Slave raids into Orang Asli settlements were quite common feature back in the 18th and 19th centuries. These slave-raiders were mainly local Malays and Bataks, who considered the Orang Asli as ‘kafirs’, ‘non-humans’, ‘savages’ and ‘jungle-beasts.’ The modus operandi was basically to swoop down a settlement and then kill off all the adult men. Women and children were captured alive as they are ‘easier to tame.’ The captives Orang Asli slaves were sold off or given to local rulers and chieftains to gain their favour. Slaves trade soon developed and even continued into the present century despite the official abolition of all forms of slavery in 1884. The derogatory term sakai was used to refer to the Orang Asli until the middle of the 20th century meant slave or dependent. Many of the elders Orang Asli still remember this period of their history, and they detest being called Sakai.
In 2000, the Orang Asli comprise only 0.5% of the total population in Malaysia. Their population is approximately 148,000.
Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Orang Asli.
Most of the photos here are photograph by my daughter using Panasonic DMC Lumix LX3.During her field work trip to Pos Orang Asli Senderut,Kuala Lipis in Pahang.
Photo edited by myself.