Penang in 1932 – Orang Asli (The Aborigines)

This is certainly a misrepresentation of the ‘Malays’ done purposely by the colonials back then who stereotyped Malays for being a lazy nation. When in fact, the Malays were as hard working as any other race.

In fact they are actually a free person until their rights have been taken away by these colonials who have been robbing away the nature’s reserve and all the hard work by the local Malays.

Why I say the Malays are a free person is because they used to freely go out and went fishing, chop the wood, plant their paddy field, at their own time. They don’t need to punch card or work in factory like a worker nowadays. They were free people, who was free to gather their own food supply whenever they want , when their supply runs low.

Actual ‘Malays’ already have their own currency base on gold ,silver, copper, bronze and even gold dusts!The money used , were even weighed according to the local system existing even before Islam but made in a way that fits the Islamic way by taking away the non-Islamic character in the coins and stamping on the Sultanate’s period on the coin. They have their own organization system lead by the Sultan and made their own law based on Islamic way, bringing scholars from the Islamic empire at that time the Ottoman’s / Uthmaniyyah to teach Islam to the Sultans family and then for the people by setting up a lot of Islamic ’Pondok’ school.

They do trades, lots of it, so big that even the Malacca empire was actually half of the Malacca straits as well as half of the Sumatera. And so many so many untold story / history about the Malays that people did not know or wrongfully fed by the wrong facts.

They have their own fabrics, especially the Songket, woven only for the Kings & rich Noblemen back then, they have their own martial arts called as Silat, even Silat itself was taught in so many different way byvarious teach. One Silat move can be made into 4 different move to 8 , 12, 16 and so on.

Even in Malay food cooking preparation itself consist onions, ginger, and garlic which is the main base, all this was then later found out by ‘modern civilization’ to contain so many health benefits by making it into capsule, but the Malays have already been taking it in their daily cooking. In fact, the Malays don’t waste their food, left over meals and rice will be made into fried rice next morning, and even if there is still some more left overs, the y will feed the chicken with it. Meat was rare, they only have that during the Eid, so basically there weren’t so many problem related to food compared to today with the existence of fast food mushrooming in our country.

Their own architecture were magnificent and sustainable even before the coined term ‘sustainability exists. House were made of wood but with a lot of airways, the house was built in separate space so that you can’t reach the kitchen without passing by different wings to slow down the guest from entering straight to the kitchen without the owner being ready to greet the guest, some was even built without an iron nail, even boats!

Back then boats of the Malays were big too, some even sailed all the way to Capetown already, some migrated to places like Sulu , Brunei and spread Islam as well as building new Sultanate eitehr by the existing King or even in some case, the Prince of Malacca, were abducted to the Aceh/Pasai Sultanate and married of only to be appointed as the Sultan, some Malacca Prince were asked by the people in Perak for instant to be their Sultan. And when the colonial came, they were taxed and chased away as ‘pirates’, so the Malay boats were built even smaller so that it is easy to get away from the colonials

And loads more thing if you want to know.

In fact, this documentary claiming the Malays are also the Orang Asli, aren’t true, the Orang Asli actually are from a different mixture of the locals. As a matter of fact, the Orang Asli is actually an organized society, who had their own leader, and knows the jungle/forrest better than anyone that they were even utilize their ability by including them in the search of reducing the communism from spreading. Why? Because the Communist mostly hides in the jungle and relies on the Orang Asli to provide them food supply so by having the Orang Asli to stand by the government side makes the government plan in controlling the communism one step ahead.

Even until now, some place like in Johor, the Orang Asli was treated in special way, that the Sultan takesa good care of them, and do not allow any protocol for the Orang Asli to come and have an audience with the Sultan to discuss their matter.

The Orang Asli is in fact a natural gifted Biologist because they know the herbs and type of plants in the jungle. There’s a lot of things that they know that people that claims to be ‘civilized’ knows more than the Orang Asli. Throw someone who is ‘civilized’ in the jungle, and an Orang Asli in another jungle, guess who will come out alive?

In one of the presentation I had to give during my undergraduate class , we were talking about development, and I question the topic to the students whether or not the Orang Asli wants to be developed when they are happy enough to live in their own nature. For living like ‘us’ means that we have to pay for the aircond, when they already have their own natural ‘aircond’ , they may live in the wooden house, but the concrete house we live in are actually not good for you had to install the aircond, water pipe, electrical system and all that , have to be taxed.. when instead the Orang Asli gets it for free from the nature itself.

To some having all those technology and gadget would make them some what modern, but what use of all that if you were stuck in the jungle and had to find your own way out, if you don;t know anything about survival skill in the woods?

I am just saying that, the term ‘civilization’ depends on how you see it, to the eyes of people who have clothed themselves with certain set of mind, the naked people seems uncivilized, when instead if you were to live among the Orang Asli, we are the one who is strange enough to be wearing one.

Okay that is rather too simplistic, but take this story of an old man I know who went to visit the poor people in a rural place in Afghanistan. When he went there, the old man was asked by the villagers of why he wears a spectacle, he said, so that he can see clearly

But when the poor people took his glasses and put it on them, they find it weird because they can’t see anything. This showed that a clear eye sight is actually a luxury to the poor people who maintains a healthy diet by living in the rural place, they had to grow their own food, and all that, because he realize that even the oldest people in the rural Afghanistan can still read without any glasses on despite their old age.

On contrary, for us, who is living in the city amongst the busy roads , full of traffic jams and smokes polluting our air, an acid rain falling , it is expensive to some , to even afford a spectacle, and even if they can, it is not surprising that some wears their glasses at such an early age, excluding cases where they are genetically have bad eye sight. But I’m not too sure of that, it is still avoidable, especially young kids who is suffering diabetes .Healthy life style should start from young age, our living life span is getting shorter than those who lived in the years before ‘civilization’


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