Doomed Paradise

Doomed Paradise

The Last Penan in the Borneo Rainforest

A manifesto against politics and business interests that endanger the Penan culture on Borneo



Title Information

Photographs by Tomas Wüthrich. With texts by Ian B. G. Mackenzie and Lukas Straumann

1st edition

, 2019

Text English / German / Penan


160 pages, 100 color illustrations

22 x 30 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-642-9


Over many years, Swiss photographer Tomas Wüthrich has visited Borneo many times to document the daily life of the Penan, a partially nomadic indigenous people living in the rainforest of Borneo. The way of life that these hunter-gatherers lead in the Sarawak state of Malaysia is critically threatened by illegal logging and oil palm plantations.

The Penan people came to the world’s attention thanks to Swiss-born environmental activist Bruno Manser, who disappeared in the jungle without trace in the year 2000 while campaigning for the Penan cause. In this book, Wüthrich paints a nuanced portrait of this unique culture. The book is printed on moisture-resistant paper made from limestone so that it will be durable in the Borneo rainforest. For its production of Rockpaper no tree was felled and no drinking water consumed.

A selection of Penan myths, collected by Ian B.G. Mackenzie are published for the first time alongside Wüthirch’s photographs. An essay on Bruno Manser and his mission for the Penans’ case completes the book.

Authors & Editors

Ian B.G. Mackenzie

 is a Vancouver-based linguist, anthropologist, documentary filmmaker and author. Since 1991 he has been researching the language and culture of the Penan and has published the first comprehensive dictionary of the Penan language.

Lukas Straumann

 has been heading the Bruno Manser Fund in Basel since 2004.

Tomas Wüthrich

 is a freelance photographer living in and working from Switzerland. His award-winning reportages and portraits are published internationally.