On March 7, the Malaysian news website Free Malaysia Today published a report (summarized here on March 19) analyzing the reactions of the different Orang Asli societies to the COVID-19 vaccines. Three months later, FMT updated their coverage of the same subject by providing new information. The journalist identifies some of the people interviewed with […]

Some Malaysian teachers are attempting to convert the Semai and other Orang Asli children in their schools to Islam. According to a news report on July 27, two different experts who spoke at a round-table dialogue on the education of the indigenous children described the subtle ways that teachers use for introducing their religious beliefs […]

A veteran Malaysian politician was unexpectedly stranded in an isolated Semai community in the Cameron Highlands on New Year’s Eve. The sense of being trapped fostered feelings of sympathy for the poverty of the Orang Asli. According to one news report, Lim Kit Siang, a long-time leader of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), entered the […]

An anthropologist who has studied the Orang Asli for 40 years advises Malaysians to expose themselves more effectively to their lifestyles and cultures in order to better understand them. Professor Alberto Gomes argues that societies such as the Semai, Batek, and Chewong are not respected as they should be by the broader population of Malaysians—the […]

The Orang Asli, the original people of Malaysia, have been making the news lately because of both proposed government grants and the protests of the people themselves. The Deputy Prime Minister of their country, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, announced nearly two weeks ago that the Malaysian states would begin giving land titles to Orang Asli […]

Last week, Bernama, the Malaysian national news agency, issued a five-part series of feature articles on the Orang Asli societies, the Original People of Malaysia. The focus of the articles was on the assistance provided to the Semai, Batek, Chewong and 15 others groups by the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA), the national agency […]

News accounts last Friday highlighted the importance of preserving and fostering the musical traditions of two different peaceful societies. According to Indian news sources, the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), the Indian National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama, just awarded the coveted SNA prize—Rs.50,000 (US$1,000)—to Hildamit Lepcha for her dedication to preserving and performing, with […]

The Chewong, Batek, Semai, and other Orang Asli (Original People) of Malaysia realize that their lack of education causes them some difficulties, but the reasons for the problem are debatable. The Malaysia Star on Sunday published an analysis of the issue. The statistics of Orang Asli successes in education are unimpressive—large numbers of students drop […]