Subject: lanun pirate
Culture: Riau-Johore Malay, Iranun-Tobello
Setting: piracy, Malacca Straits 19thc
* Warren 2002 p1
"Lanun. The name struck fear into the hearts and minds of riverine and coastal populations across Southeast Asia two centuries ago. Recently, ethnohistorical research has also shown that where Iranun or Lanun raiding is concerned, old traditions die-hard. The terrors of the sudden harsh presence of these well-armed alien raiders lives on in the oral recollections, reminiscences, popular folk epics and drama of the victims' descendants in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, to this day. Only in one part of the globe, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, did Europeans find 'piracy' flourishing extensively; pursued as a calling, not by individuals, as was the case with most of those who had followed the profession of buccaneering in the West, but by entire communities and states with whom it came to be regarded as the most honorable course of life -- a vocation."
* Gwin & Stanmeyer 2007 p132-133
"For centuries, this sliver of ocean has captivated seamen, offering the most direct route between India and China, along with a bounty of resources, including spices, rubber, mahogany, and tin. But it is a watery kingdom unto itself, harboring hundreds of rivers that feed into the channel, miles of swampy shoreline, and a vast constellation of tiny islands, reefs, and shoals. Its early inhabitants learned to lead amphibian lives, building their villages over water and devising specialized boats for fishing, trading, and warfare. Some made their living as pirates, preying on foreign vessels that dared to ply their waters. Armadas of these skilled sea raiders in light, maneuverable craft regularly plundered passing ships and retreated upriver to fortified villages. Their raids yielded troves of gold, gems, gunpowder, opium, and slaves, which they used to build powerful sultanates that dominated much of the Sumatran and Malaysian coastlines.
"Sailors chronicled the horrors they faced in the strait and nearby waters. One 19th-century episode involved the capture of British Captain James Ross. Believing his ship held a stash of silver coins, lanun forced him to watch as his young son was lashed to an anchor and drowned. Then they cut off Ross's fingers joint by joint. "European colonizers and their navies brought the sultanates under control in the late 1800s, but the lanun were never eradicated."
* Spruit 1995 p114
"[T]he continuous problem of piracy in the Straits of Malacca was one the British could not avoid. Traditionally, for the sultans and other local rulers, piracy was a right acquired by the orang laut. With food and weapons the Malay rulers bought the pirates' loyalty and a share of the booty. From the coast with its many islands and coves the pirates attacked the eastbound or westbound merchantmen, depending on the prevailing monsoon, forming a constant threat, especially in the area between Singapore and Malacca. Captured crews were killed or used as rowers on the swift and manoeuverable pirate ships. The British decided to put an end to the piracy, mainly because of the damage to trade. They were supported by groups in Britain who wished to stop piracy for humanitarian reasons. Heavily armed steamers with modern weapons were used against the pirates; regardless of wind, steamers could pursue the pirates to their lairs and finish them. Treaties were concluded with the sultans who received compensation for their lost income. In about 1870 piracy had largely disappeared."
* Stone 1934 p570
"SONDANG, SUNDANG. The Malayan broadsword." [reference omitted]
* Macaraeg 2009 Spring p8
"The pommel is carved as a stylised cocatoo head -- this motif is identical to that seen on sword pommels from the Malay-Muslim cultures of Mindanao and Sulu, now collectively known as 'Moro'. While the literature on Southeast Asian weaponry typically presumes a flow of such styles from west to east, the evidence regarding the cockatoo pommel suggests that the Malays of northern Borneo and peninsular Malaya adopted this feature from the Moros, no earlier than the nineteenth century. The Moros believed the cockatoo transmitted its earthly observations to Heaven through its loud calls. Placement of the cockatoo form on the hilt of a personal weapon, itself the object of spiritual attention, reinforced the symbolic associations between the bearer of the sword, his audience's understanding of cultural symbols and his relative social position. "I believe that the decoration of such weaponry was historically employed as a means for socially mobile individuals to contest their relative status when direct violence was not a culturally acceptable option. Conspicuous consumption of rare and precious materials indicated access to wealth and power, and fossils certainly fell into this category. Because this type of sword was worn thrust through a waist sash, the large pommel would have been a highly visible fashion statement." [references omitted]
* Singapore and Malaysia 1996 p111-112 (quoting Thomas Francis McDougall in The Times, May 27, 1862, after the battle of Tanjung Kidurong)
"The captives state that when the pirates take a vessel they kill every one who makes any resistance.... those they spare are first taken aboard their own prahus, they put a rattan or a black rope halter round their necks, beat them with a flat piece of bamboo on the elbows and knees, and the muscles of the arms and legs, so that they cannot use them to swim or run away. After a while they are made to row in gangs.... if he does not do this effectually he is 'krissed' and thrown overboard, and another man put in his place...."