The sister-in-law of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, film-maker Clare Rewcastle, has been documenting the lives of the Penan people in the Malaysian Borneo state Sarawak.Financial Times UK’s Sue Cameron quoted Rewcastle as saying, “We were told numerous stories of rape and intimidation and, in one case, of the murder of one of the headmen.”
Rewcastle, who is married to Andrew Brown, younger brother of Gordon, has been coming to Borneo since a couple of years ago and secretly filming companies destroying the rainforest fo make way for oil palm plantation.
Rewcastle said the Penan, the last nomadic tribe of Borneo, was desperate “to smuggle out news of their plight”.
“So in the end, they bundled us under some bin bags, secreted us upstream in the bottom of a shaky old longboat and then led us into the jungle to a hidden-away old hunting hut. It became our home for the next three days, during which time at least 50-60 men, women and children came to meet us, many arriving at night to avoid detection.”