a night;upon
.tliojriver, I,. wan nrly ilriyeri mad. During tl) tiny ycwcro
allUroublod by several species of Tabanidite, or "DyoKtlUes,"
as-'theyoro called 'locally. -Theso Hies aro exceedingly nunier
,' oils,' and follow tho 'boat for miles. Ono largo specimen, with
a very decided clip out of its wing, flow round tho Unit for,four
hours, occasionally Mjjtling on one or tho other to feed. '.Thero
is very littlo eattlo (dihoaso) in this part of Borneo, and.'Pdid'
not hear of any severe plague among theni, but a few months
before my visit ah epidemic killed off tho majority of thodogs
in This district." .No doubt trypauosoino wpuld bo very qujekly
car.ricd-through the country by theso Tnbaiiid ilies.
Itiitho railiy tca'son one can go up to Jlilndor by lioat, but nt
this time of tho year tho water is so low that ono cannot go
past Kooping; oven to reach that point tho crew' had to get out
om several occasions and push tho canoo over saiul banks.'r In
i tho higher part of tho rivor tho trees often meet over tho.river.
Old fallen tree trunks block tho stream, ami masses of patiilnuus
and other water plants form islands, only leaving small passages
through which to navigate tho eanoo.
i Wo did .not reach .Kocping till 11 a. m., and then I had to
wait for an- hour and a half before I could get a couplo of
s ChincsQicoblios, to carry my bags tp IMandor, alioiit twelve miles
fnrthor on. Kooping consists of about four houses, whero half a
dozen Chinamen live. Tho road between this placo and Man
dor is good, and runs through fairly old forest, 'parallel to tho
rivor; in the sluido of tho forest tho ground is covered with
moss, and tho atmosphere is cool and damp.
Tho great number of "stick-insects" (phasniids) and tho
scarcity of butterflies was very noticeable.
.Mundor is a Chiueso villago consisting of one long street.
Travellers arriving hero and wishing to get coolies to go up
country or u boat to go down the river are charged exorbitant
i- .ruteHj'otid us thura is no one else to go to, you havo to pay. For
I ...tunatoly I haM letters from tho Assistant President, nnd so had
' 13' trouble thuu I otherwise would havo hud, but I had to pay
more than a righteous charge. 1 spent the night liens, and
started at day break for Kamgnan.
Soon after leaving llandor tho country becomes hilly, nnd
lai-fto timber disappears. In all this'part of Uortico one only
finds primitives forest on n few isolated tops of mountains,
where the Dyakc, partly out of superstition, havo not burnt it.
The same thing is mentioned by Dr. A. W. Nienwenhuis in his
journey through Borneo. The Dyak method of agriculture is
responsible for this. Xcur the end of the dry scoson they clear
a pieeo of ground by burning the trees, and then sow their rice,
which comes up with the rains. After onq crop of rice has
been taken from the soil tho spot is abandoned and not used
again for six or seven years. Although the Dyaks are very few
in number, yet succeeding generations havo cleared the country
of largo timber. Borneo possesses many valuable trees, somo
on account of their resins, others for building or cabinet mak
ing; properly conserved, the forest would be much more valu
able thnn the miserable crops of rico raised on the cleared spots.
Tho Chinese wero in this District washing for gold long be
fore Europeans. The extend of their workings is marvelous,
and cannot bo believed unless seen. For miles the whole face of
tho country has been changed by diggings and sluices, and
wholo hills have lecn "washed" awoy.
About 11 a. m. we reached a small Chinese village situated
on tho ileijipawnh Uiver, which is fairly hirgo here, and has to
bo crossed jin a boat. Soon nfter this the road becomes bad,
nmt is only a track through the bush a great deal of the way.
At half past three I arrived at Karagnnn, two hours earlier
than I oxjpcctcd. I stopped tho night at this sinall Chinese
village, and started early in the morning.
As the jroad posses through so many streams, F decided to
walk in. jin jamas nnd shoes. Hy this means I enjoyed many
n plcasauc bath with littlo trouble.
A DyaK bridge is not at all a nice thing to negotiate. Some
times it (consists of a tree trunk thrown across the stream;
sometimes a few hnmlioos lashed together into a bundle, with a
rattan stretcher as a hand rail. Tho bridge swoys uliout from
sido to side, but should you try to steady yourself by aid of tho
hand rail your fall is inevitable. Personally, I prefer to wnde.
Sugar-cane grow in patches around all of tho villages, and
in many spots in the bush, probably the sites of old Kiunpongs.
1 made many halts on the way to examine these patchec, but
found no traces of bcetle-lsirers.
Toward noon the road becamo more rugged and the ascent
steepfr, as wo follow up the Meinpawah Itiver between Pandimg
and bckeh mountains. Wp passed several Dylik villages, built
on platforms raised on wooden piles four to five feet nbovo tho
grqjtnd, with a notched trunk of a tree for steps to reach it.
The stench that rises from the mud and filth that nccunmlato
below is iiliominable. A "villago" generally consists of quo
such platform, with ono building divided off into compartments,
with ono larger general eouipurtinent for cooking, etc. Tho
sizo of a villago is estimated. by tho muulier of doors. Sonic-'
times the road passes through n Dyak village, and then ono
lnust climb up tho notched tree trunk, pass through the village,
and down the other side.
A steep climb up tho sido of tho Mocwong mountain brought
mo to my destination about four o'clock, where a bath and a
drink put mo in a frame of mind to apprecioto the vjew which
lay stretched out in front of me.
The mountains form a circle, with u break townrds the south
east. I On tho eastern sido of the break rises Mount Sekch,
about 3000 feet, on tho western side, Mount Pniuliing, a littlo
over threo thousand feet; Moewong, alwut 2700 feet, is in tho
center. The Mempawnh Hiver rUes within this elrclo of moun
tains, and ,i.nc out Is'tween Sekch andPiimlaiig. Tho sides
nf tho mountains an. covered with.line old trees; thickly covered
with orchids and climbing plants. My friond's liouso is situ
atod iibout lflOO feet up the southern side of Moewong. Even
'at thisslight elevation there is a distinct difference in climate;
the evenings and nights aro cool, and ono must sleep under a
blanket. During the day ono can walk around ami collect with
out ryal discomfort. From his balcony one look between Pan
dung and, Sekch, over tho Landak district, which stretches out
,liko a niap, ranges.of hills stretching in all directions. In tho
early morning, befdro tho ""sun linsispcreed'tHtrmiW'ih tho
lowlands, it looks liko a sea dotted witlr islands.
In-this Hjiot 1 sjient two weeks, and would willingly havo
spenMwo -years. It Is a rich entomological fied, where an
entomologist could spend a life time. I took beveral species
allied to our.canolwrer, but not our species. I found Ilyslerids
and Hydrophilids at work on soverul of tho lnrvatbut.got no
direct parasites ;,but as both "eggs and larvae were, exceedingly
hearWTeould got"Mltlo material. A wholo day's search would
only result in a-fow eggs or two or threo larvae. ,A largo patch
of cano'was growing near a Dyuk Kanipong at-tho bottom of
Moewong,; but I found no borers attacking it. Culie-hoppcr and
its parasite wero also present, but hot in numliers. .
Tho gold nijjio they aro nt' present working is mvtho eastern
face of Moewong; ami tho milljs situated iilioiit'iKoO fcct.below
tho house. Good copper ore exists at Pundung, litlt has not yet
been worked. Dutch Uorneo hns Uen unfortunate in its min-.
ing, not so much oi account of tho naturo of tho oro, for a lot of
it runs from ono ttp ono and n half ounces to tlio-ton, but on
account of mismanagement und want of capital. Wcrooll'tho
mining rights iii.Wfst-Uor'nco amalgamated, they could bo run
much more economically and profitably. ,,
I was surprised to'-flnd that tho Dyakst possessed. a 'knowledge
of mt'tallurgy. .Nut only can tlley rijcognizo metal bearing ore,
. but thoy understand tho .process of baking, und extracting tho
' metal. Tho Chinese only work alluvial gold, so I do not .think1
'they, can havo lea'rnt from them. Tho temper of their', steel is
of a high quality, aud a good "head cuffing" knifo is reported
capablo of cutting through an irombar; they aro alt-o cleverly
T. inlaid with brass, , and sometimes with. gold. As far ns I ol-
'scrved the only heads thoy wore keen on getting ,wcro Queen
.Wilholm's stainpl'"ou a'silyer coin.
- A day before' I loft wo hud heavy ruins, which made the roads
bad aud all tho streams swollen. Leeches, 'which wcrc'bad lie
fore, wore now much worse, nnd my .coolies had to .bo continually
stopping to clrlir their legs of them.
On my way down tho river I. made several stoppages to ex
amine tho puudnuus for u species of cnne-lioref-, hut without
i I loft Pontiunak on September 8thj by S.'S. AltliftffofWtd
J via, .frxnn whoneo I proceeded 'for IjujtpiiJ'.org, tojjyt together
another lot of Iliatcrids nnd'.IIydropUilids.for shipment.
II STILL UVfS
Tho Garden Island gives the fol
lowing story of Koloa'H disputed wa
The pantornl quietude of Koloa Is
a thing of the past, and It Isn't bard
stuff that Is tho reason of It, cither,
tut water, pure nnd simple, or at
least water as pure ns one gets It out
pt the plantation ditches.
Some years ngo the McUryde 8u
fcnr Co, constructed a ditch up on tho
khort cut to bring somo of the water
running down ono of tho gulches to
Its land. No opposition was encoun
tered to the work, and the plantation
was In the posresalon of bo much tho
moro good mountain water.
Hut tempo mutantur, ct nos mil
tamur In till. Koloa Sugar Co. a
ew weeks ago remembered tho dig
ging oi ine aucn nna feu sure a mis
take had been made nt the time, as It
was convinced the water belonged to
Kolon. A few men were therefore
Kent up to divert It back Into the pro
per channel. Tho McUryde people
didn't say a thing, but the first thing
Koloa knew tho water was again
trickling orer toward tho other fel
low. This wna rather annoying to Ino
Koloa Interests, so when tho Mc
Uryde people went homo for a night's
test there was a force at work con
structing a dam that would prevent
any water from running towards the
l.nnal side, hut would force the
ktrcam down over the Koloa lands.
The builders had n suspicion that
their opponents wouldn't let the
etruciure atone, so they squatted
down on the dam, fifty men strong,
to prevent tho other side from put
ling a few sticks of dynamite In tlio
din ami making It look worse than
the Nuuanii structure and not worth
In time the McHrydes arrived but
found the enemy In possession of tho
fortifications. They felt very much
like U'.'.lng the breastwork by storm,
but wero restrained from doing so by
ho legal aspect of tho mutter. It
was, of course, unavoidable that a
warm feeling on'tho nuoject should
lie prevnlcnt among the forces on
both sides, and that some still hotter
expressions of feeling should take
place. In fact, things got to be so
bcorchlng over In the district thst
the Sheriff thought It best to take a
hand In the matter, or, rather, to be
ready to do so. He went over there
personally and Investigated the situa
tion and found It so unpromising that
he telephoned to his deputies at I.l
hue and Wnlmea to send over three
police, officers each to Koloa to be In
readiness In case of need.
There the matter stands. Oa the
dam fifty Japanese are earning an
easy dollar a day hjr sitting on It to
hold It down. Tho weather Is cola
up In those altitudes, so they keep
themselves warm with an occasional
drink nf sake, and generally feel hap
py,and satisfied with their lot. Hid
den In tho middle distance Is another
force of Orientals watching for the
chance that their opponents are sura
to, give them somo day, equally rjs
tlept and equally contented. In the
background are the consolidated po
lice forces, ready to keep .peace by
force, and whlllng the time away
with a friendly game of pedro.
And all this on quiet Kauai.
Lord Curzon, elected a representa
tive peer of Ireland, may lose his
place. by not buying qualified. as a
votor at the election.
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