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Google Doodle honors Sarawakian ethnographer Benedict Sandin

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KUCHING: Benedict Sandin, a Sarawak-born folklorist and ethnographer who spent his life working to record and preserve the heritage of his ethnic Iban community, was celebrated today by Google with a Google Doodle.

Google Malaysia in a press release to explain the doodle on its homepage said it did so to celebrate the 102nd birthday of Sarawak-born folklorist and ethnographer, who was once curator of Borneo’s oldest museum , Sarawak Museum.

Born in 1918 as Sandin anak Attat in Kerangan Pinggai at Saribas base, Google Malaysia said it was Sandins father who first introduced him to the poetic Iban language which he continued to master and champion.

Google noted that the Iban ethnic group to which Sandin belonged was one of the largest indigenous ethnic groups in Malaysia.

In 1941, Sandin began working in the Sarawak civil service, and his gift of writing eventually led to his appointment as editor of Pembrita, the first Iban-language news publication.

His articles caught the attention of Sarawak Museum curator, who recruited him to join the museum staff in a special post in 1952, Google Malaysia said in the press release.

He further noted that Sandin was soon admitted to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) scholarship program in New Zealand where he taught anthropology and museum techniques.

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

As a testament to Sandins’ invaluable ethnographic achievements, he was appointed Curator of the Sarawak Museum and Government Ethnologist in 1966, a position he held for most of a decade, she said.

According to the official website of the Sarawak Museum Departments, Sandin was ranked as the 12th curator or director with his specialization in history and ethnology, with his role as curator of the museum lasting from December 1966 to March 1974.

Google Malaysia also said that Sandin had earned scientific acclaim as one of the world’s leading experts in Iban and devoted his life to preserving his native heritage.

Thank you, Benedict Sandin, for preserving and preserving indigenous tradition and heritage for generations to come, he added.

Based on excerpts from the Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asian Society, Sandin died at home on August 7, 1982.

Celebrating Malaysian legends in the form of Google Doodles is relatively rare.

So far, those who appeared posthumously in the past on their birthdays were filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad (with a doodle on January 7, 2014), footballer Datuk Mokhtar Dahari or SuperMokh (November 13, 2014), freedom fighter Sybil Kathigasu (September 3) 2016), actor Tan Sri P. Ramlee (22 March 2017) and Malaysian singer Sudirman Arshad (25 May 2019). Post Borneo



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