Happy 50th anniversary to Sarawak, Borneo

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Sarawak celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain today, 22nd July (1963)

It also saw it becoming an independent nation for 77 days before helping form Malysia that same year. Today celebrations are being held in Kutching to mark the event — I saw tents and stage being errected and had wished i could have stayed to enjoy the renenactment of the lowering of the Union Jack on the wonderful water front.

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Building being water blasted for celebrations
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State goverment building which I had the privillage of visiting

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Burns 250th commemorated first in new zealand

 

Often thought of as an English city, Christchurch, NZ  in fact started as a Maori village then the Scottish Deans brothers arrived in the 1840s long before the planned migration from England.

Inveiled 25th January 2009
Unveiled 25th January 2009

 

The Canterbury Burns Club in Christchurch New Zealand today commentated the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet – perhaps the first in the world to do so.

With cicadas singing, temperatures over 25 degrees, kilts swirling, pipes playing, ladies and gentlemen dressed in the Victorian and Edwardian fashion, and a Maori blessing of the event, a procession of Scottish clans and descendants of our early Scottish settlers, ( including this writerthe day was enjoyable.

They also used the occasion to unveil a Scottish Pioneers’ Memorialunveiling-the-cairn-and-plaque at Riccarton house and Bush. This was home to the Deans brothers when they left Scotland to start a new life in New Zealand. 

Descendants of those brothers were present, including Austin Deans the celebrated war artist (now aged 93 and who is marrying next weekend)  and Charles Deans, chair of the Riccarton Bush trust which protects the remnant of native bush that was preserved by the early members of the Deans family.

No Burns day would be complete without a haggis ceremony,

the haggis is addressed
the haggis is addressed

 which was dramatically addressed by Dr Ron Macintyre – the bard would be proud of it.

As always, a drop of whisky ended the day.

Will ye no came back again?’