Monday, August 6, 2012

The Aboriginal People of Taman Negara - Nerito Batek

The journey to Taman Negara National Park without visiting Orang Asli settlements is like the soup no-salt-added aren’t tastes great. 

                                   The aboriginal people take bath in the river
Negrito Batek Orang Asli, the aboriginal people of Taman Negara, with dark skin and frizzy hair, is living by the river side of Tembeling River, the settlement near Kuala Tahan. 

 Will tomorrow be better?
The highlight of the visit is to get the first hand information about their way of life including the traditional way of setting up fire for cooking, gathering wild food and hunting with blowpipes by using the poisonous dart made of bamboo as they have used for countless generations. 

                The special  leave  use to set up fire
Orang Batek are descendants of the Negrito and predominantly animist beliefs. They hunted, fished, gathered and take care of the families as distinct primitive communities with their own traditional Native Code. 

                                  Setting up fire
Initially the Batek are nomadic foragers, lifestyle has changed for many of their younger generations due to the impact of modernization. Some have partially left their nomadic and reserved lifestyle to cater the needs of tourism and with some basic income.

                                         Blowpipe  for sale

Batek is, however still reserved in their behavior towards strangers and the elderly needs the tourist guides for interpretation. They do not go to jungle for hunting instead they only kill for food when needed and not for preservation.

Their movements can be traced to the availability of food in the area. Hunting for small animals such as mousedeer, squirrels, and birds and gathering edible tubers including wild vegetation for daily consumption.

Nowadays, they are trading forest products, hunt for Mahseer, lizards and even wild monkeys for a better life. 

                                               Handicraft for sale

Generally, the Batek women are not encouraged to expose to outsiders even the tourists. Often, they are not working but rather collect wild fruits from the nearby secondary jungle for cooking and making some handicrafts for selling to tourists.

The Batek made a fire and burned their huts when the villages pass away but they will return after few months for the settlement continues to operate as a tourist destination. 

                              Contribution to orang asli
It seems that the provisions of Federal National Park Act do not justify marginalizing and sidelining the Negrito Batek Orang Asli in Taman National park. It’s an excitement to get a better insight of the aboriginal people in Taman Negara.

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