ORANG ASLI ABORIGINAL BATEQ VISIT
The Uniqueness of the Batek Indigenous Village
Batek Indigenous Peoples
Experience the uniqueness of the Indigenous people of the Batek tribe in Jeram Dedari. Inside the National Park area where forests are like the ‘food market’ for them. Who would have thought that, while most of the indigenous people in Malaysia are increasingly allowing modern life to come into their daily lives, the Batek tribe still retains their old customs and traditions?
Their home is a small hut made of twisted leaves and rattan to build the roofs and walls. Their clothes are used to make ‘curtains’ and ‘doors’ to cover the open spaces of their homes. For them, this is a comfortable way of life and a ‘paradise’ for them. Although for us it is a primitive lifestyle, full of disadvantages and inconvenience.
There are about 10-15 families of Batek tribes living in this Dedari Indigenous Village. It is their largest settlement near the Tembeling River. When you come here after boarding a boat from Kuala Tahan, you will be greeted warmly by a group of children. Meanwhile, their women are mostly shy. Therefore, if someone does not run in hiding, you are lucky enough to meet them.
Later, they will showcase various demonstrations of Batek’s life skills activities such as starting a fire with rattan and timber, how to make and shoot blowpipe, handicrafts and more.
Their survival is largely dependent on hunting animals by means of shooting blowpipe with the poisoned damak (bullet). They hunt squirrels, monkeys, and birds for food. Here, you will have the opportunity to experience to use the blowpipe that will be taught by their tour guides. Your communication with them will be translated by Tok Batin, their representatives where only he is fluent in Malay.
The Batek people have a nomadic life that often changes as the forest yields are depleted. However, they will not move during the monsoon season from October to January. This is because they move through water transport. Waterways during this season are a danger to them.
You will be touched by their lifestyle, the cleanliness of their villages and their traditions and their kindness and warmth during your stay. Shout out “Yes! Oo elah! “From those who also mean” Welcome home! Welcome home! “Will surely be repeated and played in your head as you make your way back from their hometown.
The Inseparable of the Indigenous People and the Forest
Living in the jungle has been a tradition from generation to generation of the Batek Aboriginal people because, for them, the jungle is a treasure and a source of sustenance. They are people who are known for their nomadic way of life, wandering around in the jungle. Because of this, they have never cultivated as they do not want to stay in one place. Throughout their life, they grew up as hunters and collectors of forest produce.
However, during the monsoon season between October to December or January is a dangerous time for them to migrate. Their main means of transportation are through water and during this season, the high river water levels and high currents can endanger their lives.
The Sustainability of the Blowpipe Tradition
It has been the responsibility of the men to go hunting and to find the forest produce. Every man will have their blowpipe. The engraving on their blowpipe represents the maturity and eligibility of a Batek boy growing up to an adult. It is also a sign that the man is eligible for marriage.
The blowpipe works as their hunting weapons made of 2 meters long bamboo. The bullet is called a damak and it is made of a wooden skewer whose tip is slightly poisoned. This poison can kill animals in 10 minutes.
The Tradition of Starting a Fire the Old-Fashioned Way
We have gotten used to cooking with a gas or electric kitchen. But these Batek Indigenous people are very much sticking and maintaining the old-fashioned way to cook their food. You will be amazed at how powerful and skillful they are at lighting up a fire with their bare hands which have been passed down from generation to generation since the time of their forefathers.
They create friction by moving the rattan and meranti leaves together until the fire is lighted up. The material used as fuel is wood dust. Looks like it’s easy to do, right? However, it is not as easy as you might think until you try it yourself.
You can experience the thrill of shooting blowpipe and the challenge of lighting a fire when you come to this Batek Indigenous Village at the National Park.