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The Culture of Malaysia’s Batek



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    The Batek are the original and earliest known people of their culture. Their culture is unique. The Batek have a generous way of living, so that everyone does not go without. They are traveling foragers, whose culture is identified by their kinship, social change, and social organization. The Batek of Malaysia is a tribe that hunts and gathers their food. They live in a habitat of a tropical forest with a camp of five or six nuclear families. The Batek are foragers.

    “Foraging, is one of the oldest forms of human society, dating back to the Paleolithic period, at least a million years ago” (Nowak and Laird, 2010, ch. . 1). They rely on the land and each other to survive. Working together, helps the tribe succeed in a pleasant society. “The Batek value the freedom afforded by the foraging way of life; they are able to move when and where they wish and engage in any of a number of economic activities. ” (C. Lampell, K. ) The Batek moves quite often to find fresh food. Kinship plays an important role with the Batek. They are close because of the need of the groups of families to survive. They created this connection of nuclear families to maintain stability on the land.

    Everyone plays a role when it comes to hunting and gathering food. Marriage is valued within the Batek tribe. They are strict with incest relations. The Batek cannot marry close relatives. Kinship is formed within the nuclear family they reside. The Batek of Malaysia The Batek of Malaysia is a hunter-gatherer tribe, they are located in the Malaysian rainforest in groups of families. They would be considered Foragers, They live in camps of five or six nuclear families. Nuclear families consist of a Mother, Father, and their children. The nuclear family is most common because, in a foraging setting, it is adaptive to various situations. ” (Cultural Anthropology Chapter 3. 7 Social Organization) There are few differences in the way men and women behave and contribute to camp life. Both the husband and the wife raise the children; and, although generally men take care of hunting (using bamboo blowpipes and poison darts) and women take care of digging tubers, both genders take part in both these activities and neither activity is conferred a higher status.

    Both the men and women will collect the firewood and water for the camp. Even a group’s “headman,” or chief, may be a woman. There are no words for boy or girl, until puberty. The woman can hunt whenever they want, but usually only due so near the camp and for small game. While the daily food-getting responsibilities of the sexes differ – women normally gather vegetable foods and men concentrate on hunting, but both the men and woman collect and trade rattan, although the men do not weave with the rattan it is mainly the women as they will sell the woven baskets to tourist for money.

    The men specialize in hunting as they believe they have stronger breath for the blowguns. They are also considered fairly expendable as the ratio are 11 men to 8 women in most camps. The women who are nursing babies and the young children do not hunt. The batek have no sense of property ownership, the area they forage in is not theirs as they do not own it, and they do not forbit others from camping on it. There is no domination of leader, the leader emerges naturally through age and wisdom and streng . They have very few wants and in return are very easily satisfied.

    Their main goals are to procure food and they do not accumulate many material goods since they are constantly on the move looking for the next prime location to gather food. “The Batek have no rigid rules separating the activities of the sexes; thus women who want to hunt may do so (few do, however) and men gather tubers and other plant foods whenever they want” (Endicott & Lampell, 1984). Both men and women are treated as equals and treat each other with respect. Both sexes can build shelters, gather food and hunt. Not one task is deemed only for…

    The Culture of Malaysia’s Batek. (2016, Oct 06). Retrieved from

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