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Making Spirits

  • By Azwan Ismail
  • April 13, 2007
  • 18 Views

By Gabrielle Low

A long, straight and well-paved road leads you into Pulau Carey. Along either side of the road are oil palm trees, row after row — a monotony broken only by the occasional oil mill or processing plant, and the residences of plantation employees. There are guarded roadblocks for vehicles entering into prohibited areas; Golden Hope Plantations Berhad owns a nine-hole golf course and a resort known as Heritage Island. There are cautionary signs — “Perhatian, Kawasan Milik Persendirian” — that restrict the extent of your mobility throughout much of the island’s 35,000 acres. The rumble of the transport trucks that ply Pulau Carey’s main artery dispels any romanticised notions of idyll. You forget, soon enough, that you are on an island.

Despite its industrialised character, Pulau Carey continues to be touted as a tourist destination. The draw — the island’s Mah Meri population, spread out over five villages, now confined to roughly 1,000 acres of land. Most people are interested in one village in particular:  Kampung Sungai Bumbon, the only Mah Meri community that maintains a tradition of woodcarving. At the village’s Orang Asli Arts Fiesta on March 3rd, 2007, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim announced that RM6.7 million will be spent on making Pulau Carey a cultural hub for Orang Asli. This plan includes promoting Orang Asli crafts in “London, Paris and Australia.”

In 1974, the University of Malaya Press published detailed studies on two indigenous communities on the Peninsula that maintain a tradition of woodcarving: the Mah Meri of southwest Selangor, and the Jah Hut of central Pahang. Researched and written by a Czech-German doctor, Roland Werner, “Mah Meri of Malaysia: Art and Culture” and “Jah-het of Malaysia:  Art and Culture” document the belief systems and cultures of both communities: their rites of birth, marriage, healing and death, as well as their traditional structures of kinship and oral narratives. However, the larger part of these two monographs catalogues the hundreds of woodcarvings created by the craftsmen of both communities, and the traditional stories associated with most of those figures.

Werner prefaces both volumes by stating that he wrote the books because the two communities were “in a transitional period and their way of life is changing rapidly,” noting their “assimilation into other ethnic and cultural societies of the modern world.”

That was 33 years ago.

Islamisation

While there are signboards that point the way to Kampung Sungai Bumbon, the Jah Hut village of Kampung Sungai Kol is not considered a tourist destination -­- as a result, there are no signs to this village. The villages that surround it are distinctly Malay; among those communities, Kampung Sungai Kol is referred to as “kampung Orang Asli.” The network of paved roads that connect all the other settlements in the area ends abruptly at the turnoff into Kampung Sungai Kol. The dirt path that leads directly into the village ends in front of a small complex, dominated by a wooden two-storey structure with a bullhorn attached to an external pillar. The building houses the community’s surau.

The erosion of Orang Asli culture is not simply an inevitable by-product of modernisation. In “The Orang Asli and the Contest for Resources” (2004), Colin Nicholas, of the Center for Orang Asli Concerns, discusses various state-endorsed efforts to convert the Orang Asli to Islam. Writing over 20 years after Werner, Nicholas argues cogently that, while the official policy is that of “integrating” the Orang Asli into Malay / Malaysian / mainstream society (all three have been cited in official documents at various points in time), the development strategy for the Orang Asli is often merged with a programme of “assimilation” and “Islamisation”.

Strategies towards that end were articulated in a 1983 paper by the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA), entitled “Strategi Perkembangan Ugama Islam Di Kalangan Masyarakat Orang Asli”. One of the major programs cited by Nicholas was a scheme launched in 1991 — that year, RM18 million was allocated towards the construction of community halls in Orang Asli villages, each replete with a surau and an appointed “Pemaju Masyarakat”.

The complex in Kampung Sungai Kol, according to one villager, was built at the cost of RM25,000. An ustaz from outside the community was also hired to run the surau, “dengan gaji empat angka.” Today, half of the inhabitants of the kampung are Muslims, while the other half remain animists.

Kampung Sungai Kol

Werner’s book on the Jah Hut cites Kampung Sungai Kol as the centre of Jah Hut woodcarving. When I visited the village, I brought his book on the Jah Hut with me as an icebreaker. Both adults and children crowded around the book, and I was soon introduced to an elderly craftsman, Pak Hassan. He was a thin man with sunken cheeks: frail, melancholic and almost completely deaf.

When he saw my book, Pak Hassan began turning the pages. Then he began tapping his finger on one photograph of a carving. He looked at me and pointed to himself with a slight smile. He turned the page and began tapping at another photograph.

“Pakcik yang buat?” I asked. He nodded.

After Pak Hassan left, the other villagers pointed out a picture in the book, which showed Werner conversing with two Jah Hut craftsmen. The younger of the two, I learned, was Pak Hassan. It was unmistakably the same man — but in the photograph he had a lean, muscular body and sleek, black hair. He held a small carving in his hands.

Werner’s massive volume features close to 700 Jah Hut sculptures. On the day of my visit, however, the Jah Hut had nothing to show me. The only two sculptures in the village were covered in dust, and sat to one side of an open hut that served as the woodcarving workshop. One had been cast aside because it was damaged. “Kalau ada tempahan atau ekspo baru kita buat,” I was told.

One man asked my boyfriend, Adrian, to read out the names of the 37 carvers listed in the book. As he read, they listened, interrupting to tell us where one carver lived, or how another was related to someone in the present company -­ or whether a carver had died: “Oh, dah tak ade dah.” When Adrian stopped, we had learned that about half of those named in the book were no longer alive.

The Tenung Jerat Rimau

Currently, there are 30 active woodcarvers in Kampung Sungai Bumbon, working out of several small backyard workshops around the village. This is according to a recent count published in “Chita’ Hae” (2007), a booklet compiled by a network of women from Kampung Sungai Bumbon. All the Mah Meri carvings produced today bear the names of their carvers. The masks and sculptures produced by these artisans are sold in gift shops at KLCC, Batu Caves, Muzium Negara and at the Muzium Orang Asli in Gombak.

Unlike the Jah Hut, who use a wide range of wood, Mah Meri carvers only use nyireh batu, a hardwood collected from the mangrove swamps of Pulau Carey. The supply of nyireh batu is becoming scarce, however, as large tracts of swamp have been cleared for oil palms. The Mah Meri had, in fact, turned to nyireh batu when their previous medium of choice, tengkho, became increasingly limited on Pulau Carey several decades ago.

The “Tenung Jerat Rimau”, a depiction of a tiger in chains, has iconic status among Mah Meri carvings. It appears in brochures, documentaries, museum exhibits, news reports and other informational resources on Mah Meri woodwork. The Mah Meri are frequently commissioned to carve colossal versions of the sculpture, usually at government-related craft demonstrations and exhibitions. Interestingly, although this sculpture is often pitched as a mascot for the preservation of Mah Meri art and culture, there remains a strong tendency to refer to the form by its Malay label, “Harimau Berantai”, rather than as the “Tenung Jerat Rimau”, its name in Besise, the Mah Meri language (in fact, the term “Mah Meri”, albeit official, does not accurately reflect how the community traditionally identified itself).

Like all Mah Meri carvings, the “Tenung Jerat Rimau” is an interpretation of a story, chita muyang, from Mah Meri folklore. Each individual carver may have his own interpretation of a particular story, expressing his own creative vision while maintaining the distinguishing features of the figure being depicted. Very often, craftsmen produce several distinct variations on the same story. Artistic individuality was even a point of pride — according to “Chita’ Hae”, a friendly competition was held among the woodcarvers in the 1960s over “who could best interpret the chita muyang in three-dimensions”.

The most in-demand form of the “Tenung Jerat Rimau” was conceived by Pion Bumbong, perhaps the most eminent — and certainly the most photographed -­- of the senior Mah Meri woodcarvers. Carved from a single block of wood, the tiger’s paws are joined by a chain with seven interlocking links. Trapped within its maw is a ball that can be moved within the cavity. This can’t, however, be removed — which means that the carver had to work on the ball even as it remained within the tight concave space between the tiger’s upper and lower jaws.

The brilliance of Pion’s design justifies its ubiquity. It combines technical complexity and inventiveness, with a stylized and imaginative graphic quality. Quite significantly, it retains the aesthetic sensibilities that loosely connect Mah Meri woodcarvings: contoured surfaces and a deliberate restraint from excessive embellishment. Through its undulating lines and oblique angles, the sculpture captures movement by making full use of its three-dimensionality. Images of Pion’s earlier versions of the “Tenung Jerat Rimau” appear in Werner’s book, documenting the genesis of the artist’s ideas, and the exploration of form in his work.

Operators and Middlemen

“I think it can sell,” a tour guide told me. He was exploring the business potential of retailing Mah Meri crafts.

The economics of opportunism are startlingly simple. The cost for producing a carving, without accounting for labour, is extremely low; for a variety of reasons, carvers are not in a position to demand a high price for their goods. On the other hand, the fine quality of their work means that carvings fetch a high price, especially since those that are most likely to buy the pieces — government institutions, tourists and collectors — are also those who can afford such prices. The low cost price and the potentially high retail value means that a dealer stands to secure a sizable profit margin for himself.

Their distance from Kuala Lumpur means that the Mah Meri rely on tour operators and middlemen to be the link between them and potential buyers. Being far removed from the craft and souvenir trade, the carvers are not always attuned to the factors that determine the market value of their work — quantifying the value of artwork is, moreover, a very delicate exercise.

Getting cheated by buyers is a classic story among both the Mah Meri and the Jah Hut, who are particularly vulnerable towards dealers who take their work on consignment and never return with the earnings. Being a marginalised community compounds the difficulty of seeking redress.

I saw Pion in his workshop, on a day when he was working midway through a “Tenung Jerat Rimau”. To clamp the sculpture in place, he pressed it between his right foot and his left shin. He shaved off the wood with a small carving knife, sliver by sliver. After a few rapid strokes, Pion stopped and heaved.

A less tight-fisted buyer might pay around RM2,000 for a sculpture that takes six weeks to complete. But for many of the Mah Meri, woodcarving only provides a supplementary income. Some of the villagers work at Pulau Carey’s oil palm plantations, or at nearby shops and seafood restaurants. Others have small plots of land on which they plant cash crops.

Traditionally, the Mah Meri spent part of the year fishing and the other part of the year on swidden farming. Neither of those activities are practiced today — villages are now landlocked, due to land reclamation; the landscape of the island has been engulfed by oil palm estates.

Artists and Buyers

The earliest Mah Meri carving seen by a European was a wooden image, spotted by the British ethnographer Walter Skeats around the turn of the 20th century. Images of carved muyang (spirits), dating from 1954, were photographed by Werner, who wrote that they were used for worship. Facemasks were — and sometimes still are — carved for the Main Jo-oh mask dance, performed during celebrations. Wooden figurines used to assume diseases in healing ceremonies died out with the ritual itself.

“Chita’ Hae” relates how the Mah Meri went through a renaissance of their own in the 1950s. Hoessein Enas, the renowned portrait painter who also held the position of Assistant Protector of Aborigines in Selangor, encouraged several men from the community to create saleable woodcarvings as a sustainable means by which they could maintain their culture. Among those carvers was Ahmad Kassim, who produced the Mah Meri’s first non-ritualistic sculpture, and who went on to create some of the most distinctive and refined pieces of Mah Meri woodcarvings. Many of his designs continue to be reproduced by the present generation of carvers.

But the reproduction of older designs has its disadvantages. The current tendency to replicate popular — and marketable — masks and figures inhibits the freedom that craftsmen traditionally exercised when they reinterpreted the forms they were carving. While younger carvers maintain a high degree of technical skill and polish in their craftsmanship, their carvings are becoming more and more generic.

Ironically, Werner’s book has contributed to this. According to writer and researcher Reita Rahim, buyers often ask for replicas of the carvings that appear in the book. Some younger carvers depend on the book to the extent that they cite the stories in the book as a source of reference, rather than their own oral traditions.

Occasionally, Reita added, some buyers create a dilemma for the craftsmen when they complain that a carving looks too much like its counterpart in the book. “It’s a double-edged sword,” she observed. Both cases suggest that Mah Meri woodcarving is developing in a direction that is rigidly defined by the demands of buyers.

Fear of Spirits

Jah Hut woodcarving has gone through a similar trajectory. Traditionally, the Jah Hut only carved sepili, small wooden sculptures used to take on illnesses and diseases during elaborate healing rituals. The remedial function of the sepili, along with the short duration given to a carver to complete his work, meant that these carvings were small — often no larger than the size of an adult’s hand -­ and did not require artistic touches or refined finishing.

Maintained in the collective memory of the Jah Hut is an account of how their ceremonial carvings became commercial items. During a visit to a Jah Hut village, R O D Noone, the Federal Advisor on Aborigines between 1953 to 1961, came across a discarded sepili. Noone then asked the villagers to make larger, more commercially viable sculptures. This story was related to me twice, by villagers who remembered Noone — as “Ardi Nun” on the first occasion; and, on the second occasion, simply as the “mat salleh”.

Aside from figures depicting Jah Hut bes (spirits), the craftsmen also carved sculptures depicting scenes of everyday life in their village: of men hunting with blowpipes and women collecting produce from the forest. These carvings serve as an important form of documentation, recording cultural practices and depicting how the Jah Hut of previous generations dressed and what they ate. Some of the images produced by the Jah Hut are universal: an old man watching children at play; a woman bouncing her child on her knee.

Although the promotion of Jah Hut woodcarving generated interest, some of that interest was directed more towards the fact that the Jah Hut could carve — and not so much towards what they were carving. Daud, the son of one of the community’s pre-eminent carvers, Along Hitam, said that his father was commissioned to produce carved portraits of Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak. The former Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaya Ungku Aziz wrote of Jah Hut carvers who could “copy works of art such as Hindu sculptures or modern works by Brancusi or Barbara Hepworth.”

Today, buyers continue to impose their own preferences on the carvers. When I expressed an interest in woodcarving at Kampung Kuala Terbol, another Jah Hut community, one carver brought out a single sculpture, a small, unfinished carving of two birds. It was the only one they had in this village. He talked about being able to carve different animal figurines, but made no mention of carved depictions of spirits.

I realised that he was being cautious. When I asked about the carvings of spirits, he exclaimed: “Oh, masih ada.” He did not mention the carvings of spirits because those figures tended to make non-Aslian Malaysians uncomfortable. “Mungkin mereka takut,” he said.

The Batin

To the Jah Hut, the Mah Meri are viewed as prosperous, seen as having attained international recognition for their work. Mah Meri carvings, they told me, sell for thousands of ringgit: “Sampai RM15,000!” With admiration, the Jah Hut batin (village chief) at Kampung Sungai Kol said that Mah Meri’s craft was: “Taraf dunia… Lawan dengan ukiran Indonesia and Thailand pun Mah Meri menang!”

Not all the Jah Hut seemed to share this sentiment, however. One Jah Hut explained, with some disdain, that the Mah Meri carvers do not use hand tools. “Mereka guna mesin,” he said. This is not true, but I refrained from correcting my hosts.

Not long after my arrival in the community, the batin sauntered out with a Buku Pelawat. Despite his nonchalance, he seemed to be quietly assessing me, trying to determine the purpose of my visit. I noticed that he answered my questions with an unnervingly fastidious attention to precision and detail. He also had a memory that seemed to precede himself — it was hard to tell whether he was recalling something he had personally experienced or if he was relating to me something that was collectively remembered in the village.

The batin said he remembered Werner’s visits, and also those of other academics — including the ethnographer Hood Salleh. He appended to this the remark that Hood Salleh, when he first visited the Jah Hut, was merely working on his dissertation and had not yet received his PhD. I mistakenly blurted out that Hood Salleh was at Universiti Malaya. The batin cocked his head. “Bukan kat UKM?” he asked. He was right.

The hut in which we sat was a raised traditional structure, with bamboo flooring and a thatch roof. Its construction was funded by Kraftangan Malaysia, the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation, to serve as a woodcarving workshop. Since carving is no longer done regularly, however, the workshop was empty. The only traditional structures left in Kampung Sungai Kol, like the Kraftangan-sponsored hut, now function as detached outbuildings. The villagers lived mostly in wood plank houses with zinc roofs — but even those were changing. Many of the wooden houses in the village have been converted into uniform, cement-cube structures; these were invariably smaller. “Itu rumah PPRT,” the batin told me, referring to the Program Pembasmian Rakyat Termiskin.

Old photographs of their village, which served as some sort of anthropological catalogue in Werner’s book, looked unfamiliar even to villagers in their twenties. “Tengok, itu rumah orang kita dulu,” one man said. The children around him grinned.

Visitors

My conversation with the batin unfolded intermittently. He told me about the many academics who had lived among the Jah Hut, the electoral process by which a batin gets elected, the price of rubber saplings, and the times when their carvings were in higher demand. Since 2003, the Jah Hut have not been invited to Kraftangan Malaysia’s most important annual event, the Ekspo Kraf Kebangsaan. I asked about this, and the batin merely said: “Mungkin mereka tak ada bajet.”

In between those disparate topics of conversation were long silences, filled only by the sound of the rain and the voices of Jah Hut children, who were flipping through my book and reading aloud the names of the bes listed in the book: Bes Kecok, Bes Kedum Jong, Bes Keji, Bes Kecach, Bes Kelingsung.

The batin reached out to examine a damaged carving, a bes with its mouth open wide, exposing a large fang. Its body had sensuous curves, like those of a woman in early pregnancy. “Pengukirnya baru meninggal,” the batin said, “Lima hari lalu.” The carver was only 38 years old. Before he died, he had spent weeks in hospital, suffering from a lung complication.

The batin leaned back against the rails of the hut. The boy who was reading out the names of the bes stopped, wide-eyed, and asked the batin in Jah Hut about the dead man. After the batin explained what happened, the boy continued reading. When he mispronounced the name of one bes, the batin corrected him with a voice that was partly stern, partly exasperated.

The Jah Hut have virtually no social interactions with the surrounding, non-Aslian communities. As I sat with the batin in the raised hut, a man on a motorcycle came up to the hut to sit out the downpour. During the 10 to 15 minutes he spent near us, he listened to our conversation with a polite smile, but said nothing. When the rain stopped, he left quietly. Much later, the batin told me that the motorcyclist’s visit exemplified the extent of the social dealings between the Jah Hut and their neighbours.

Tourists

Many of the economic and social dynamics that affect the Mah Meri community unfold all at once on Hari Muyang, the community’s most important annual event. Held at Kampung Sungai Bumbon this year on March 18th and 19th, celebrations on its second day included ritual offerings made at the Hadu Muyang (the ancestral spirit house), blessings, the Main Jo-oh, and a potluck meal. It is this phase of Hari Muyang that is typically open to guests, including tourists.

The outsiders who attended Hari Muyang on the morning of March 19th were representative of the different groups of non-Aslians that the villagers most frequently encounter. The most conspicuous group was a busload of tourists -­ most of them expatriate wives living in KL. Each of the women had paid the American Association of Malaysia (AAM), organisers of the tour, between RM105 to RM115 to attend the event.

Before they left, their tour guide made all the local children form a line. The women began distributing candy, toys and snacks; the AAM had asked them to bring these items along. The tour guide walked up and down the line, supervising the distribution. To the adults of the community the women gave packets of food, clothes and miniature-sized toiletries — many of which had obviously been pilfered from hotel bathrooms. The tour guide distributed the goods to the adults, verifying their eligibility by asking: “Orang Asli? Orang Asli?” Many of the villagers looked on, seemingly resigned to the coarse display of philanthropy.

Elsewhere another line began to form. A businesswoman who had long dealings with the community’s craftsmen began distributing to the children RM1 notes from her handbag. One aspiring craft retailer milled around, taking photographs. He was waiting to have a business meeting with some of the woodcarvers.

Others were conspicuous in their absence. An official from the Jabatan Hal-Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA), for whom a blue-skirted VIP table had been set up, never appeared. A local television crew only turned up when the festival was over. They were, in any case, less interested in the Mah Meri community, and more interested on interviewing the Western tourists who were present. The crew fielded questions like: “What did you think about the event?” and “Was it good? Yes or no?”

Amidst all this, I walked around with a heightened sense of self-awareness. I tried to be like the other tourists, guests and activists there: passive, nondescript. I thought about why I was there — and in that reflexivity, tried to find some way to negotiate the balance between callousness and guilt. It was, after all, an open house. I was, after all, a guest. I thought about the need for respect and reciprocity, and tried to help with setting up the buffet table. Still, I felt acutely self-conscious as I scooped tapioca flour and bamboo clams onto my plate, watching the Main Jo-oh from afar.

Weeks later, at the Muzium Orang Asli in Gombak, I found the JHEOA’s advice on observing cultural sensitivities less than helpful:

“… there is a need for closer acquaintance between Orang Asli and other Malaysians. Both parties must make a move if they wish to understand each other, to build bridges rather than walls and fences between them. Malaysian [sic] with the means and education should extend themselves towards making friends with Orang Asli, since Orang Asli are still mostly handicapped by a lower level of academic achievement and income.”

Hassan

Hassan is Kampung Kuala Terbol’s most senior surviving carver. Far from the quiet diplomacy of the batin at Kampung Sungai Kol, I encountered in the old artisan the fiery discontent of a man who felt he had been exploited by dealers and middlemen — “ajen” — who paid him a minimal amount for his work. Sometimes, he would complete a job only to be told that he would be paid even less than the already meager amount promised to him initially.

Daud, the son of the man who had carved the Prime Ministers’ portraits, talked about the disillusionment of younger carvers such as himself. Woodcarving, he maintained, has ceased to become sustainable, at least for the carvers — even if, in 2005, one private collector had sold his Orang Asli woodcarvings to the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage for RM2.5 million.

I looked around me. There were no concrete PPRT homes and no surau in this village. The homes were made of bamboo, wood and thatch. Kampung Kuala Terbol was a breakaway community, formed after some inhabitants of Kampung Sungai Kol decided to establish a new settlement. According to one settler, this was because Kampung Sungai Kol was becoming increasingly hemmed in by the neighbouring, non-Aslian communities.

Orang Asli land claims are highly tenuous. As Colin Nicholas has reiterated in many of his papers, many occupy their traditional territories as tenants-at-will -­ this effectively means that they remain on their land at the will of their respective state authorities. The claim of the Kuala Terbol inhabitants over their land is even more uncertain: Kampung Kuala Terbol is located in a wildlife reserve. While the villagers at Sungai Kol have a small rubber plantation, residents here subsist only on their fruit orchards, and on the extraction of forest produce.

As it rained, the ground around us became muddy. Dogs had begun to take shelter directly beneath us; I could see them through the slits in the raised bamboo floor of the verandah where we sat. Rainwater started trickling through the thatch roof. When I arrived, Hassan’s wife had told him to bring out the tikar, so that I would not have to sit, like everyone else, on the bamboo floor.

Laid out before us were the aged booklets and brochures of Jah Hut carvings that Hassan had amassed. None of those carvings remain with the Jah Hut. The only way we could view the carvings we were talking about was by looking at those booklets. One glossy programme book was produced by Balai Seni Lukis Negara as part of a wood art exhibition in 1995; there was a photograph of Hassan in this pamphlet: he looked focused and intent.

Now, a decade on, Hassan sat in front me, aggrieved. It was hard to talk to him about the tradition of woodcarving; the conversation kept returning to his indignation. “Kenapa cacing boleh melawan? Kerana cacing pun boleh lapar.” There was an almost rehearsed quality in the dramatic flair of his words — but the frustration, I felt, was real. “Saya hanya mahu keperimanusiaan,” he said, taking out a pouch of betel nuts. A group of children converged around him. “Tengok rumah buruk ini,” he muttered as the children made off with some of the betel nuts, “Hidup di sini pun mereka nak ganggu saya.”

When I left, I shook Hassan’s hand and told him my name again.

“Nama saya Cok,” he said.

I was surprised. I had seen him in a documentary on Jah Hut and Mah Meri carvers at Muzium Negara a few days before my visit. I distinctly remembered that he was identified as Hassan in the film.

“Kenapa pula guna nama Hassan?” I asked.

“Lebih senang,” he shrugged.

~~~

Gabrielle Low is a writer. She is also a member of Five Arts Centre. This article was written with the assistance of the following texts:

Colin Nicholas’s “The Orang Asli and the Contest for Resources: Indigenous Politics, Development and Identity in Peninsular Malaysia” (Copenhagen & Subang Jaya: IWGIA & Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, 2004);

Barbara S Nowak’s “A Story of Btsisi’ Women in Marriage and the Household” in “Orang Asli Women of Malaysia: Perceptions, Situations & Aspirations” (Subang Jaya: Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, 2006); “Can the Partnership Last?” in Cultural Survival Quarterly, Issue 8.2 (June 30th, 1984);

Rahim, Reita, ed. “Chita’ Hae: Culture, Crafts and Customs of the Hma’ Meri in Kampung Sungai Bumbon, Pulau Carey”, edited by Reita Rahim (Subang Jaya: Center for Orang Asli Concerns, 2007);

Roland Werner’s “Jah-Het of Malaysia: Art and Culture”, 2nd edition (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1997); and

Roland Werner’s “Mah Meri of Malaysia: Art and Culture”, 2nd edition (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1997).

First Published: 13.04.2007 on Kakiseni