KUALA LUMPUR: Taking aim with a traditional Borneo blowpipe, Britain’s Prince Charles gave a royal puff and shot a sharpened wooden dart into a target as he tried out the weapon during a visit to the island on Monday.
Charles, heir to the British throne, and his wife Camilla met tribal leaders, enjoyed a raft ride and watched traditional dance on their trip to the vast, jungle-clad island during a tour of Malaysia, part of an 11-day swing through Asia.
The royal couple visited the “Cultural Village” in Malaysia’s Sarawak state, an outdoor museum that showcases traditional dwellings and ways of live of the area’s many different ethnic groups.
The blowpipe was traditionally used by tribes on Borneo to fire poison-tipped darts at animals or human enemies, although modern guns have largely replaced the old weapons.
Charles, dressed in a light suit, striped shirt and tie, closed one eye and appeared to be concentrating hard as he puffed through the lengthy wooden blowpipe which was balanced on the branch of a tree.
He had some success with the fearsome weapon, hitting the target with his arrow.
The couple were ferried round on a wooden raft on a lake at the museum, which sits on the Santubong Peninsula, with a roof to protect them from the tropical sun, against a backdrop of dense jungle.
Charles met the heads of some of the area’s tribes, and he and Camilla also watched a dance by performers in multi-coloured tribal costumes and elaborate headdresses.
Borneo, the world’s third largest island, is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and the tiny sultanate of Brunei. The couple have already visited Singapore and the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on the tour, which is aimed at strengthening ties ahead of a Commonwealth Summit in Britain next year.
They will head to Penang in northern Malaysia Tuesday, which was hit by deadly floods at the weekend, before ending the tour in India.
Published in Daily Times, November 7th 2017.