Friday, January 16, 2009

Orang Asli Community of Cameron Highlands

Orang Asli Community of Cameron Highlands

Pahang State border marker is close to Ringlet, so all small Orang Asli communities before that you see before you reach Ringlet are Perakians. The road to Cameron is windy and narrow, but the scenery is beautiful.
There are Orang Asli communities in and around Kuala Woh, with their stalls selling forest products dotted the roadside. Some of their houses are made of wood poles, fresh from the tree, bamboo walls and attap.
Those in Tanah Rata have better housing, mostly in cinder block and zinc PPRT style. There are also some chalets for visitor for rent to generate income for the community. I was told that the Kampung Raja community was relocated from the dam site near Ringlet many years ago.
I asked why Orang Asli still live in their traditional houses, wooden poles, bamboo walls and attap as cover from rain. The answer was that cinder block house PPRT style doesn’t suit them, too hot and stuffy, no ventilation unlike their traditional houses.
I was also told that the help given to the Orang Asli community is much better compared to the Malays. Schooling is free, even up to university level, free lunch and breakfast at school and school bus is also free. That’s good; in fact, the program should be extended to all low income families, especially those in rural areas and pockets of poverty in some cities. When I was in primary school in 1976, the school gives breakfast of nasi lemak with fried ikan bilis to select number of children, those who are too skinny and show signs of malnutrition. True that nowadays the problem is opposite, we have obese children in school. Then we should have a program teaching children balanced food and nutrition, ie more fruit and vegetables and less sugar and trans fat.

I was also told that Orang Asli has no concept of fridge at home and they will take only what they need, no more. If the man has a family of five, and the river has a lot of fish, he will only take five fish, enough to feed his family that day, no more. If you ask him why don’t he take more for tomorrow and the day after, he would say that he can take more tomorrow.
I like that, just take what you need, don’t be greedy. Leave some for the next generation. Isnt that what we are supposed to do? Just take what we need, no more, leave some for the next generation.

1 comment:

OO said...

Hi, great post to let more people know about our Malaysian hidden communities. Good observation too. Yep, the Orang Asli live for the day ... que sera sera.