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“The Life and Death of Bruno Manser” in Malaysiakini


Over at Malaysiakini there is some great coverage of our recent book launch for two of our latest books Voices from the Rainforest, a reprint of Bruno Manser’s 1996 book on the struggle of the Penan  and Rainforest Hero, Ruedi Suter’s biography of Bruno Manser, now for the first time translated into English.

Ruedi Suter and others came to Malaysia to launch the book which they did in Miri & Kuching in Sarawak, in Penang and at Rumah Gerak Budaya for the official international launch. At the event were Ruedi Suter, Colin Nicholas Director of the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns and representatives of the Penan, Bilong Oyoi (a good friend of Bruno Manser), James Lalo Keso (representative of the Penan Peace Park), Sia Ngdau (coordinator of COPPES) and Hennison Bujang (who has fought successfully against logging companies in his village Long Benalih).

As the article in Malaysiakini records

In the beginning, Suter said, Manser was in search of a simpler life, after he could no longer tolerate being a part of what he described as a European civilisation that is “largely based on robbery”.

“Bruno wanted to stop all that. He said, ‘I will not be a part of this worldwide destruction and the only way to do it is to lead a simple life’,” said Suter who described Manser as being both a dreamer and a fact-finder.

Whilst against the accusation that Bruno Manser was a white saviour figure for the Penan, James Lalo Keso argued that

“He lived like how the Penan lived and felt what we felt and so we accepted him. It was as simple as that”

Whilst confronting the same problem Colin Nicholas of Centre for Orang Asli Concerns noted that

After reading the book, you really start to understand the person (Manser). I never knew him personally but there was a time that I also thought he was just another ‘white man’ who thinks he can be the ‘saviour’ of the indigenous people.

In reality, Bruno never declared himself to be a leader but the circumstances are such that he was forced to take up the role.

To read more about the book launch and more about Ruedi Suter’s latest book published by SIRD click here.



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