Words from Author: I am submitting this photo called “Moyang Getah, from the Mah Meri tribe” which I hope is in line with your theme “Religion”. I thank you for your kind consideration.
The indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia, a.k.a Orang Asli are unique to Malaysia and are found nowhere else in the world. The Mah Meri tribe from Pulau Carey, Selangor is one of eighteen tribes. They were originally sea gypsies but being outcompeted by commercial fishing boats, many have turned to work in nearby towns or in palm oil plantations.
I am lucky that as part of my PhD travels, I was able to attend their traditional ritual, known as Hari Moyang Puja Pantai. They pray to their ancestral spirits, known as Moyang (image), as well as deceased loved ones, for a safe and bountiful year ahead.
Legend has it that a ship was caught in a terrible storm that no one could have survived it. Suddenly a strong force all but dragged the ship and its passengers to safety. The villagers believe the ship was saved by a spirit called Moyang Getah.
FYI, rumour has it that we may be witnessing the last of this Puja Pantai rituals as the beach where the Mah Meri hold their ceremonial rites were acquired by China to build a new port.
Article and photo by Li-Fang Yeo