Ceit and a Culture under Threat
Ceit was the last Chewong woman who wore a strip of rattan wrapped seven times around her stomach.
It was a small piece of Chewong culture that died together with the old great-grandmother
Friday 16 September 2007.

An historic decision by the Malaysian Court of Appeal, upholding Orang Asli Land Rights, marks the dawning of a new era
for the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, who have hitherto been regarded as "tenants at will" of the State governments -
and, as such, had no legal claim to their ancestral hunting grounds.

Flesh Of The Ancestors: 13 Years With The Temuan Tribe ~ by Antares
Personal insights into the Temuan psyche, gleaned from living amongst them for 13 years - and some remarks about the
Orang Asli Affairs Department's misguided programme of
assimilation and Islamization.

 Ethnocide Malaysian Style: Turning Aborigines Into Malays 
~ by Kirk Endicott & Robert Knox Dentan
Since 1961 Malaysian officials have expressed a desire to “integrate” Orang Asli into the Malaysian “mainstream.”
This has come to mean bringing them into the market economy, asserting political control over them,
and assimilating them into the Malay ethnic category. Yet, despite continuous efforts by
the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs (Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli, or JHEOA),
most Orang Asli still live on the fringes of Malaysian society, cut off from most social services, 

poorly educated, making a meager living
 Dark Intrigues In Scenic Places ~ by Antares
After nearly 50 years under the 'benign' despotism of the Orang Asli Affairs Dept,
the indigenous Temuan of Pertak Village no longer feel they have any control over their destiny. 

Divide-and-rule is practised to keep the community disintegrated, incoherent and disempowered.
Court Rules Orang Asli Have Rights To Land
In a landmark decision the High Court ruled that the Orang Asli of Malaysia have a proprietary interest 
in customary and traditional lands occupied by them and that they have the right to use and derive profit from the land.
A Common Struggle: Regaining Control ~ by Colin Nicholas
      The indigenous peoples of Asia number more than 150 million. This is more than half of the world's indigenous population.
Labels such as cultural minorities, hill tribes, aboriginals, tribals, natives and indigenous minorities may apply well to
local contexts but they inadequately describe the true picture.
 SUHAKAM and the Indigenous Peoples' Question ~ by Colin Nicholas
I have been asked to evaluate Suhakam’s performance during its first year, insofar as the rights and aspirations of the indigenous peoples are concerned. The Commission’s activities thus far have clearly been mainly in the area of civil and political rights, and certainly rightly so. However, given that Malaysia is in the forefront of asserting that there is such a thing as an Asian concept of human rights, one that emphasises social, economic and cultural rights, it seems odd to me that these other rights are not given equal emphasis. 
The Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia ~ by Colin Nicholas
    The Orang Asli are the indigenous minority peoples of Peninsular Malaysia. The name is a Malay term which transliterates as 'original peoples' or 'first peoples.' It is a collective term introduced by anthropologists and administrators for the 18 sub-ethnic groups
generally classified for official purposes under Negrito, Senoi and Proto-Malay.
They numbered 105,000 in 1997
representing a mere 0.5 per cent of the national population.
 Death of a Chewong Elder ~ by Colin Nicholas
BENG MAROI, for a long time the oldest living Chewong and a key-informant to many 
researchers from all fields, died in the early hours of Friday, 26 April 2001.
To Tame, Transform and Annihilate:
Assessments of Modernization by Semai and Temuan

      A powerful essay by anthropologist Robert Knox Dentan published in 1999.
    Press Release: Orang Asli Sue the Government
  Seven Orang Asli have sued the concessionaire of elite Highway and the State and Federal Governments, for the loss of their land and dwellings when the land was acquired three years ago. The Orang Asli from Bukit Tampoi, Sepang named the Selangor Government, United Engineers (M) Sdn. Bhd, Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia and the Federal Government as defendants.
Press Release #2: Orang Asli Land: Test Case Proceeds
      The hearing of a civil suit by 7 Temuans from Bukit Tampoi, Dengkil, Selangor, against the Government and several other authorities began on 18 February in the Shah Alam High Court before Justice Datuk Faiza Thamby Chik. Three lawyers represented the Orang Asli, while a team of 6 lawyers represented the 4 defendants.
Thrown into deep water by 'progress' ~ Pang Hin Yue/News Straits Times
          It seems too much pain to bear for a toddler. One-and-a-half-year-old Anwar A'gan suffers from, among others, severe bronchitis and worm infestation. Lying on the bamboo floor with a high fever, he sucks on an empty feeding bottle in between coughs
that send his tiny body retching.
 Statement from the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal
    Peoples of the Tropical Forests ~ by Joji Carino

     Our goal is to secure respect for indigenous rights, territories, institutions and processes, and to promote our indigenous models of development and conservation in tropical forest regions that are more just and more sustainable. This Alliance represents our global response to the destruction of our forests to feed the unsustainable consumption and production patterns of the rest of the world.
Environmental Management: an article from Forest, Trees and People
    ~ by Leaf Hillman and John F. Salter, Ph.D.

   As early as 1851, at the very onset of contact with Euro-Americans, observers were struck by the speed with which [the north Californian] native peoples of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers had been dispersed, their villages burned before their eyes. Indian cultures across two continents suffered devastating blows - destruction of villages, genocide in its various forms, and a loss of territory to which they had been linked by family and village for thousands of years. Recovery of tribal people in this region from the Anglo-European invasion of the 19th century is a slow process which continues today, largely unrecognized by mainstream America.
Blinded By Greed: Pertak Bulletin, July 1996 ~ by Antares
        A quiet but significant battle is raging in the tranquil green sanctuary of Pertak - an edenic forest reserve en route to Fraser's Hill, crisscrossed by clear mountain streams - and ancestral home of the Temuan (one of Peninsular Malaysia's 19 aboriginal tribes). On one side we have the socio-culturally and economically marginalized Temuan, for whom the entire bioregion is a sacred site, prominently featured in their creation myths, and whose right to uphold their hereditary status as de facto Keepers of the Rainforest has been in a legalistic limbo for generations.
12 Months Later: Pertak EpiLOG, July 1997 ~ by Antares
     The loggers have gone, leaving an empty diesel tank and ugly scars in the jungle. Rumour has it that the Batin (Headman) of Kampung Orang Asli Pertak will be replaced soon but nobody really believes this. On June 6th a new Mentri Besar (Chief Minister) was sworn in. Within two weeks he has ordered helicopter surveillance to locate and identify environmentally ruinous projects in Selangor. The Star quoted him on 19 June 1997 as saying: “In future we want to be very careful not to develop forest reserve areas.”
Seeing Beyond 3D ~ by Antares
     Anoora's stepfather Rasid Aus, a quiet, thoughtful chap in his early forties who seems as comfortable with the past as he is with the present, often sees apparitions. He would describe, almost casually, the assorted hideous forms he encountered the night before while doing his rounds as a security guard in a nearby youth training centre. Other times Rasid would warn me about the vampire spirits (pontianak) that occasionally popped up in the area. But he was also sensitive to benign spirits.
Tanah Tujuh (The Seventh Planet) ~ by Antares
     Orang Asli call the Earth Tanah Tujuh - literally, the Seventh Land. Seri Pagi and his younger brother Utat have tried many times to explain exactly what this means by showing me a stack of plates. "There are seven worlds one on top of the other, you see, and we are here, right in the middle." Were they talking about Dimensions? There was no way I could find out. The word "dimension" translates into Malay as dimensa or dimensi - generally defined as ukuran or spatial measurements.
Song of the Dragon ~ by Antares
     Two days after the monstrous calamity at Pos Dipang on 29 August 1996, when almost an entire Orang Asli village was demolished by a tidal wave of mud and dead trees, a dramatic black-and-white photograph appeared in the Sunday Star. It showed the “dragon's trail of destruction” down one slope of the Kinjang Range - like a huge rip in the fabric of reality exposing the raw elemental underside of nature. An awesome sight, not exactly beautiful, but inspiring speechless awe, and reminding us of the two faces of cosmic forces - the malefic as well as the benign.
Spiral Stairway to the Sky ~ by Antares
     Before the Great Deluge, long before the birth of humankind, the gods were able to descend to Earth on a spiral stairway connecting the Underworld to the Heavenly Realms. Who were these gods? They were the progenitors of our earliest ancestors - of whom no one may speak without experiencing terrible confusion, for they existed before 
language was used to divide rather than unify.
The A Bao A Qu Mystery ~ by Antares
  In April 1993 I received a strange request in the post. John Hagedorn - an American educationist-cum-percussionist then based in Alexandria, Egypt - wrote asking me to research the Malayan origins of the legend of "A Bao A Qu." Hagedorn's travel-writer colleague, Christopher Green, had  unearthed this obscure tale from Jorge Luis Borges's 1967 Book of Imaginary Beings. Borges claimed he had found the "A Bao A Qu" story in the appendix of C.C. Iturvuru's 1937 treatise, On Malay Witchcraft.
Temuan Glossary ~ A Selective Sampling
  Far from being a moribund language, Temuan has continued to develop - at least until recent decades when formal education in modern Malay was introduced to the Orang Asli and the young were encouraged to shed their dialectic peculiarities. Indeed, I was amused to discover that the Temuan vocabulary includes a number of words borrowed from Chinese dialects (especially Cantonese) stemming from their close contact with the towkays (entrepreneur bosses) to whom they sell their bamboo, durians, and labour. I offer this brief glossary merely as a starting point for further philological research and documentation.
Home of Rainbows ~ by Antares
     ABOUT AN HOUR’S HIKE from where I live there is a sacred waterfall whose virgin waters cascade 180 feet into a womblike cauldron. At midday with the Sun directly overhead, I once ventured into the seething cauldron. And there, trembling from the cold and from an overwhelming sense of awe, I found the Home of Rainbows.
 NASA looks to Native Elders to Help Save the Earth ~ UPS
  NASA brought together a gathering of several hundred elders for a five-day climate-change workshop in Albuquerque, N.M., last fall. NASA is seeking to merge the knowing and wisdom of people who understand the responsibilities that humans 
have to the Earth with the knowledge of  non-native scientists.