By Mohan Lal
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Additional info for Travels In The Panjab, Afghanistan And Turkistan, To Balk, Bokhara And Herat, And A Visit To Great Britain And Germany
We never found out why he was so afraid but he was determined to conquer it and came back for more, night after night. ’) He treasured his exercise books and filled dozens of them, however, his hand still shook as he wrote words, although never when writing numbers. Visitors to our house admired Mansur’s carpentry and soon asked if he could make tables, bookshelves and beds for them. There was plenty of good wood available in Balikpapan, such as mercoban and meranti, types of cedar, so he was soon able to set up in business and earn extra money.
But for Mansur, to see a dog devouring big pieces of steak when all his life meat had been a luxury, was a hurdle. Foreigners were hard to understand. Mansur himself now ate all the meat he wanted, but he still felt it was wrong to give meat to a dog. ’ ‘But I am the guard,’ said Mansur. ‘I am Bugis. Everyone knows I am Bugis and no one will come here to steal. They know Bugis carry a knife. ’ It was quite true — people from other islands were afraid of the Bugis. Sometimes it caused trouble on the oil rigs and shore stations.
But it was a good job. The Koreans, who looked like Chinese but had a different language, paid us money as well as giving us rice so I began to feel very rich. I planned to save as much as I could and, when I had enough, send for my beautiful Intan. I worked for about six months then Intan came to join me. She made the dangerous journey with our newborn son, who I named Khadir. Mansur’s life then changed dramatically. Through the good offices of his uncle Situju, Mansur came to work for us permanently and, with his wife and children, became our dear friend in Borneo and, later, in Java.