Native folk build traditional homes to showcase culture and heritage


Workers building the traditional houses.

SOME 25 people from four Orang Asli tribes in the peninsula and Iban folk from Sarawak came together to build traditional houses which were on display at the National Unity Week in Johor.

Kasuwandy, 43, who spent about a week to complete the project, said the display was meant to give visitors a chance to explore the traditional houses.

“Most people have not visited these traditional houses and may never have the chance to do so. By building display houses, we can at least give them a full view of what our homes look like,” he said.

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“It is also easier for exhibitors to explain about their cultures when there is a physical house to refer to.”

The father of three, who is from the Orang Asli Jakun tribe, said they built three traditional Orang Asli houses from the Seletar, Mah Meri and Semai tribes, as well as an Orang Asli Balai Adat and an Iban longhouse.

“It is also important to note that the houses from the respective Orang Asli tribes and Iban communities may look different today.

Kasuwandy: The display of houses gives visitors a chance to explore the traditional homes.Kasuwandy: The display of houses gives visitors a chance to explore the traditional homes.

“While some may still preserve their traditional homes, many of them have modern houses that are made of stone instead of wood or bamboo. However, the structures and shape of the houses remain the same.

“We built the traditional houses made out of bamboo, forest wood and the nibong trees for the National Unity Week,” he said in an interview.

“All of the workers involved were from the Orang Asli and Iban communities as they understand the meaning and symbol behind every structure.

“We also got opinions from others in the communities as we designed and constructed the buildings. It was not an easy task as we only had one week to build them.

“However, it was all worth it when we saw the end result. What was even more meaningful was when people from different cultures dropped by to check out these buildings,” he said.Kasuwandy said he hoped for more opportunities to work on such projects as they were close to his heart.

“As a native, I feel I have the responsibility to share with others about our culture.

“I am glad to be involved in this project and hope to be given a similar opportunity in the future,” he said adding that his siblings Kasriza, 38, and Kasnisah, 33, were also involved in the project. — By VENESA DEVI

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