Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tawau got its name from fishing method

TAWAU: Ken Goodlet, the author of ‘Tawau: The Making of a Tropical Community’, said Tawau most probably got its name from Tidung, which means a method of fishing. He said during his interviews with the older generation in Tawau, he came across various answers on how the name Tawau was derived.

Goodlet said there were those who told him Tawau got its name from a bird, but he settled for Tidung which was a method of fishing.

“The fishing line is tied to the toe and when the fish strikes, the fisherman will know, and this method of fishing is called Tawau in the Tidung language,” he said during his talk on the history of Tawau at Hotel Emas yesterday.

However, he said he would leave it to the Tawau people to decide on which story they prefer.

Goodlet said at first he had no grand plan for what he had gathered about Tawau during his teaching days here in 1965, but after seven years, he had over 300 essays from his students and found them interesting, and so the quest for more information on Tawau began.

He said Tawau was interesting as the Sulu Sultan and Bolongan Sultan had claims on it and due to the claims, the Dutch and the British ‘played games’ to see who they could get to settle in Tawau.

He said the Dutch, who had signed a treaty with Bolongan’s Sultan Ali to have control up to Tanjung Batu, did not like Datuk Alam who took over the throne after Sultan Ali died.

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