The former headhunters of Brunei, a tiny self-ruling enclave of Borneo, have been brought suddenly into the twentieth century with the introduction of colour television.
The former headhunters of Brunei, a tiny self-ruling enclave of Borneo, have been brought suddenly into the twentieth century with the introduction of colour television. Among their favourite programmes -- United States 'cowboy and Indian' films, showing Indians 'scalping' white men by cutting of the top parts of their heads for souvenirs.
The introduction of television to the remote villages of the notorious Iban tribes began recently with the airlifting of free television sets -- and portable petrol-powered generators to provide the necessary electricity -- by the government of Brunei, an internally-governed oil-rich British enclave in Borneo on the southern fringe of the South China Seas.
Television sets and installation crews are airlifted into jungle villages by helicopters, in the plan to install about 200 sets in primitive villages throughout the Brunei sultanate. When the scheme is complete about 40,000 more people will be able to receive transmissions, of about six hours a day, from Brunei's new television service transmitted from the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. The station opened last year, and most of its top personnel are seconded from British television.
Many of the tribesmen had never seen 'moving pictures' before, and television personnel described their reaction as 'total amazement'. The world latest television viewers are able to view local and foreign news, current affairs programmes, music and drama, and programmes from the Untied States and Britain -- including 'cowboys and Indians'. It is not yet known whether they will be provided with British television documentaries showing the lives of Borneo headhunters in past years.