Lifestyle Tech

Google Doodle celebrates the 102nd birthday of Benedict Sandin, Sarawak-born folklorist and ethnographer

Did you just went to Google.com and found out the Doodle featured a person in a museum? Well, the featured person for the Doodle is Sarawak-born folklorist and ethnographer, Benedict Sandin, who served as the curator of the oldest museum in Borneo: the Sarawak Museum. Google Doodle is also celebrating his 102nd birthday as well. However, many people must be curious who is he and why did he get featured? Let’s learn more about Benedict Sandin.

The life and work of Benedict Sandin

Benedict Sandin was born Sandin anak Attat on this date in 1918, in the longhouse Kerangan Pinggai located in the Saribas basin of Saratok, Sarawak. Ethnically Iban (one of the largest indigenous ethnic groups in Malaysia), Sandin earned scholarly acclaim as one of the world’s foremost experts on the culture and dedicated his life to the preservation of his native heritage.

It was his father who first introduced him to the poetic Iban language, which Sandin went on to master and champion. In 1941, Sandin began work in the Sarawak civil service, and his gift for writing eventually led to an assignment as the editor of Pembrita—the first news publication in the Iban language. His articles attracted the attention of the Sarawak Museum’s curator, who recruited him to join the museum’s staff in a special post in 1952.

The making of a museum curator and the preservation of cultural heritage

Soon after, Sandin was accepted to a UNESCO fellowship program in New Zealand, through which he studied museum techniques and anthropology. He returned home determined to chronicle the Iban history, culture, and language by absorbing and recording the wisdom of local genealogists, bards, and historians. 

As a testament to Sandin’s invaluable ethnographic achievements, he was named the Curator of the Sarawak Museum and Government Ethnologist in 1966, a position he held for the better part of a decade. 

So make sure to check out the Doodle tribute for Benedict Sandin at www.google.com today!

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