The Tambunan musclemen

Tambunan monument - Sabah, Borneo 20090905

Tambunan monument - Sabah, Borneo 20090905

Location: Tambunan, 80 km from Kota Kinabalu

Ratings *

Lost Ratings ****

Visitors who stop in the town centre of Tambunan would surely be intrigued by this monument. So who are these two Sabahan Stallone and Scharzenegger? A search on the Internet led me to this website.

It’s in Malay, so here’s the English translation, more or less.

In the old days, Tambunan was a jungle and unpopulated. Gombunan and his tribe were the first people to settle in Tambunan, having migrated from Nunuk Ragang (the birthplace of the Kadazandusun people). Under his able leadership, Gombunan’s people lived in peace and harmony. They were known as the flatlanders (orang dataran) because of the topography of the land there.

One day, the fierce warrior tribe Tonsundung from the hills in the East  invaded the flatlanders. Many properties and lives were destroyed, but Gombunan and his men managed to repel them and the Tonsundungs themselves had many people injured and killed. Not one to be humiliated, the Tonsundungs came back and killed Gombunan in revenge while he was alone in the fields.

Without their able leader, the flatlanders were at a loss. They knew that the Tonsundungs would come back again. It was during this time that another tribe, the Tamadons, came and helped the flatlanders. The Tamadons knew that it was only a matter of time before they would be invaded by the Tonsundungs, so they worked together with the flatlanders.

When the Tonsundungs invaded again, they were surprised by the increase in number of warriors that were there and were thoroughy defeated. To celebrate their victory, the two tribes merged and named their place Tambunan – Tam(adon) and (Gom)bunan



  1. Anonymous said,

    November 10, 2009 at 3:05 PM

    just plain myths and legends without distintive written and/or recorded documents nevertheless quite fair for knowledge.

  2. al-Hindi said,

    August 15, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    Let me take this passage, because I want to make my research materials in my thesis.

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