✍️ Orang Asli Faces Extinction by Gus Ghani
ORANG ASLI BACKGROUND
🌳“Orang Asli” (literally translated as original PEOPLE) is the Malaysian term used for the groups of people indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia and are the oldest inhabitants.
There are 18 Orang Asli tribes that still exist, categorised under three main groups according to their different languages and customs i.e. Semang (or Negrito), generally confined to the northern portion of the Peninsular, Senoi, residing in the central region and Proto-Malay (or Aboriginal Malay), in the southern region.
⚠️170,000+ OA Inhabitants who face many discriminations.
🚸45,000 OA School Children & many don’t have money to even go to school.
NO EQUAL RIGHTS
No one really knows how to treat the Orang Asli properly, and I wonder if it is due to ignorance, apathy or plain old discrimination.
What I do know is that coercing these oldest inhabitants away from their sacred land with bribes or threats is totally wrong and inhumane. It’s also clearly disrespectful to the Orang Asli and against their basic rights to assume that they should be integrated into our modern society; even up to the point of denouncing their animistic beliefs involuntarily.
SHACKLED BY SOCIETY
It saddens me to see Orang Asli settlements where they are forced to live in poorly built brick houses when they clearly prefer to be left alone to live and roam free in the jungle like their ancestors.
Whenever I meet the Orang Asli in these transient settlements, I can see in their eyes that their spirits are in limbo, unsettled and always longing to return to their familiar jungle setting. Then, I feel guilty being part of society and part responsible for putting them in such a pitiful and unwanted state.
FRIEND OR FOE
The sad reality is that these jungle dwellers are easily duped and bullied by cunning outsiders to give-up their legal entitlements and human rights because they are simple and peace loving people.
Thankfully, they have important allies with certain non-profit organisations and groups who are willing to defend their legal RIGHTS, even when the odds are always against them.
SENTENCED TO DEATH
Without exaggeration, the biggest threat to the existence of the Orang Asli is deforestation. Since the Orang Asli depends entirely on the rainforest for their livelihood and their lives, destroying the rainforest will cut-off their essential food and water supply, as well as prevent them from earning a vital income from selling food and handicrafts sourced from the jungle.
SEIZING ANCESTRAL LAND
The poor indigenous people can never fully defend their ancestral land against being taken over or destroyed by the powerful timber tycoons, the mining magnates, the rich developers, and the government-backed palm oil industry.
In the high-stakes land-grabbing game, the massive profits are too attractive to resist for corrupt officials and unethical corporations, and the lowly Orang Asli are just collateral damage in their eyes.
WASTING PRECIOUS TIME
Instead of fighting global warming & climate change through extensive national programmes, our Ministries & State Governments are more concerned about protecting and collaborating with rich corporations who are destroying and looting our natural resources for their own selfish gains without any consideration for the enormous social and environmental costs to the rest of society. Unfortunately, everyday in the news, there are many nationwide cases of environmental destruction resulting in loss of lives, livelihood and not to mention, posing severe and long-term health risks to the rakyat. This is an article by National Geographic on the controversial palm oil production.
Looking after the environment is everybody’s responsibility, so I can’t fathom why the Government is not taking decisive actions to combat Climate Change & Global Warming , and why no one is made accountable. Judging by a recent march by environmentalists in KL, I am not the only one who is aghast at the Government’s lack of action to tackle climate change (read the newspaper coverage here). Malaysians must pressure the government to waste no more time, and start taking global warming seriously, instead of burying their heads in the proverbial sand. Of course, individuals must also take personal action to stop environmental pollution, and below are some simple ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint and be an effective modern day ecowarrior.
BE AN ENVIRONMENTALIST
- STOP USING PLASTICS: The amount of plastic waste is getting so huge that recycling and reducing the use of plastics is no longer enough. Now, we need to stop using plastics by using reusable bags and containers when we go shopping. Watch this short video for a clearer explanation.
- REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS: Avoid driving and take public transport, carpool or cycle to your destinations. If you can afford it, buy an electric car!
- BUY PRODUCTS FROM AN ETHICAL SOURCE: Support and buy from eco friendly companies.
- SAVE ELECTRICITY & CONSERVE WATER: Use energy-saving devices and figure out how to reduce your usage of electricity and water around the home and in the workplace.
ORANG ASLI TEACHINGS
Orang Asli is the guardian of our precious rainforest, and we can learn a lot from the Orang Asli on how to respect and preserve our rainforest, and how to use the rainforest’s natural resources for food, medicine, ecotourism – all in a sustainable way.
GOMBAK JUNGLE SCHOOL
Why not visit an Orang Asli Settlement & experience their traditional lifestyle with Encik Raman bin Bah Tuin from Semai tribe & Senoi group.
Raman is the Founder of Jungle School and he organises jungle tours for nature lovers, tourists, students and corporations.
Here are some of the exciting Jungle School activities :-
✔️ Watch first-hand Orang Asli mothers weaving various traditional handicrafts.
✔️ Trek through the jungle, while identifying many unique flora and fauna.
✔️ Build a day-shelter using ‘bertam’ leaves collected from the jungle.
✔️ Learn fire-starting using the wood you collected.
Video : Poison Dart
Video : New Hunter
✔️ Play a puzzle solving game known as “Jah re Noi” .
✔️ Be entertained by Raman playing a traditional nose flute called “Pensol”.
✔️ Enjoy a traditional lunch of rice, chicken, fish, vegetables and tea – all cooked in bamboo.
🌈 Indeed, why not support ecotourism like Jungle School which will benefit the Orang Asli community directly in a sustainable manner.
For more information & booking, go to Jungle School https://lokalocal.com/tour/1419/1-day-programme-with-jungle-school
🌏SAVE OUR ROCK
Climate Change & Global Warming indicate that our planet is reacting to overwhelming environmental destruction by mankind. What’s more shocking is that Governments & Global Leaders are not taking drastic steps to change archaic laws in order to protect our lonely planet.
The powerful elites who control & influence international policies have everything to gain from maintaining the status quo, and much to lose if current failed systems are overhauled. To make matters worse, the average man & family have either been made or kept weak and poor by increasing debt through biased education and prejudiced employment systems. We have been brainwashed by Big Brother to support consumerism & commercialism to pay for the luxurious lifestyle of the rich and industry owners.
At the same time, not much support and explanation given for the need to keep our environment pollution-free, and not enough studies and action taken to halt and penalise protected industries who pollute our air and water.
Everybody has the right to pursue happiness and wealth, but not at the expense of minorities like the peace loving Orang Asli, and not when the processes are clearly not sustainable.
To the best of my knowledge, all of the information provided herein is accurate at the time of publishing and the views expressed are based on my own personal opinions and findings, and they don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Product Manufacturer, Event Organiser or any Third Party unless explicitly specified otherwise.
About The Author
Gus Ghani is the Founder of Running Toons and Virtual Sports ; a HIIT Fitness Coach, and Magazine Columnist. He has contributed numerous insightful articles to The Star newspaper, Running Malaysia Magazine, and Cycling Malaysia Magazine. LIKE Happy Runner for RUNNING UPDATES, Gus Rider for CYCLING NEWS, Gus Ghani for SPORTS INFOTAINMENT and FOLLOW gusghani @IG for LIFESTYLE.
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