|Orang Asli Weekend, August 4-6, 2006|
|About 60 km north of Raub, on the banks of the Jelai river, there are several Orang Asli kampungs. They belong to the Semai tribe. A friend of me, Rahim, was born in one of these kampungs, and he goes back there regularly. |
In this kampung Semoi during the last half year anthropological research has been done by the UM. At the end of this project the researcher, Datuk Omar from Kuala Lipis, decided to offer the village a farewell party.
Rahim invited us to attend the festivities.
On Friday afternoon, August 4, we left KL and we arrived at Kg Semoi about 6 pm. During an earlier visit the last part of the road was not in a good condition, but now they are constructing a new highway connecting Kuala Lips with the Cameron Highlands and this highway passes Rahim's kampung closely.
The reception by the family was very cordial, and of course the visit of two kwai loh's was an interesting event for the many kids in the village. The livingroom would be our bedroom and we received an explanation about the correct way to use the nearby river as our toilet and bathroom.
For our welcome dinner there was a special treat: wild boar stew.
In the meantime the preparations for the party were already in progress. Temporary stages had been erected on the padang, and a local band was already playing loud pop music (but with Semai lyrics, we were told).
It was clear that we would not get much sleep that night, on the rather hard bamboo floor of the house, where you feel and hear everything.
The next morning, rather sleepily, we made our toilet at the river and had our breakfast. The plan was to visit a waterfall in the region with a local guide. Our guide had actually planned to go hunting with his blowpipe, but found our offer attractive enough to change his mind.
First we had to follow logging roads for about 12 km. Steep slopes, but the reddish clay was dry and not slippery. Then, in the middle of nowhere, our guide pointed to an almost invisible trail. We followed the trail for about one hour and reached the Sg Kenip fall. Before relocation there have been other Orang Asli villages around. There are more falls in the region, but it looked like it might start raining,which would make the logging roads impassable for a simple Kembara, so we decided to return to the village.
Now really everybody was working hard to make the party a success. A cow had been slaughtered, dozens of chicken had been killed, under close attention of the young kids, the women were grating coconut for the curry, the first businessmen had arrived to set up their stalls.
In the meantime we had been introduced to Datuk Omar and his professor Juli, and that resulted in an invitation to take part in the VIP dinner that night.
To escape the crowd and enjoy a drink, we escaped in the afternoon and followed the highway under construction until its end. Still about 25 km from Ringlet in the Cameron Highlands, I felt inclined to try it out, but too risky.
Back to the village, where they had started to serve everybody with a free meal. After that the VIP dinner. Many different dishes, but no alcohol (Orang Asli drink, but Datok Omar, being a Muslim, of course does not...)
Then there was music, the Police band of Kuala Lipis. There was also some traditional dancing, and of course I had to take part (fortunately no pictures...). Nothings special, but the music was nice..
It was clear that the party would continue until day break, just in front of our 'bedroom'... At 1 am we decided that we that this would be too much for us, so... we pitched our tent at the end of the village. And we even had some sleep....
The next morning we said goodbye to our host and his family, thanked the Datok for his hospitality and drove back to KL.
A nice weekend.