The Semai Culture
ANT101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Prof. Jodi Stoneman
December 2, 2012
The Semai Culture
A peaceful Malaysian culture by the name of Semai, is mostly known for their non-violence approach to life. This society calls the Malay Peninsula of South Asia home. With a unique way of life, the environment and their beliefs help mold the culture and its people. This paper will outline how the Semai culture socially interacts, survives in the forest and why they remain such a peaceful culture.
Living in various areas within the mountains and rainforests of Malay Peninsula, the Semai culture is highly opposed to violent activity and is always on the move. This non-violent belief is also a contributing factor to why Semai’s move around peninsula, because if any type of tension is created between neighboring groups or tribes the Semai will quickly relocate to avoid violence. In comparison to the lives in America, Semai’s daily activities are much different. As a foraging group, which means they live a hunting and gathering lifestyle; the Semai’s are always moving around year after year in search for new prime areas that are good for farming and hunting. As a foraging community, Semai’s also practice some horticultural techniques for example, cutting and burning greens and using the ashes an enriched fertilizer to the crops (Nowak & Laird, 2010). In the small Semai community labor is divided among the men and the women. Men are mostly responsible for hunting, women are responsible for things like weaving and harvesting rice, however everyone works together when taking care and maintaining the crops. The Semai community is mostly made of nuclear families, meaning the families are made of both the mother and father and the children. The Semai community does not have a true political structure but the eldest male in the family are looked at as the leader and they rely on him to keep the peace. During any decision making within...
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