July 9, 2006

The Original Folk

Posted in Malaysia, Reflections, The Cause at 11:06 pm by egalitaria

Colin Nicholas, through his organisation, the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, is doing a great job through his prolific writing and commitment to the Original Folk in Malaysia. On his website (Temiar) is the following extract:

The other categories that are used for the Orang Asli are based on ethnic and cultural criteria (Roseman 18: 1991):

  • Senoi: including the Temiar and Semai
  • Semang: include the Lanoh, Semnan and Sabum and all the Northern Aslian speakers except the Chewong.
  • Aboriginal Malays: including the ; Temuan, Jakun, Orang Kanaq and Orang Selitar.

Each group Orang Asli group has its own language, history and customs that are distinct from each other. It is popularly believed that the first Orang Asli may have come to Malaysia about 50,000 years ago through population movements from India, Sri Lanka and South China. (Roseman 1991: 18- 19).

The Malays(who make up 55% of the countries population) are not descendants of the Orang Asli but came to the peninsula about 3-4000 years ago. But it was not until relatively recently that the Orang Asli started being displaced from their homes and traditional land by government sponsored and Western backed development including: logging, dams, plantations and golf courses. Their resources have been destroyed and inadequate compensation (if any) has been supplied such as regrouping them into ‘schemes’ with inadequate land or aid for growing food let alone any cash crops.

Today the Orang Asli make up less that 1% of the total population in Malaysia.

I am in a research mood. I’m going to get my hands on books and materials related to this matter. Strangely enough, few of us know anything about the above issues, much less the actual facts that are highlighted. Click on this to read more about the Orang Asli in Malaysia.

The map below shows the areas in Peninsular Malaysia in which the different tribes live in.

It gives you a mysterious feeling knowing you are but a newcomer into a world that was occupied and lived in thousands of years ago by this humble group of people,the forgotten of Malaysia.


1 Comment

  1. Sivin said,

    well said.

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