The Batek of Malaysia
Instructor Justine Lemos
July 23, 2012
This paper explores the how the Batek of Malaysia managed to preserve their traditional way of life while the mainstream government is pressuring them into accepting the modern way of living. The Batek society is foraging society. They live in band, which means that their survival depends on their ability to hunt and gather fruits, berries, and tubers. The author will take in consideration factors like their values (social and economic), and their beliefs to be main reason why the Batek succeeded to maintain their way of living for so long. Therefore, the question: “Did the Batek culture managed to survive for so long because all members of this society obeyed the rules and respected the values of their society?” will find an answer. Now let us explore if obeying the rules and holding on to their society values helped them in preserving their culture for such a long time.
As mentioned in introduction, Batek society is foraging society. They live in bands, which are small mobile groups that can easily move from one place to another in a defined territory. Since they have an obligation to share food and remain mobile they do not accumulate the wealth or exercise ownership, and all that gives their society an egalitarian structure (Nowak & Laird, 2010, chapter 3.1).
In these societies people are related to each other through their ancestors or marriage. Nuclear family is the base of this society, and almost every Batek is related to every other Batek either through the mail or female line, because they are of bilateral descent (Nowak & Laird, 2010, chapter 3.7). Because of these close relations that exist among them, they always have someone to turn to in time of need. Being so connected, and sharing everything provides a safety net for all members of the Batek community. Marriage is universal for all cultures, and when it comes to...