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Bapaks From Bagak (From the Archive)

Pak Afong (with the baseball cap) and Pak Po'on (with the towel), both Selako Dayaks from the village of Bagak Sawah in West Kalimantan, helped a lot with my research on illipe nuts at the Raya-Pasi Nature Reserve (seeIllipe Nut III). Pak Afong was the official forest guard at Raya-Pasi, and he was the one who first told me about the annually fruiting illipe nut and helped me lay out and monitor my research plots. He was also the one who stopped me from stepping on the cobra (thx, Afong). Pak Po'on, an older gentleman who always went to the field in flip-flops, would help out when Pak Afong was not available. Po'on loved to talk and was an enthusiastic kretek smoker. The only thing that he would bring to the field was his towel and parang, so whenever it rained we would both hunker down under my poncho. Invariably, Pak Po'on would light up a kretek and start telling a story, usually about the old days during the Japanese occupation. The smoke under the poncho would get so thick that I couldn't see his face. It was a pleasure to work with both of these men. [NOTES: Pak Po'on's parang is stuck in the durian tree to the left of his head. The Indonesian word for tree is pohon.]

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