After an early morning Treetop Canopy Walk, then a steep mountain hike, and lunch at Mama Chop, we were picked up for our visit to the Orang Asli Village. The name Orang Asli means “first people”. All of these people live on the Peninsula of Malaysia. Currently there are about 60,000 Orang Asli people, and 60% of them still live in the rainforest. About 40% of them live along or near the coast. Each group has it’s own language and culture, and identifies itself as different from the others. Some of the northern Orang Asli groups speak languages that suggest a historical link with the indigenous people in Burma, Thailand and Indo-China.
The long tail boat picked us all up and transported us directly to the village which was situated on the Tembeling River.
We were once again taken through some wild river rapids so, as you can see above, my camera lens was wet.
Our guide introduced us to the village by giving us some history on these people.
The Orang Asli live in small tribes in the jungle. The tribe that we visited lived very close to the river on a small embankment. They are nomadic, therefore they remain living in one place until something happens, like a death or severe illness. Then they move to another place in the jungle. Every tribe has one chief, and he decides whether, and where, they will move.
He said that we could take photographs but that many of the woman would be very shy.
We were warned not to be alarmed by small children carrying knives or machetes. The guide also said that it is also not inappropriate for young children to be smoking hand rolled cigarettes.
Here you can see that these villagers build their homes from wood, bamboo with weaved walls and thatched roofs using palm leaves. Building one of theses homes takes two or three hours. There are no visible bedrooms, especially for the children, as they all sleep in the “main hall”. The only separation seems to be in the form of wooden-beaded curtains for the parents’ chambers. There are no locks or other devices used to prevent unwanted entry into any of these rooms. A simple way of telling that an entry is unwanted is by drawing down the curtains. To allow entry, the curtain is drawn to the sides and tied to form an opening.
Some of the other tour groups had brought candy and treats for the village children. As you can see, above, the little boy is enjoying some chocolate biscuits. I would imagine that these sugary foods might cause some upset stomachs later on.
We were shown how to roll the “cigarettes” that they smoke. Almost all members of the tribe smoke. As I mentioned above, even the children start smoking at a young age.
I presume that this was the chief because he showed us around the village.
Once he rolled the cigarette, he passed it to us to try.
Our tour guide has the first puff.
Next we moved to an open area where the chief demonstrated how to make some of the tribes most commonly used weapons.
The Orang Asli, who live in the jungle, hunt with blowpipes for birds and little monkeys. The blowpipe is made form bamboo. The mouth piece is made from damar, a resin obtained from the dipterocarp trees.
Darts are made from the split leaf-stalks of the Arenga palm cone, and the tip is coated with a lethal preparation made from the sap of the Ipol tree and carried in a carefully closed bamboo tube.
For the windage, a soft fluffy “wool” is made from bark.
These are the bamboo tubes that the darts are carried in.
This leaf was rough, like sandpaper, and it is used to smooth the darts.
The final product.
The blowpipe and dart are deadly accurate up to about 20 meters!
Next, the chief demonstrated how they start fires to cook their food.
He made a few more darts, and then said that he wanted to show us how to use the blowpipe.
We suggested MJ as a target!!
He wasn’t very impressed. Look at his face!
That wouldn’t be a good storage place for the darts if they had poison on them 😉
A small stuffed bear was pinned up near the woods. Our guide was brave enough to stand a couple feet away while the chief shot a couple darts. After he demonstrated, we all gave it a try.
It was very simple, and easy to use. You aim the end of the blowpipe a little higher than your target, and then give one quick, hard blow into the pipe.
Justin and I both hit the bear!!
Fear of the spirits of dead ancestors and hunted animals is very strong amongst these people. It is an unwritten law that all animals caught in the forest should suffer as little pain as possible. The deadly poison on the darts takes care of this!
We climbed a small hill to see some of the other huts.
The hunting tools
Each bamboo tube is beautiful decorated.
As we were leaving, the children came to say goodbye.
haha, this girl was being silly. She seemed to be quite a little actress.
We made our way back to our boat.
One of the couples in our group shared some indian snacks with us.
It was a pastry type ball with a curry flavored filling.
Back in the boat we debated where to sit. It seemed that certain seats got you more wet than others.
What a great day filled with unique and interesting jungle experiences!!!