“If you really want to know what Middle-Earth is based on, it's my wonder and delight in the earth as it is, particularly the natural earth.”—J. R. R. Tolkien
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BY THE LONELY MOUNTAIN
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DISCOVERIES AND EXPANSION
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“Dear Frodoians, Thank you for the card and map of North Borneo as Middle-Earth. What a delight to be a member of the N.B.F.S.! I had no idea of the remarkable cartographic coincidence. I exclaimed aloud “Orcs!” on reading of your discoveries being validated by Margaret Mead’s earlier research. This led my husband to inquire about my health. I haven’t, as of yet, heard whether I have incurred obligations along with the card. I wonder, wistfully, if maybe the N.B.F.S. doesn’t do anything. Pleasant thought, just to be. However, I’m sure that if it does anything that anything will suit me, and it will be pleasantly improbable.”
Riverdale, Maryland, USA
“The name of your Society started my imagination running. To stop it, I had to write you and ask you about what it is like and how it works (and so forth). Any society who uses the slogan, ‘In Frodo We Trust, In Orcs We Disgust,’ must be a good one.”
I find that I cannot read an autobiography unless I can relate to it in some manner. Neill McKee, co-Founder of the North Borneo Frodo Society, and I have some common themes in our lives but he was the adventurous one. His autobiography draws you into the narrative, a story of a young man ‘trying to find himself’ during the late 1960s…. After graduating with a psychology degree, disenchanted with intern work on a mental hospital, McKee realized that was no career for him. At that point, this introverted Canadian decided to join Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO)….Many things come together for the creation of the North Borneo Frodo Society (NBFS)…Soon after, the NBFS was created, with membership around the world, including Professor Tolkien. Enlisting the help of two American teachers, Peter Regan and Caitie O’Shea, they produced newsletters and maps showing how North Borneo must have inspired Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Wasn’t it obvious that with its dragon legend Mt. Kinabalu was the Lonely Mountain and the Shire was somewhere beneath the South China Sea? They certainly had a great time with it….I rarely read books twice, but this one I did. If you like truthful, reflective stories of faraway places with a good dose of Tolkien fandom thrown in, I urge you to buy the book!
Sumner Hunewell (a.k.a. Hildifonstook)
[Excerpts from a review first published in Beyond Bree: Newsletter of American Mensa Tolkien Special Interest Group. May 2020
“We are, respectively, a biologist and an architect. This year we spent our vacation in Malaysia and visited Mount Kinabalu park in Sabah. We heard about the North Borneo Frodo Society and your claim that Sabah is in fact Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, but we were still amazed at what we found. It really is Middle-Earth! We were always waiting for a hobbit to come out of a tree! Because we fell deeply in love with Mount Kinabalu, and we both loved Lord of the Rings, we would like very much to become members of the North Borneo Frodo Society. We’ll be waiting to hear from you soon. Best Regards.”
Ricardo Lopez and
Berkeley, California, USA
On August 1, 2015, in the village of Madrid, New Mexico, the North Borneo Frodo Society was reborn after many years of semi-dormancy. That summer, I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and started to reflect on my 45 years of living, working and traveling in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in Russia - a career that started in Borneo in 1968. The Madrid "Freak Flag Parade and World's Shortest Pub Crawl," was a perfect occasion for this relaunch.
At the time, I had to let off steam because in June 2015 some foreign climbers
stripped naked and
urinated on the sacred place of our Society,
Mount Kinabalu, causing
a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, according to local Kadazans who were never properly compensated for this insult. So that's when I began to write my memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo. I continue to write many more stories, now under the shadow and spell of the beautiful Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque.
- Neill McKee
The North Borneo Frodo Society (NBFS) is devoted to increasing the understanding between all peoples of the world and the peoples of Sabah, Malaysia (formerly British North Borneo), especially now that the once peaceful South China Sea to the north of this exotic land is threatened by greedy, militaristic, Mordor-like forces.
All people and orgnizations are welcome to join, especially those in need of some moments of some mystery and comic relief in a too fast-paced and conflicted world.