Tuesday, May 10, 2011


My late husband was a planter, involved in jungle clearing works to open Oil Palm/Cocoa plantations deep in the jungles of Borneo

We had the very basic of facilities. Electricity driven by generators or oil lamps. Rain water from roof gutters, collected into deep wells for treatment, later pumped into our homes for daily consumption

Communications was bad. A twin otter plane serviced twice weekly, if weather permits. By land access was through Tabin Forest Reserve jungle tracks, hours of slippery, bumpy dirt roads. Upon heavy rains, these tracks may just get washed out and disappeared. Log bridges used can get washed away too, by the fast waters

We had to endure three similar river crossings (above) to get to the nearest town, if weather permits. If it rains, it was near impossible to get across the river due to the heavy traffic.

We may be cut off for weeks. So we had to turn to the rivers for our fresh fishes/prawns supplies. From the jungles, abundant supplies of fresh meat; deer, jungle buffaloes and  porcupines  are available and for Non Muslims, endless supplies of the wild boars.

Just down my kitchen steps, rows of asparagus plants.... fresh and delicious.
We grew our own fruits and vegetables including  pumpkins. We (barter) exchange of foodstuff; Our product harvests were distributed to everyone and likewise, the others did the same to us. Food was plentiful, fresh and free. 

Maids picking long beans.. Fresh, crunchy and yummy

We had fruit trees around the compound. This rambutan fruit tree was just beside my house. Fruits everywhere, even touching the ground. The kids can just sit, chit-chat as they plucked and ate the fruits around them. There are 2 varieties-  yellow and red
 Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia, is one of the largest rehabilitation centre in the world for Orang Utan
I have one very best friend, actually both our hubbies were best of  friends when they were bachelors. They both died about the same age, within 5yrs of each other. That’s the picture of her daughter, Puteri Saerah, she's now a 3rd year medical student in Jordan

....My gardener was a strange man. Kind of too attached to each tree/plants around the house compound. Few months I requested that he trimmed off the unnecessary branches, some even spreading on the ground. He silently refused, and just let them grow. The trees and plants around our bungalow were like his family, I suppose!

I got some young boys from the estate to help him clear the area. Asked them to chop and clear off those branches, and the curry tree was huge (should have been just shrubs). The gardener was coining up all sorts of excuses; not this branch, not that, leave that one alone etc. When the boys finally chopped off these branches, he almost fainted!

A Danish guy who was working there before us and he was the former occupant of the bungalow which we stayed in. The estate started under a Company with it's headoffice in Copenhagen, Denmark. It has changed hands since then.
There are so many varieties of food preparation here, including those of the ethnic sabahan     communities, the malays, indonesian, chinese and indian  ways of cooking food.  We were so closely knit and very helpfull to each other, where most basic necessities are by way of barter   trade between us- in our own world. Sometimes i miss this kind of life very much                         

I plan to include an article on “Plantation Life” with many more pictures (from way back in the 1918’s) later in my blog @  http://www.woman724.blogspot.com/.

Cheers to all

Life in the oil palm/ cocoa plantations- About 176 k results – PAGE 1 # 1
Life in the oil palm plantations- About 347 k results – PAGE 1 # 7
Life in the cocoa plantations- About 2,88 m results – PAGE 1 # 6
Oil palm plantations in borneo- About 289 k results – PAGE 2 # 8
Cocoa plantations in borneo- About 289 k results – PAGE 1 # 1


  1. Wow...That was a fantastic story. Liked all the pictures new and old. I have never seen an asparagus plant before.

  2. What a great woman! I visited her blog and read one post that put a drop of tears in my eyes.
    Thank you very much for letting me know such a great woman.

  3. What a wonderful story! I love reading stories like these. Very touching and the old photos tell a story themselves. Well done!

  4. wish I had a bigger land so I can also grow all the veges rather than spending to buy and wondering what chemicals have been used.

  5. Hi Sailor,
    Asparagus, is a member of the lily family, plant it using the seed or simpler, from its crowns (break the roots clumps and transfer to new beds). Life span, depending on the soil management can grow up to 15-20years. It has beautiful ferny foliage and some even planted along their front gates as decorative plants.

    Simply steamed, (few minutes) toss a little butter n dip in sauce. I also love to stir fry with prawns and garlic or add spicy chilly paste when taken with rice..ouch! taste wonderful.

    In Malaysia it is quite an exclusive and expensive vegetable mainly imported from Australia or Thailand. So I was lucky, it grew exceptionally well just behind my house.


  6. saya punya jiran yang juga pernah mengalami hal seperti ini, berfungkus lumut tinggal di dalam kebun kelapa sawit . lalu berhenti namun tak bisa menghasilkan apa-apa semua habis buat makan je,

  7. Salam Soecetek,
    Pendapat saya, sangat penting cara Pihak atasan menjaga kebajikan pekerja ladang serta ahli keluarga mereka. Keprihatinan dari segi perumahan, persekolahan anak-anak, aktiviti dalam ladang dan sbagainya.

    Ramai dari anak ladang ini sekarang terdiri dari kalangan professionals, Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers dan sbagainya kerana diberi kemudahan scholarships /grants dari pihak Ladang. Kebiasaannya, mereka ini dipelawa berkhidmat semula dgn Ladang ini.

    Walaupun kematian ayah selama 13tahun, kebajikan anak-anak saya masih diberi segala perhatian dari segi pendidikan dan sebagainya oleh bekas Majikan ini. Tanggungjawab mereka berterusan.

    Ladang ini mempunyai Golf course tersendiri (9holes), clubhouse siap dengan guest houses yang dibina semasa Arwah ditugas membangun ladang tersebut. Sekarang mereka juga telah membangunkan sabuah kompelks penyelidikan taraf antarabangsa dalam Ladang ini yang dibuka kepada ahli2 penyelidikan perladangan kelapa sawit dalam dan luar negara.

    Bekas pemandu kami, kerana rajin belajar, sekarang mempunyai 300ekar Ladang kelapa sawit yang dibeli dan diusahakan sendiri. Saya diberitahu, pendapatan keluarga begitu lumayan sekali. Anak sulung beliau baru saja graduate dari UiTM juga dalam bidang Perladangan.


  8. seocetek jiran saya dan katrina...
    harap2 seo faham keaddan ladang di malaysia.

    Terima kasih katrina keraha menjawab komen seo, di mana saya tak berapa arif dalam perkara ini.

    Saya sebenar nya suka juga juka ada sedikit kontrovesi, ia akan menaikan semangat blogger :)

  9. hi wan and katrina.. suka if can visit a plantation in borneo, but i dont know anybody...

    must be so much fum with the fresh mountain air and fresh food from the rivers and the gardens. i love it. thanks for sharing

  10. ourflowers4all,
    Most of these Plantations have very tight security, and normally guests are allowed in upon invitation, and you will be welcomed and taken cared of inside.

    I hv a friend in Carey Island who had been asking me to visit them.. it is an old established estate under Sime Darby and they still maintain the colonial houses, she is staying in one.

    Shld I decide to visit her one day, will let you know, maybe you can come along with me too? I'll try to post a picture of her house in CV mesej box.

    I once organized a visit for my old office mates, family and friends, and they even stayed with us (night camping) colleagues from Switzerland, and they had a wonderful estate experience. Will try and send a pic of their visit to our estate to CV, Insyallah..


  11. peladang tak bermakna tak mendapat hasil yang menguntungkan. Pertanian adalah salah satu perniagaan yang terbaik.

  12. There were 11 comments here, before the blog maintenance done since 2 days ago.

    This morning at about 3 am m/sian time, I saw there were only 4 left.
    I do not know what happened and how to retrieve the comments made by lunaticg, seocetek, 3 answers from Katrina , ourflowers4all and me.

  13. Hi Wan, so far in my blog all my comments are intact and I am happy to tell you that I move to Disqus comment system now. I have longed to install this widget on my blog and I have successfully done it with my Beta Template.Our default Blogger templates is reliable and easy to use but I just wanna tweaked my blogger looks and see if how disqus works.

    Please try to check in the Comments tab and you will see if it was removed,spam or deleted forever...:)

    As reading this post, I enjoy seeing the images truly Asian are close in looks.Great article Wan.

    No. I am not an expert in SEO.Just trial and error...:)

  14. A very nice write-up! I feel as if I'm walking through the plantation enjoying the green lush.

  15. hi wan and katrina.. so nice if i can visit a plantation like this

  16. I don't know what to say Maznah. Google don't even inform us about the update. At least they should email us about it. Some of my blog redesign works also missing and need to think what I have don't before. Adooooi......

    PS: I don't even remember what I comment in here before.

  17. Salam.
    Nice story. Lack of facilities but rich of organic food.

  18. Thank you so much for you comments
    Sailor, ana, neilieta, nava-k, bennix, balqis, ourfowers4all,lunaticg, zezebel and also seocetek,(whose comment was one of those
    deleted). I really appreciate all your visits.

    My special thank you to Katrina, for her willingness to do this Guest Post.
    I really enjoyed myself reading about life in the oil palm plantations in borneo, especially on the abundant supply of fresh food, veggies and fruits.

    I also like the barter trade story and the closely knit community...

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. i love greens- lot and lots,

    i love fresh food, fresh veggies and fresh fruits- lots and lots

    i love nature, i love this post- lots and lots

    thank you for sharing katrina->
    from cv nusantara, my new blog- has just begun, a thousand years to stay...

  21. Hi to all,
    I suppose not many know what goes on inside a Plantation. Today, they even have golf courses, recreational club-houses, schools, clinics and, beautiful houses, not only for the executives but also for the workers.

    The one in Bukit Mas 2day also have an Oil Palm Research center to cater for International researchers/scientist.

    Besides Oil Palm and Cocoa, this plantation also grow Rubber trees and Jelutong trees (saps used to manufacture chewing gums).

    I was an Auditor by profession, left the profession and the City to begin a family life, as a Planter's wife.

    These experiences changed my life completely, learnt to appreciate nature and to lead a simple way of life, to be as free as the wind blows.

    I hope this article will give some insights of what life in a Plantation/jungle is all about.

    I will be blogging an article in my blog @woman724 where there will be more old pictures of the Early European Planters from this plantation (Danish)from as far back as the 1940's. This Plantation started in the then Malaya, in the year 1918.


  22. Good article....really inspiring one

  23. Hi Wan, yes, your comment was deleted. hehe..yes, right..google problem. How are you?

  24. Hi Sailor,
    I am a follower of this blog

    Very interesting blog to follow as Roland and Naoko are into Green Harmony Living and just look at the asparagus from his garden!


  25. What an enjoyable post. This kind of life is very different from mine so learning about another culture is welcomed. Thanks.

  26. hi everybody, ha ha, googles returned back all the 7 comments that went missing earlier. great !