SEMELAI COMMUNITIES AT TASEK BERA: A Study of the Structure of an Orang Asli Community
by HOE BAN SENG
edited by A.S.Baer and R. Gianno
191+ xii pp., 40 photographs
15cm x 22.5cm, soft cover
Includes a Semelai-English-Malay Wordlist
Traditional Authority and Leadership
Patterns of Economic Activity
The Basic Social Structure
Customs and Beliefs
Social Change and Assimilation
Problems in Rural Communities
Governmental Policies and the Needs of Semelai Communities
Originally written in 1964, this report is the first ethnographic monograph ever written on the Semelai, an Orang Asli community who make Tasek Bera - now a renowned wetlands heritage site - their home.
The report is filled with keen observations on the way of life of the Semelai people a generation ago, at a time when they were resettled to Pos Iskandar to isolate them from the security threat caused by the Communist insurgents. The author was therefore observing the Semelai during a period when they were changing from a traditional to a more modernlife style. This makes his observations all the more memorable and significant.
Hoe Ban Seng carried out his fieldwork on the Semelai as part of his undergraduate studies. He was 19 years old at the time.
Today, Dr. Hoe is the Curator of Asian Studies at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Quebec.