Thursday, 13 June 2013

A visit to The Orang Asli Museum of Malaysia



It was a hot day afternoon in the middle of May 2013 three of us Tour Guides viz. Winnie Chan, Dennis Goonting and I decided to visit the recently re-opened Orang Asli Musium at Gombak, Selangor, just a stone’s throw away from Kuala Lumpur City (About 25 kilometers). The museum is now known as Museum JAKOA (Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli – The Department for the development of Indigenous People affairs).  The museum was established since 1985 and subsequently a new and bigger building was erected to replace the original one. In June 2000 the then King of Malaysia officially declared open the new Orang Asli Museum. The role of the museum is to collect, preserve, record and display items that portrays the way of life of the Orang Asli in the old days, so as to maintain the nation’s heritage. The museum has currently a wide range of large posters, photographic pictorials, ethnographic maps, mannequins with Aboriginal dresses, musical instruments, traditional hunting gears and paraphernalia, traps for small animals and fishes,  cookery pots and utensils, model dwelling huts, some primitive tools used for healing illness, and their taboos etc. There is a small shop lot along the road that leads to the entrance of the museum, selling souvenirs to visitors. It was run by an Orang Asli family; a little teenage girl named Aesha was helping out to attend to customers. Her family belongs to the Semai group which is a sub-tribe of the Senoi. The other main two tribes are the Negritos and the Proto-Malays.


The museum had been closed for about two years for renovation and expansion project. It was re-opened in February 2013 to the public and tourists. I read about the news of the re-opening and was keen to visit the official landmark that showcases the way of life of the indigenous people of Peninsula Malaysia. A very enthusiastic, friendly and learned Encik Mohammed Jiwa was our guide when we were there.


Encik Mohammed has been working faithfully at the museum, Gombak for the past 15 years. We were at the Museum JAKOA for about two hours; we left for the city after taking some pictures with Encik Mohammed and the shy Orang Asli girl Aesha.


                              Left: TG Dennis Goonting, TG Winnie Chan
                            and JAKOA Museum Senior Officer Encik Mohd. Jiwa.

TG Dennis and some young Orang Asli children


Shy Aesha belongs to the Semai sub-tribe of the Senoi tribe. Her family hailed originally from Kuala Pilah. Her father still work diligently in the forest collecting rattan, bamboo and other jungle products. Her mother is working nearby, employed by a business company. She is 13 year-old and has since stopped schooling after completing her primary and the 1st year of secondary education. She is a smart and demure looking girl; she speaks fluently the National Language and her tribal language.

 TG Dennis was too glad to have a
                                   picture taken with sweet-looking Aesha.

                                           for reading!

Alan CY Kok      
Footnote:  For more attractions in Malaysia,
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  1. Thanks for posting this. Very amazing conclusion of some of the key aspects in my talk about. I wish you and your guests find out it useful! Thanks again. Limo Malaysia

  2. Do you have any idea how to get there by public transport? thx