Thursday, 17 May 2012

To know Penan tribe in Sarawak


Traditional Penan society is nomadic and survives by hunting and gathering. Only a handful of such societies remain on earth. The nomadic hunting-gathering lifestyle represents the original human condition, and was the way our own ancestors lived for millions of years.

Until a few decades ago, thousands of Penan wandered through the forests of Borneo's interior. Today, only a small number of them continue to practice this ancient lifestyle. Yet while most Penan now have permanent homes by the riversides, they continue to make long journeys into the forest to collect food, medicine, and other jungle products. The physical and spiritual well-being of all Penan, whether nomadic or settled, depends on the survival of the forest.


The Penan, like other nomadic hunter-gatherers, enjoy an egalitarian society. There are no social classes or hierarchies. There is no wealth or poverty, and all food is shared. Each band has a headman who acts as a spokesperson but wields no power. Although certain tasks are reserved for men and others for women, there is no obvious sexual inequality, and neither sex exercises coercion over the other. Both men and women are gentle and soft-spoken. Outsiders who observe them are invariably struck by the complete absence of violence among the Penan.

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