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A chance to see another world

December 10th, 2010

The Orang Asli’s customs and way of doing things may seem “strange” and often given the derogatory label “primitive or uncivilized” by many even today.

This is simply because many of us are not familiar with their cultures. The Orang Asli too, in return, would look at city folks and wonder why we go about doing things the way we do.

However, if we were to take the effort to get to know some Orang Asli, as friends and fellow citizens, we might perhaps see that their way makes perfectly good sense in terms of their own culture and environment.

There are three main tribal groups found in peninsular Malaysia – Negrito, Senoi, and Aboriginal Malay. They are divided into 18 sub-ethnic groups all with their own languages and customs.

Their communities of about 148,000 people make up about five per cent of the total population in Malaysia (compared this to the sizable 17 per cent of the Indigenous population of Sabah and Sarawak).  Most of them prefer to live in the forested areas but many younger ones are making their way into the cities.

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