Malaysian culture is a colourful mix of various cultures over many generations. Temuan is a tribe of Malaysia’s Orang Asli, or indigenous people. There are two Temuan villages close to us. Most of our staff are from this community. The Orang Asli’s knowledge of the jungle is unparalleled. For generations, the rainforest was a source of food and medicine in this culture.
Many families still own small farms inside and by the jungle. But many also enjoy the stability of wages as Seremban, and its surroundings get busier. The Orang Asli would forage for medicinal leaves and roots to cure the ill. But aside from a minority, modern medicine is preferred amongst the youth for being more convenient and common in modern Malaysian culture.
The Temuan speak their own language and are traditionally animists. Their sacred graveyards are hidden deep in the rainforest. The Temuan treat the jungle with great respect; believing that each river, tree, shrub and rock has a guardian spirit. Much of Temuan life was guided by taboos, herbal remedies, rituals and a bit of magic. Although, these days, many Orang Asli have converted to Islam or other religions.
Ah Kau has been our friend since our arrival in this neighbourhood and a jungle guide since we opened the business. He was a hunter/gatherer and has a wealth of knowledge about medicinal plants in the jungle. He nursed his late wife through ten home births with jungle medicine. Ah Kau is now semi-retired and a treasured rarity in Malaysian culture.
Many thanks to Nic Falconer from SerembanOnline for the photo.
Negeri Sembilan shares borders with Selangor, Pahang, Melaka and Johor. Affectionately known as Negeri or Nogori, it certainly is a unique state in Malaysia. Most of its original Malay population came from the Padang region of Sumatra in the 18th and 19th centuries and are known as Minangkabau or Minang people. It is a matrilineal culture known for exemplary hospitality and distinctive cuisine within Malaysian culture.
Also distinct is their dramatic yet practical roof architecture, which rises up at the corners, letting heat rise and leaving the house cool. You can view this roof in state buildings in Seremban and one magnificent centenary house in Pantai. It is on the right as you leave Pantai, heading towards Seremban.
Our Manager, Asmaq on her wedding day. Originally from Negeri Sembilan, the beautiful bride is in traditional Minangkabau dress embellished with gold thread. In Malaysian culture, the bride and groom are dubbed ‘Royalty of one day’ or ‘Raja sehari’.