Semai Culture

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Semai Cultural Research Paper

Neakia (Kia) Haliburton

ANT 101

Vasilica Margarit

The Semai are a permanent people living in the center of the Malay Peninsula in South Asia. They are a population of around 15, 000, 00 people. The settlements are scattered along the valleys of the Malay Peninsula. Each village exploits a defined territory and subsists by swidden cultivation of manioc and hill rise supplemented by hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering. A tiny hamlet of four houses and sixty five men, women and children. The Semai have a strongly nonviolent image of them. They proclaim themselves to be nonviolent people who do not get angry or hit others. The Semai value peacefulness, which is reflected in the way they raise their children and how they interact with kin as well other groups of people. Globalization in retrospect may have an affect of the Semai; it’s likely that their core beliefs remain unaltered. Values and beliefs of the Semai, economic organization and gender relations will be addressed. Semai people are believers in individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena. But some are also believers in Christianity. The group that profess Christianity hold on to the old beliefs which is based in witchcraft. The Semai hold a festival called Genggulang. This festive ritual is to appease land spirits for a good harvest. In this festival, the spirits are offered sacrificial chickens, flowers and unhusked rice. As stated the Semai people are a peaceful group. Violence is not part of their way of life. If a kin has an issue in the village the situation is resolved informally. Such strategies such as separation, gossip or shaming the particular individuals that the community believed were responsible for causing the problem. Another way of dealing with discord in the group would be to hold a formal meeting. This meeting is called a bcaraa to settle disputes. I headman will give a lecture on the importance of...
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