When we were living in Pulau Kerto at the Hua Hong Ice Factory we used to meet Lands and Survey Department Boat going around to do surveying work.
Very often the Iban boatman would come up to the factory to buy ice blocks. We would not know if he wanted to bring the ice to their camp to cool their beers or to help keep their animal meat fresh. There were no cooler boxes then.
Most of the surveyors would have their own guns, so when these L and S boat passed by, we thought they looked like soldiers doing their rounds, except that the surveyors did not wear any uniform.
(This photo is from the late Mr.Lim Thian Beng whom I befriended last year. He showed me many photos of his land and survey work in the 50's in Miri areas. This is a very significant photo becuse it shows the surveyors having guns in their hands)
According to the Superintendent of L and S Dept at that time, the surveyors were given licences to hold guns and own guns , not only for protection but for food supplies.
Many of the surveyors after remaining in their camps for a week or more,would come home with several biscuit tins of dried meat or salai babi.
Sometimes the meat was salted and deep fried. Sometimes they would drop by the Ice Factory again and perhaps sell some of the meat to the employees who would really enjoy the fresh sun dried meat
My father and his relatives, the Wong brothers all had guns (hung chiing) and they often went out in the evenings to have a spot of fun shooting birds. He would also have the time to swap stories with the surveyors who came by.
Gone are the days when people who come by boat right to your door step carrying guns and having a few dead animals in their boats.