Title: Tapedn, Floods and the (Endless) Pandemic: Reemergence of Indigenous Beliefs Among Kensiu in Baling, Kedah
Stream: Religion, Spirituality
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Said Effendy Bin Said Iziddin, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Having settled in Kampung Lubuk Legong since 1941 (estimated) – before the Japanese occupation, the indigenous belief – Tapedn (thunder god) and Takebah (messenger) – have since slowly eroded from practice. The Kensiu people are a group of indigenous people living in the borders of present-day Kedah, Malaysia and Yala, Thailand. With the reduced dependency in the forest (Bukit Tiak, Gunung Bayu) as a source of food, indigenous beliefs play a less potent role in ensuring their survival. In addition, since the adoption of the village by Malaysia’s Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA) in 1967, the rapid Islamization process has led to a further strain in the authorities of the indigenous belief. However, since 2019, the endless misfortunes that Malaysia struggled with – both the Covid-19 pandemic and massive floods – have caused some elders in the village to rethink and revisit their ancestral norms. This research is an ethnographic paper on two village elders of Kampung Orang Asli Lubuk Legong which follows their worldview of the endless challenges facing Malaysia and how the salvation of this village in particular, had been with the aid of the Cenoys (dwarf guardians). It seeks to shed light on the uncanny resilience of indigenous beliefs in challenging times while at the same time probe into the academe of "memory studies".
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