Syair Tarsilah Cetera Abang Gudam DanganTemenggong Kadir Negeri Saribas:

Rediscovering A Lost Manuscript and A Lost Kingdom In Northern Borneo


  • Datu Dr. Haji Sanib Haji Said


A rediscovery of a Malay-Jawi manuscript, Syair Tarsilah Cetera Abang Gudam Dangan Temenggong Kadir Negeri Saribas may add a new kingdom to the early history of the Malay Archipelago. The manuscript was first discovered in 1961 by Anthony Richards and who worked on it for many years. But he found it too tedious and failed to complete the study when he died in 2000. In 2002, Robert Reece, a historian, rediscovered the manuscript and shared a copy with this writer for a collaborative project. Through the reflective process, it dawned upon this writer that the syair is about the lost kingdom of Saribas that he has been searching for the past thirty years. It is mentioned in passing in several Silsilah Raja-Raja Berunai and Valentyn reported an uprising in 1609 involving four kingdoms in the area. The manuscript narrates the founding of the negeri by Temenggong Kadir who ran from the sultanate of Brunei and his son-in-law to be, Abang Gudam, who also ran away from the kingdom of Pagaruyung in Sumatra. In the hope of introducing this lost kingdom of Saribas, this paper will firstly describe the manuscript and secondly, will attempt to make a preliminary discussion on the founding of the kingdom in the context of time and space of the Malay Archipelago.