Sunday, April 24, 2011

People: Temuan Belandas Tribe

Malaysia, like many other parts in the world, has its own idigeneous tribal groups. On the Peninsula, they account for only a small percentage of the population. While they can be categorised by their individual tribes, the ones in the Peninsula are most often referred to in generic terms as "Orang Asli" (literally 'Authentic People'). 

Melaka's own tribal people are known as the Temuan (Suku Temuan Belandas) , a Proto-Malay who live on a communal basis in the outskirts of towns, forests fringes and coastal areas. 

Temuan Belandas Tribe could be found in Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Johor. The tribe is the fourth biggesst tribe in the hierarchy of Aborigines in Peninsula Malaysia. In Peninsula Malaysia, there are almost 10, 000 Temuan Belandas people who live and practice the customs and traditions like the Malays.


In Melaka, the Temuan Belandas live in 14 villages:

1. Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Payong Taboh Naning, Alor Gajah
2. Kampung Orang Asli Gapam Bemban, Jasin
3. Kampung Orang Asli Solok Terentang Selandar, Jasin
4. Kampung Orang Asli Lubok Bandung Simpang Bekoh, Asahan
5. Kampung Orang Asli Telok Tongkah
6. Kampung Orang Asli Tebong Station
7. Kampung Orang Asli Gapam Baru Bukit Seraya (Baru) Simpang Bekoh, Asahan
8. Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Sebang, Alor Gajah
9. Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Putus, Alor Gajah
10. Kampung Orang Asli Machap Umboo, Alor Gajah
11. Kampung Orang Asli Machap Umboo Dalam, Alor Gajah
12. Kampung Orang Asli Kubang Badak, Alor Gajah
13. Kampung Orang Asli Air Dusun, Alor Gajah
14. Kampung Orang Asli Hutan Percha, Alor Gajah

Temuan Wedding Custom

Betel leaves and cigarettes, gifts for father-in-law

Flood Legend

Many thousand years ago, a lot of Temuan people died because they had committed "Celau" (the sins that angered god and their ancestors). Their god has sent a "Celau" punishment in a form of a Great Flood which had drowned all the Temuan sinners that day. 

Only two of the Temuans, named Mamak and Inak Bungsuk survived that day by climbing at Eagwood tree at Gunung Raja (Royal Mountain) located at the border of Selangor and Pahang state. There was a Temuan village over there named Kampung Orang Asli Pertak. 

Mamak and Inak Bungsuk survived because they had an enchanting mantra or spell to ease down the "Celau" storm. Gunung Raja (Royal Mountain) became the birth places and ancestral home of the Temuan tribe. Mamak Bungsuk (Adam) and Inak Bungsuk (Eve) are the Temuan analogues of Adam and Eve in the myth of the birth of humanity.


A basic traditional Temuan belief is that their God and ancestors are always present with them, guarding their safety.

At the end of every year, the Temuans celebrate Aik Gayak Muyang (Ancestor Day in English). This celebration is to thank their God and ancestors for the crops they grow and for the peaceful life they have had.

The Temuans believe they were placed on the earth (Tanah Tujuh) by Muyang (God) to be guardians of the rain forest and that if they fail in their sacred duty, the whole world will turn upside down and humanity will perish. Each river, hill, stream, rock, tree and shrub is animated by a guardian spirit. Rivers are guarded by dragons (naga) and snakes (ular) which often cause mayhem if their homes are desecrated.

The Temuan’s culture reflects their belief in these nature spirits. Their animism takes the form of taboos, herbal remedies, ritual ceremonies and magic. They have dukun (healers) and a village bomoh (shaman) who, when in a trance state, communicates with the nature spirits. It is the shaman who leads the tribe in the annual sawai - an ancient earth healing ritual to honour their ancestors and appease the guardian spirits.


Some traditional superstitions still held by Temuans:

1. Respect for their elders & mdash; bad luck is said to strike those who fail in this.

2. They do not praise a baby, in the belief that it would make the child sick and die.

3. If a Temuan is travelling and a little rain falls, he must slip a leaf into his ear to protect himself on his journey.

4. If a Temuan desires something he cannot get, he must say pinah hunan and put their saliva on his neck, in the belief that failure to do so would result in an accident.

5. A Temuan who must leave a meal in a hurry without eating food must tempot (touch the food to his skin) before leaving, in the belief that failure to do so would result in an accident or death.

6. A Temuan must stay quiet during thunderstorm. If he makes noise, the Thunder god will mistake him for a devil and strike him. Temuans believe that a thunder strike occurs when the Thunder god is hunting devils. That is why they must stay quiet & mdash; to prevent the Thunder god from striking at them.

7. A murderer will be haunted by his victim's ghost.

8. Stay away from a place that was haunted, to avoid being disturbed by an evil spirit.

All these aborigines villages are rich in customs and traditions include wedding custom, headmen appointment custom, birth custom, death custom, taboos and son on. The uniqueness and way of life of the Temuan Tribe in Melaka could be one of the attractions for domestic and international tourists to come to Melaka.