Tina KISIL ... Footprints in the Paddy Fields (MPH Publishing, March 2010)
TINA KISIL’S FOOTPRINTS IN THE PADDY FIELDS is both a family portrait and a childhood memoir, set against the vanished world of bamboo huts on spindly timber stilts, a world where one’s prized possessions were makeshift farm tools and a buffalo or two, and where the dead were placed in stone burial jars. Those were the days when removing human heads from their owners’ shoulders was a form of sport, and the only mode of transport was one’s two good legs.
The author takes you on a fascinating journey into a world seldom seen, to see how the Dusuns in Sabah on the island of Borneo lived at a time when wealth was measured by the amount of rice a farmer harvested and a hardworking sumandak made a more alluring bride than her pretty sister.
Written to preserve some of the old Dusun beliefs and customs, this engaging memoir is a delightful reminiscence of what it was like to be a child growing up in the 1960s when Sabah was still known as British North Borneo.
TINA KISIL was a loner in a brood of 12. A misfit and a misunderstood child, her shyness often misconstrued as arrogance, she began observing people at a tender age and took refuge in the world of books. Forced to quit school at 18 to help support her younger siblings through school, she was told by her mother to choose: be a nurse or a teacher. Since blood makes her faint, she chose the latter. After earning her teacher’s diploma, she dedicated the best 35 years of her life to her students. She now lives a quiet life in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, where she catches up on her reading and tries to charm her backyard into a garden. She still seeks refuge in the world of books. Footprints in the Paddy Fields is her first book.
OUT IN PAPERBACK ORIGINAL BY MPH PUBLISHING IN APRIL 2010