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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

VANISHING TRADITIONS

VANISHING TRADITIONS

Today, Orang Ulu tattoo is a dying, if not already dead, traditional practice. Disruptions to indigenous culture as a result of missionization and modernity continue to pave the way for a relinquishing of ancient customs. One Lahanan man said, “This generation of Orang Ulu are not interested in old ways. They have no desire to get the older traditional tattoos” and are drawn to urban centers, logging camps, or frontier towns where they can find work and become more open to other cultural influences, including fast, accessible and less painful Western tattoos like eagles, dragons and hula girls. Missionaries continue to convert and compel people to discard their traditional customs, and the Malaysian government is in the process of building the largest hydroelectric damn in all of Southeast Asia on the Upper Rejang River. The Bakun Dam project has already has displaced 10,000 Kayan and other Orang Ulu living in a dozen or more longhouses; longhouses that have stood on ancestral lands for centuries, if not millennia. Eventually the Bakun Dam will flood a tract of virgin rainforest that supports over 40 species of endangered mammals and birds. Understandably, and poised on a fragile prelude of change, the Orang Ulu have not yet folded to modernity, but as the jungle slowly disappears underneath the ensuing canopy of water, so too will that which gave life – and tattoos - to all of its peoples.

Article Lars Krutak

6 comments:

Sanna said...

what a fascinating country!
Only the background picture makes it somehow difficult to read the text, maybe you should change it?

Robb Sempurai said...

ermm..maybe.TQ.

Purple Crayon Brain said...

Sad the world of nature and natural existence is crying again! Damn those controlling buggers will they ever stop!

-sandra- said...

yeah thats true..and it is not applies to Kayans but also affecting our Ibans' traditional tattoos. and alot of people looked upon those who do this traditional tattoos as a rebels, dirty and so on. But someone have to do something rite? how do we can help this dying art if we cant help ourselves?So we had to preserve this dying art for our generation. Am I rite?

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