Sri Gumum

Sri Gumum
Peter A. van der Helm

A Glimpse of Orang Asli Life at Tasik Chini


History and Profile Stories of the Lake Tasik Chini Fact Book Slide Shows

The Orang Asli ("First Peoples") are the indigenous people of West-Malaysia. They form a population of about 180,000 people divided over about 18 groups. Many of them live in or near rainforest areas. One of these areas is around the legendary lotus-covered lake called Tasik Chini near the mountain called Gunung Chini in the state of Pahang.

Orang Asli oral tradition has it that the mountain now called Gunung Chini got its name after the original Gunung Chini had become Tasik Chini, and that a city built on top of the original Gunung Chini now lies submerged in Tasik Chini, guarded by the spirit Sri Gumum who may appear e.g. as a naga ular (snake-like dragon). See Stories of the Lake for more.

Pop up Satellite Photo to get a first impression of this enchanting lake that consists of 12 parts (laut) and that, by the beautiful jungle creek Sungai Chini, connects to the great river Sungai Pahang. See also Tasik Chini Fact Book to read about its suffering.

Tasik Chini (geographically)

Most Orang Asli around Tasik Chini belong to the Jakun (also called Orang Hulu) who live in the south-east part of Pahang. They feel, and through marriages are, also connected to other Orang Asli groups, in particular to the Semelai around Tasik Bera (see the Tasik Bera connection). They practise consensus politics with equal rights for men and women. Their traditional life-style is gradually being replaced by a modern life-style, but unemployment and poverty make it hard to keep pace with the rapid economic developments in Malaysia.

See History and Profile for an illustrated account of developments in the Orang Asli community at Tasik Chini.

See Slide Shows for 295 photos taken in the years 1989—2010 and arranged in 16 topical slide shows that highlight various aspects of Orang Asli life at Tasik Chini. The slide shows cover the lake, the people, their livelihood, and the kenduri — a ritual meal prepared on only three occasions in one's life, namely, birth, wedding, and death.

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