By Mariam Mokhtar
A joint expedition by American and Malaysian universities has discovered a new indigenous people living in the mountain range of Gunung Korbu, according to a secret memo seen by The Ipoh Echo.
The e-mail which was sent to various anthropologists, asks distinguished academics to mark June 13 as ‘Perak’s Day of Revelation’, which they were encouraged to attend.
The team of anthropologists from the University of Pallorofi in California working with archaeologists from University Teknologi Petronas at Tronoh have made several trips to Gunung Korbu in the past four years.
According to the memo, Professor Flora Pilo, who is the resident anthropologist at The University of Pallorofi said, “For years, trekkers to Malaysia’s second highest peak brought back stories of a herd of buffaloes roaming the mountain range. Although they did not spot anybody, they heard voices in a language they could not understand, herding these beasts.”
Gunung Korbu (or Kerbau) is peninsular Malaysia’s second highest peak at 7,162 ft. and was discovered in 1885 by the British colonial government surveyor William Cameron. It was during this mapping expedition that Cameron discovered Cameron Highlands, but his discovery was only recorded in 1925 by Sir George Maxwell.
Historical records at the National Archives in Kew, London said that Cameron had been knocked unconscious by a herd of buffaloes at Gunung Korbu in 1885. Porters carried his broken body down the treacherous slopes and the significance of this herd of buffaloes and the lost tribe, including the failure to register Cameron Highlands, was because of Cameron’s injury.
Professor Flora Pilo described the effort taken by the universities: “We sent in four teams, to try and make contact and we are glad to say that last year, we managed to persuade two members of the Korbuan people, to return to Tronoh whilst we conducted tests on them.
“I think this is a great discovery for the people of Perak, and all of Malaysia. DNA testing has confirmed that these people are descended from the other species, we know as Lenggong Man.”
“Although smaller in size, they have the same dental structure, coarse wiry hair, as well as other characteristics of Lenggong Man. We wondered why they strayed so far from Lenggong. Perhaps there were tribal wars. It is possible the threat of famine may have caused them to migrate, in search of food.”
One senior academic at The Universiti Teknologi Tronoh who did not wish her name to be published, said that a Press Conference had been arranged for June, and that copies of the test results, photographic evidence, x-rays, medical tests and other detailed analyses of the tribe’s dwellings and habits, had been sent to be scrutinised by experts in leading universities around the world.
The language used by the Korbuan indigenous people, is known as the Korbellow; their written language uses simple inscriptions and they practise rituals which involve going into a sedentary trance whilst daubed in mud.
IE traced Professor Flora Pilo to the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University where she was attending a conference. She praised this paper for its investigative journalism and said, “Malaysians cannot keep secrets.”
She has confirmed that the IE will be given first access to the couple of Korbuans who are still undergoing observation at Tronoh.
Meanwhile, a list of authorised travel agents will be given permission to market tours to visit the settlement of the Korbuan people, close to the Gunung Korbu peak.
Hotels in Ipoh will also prepare various promotions to cater to tourists to Gunung Korbu. Some suites will be called the Korbu Presidential Suite in honour of this long-lost tribe. Chefs will also cash in on the act and a lunch buffet, consisting of prime buffalo cuts will be on offer. Roast Korbu and Korbu pudding will be featured next June, when the Korbuans are finally unveiled to the world.
The memo will invite members of the Malaysian cabinet to be guests of honour at next month’s Press Conference. That is why the Ipoh Echo can safely predict that GE-13 will not be held in early June.