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Orang Asli
Ben van Wijnen

"The Orang Asli are the ancient inhabitants of the forest. These tribes live in huts in the jungle and live from nature. They make fire with their hands and rattan and Meranti, hunt every morning to provide the families of the tribe with daily food. They know a lot about herbs and everything that is available in the forest. For example, they use glue from a special tree, bamboo for blowpipes, leaves of the palm as roofs for the houses, all kinds of leaves, tree bark for making medicinal drinks."

Orang Asli in Taman Negara

The name "Orang Asli" means "original people" or "first people". They all live on the Peninsular of Malaysia. Nowadays there about 60.000 Orang Asli people, of which 60% still live in the rain forest. About 40% Orang Asli live along or near the coast. Each has its own language and culture, and perceives itself as different from the others. Linguistically, some of the northern Orang Asli groups speak languages, that suggest a historical link with the indigenous peoples in Burma, Thailand and Indo-China. 
They are classified into three groups:
- Senoi
- Orang Malayu Asli
- Negrito

As I said, there's a lot of difference between those groups.  The name "Negrito" suggest, that these people come from Papua New Guinea or East Africa. They also have dark-skinned and frizzy-hair. Other groups of the Orang Asli are more light-skinned and have straight hair.
The Negrito's live in the North and North East of the Peninsular and mostly they live in the jungle. They are the semi-nomadic tribes of the Orang Asli. Only a few of them also live in urban areas and are engaged in both waged and salaried jobs. 
It is thought that the Negrito's arrived in Malaya 8,000 years ago. Their forefathers were also hunters and gatherers who lived in caves and rock shelters. They knew the use of fire and cooked their food with the aid of crude instruments made from stone. They hunt for food and gather fruits as well as forest products for medical use. 

Many Senoi live in the Cameron Highlands. They just look like a real Malaysians, although the dark ones look like Negrito's. Originally they must have come from the hills in Vietnam, Cambodia or Northern Thailand, about 6000 - 8000 years ago  
In the highlands the Senoi live as wage-earners, working on the highland tea estates. Others you can see in the streets of Kuala Lumpur in jeans and a T-shirt. They have obtained jobs as varied as government employees and taxi drivers
When you have left the highway you'll see a sign with "Orang Asli" village on it. 


The Orang Asli ( mostly Negrito),who live in the jungle, hunt with blowpipes for birds and little monkeys. The blowpipe is made from bamboo. The mouth piece is made from damar, a resin obtained from the dipterocarp trees. Darts are made from the split leaf-stalks of Arenga palm cone is made of light weight pitch and the tip is coated with a lethal preparation made from the sap of the lpol tree (Antiaris toxicaria) and carried in a carefully closed bamboo tube. As for the windage, a soft fluffy "wool' is made from as kind of bark. Blowpipe is deadly accurate within 20 meters. 
Fear of the spirits of dead ancestors and hunted animals is very strong amongst them, and it is an unwritten law that all animals caught, in the forest should suffer no pain. 
The Orang Asli live in small tribes in the jungle. The tribe we visited had about 10 houses. They were made from leaves (te roof) and the floor was made of wood. They didn't live far from the river. They always remain living in a place, untill something happens, like a death or severe illness. Then they move to another place. The chief, every tribe has one, decides whether they will move. Building a house takes about two or three hours. 
The government built for the tribe we visited long wooden houses. They lived a few days in it and then they decided to move back into the jungle. They never returned to their government houses. 
You can read the site of our visit at: Taman Negara.

Negrito Senoi Malayu Asli
Mah Meri
Che Wong
Ja Hut
Semoq Beri
Orang Selatar
Orang Kuala
Orang Kanaq


Heritage Hotel

Heritage Hotel Cameron Highlands is ideally located in Tanah Rata. This boutique hotel is situated on a hill surrounded by elegantly designed gardens in the old English countryside style. The hotel itself is also well-decorated in a Tudor style. Within lush tropical rainforests, guests can feel relaxed and rejuvenated away from the chaotic environment of the city. The hotel also provides traditional and modern comforts with great service from the hotelís friendly staff. The 238 rooms were designed with guests' comfort in mind. With its sleek interiors, the hotel has managed to include a full range of amenities which include an IDD telephone, mini bar, LCD TV with in-house movies, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary newspaper upon request, and attached private balcony. Only eight minutes away, guests can stroll from the hotel and reach the town of Tanah Rata. With its location and full range of amenities, Heritage Hotel Cameron Highlands assures guests of a memorable stay.

More information and photos: Heritage Hotel |click now|





 Ben van Wijnen



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