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from Jesselton for over a hundred fornia, usually with disastrous results, miles, it is poorly constructed and so there are any number of persons at indifferently equipped, the little tin- home in England who, though withpot engines frequently jumping the out experience and without capital, rails and landing in the river. A few are convinced that they can make their years ago an attempt was made to fortunes growing rubber in Borneo. open up the country by building a I was told a story—I do not vouch for highway across the protectorate from its truth-of a man who approached a coast to coast, but it was abandoned London banker with a scheme for after perhaps sixty miles had been floating a Bornean rubber company. completed. It was known as the “How many trees have you?" asked Sketchley Road, and it ran through a the banker. rank and unhealthy jungle, the home "Oh," was the careless reply, "I of miasma and pernicious fevers, every have n't set out my trees yet.' hundred yards of construction, it is “Where is your land situated?" said, having cost the life of a Chinese "I have n't decided just where I coolie. To-day the Sketchley Road shall buy my land.” is only a memory; it has been swal- “Then," demanded the banker, lowed up by the voracious tropic"what in Heaven's name have you?'' vegetation.

“Three bags of seed," was the The company has done nothing answer. toward establishing a system of schools, The greatest obstacle to the developas we have done in the Philippines, ment of Borneo's enormous natural for it does not believe in educating the resources is the labor problem. To natives. Knowledge, the company begin with, the natives flatly refuse to officials argue, produces discontent. work for Europeans, preferring the There are a few schools in North Bor- indolence and ease of existence in their neo, but they are maintained by the villages, where the labor is performed Protestant and Roman Catholic mis- by the women. Indeed, in a land sions and are attended mainly by where the native has no need for clothChinese. I doubt if they have been ing, where he can pick his food from as much of an aid to proselytism as the trees, and where a perfectly satistheir founders expected.

factory dwelling can be built in a few Scattered along the coast and on the hours from bamboo and nipa-leaves, upper reaches of the rivers are numer- there is no incentive for him to bestir ous rubber, tobacco, coffee, sago,

coffee, sago, himself.

himself. Hence the company has pepper, gambier, sugar, and cocoanut been forced, in order to provide labor plantations, for in natural resources for the plantations, to import large Borneo is enormously rich, though the numbers of coolies from China. These difficulties presented by lack of labor coolies, whom the labor agents recruit and means of transportation have by holding forth glittering promises of seriously hampered their develop- high wages, a delightful climate, unment. Just as school-teachers, clergy- limited opium, and other things dear men, and others with no agricultural to the Chinese heart, are employed knowledge have attempted to engage under an indenture system, the durain orange-growing in Florida and Cali- tion of their contracts being limited by law to three hundred days. But their homes with money in their pockets it is rare indeed that the coolie is able and healthy with outdoor work, they to return to China at the end of his go back as broken beggars, pitifully time; the planters see to that. Al

saturated with disease or confirmed most as soon as he reaches the planta- drug-fiends. It is really sad to see some

of them return home after a struggle of tion where he is to be employed the

four or five years to save money-a laborer is given an advance, fre

struggle not only against themselves quently amounting to thirty Singa- and their acquired opium habit, but pore dollars, which he is encouraged to against the numerous parasites which dissipate in opium and gambling, always fatten on laborers. facilities for which are thoughtfully provided. This pernicious system of

During the term of his indenture the advances is general, the planters as- laborer is to all intents and purposes serting that the Chinese will not work

a prisoner, his only appeal against without them. Be that as it may, the

any injustices practised on the plantaadvance has the effect, as it is intended

tion being to the protector of labor, to have, of chaining the laborer to the who is supposed to visit each estate plantation under conditions approxi

once a month. In theory this system mating peonage. For the first ad

is admirable, but in practice it does vance is usually followed by a second, not afford the laborer the protection and that by a third, and to this debit which the Government intends, for column are added the charges made it frequently happens that laborers for food, for opium, for medical at

who have been brutally mistreated tendance, and for purchases made at have been coerced into silence by the the plantation store; so that, upon the plantation-managers by threats of expiration of his contract, the laborer what will happen to them if they dare almost invariably owes his employer to lay a complaint before the inspecta debt which he is quite unable to ing official. Moreover, many of the pay, and, as he cannot obtain employ- up-country plantations are so far ment on another plantation under removed from the European settlethose conditions, he is faced with the ments on the coast that a manager alternative of being shipped back to

can treat his laborers as he pleases, China penniless or signing another

without fear of punishment or of pubcontract.

lic opinion. One of the most serious The evils of this system are graphi- defects in the labor laws of British cally described in a letter which I have North Borneo is that trivial actions or received, since my return from British omissions on the part of ignorant cooNorth Borneo, from a former official lies, such as neglect of work, misof the chartered company, who him- conduct, or absence from the plantaself has held the post of assistant pro- tion without leave, are punishable by tector of labor, and therefore knows imprisonment. As a result, the illitwhereof he speaks.

erate coolie does not know where he One sees a large number of healthy,

stands. He knows that the estateable-bodied Chinese coming into the manager can haul him up before a country as laborers and, at the end of a magistrate whenever he likes, and he year or two, instead of going back to can never be sure that the most inno

cent mistake on his part will not animated by a desire to increase the bring him within the reach of the well-being and contentment of the criminal law. Under the company's natives or of its imported laborers. laws unruly laborers may also be It is there with one object in view and punished by flogging. Though the one alone---money. To quote from law provides that a man shall not an address delivered by the chairman receive more than twelve lashes, it is of the company at a North Borneo scarcely necessary for me to point dinner in London: “They (the stockout that, in view of the remoteness holders) have acted the parts of emfrom civilization of many of the plan- pire-makers, and yet they are filling tations, this form of punishment is their own pockets, for the golden rain frequently characterized by grave is beginning to fall.” abuse. It is no exaggeration, indeed, to assert that an inhuman manager

§ 5 can flog a coolie to death and, by Let me tell you where this "golden intimidation of the witnesses, be

be rain" comes from. The two principal reasonably certain of escaping punish- sources of revenue of the British ment.

North Borneo Company are derived Although, as I have shown, the from opium and gambling. Suppose British North Borneo Company per- that you come with me for a stroll mits the existence of a condition not down the Jalan Tiga in Sandakan and far removed from slavery, a far more see the gambling-houses and opiumserious indictment of the company's dens for yourself. The Jalan Tiga methods lies in its systematic de- (literally “Number Two Street”) is bauchery of its laborers by encouraging a moderately broad thoroughfare, them to indulge in opium-smoking perhaps a quarter of a mile in length, and gambling for the purpose of swell- which is solidly lined on both sides ing its revenues from these monopo- with gaming-houses, or, as they are lies. When a coolie has spent all his called in Borneo, gambling-farms. earnings in the opium-dens and gam- Over every door in this street are bling-houses, he can usually realize a signs in English, Chinese, and Malay little more money for the same purpose announcing that games of chance are by pawning his few poor belongings at played within. From nightfall until one of the pawnshops, which are also sunrise these resorts are crowded to controlled by the company. In other

In other the doors with perspiring, half-naked words, from the day a laborer lands brown or yellow patrons, for both the in Borneo until the day he departs Malays and the Chinese are inveterate he is systematically fleeced of his gamblers. The down-stairs rooms, earnings, which are diverted, through which are frequented by the lower the channels provided by the opium- classes, are sprinkled with low tables dens, the gambling-houses, and the covered with mats divided into four pawnshops, into a stream which event- sections, each of which bears a numually empties into the company's ber. A dice under a square brass cup treasury. The chartered company is shaken on the table, and the cup did not go to Borneo from any altru- slowly raised. Those players who istic motives, mind you. It is not have been fortunate enough to place

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their bets on the square whose number a smile. When a Chinese wants a corresponds to the number uppermost wife, he visits a house of prostitution, on the dice have their money doubled; selects one of the inmates, drives a hard the others see their earnings swept bargain with the mistress of the estabinto the lap of the fat and greasy lishment, and, the transaction conChinese croupier who runs the table. cluded, curtly tells the girl to pack her The rooms up-stairs, which are usually belongings and accompany him to his handsomely decorated and luxuriously home. I might add that the girls furnished, are reserved for the wealth- thus chosen invariably make excellent ier patrons, it being by no means un- wives and remain faithful to their usual for a player to lose several husbands. thousand dollars in a single night. I Far from being veiled in secrecy, was told that the monthly subsidy the opium-farms are operated as openly paid by the British North Borneo as pool-rooms in an American city. Company to the Sultan of Sulu, who One finds a two-story wooden buildcomes over from his capital of Jolo, ing containing several small, ill-lighted in the Philippines, to collect it, never rooms which reek with the sickly, leaves the country, as he invariably sweet fumes of the drug. The furnisquanders it in a Sandakan gaming- ture consists of a number of "beds," house. Gambling is a government which are really not beds at all, but monopoly, the company annually broad wooden tables, their tops, which farming out the privilege to the high- are raised about three feet above the est bidder. In 1919, the last year for floor, providing space on which two which I have the figures, the gambling smokers can recline. Each smoker is rights for the entire protectorate were provided with a small lamp for heatsold for approximately $144,000. ing his “pill” and a head-rest consist

Crossing the Jalan Tiga at right ing of a small, rectangular block of angles, and running from the heart of wood. The number of patrons who the town down to the edge of the har- may be accommodated at one time is bor, is the street of the prostitutes. strictly regulated by the Government, It is easy to recognize the houses of signs denoting the lawful capacity of ill-fame by their scarlet blinds and the house being posted at the door, by the scarlet numbers over their like those with which we are familiar doors. Should one stroll down the on ferry-boats and in elevators. For street during the day, one would find example, the door of one farm I visited the sullen-eyed inmates seated in the bore the notice: “Only fifteen beds. doorways, brushing their long and Room for thirty persons.” Overlustrous blue-black hair or painting crowding is not permitted by the their faces with white and vermilion authorities, for, you see, the more preparatory to the evening's enter- farms there are, the greater the comtainment. Probably four fifths of the pany's profits. joy-girls of Sandakan are Chinese; The opium itself is purchased by the the others are importations from Nip- British North Borneo Company from pon, quaint, dainty, doll-like little the Government of the Straits Setcreatures with faces so heavily enam- tlements for $1.20 a tael (about one eled that they would be cracked by tenth of a pound troy) and, after

being adulterated with various other it is better for every one concerned substances, is sold to certain "ap- that its sale should be under governproved” concessionnaires, most of mental control. The fact remains, whom are Chinese, for $8.50 a tael, however, that China, decadent though a profit of nearly four hundred per she may be and desperately in need of cent. even if the drug had not been revenue, has succeeded, despite the adulterated. These concessionnaires, powerful opposition of the Britishknown as "opium farmers," either controlled opium ring, in putting a keep opium-dens themselves or sell virtual end to the traffic within her the drug to any one wishing to buy it, borders, while another Oriental Govjust as a tobacconist sells cigarettes ernment, that of Siam, is about to do or cigars. The sale of the opium the same. It is a curious commentary privilege in Sandakan alone, so I am on European civilization that this reliably informed, nets the company vice, which the so-called "backward” something over $300,000 annually. races are engaged in energetically

Now, iniquitous and deplorable as stamping out, should be not only perthe opium traffic is, the Government mitted, but actively encouraged in a of British North Borneo is not the territory over which flies the flag of only government engaged in it. But England. Its effects on the populait is the only government, so far as I tion of British North Borneo are am aware, which actually encourages summed up in this sentence in a letter the use of the drug among its people recently received from a former high by insisting that it shall be placed on official of the chartered company: sale in localities which might other- “Fifty per cent. of the thefts and robwise escape its malign influence. A beries committed during the period planter who, actuated by moral scru- that I was magistrate in that territory ples or a desire for greater efficiency, can be directly traced to opium and opposes the opening of an opium-farm gambling.". on his plantation, might as well sell Annually, at one of the great Lonout and leave the country, for the don hotels, there is held the North company, which controls the labor Borneo Dinner. At the speakers' market, will promptly retaliate for table sits the chairman of the charsuch interference with its revenues by tered company, flanked by cabinet cutting off his labor supply. It will ministers, archbishops, ambassadors, inflict this penalty on the ground that, admirals, field-marshals. The speakas the Chinese will manage to obtain ers dwell on the services as empireopium anyway, the planter, in refus- builders of the officials of the company, ing to permit the establishment of an and sketch in glowing terms the spread official opium-farm on his estate, is of civilization and progress in North guilty of conniving at the sale of Borneo under the Union Jack. But opium without a license!

the heartiest applause invariably The British North Borneo Company greets the announcement that the defends itself for engaging in the British North Borneo Company has opium traffic by asserting that, as the declared another dividend. The dinChinese will obtain the drug clandes- ner always concludes with the singing tinely if they cannot obtain it openly, of “Land of Hope and Glory."


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