Jakuns of Jemeri come together to celebrate their rights and culture
Published: 28 September 2014
The Jakuns of Kampung Jemeri in Rompin, Pahang celebrated Hari Orang Asal SeDunia (World Indigenous Peoples Day) on Saturday 27 September. Such village-level celebrations are gaining popularity among some Orang Asli communities in perhaps a subtle reminder to the government that since they are not promoting the international day, so the people will do it themselves.
The village-level celebrations are seen as an important means not only to revive their pride in their culture and identity, but also to act as a means to bring various sectors, or age-groups, in the community to work together and establish better community spirit.
Only then can the community be prepared to face the many challenges and encroachments into their lives and territories.
The celebrations at Kampung Jemeri received full support and attendance from the villagers. Others came from neighbouring communities in solidarity. The event was fully funded and sponsored by the community.
Apart from the traditional sewang performances and prize-giving for the sports events held the day before, an interesting feature in the programme was the honour given to 15 elders of the village. As keepers of the adat and culture, and as holders of the community's history and wisdom, they were remembered and thanked.
JAKOA and the local political representatives (MP and ADUN) were invited but none turned up. No big matter; the villagers showed that they were up to it, and enjoyed themselves in the process. So did we.
Photos by Colin Nicholas and Hendry Kassim. More photos at this link: http://on.fb.me/YzPtP5
CN-COAC | 28 September 2014
The village shaman doing the ritual to bless everyone and the celebrations.
Batin Keria welcoming the guests and thanking the community for their cooperation and hard work.
Yusri presenting some JOAS publications to the batin, while the organizer of the event, Bedul, the JKKK Chairman, cheers on.
The sewang performance from the Jah Hut youths of Kampung Sungai Mai, Jerantut. The first time they performed this was at the village-level HOAS celebrations at Kampung Kiol two weeks ago. This activity has become the impetus to get the youth moving in the village.
The group sewang by the Jemeri villagers. The space chosen for the celebrations was ideal for such interaction.
Singing the signature tune of JOAS: Lagu Perjuangan Orang Asal.
Traditional meats on the menu: tortoises, baning, lotong ...
After lunch, the more serious stuff began. Here the Jemeri villagers are consulting Hon Kai Peng, co-chair of the Bar Council's Committee for Orang Asli Rights, on what can be done to stop the encroachments on their land.
Everybody was happy and highly-spirited at the end.