The Batek of Malaysia
ANT 101 Introduction of Culture Anthropology
February 4, 2013
The Batek of Malaysia are one or several aboriginal people, called Orang Asli, living in an unassimilated life in Malaysia. They live in groups and rely a lot on each other. Division of labor is divided among the men and women. Many other roles are also taken place within their society. As a foraging community, their primary way of subsistence greatly impacts their gender relations, belief and values, and social organization. Each of these categories defines who they are and distinguish them from others. The Batek share a very unique culture which resides far in forest of Malaysis. They are a foraging society and live their lives as nomads. They live in camps of five or more nuclear families. The encampment is comprised of about 12 huts, each that are rectangular in plain and raised stilts. They raise their huts in order to keep a bit of air flow below their huts. The huts are made of hardwood branches lashed together. Walls are simply bamboo hammered flat and held in place by 2 sticks. The women of the Batek weave the roof out of leaves removed from plant spines. The men build all of the huts. They generally have control over the land surrounding their encampment but considering the fact that the Batek does not believe in landownership, they are considered the “caretakers” rather than the “owners” of the land. Once the useable resources from the wild plant have been depleted they move to another spot within their habitat. This demonstrates their nomadic lifestyle. The primary source of subsistence in the Batek community is foraging. Foraging is defined as (use textbook definition). They collect their food and maintain themselves by hunting, gathering, and trading forest product. The men of the group usually have the responsibility of being the hunters. The women’s primary responsibility is to gather vegetables. Both the men and women engage in trading rattan, which is...
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