How Dalat Got Its Name – Heidi Munan

Heidi Munan was born in Switzerland and educated in New Zealand. A graduate post-primary teacher, she has lived in Sarawak since 1965.

Heidi Munan is fond of reading, particularly old books about the history and geography of Southeast Asia. When her children were young, their grandmother used to tell them stories; this developed the author’s interest in folk tales. She has written books about the daily life, customs, arts and handicrafts of her home state.

Heidi Munan does research at the Sarawak Museum. She is a regular contributor to national and foreign newspapers and publications, including the MAS inflight magazine Going Places.

Opening lines:

The small town of Dalat lies on the Oya River. It is a peaceful, pretty place. The people there farm and fish and work all week. At festival time they have fun and visit each other’s houses.

Last lines:

And so it happened. Nobody talks about the war between brothers and the blood in the streets nowadays. But the people of Dalat know the value of peace and friendship. They have never forgotten.

How Dalat got its name:

“This was once a happy village. Now it is a place of death. Blood was spilt in the village street. The smell of death is in the air. Black flies are everywhere. I will call this village Dalat, flies, so nobody shall ever forget!”

The layman’s plot: Village Chief dies without naming his successor among three sons. Wise Eldest Son should be chief by custom, but Brave Second Son challenges the rule and tries to take over. This family conflict causes a divide in the village. Will enemies take advantage of the situation?

Verdict: Simple folk tale, with its typical moral ending. But a nice quick read nevertheless.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

    Sep 27, 2007 @ 18:54:53

    Dear Heidi,
    I have produced an animated version for the ministry of education that has been shown on television. WOuld like to send you a copy of the video CD. How can I get in touch with you?

    My number 013-392 2930 (kuala Lumpur)

    nylusmilk: sorry, i’m not ms heidi munan and i do not know how to contact her.


  2. gum
    Oct 28, 2007 @ 21:53:42

    i love the story!it let me noe about the importance of relationship wif our friends,relatives n other people!TQ 4 the story u wrote,i will always remembered!

    nylusmilk: please note that i’m not the author of the short story. i believe gum is expressing his/her admiration to the author.


  3. miSz...
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 22:39:58

    i luv this story!!!


  4. Mohd Khairul Azwan Bin Mohamed Noor
    Oct 05, 2009 @ 11:13:06

    >I very love and like this story
    >I love character this story is Lutong because he is patient,peace-loving,faithful,loyalty and loving.
    >Lutong he a good advise to his brothers because always fight each order who want to be a new chief
    >I hope i can remember every in my life

    From : Mohd Khairul Azwan Bin Mohamed Noor
    (From Sandakan Sabah)


  5. Jean Jihel
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 20:46:51

    I love this story too as it is full of historical facts and moral values.


  6. Jean Jihel
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 20:47:44

    Love it too.


  7. yonora
    Apr 12, 2010 @ 11:41:35

    saya anak jati dalat..i am very proud


  8. yeownes
    May 11, 2010 @ 14:55:44

    I’ve read this story cos it was published in a book called short poem and short stories. That’s when we were learned literature. I know Dalat well…….. Hahaha…….


  9. Nasifriet
    Jun 07, 2010 @ 22:27:44

    Hi, I would like to get hold of this book. How can I place an order? I’m impressed that someone (esp Heidi Munan) has written a book about Dalat, my birthplace! The last “big hit” about Dalat was the song “Church by the River” by Fr Patrick Masang and this? WOW! I’m impressed. Thanks!


  10. anikliko
    Nov 09, 2010 @ 00:39:13

    yup sure love it..


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    Aug 22, 2013 @ 13:13:55

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