The Batek of Malaysia Essay

The Batek of Malaysia Essay

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In 1642 the Dutch governor of Malacca wrote: Upriver between the territory of Naning and Muar is a mountain called Ledang that is said to be cursed land, because there are many reside in ghosts there (so the people say). Residing there is a nation of Malayu called Semang, or “Wildman”, where the men and women go about completely naked and live off tubers, fruit, and wild animals. Their huts are made of leaves or trees, and they seldom stay in one place longer htan two or three days, settling mainly at the foot of the most important mountains (Andaya, 2008). The purpose of this paper is to identify cultural characteristics of the Batek of Malaysia by identifying the type of society, its form of reciprocity and describing cultural characteristics associated with the Batek to gain an understanding of the foundations of this culture.
The Batek of Malaysia are also known as Semang, which refers to a group of mobile hunting-gathering society living in Malaysia. The Batek utilize the bilateral descent kinship method, living in camps (that can be set up or broken down within a day) of multiple nuclear families. The encampment generally has control of the land immediately around it, but the Batek do not believe in private land ownership, but rather they refer to being the caretakers of the land. Since the Batek are a nomadic society, once the usable resources have been depleted from the location that they are encamped, they will pack up and move to another location that can support them. They predominantly reside in the Taman Negara National Park. The Batek maintain themselves by hunting and gathering and minimal trading with outside cultures. Generalized reciprocity is practiced in this foraging society which revolves around ...


... middle of paper ...


...by incorporating some of the ideologies from what we see and understand less developed cultures, allows us to be more culturally diversified by taking a closer look at our own culture or way of life.



Works Cited

Andaya, L. Y. (2008). Leaves of the Same Tree. (University of Hawwaii Press) Retrieved 07 12, 2011, from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ashford/doc?id=10386598&ppg=230
Lampell, K. (2010). Cultural Survival. Retrieved 07 13, 2011, from The Batek De' of Malaysia: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/malaysia/batek-de-malaysia
Morrison, k. D., & Junker, L. L. (2002). Forager-Traders in South and Southeast Asia: Long-Term Histories. (C. U. Press, Producer) Retrieved 07 12, 2011, from Http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ashford/doc?id=10070227&ppg=274
Smith, H. J. (2005). Parenting for Primates. MA, USA: Harvard University Press.

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