The Semai Of Malasyia

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The Semai: Peace is Survival Alex Dragos ANT101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Kimberly Long March 19, 2012 The Semai: Peace is Survival In cultural anthropology there are a lot of different cultures from around the world that are studied. One of the cultures that were studied are the “Semai” people of Malaysia. The Semai are from the Malay Peninsula, in Malaysia, Southeast Asia and live in densely forested central mountains in that area. The Semai of Malaysia are a peaceful foraging horticultural society. They live off of the land and also mastered how to plant and cultivate food as a form of survival. The Semai are a society that in not governed by anyone and are primarily controlled by the public opinion in their society. The Semai are still around and as of 2007 there are about 43,500 alive and known as the Orang Asli, which stands for “the original people” in the Malay language (peacefulsocieties.org). The Semai live off of the land by hunting, fishing and also cultivate rice and manioc. This is their main means of food for their survival. Another part of their survival is they are also known to do a little trade in minor forest products of rattan. Rattan is a name for the different kinds of plant species that the Semai use and depend on for survival. The Semai have survived for thousands of year because of their beliefs and values, their kinship system and gender relations. These aspects are important to the present and future of the Semai people. The Semai’s primary mode of substance is foraging and using horticultural artistry with minor pasturing. The Semai use the swidden cultivation method. This method is also known as the slash-and-burn cultivation, which consists of cutting trees, then burning them to provide ash–enriched soil for the planting of crops. They also get their food from fishing, hunting and trapping. Another form of

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