Orang Asli Info

Orang Asli (lit, “original peoples” or “aboriginal peoples” in Malay), is a general Malaysian term used for any indigenous groups that are found in Peninsular Malaysia. They are divided into three main tribal groups – Semang (Negrito), Senoi, and Proto-Malay (Aboriginal Malay). The Orang Asli are further divided into 18 sub-ethnic group according to their different languages and customs. The Negritos are usually found in the northern region of the peninsula, the Senois in the central region, and the Proto-Malay in the southern region. There is an Orang Asli museum at Gombak, which is about 25 km north of Kuala Lumpur. (wiki)

Bateq Tribe :

Introduction / History
The Bateq (also spelled Batiq or Batek) are one of the nineteen Orang Asli people groups of Peninsular Malaysia. They are part of the Semang (officially called Negrito) subgroup. When asked who they are, Bateq is what they will usually answer. The Bateq (“people of our group”) are a people with little accounting of their history. They are nomadic foraging people who have a very low literacy rate and almost no formal tradition of story telling.

Their settlements are located in the Kuala Krai district of Kelantan, the Besut district of Terengganu, and the Jerantut and Kuala Lipis districts of Pahang.

What are their lives like?
Traditionally, the Bateq lived in the rain forest in small, nomadic groups. They survive on a combination of hunting and gathering wild foods and trading forest products such as rattan and resinous wood for food, tobacco, and manufactured goods. Surrounded by a household of plastic ware and steel containers, the Bateq of today are no longer the loincloth-clad people of years gone by. The men’s loincloths of pounded bark have given way to shirts and shorts or sarongs, and sometimes long trousers. Blouses and sarongs have replaced the women’s short kilt and strands of fungus which where made from a waist-string of the same material.

Much of the Bateq’s traditionally occupied jungle homeland in Kelantan has been destroyed either by unchecked development of logging activities or logging by the Federal and State governments. The alternative location provided for the Batek is a thousand-acre patch of land surrounding Post Lebir, a government-sponsored settlement on the Middle Lebir River.

The vast majority of the Bateq have fled into the nearby National Park (Taman Negara), which straddles the Kelantan-Pahang border. Some settled along the northern border of the National Park and others withdrew into the interior of the Park to continue their traditional way of life by foraging and trading. Still others have joined the Bateq living near the Park in Pahang where they make their living by trade and wage labor.

Many Bateq remain quite nomadic. Moving between three villages every six months, crops (like tapioca, yams, and groundnuts) are cultivated, harvested and replanted. Tending to crops is the job of women; the men hunt mouse deer, monkeys, gibbons, birds, and harvest bamboo.

What are their beliefs?
Most of the Bateq who have settled down in permanent villages have converted to Islam. Generally, Bateq are animists who shun their own people who have converted to Islam. Nevertheless, the worldview of the Bateq is still gripped by animistic beliefs. Some still follow their traditional religion, a complex set of beliefs and practices that connect them to their environment and fellow Bateq through relations with a group of deities that are associated with forces of nature (such as thunder god).

What are their needs?
Much of the Bateq’s jungle homeland has been destroyed by unchecked development and logging activities. Pray that God will provide adequate resources to meet their physical needs. Pray for believers who live near Bateq villages to relate and respond to the needs of the Bateq.

Semoq Beri Tribe :

Introduction / History
The Semoq Beri (“people of the jungle”) are one of the nineteen Orang Asli people groups of Peninsular Malaysia. They belong to the Senoi subgroup.

They refer to themselves as Semoq (“people”) and are called Semoq Beri by their neighbors. They are also referred to in relevant literature as the Jakun of Tekai River and erroneously as the Semelai. The Semoq Beri live in settlements located in the jungles of the Jerantut, Kuantan, and Maran districts in Pahang and the Hulu Terengganu and Kemaman districts in Terengganu.

In the Malaysian Department of Aborigines nomenclature, Semoq Beri refers to a culturally diverse grouping of Orang Asli living in a large area along the eastern and northern tributaries of the Tembeling and Pahang Rivers.

What are their lives like?
The Semoq Beri have a common understanding within their society that each group has its own territory. The boundaries are clearly defined and maintained through mutual respect and any access to resources is available on demand – for instance, rights to make a garden are acquired by felling trees.

All types of subsistence activities are represented in Semoq Beri society – from hunting to slash and burn agriculture. Those living in government settlements are semi-nomads. Although less dependent on forest produce, they still hunt and fish regularly and collect some forest produce for trade (rattan, aromatic woods).

The traditional Semoq Beri are hunter-gatherers and are completely dependent on the forest. They use the government village settlement only as a base camp. Except during the rainy season, they move around the forest all year round, hunting and collecting forest produce. They put up temporary camps within the jungle and move from one location to another. Each move can last from two to thirty-six days and cover a distance of up to 375 miles (or 600 km).

What are their beliefs?
The Semoq Beri believe in the existence of a Creator God called Tohan as well as numerous genies, spirits, ghosts, and supernatural beings. Certain natural phenomenon such as thunder, lightning, and eclipses are still feared by some of the Semoq Beri. They believe the forest is full of spirits that are an integral part of the human environment and these spirits communicate with and guide humans during dreams and trances. These non-human beings are everywhere in the forest; not only are they in plants and animals, but also in stones and mountains. Religious rituals are closely linked to their use of the forest. Their lives are also filled with taboos and superstitions due to the fear of spirits that dominate their lives. A small minority of the Semoq Beri are Christian.

What are their needs?
The Semoq Beri are hunter-gatherers and are dependent on the forest. They are a remote and highly mobile people. They are also isolated and impoverished. Pray for positive efforts for outside the culture to help improve their way of life. Pray for believers who will seek to relate the True Creator God to others within the Semoq Beri mobile community.

Text source: Copyright © Southeast Asia Link – SEALINK. Used with permission.