Temuan people in traditional clothing.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Malaysia (Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor)|
|Temuan language, Malay language, Malaysian English|
|Ancestral worship (predominantly) and a significant population practice Christianity or Islam |
|Related ethnic groups|
|Semelai people, Malays|
The Temuan people (Temuan: Uwang/Eang Temuan, Malaysian: Orang Temuan) are a Proto-Malay ethnic group indigenous to western parts of Peninsular Malaysia. They can be found in the states of Selangor, Pahang, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca. The Temuans are classified as part of Orang Asli group according to the Malaysian government. They are also one of the largest (numbering to almost 30,000 people) and the most widespread of the Orang Asli ethnic groups.
The changes in the population of the Temuan people in Malaysia:-
Thousands of years ago, many Temuan people died because they had committed "Celau" (the sins that angered god and their ancestors; as it is also called Talan in Semaq Beri language). Their god has sent a "Celau" punishment in a form of a great flood which had drowned all the Temuan sinners that day. Only two of the Temuans, named Mamak and Inak Bungsuk survived that day by climbing at Eaglewood tree at Gunung Raja (Royal Mountain) located at the border of Selangor and Pahang state. There was a Temuan village over there named Kampung Orang Asli Pertak. Mamak and Inak Bungsuk survived because they had an enchanting mantra or spell to ease down the "Celau" storm. Gunung Gajak (Gunung Rajah, Pahang, Malaysia) became the birth places and ancestral home of the Temuan tribe.
Mamak Bungsuk (Adam) and Inak Bungsuk (Eve) are the Temuan analogues of Adam and Eve in the myth of the birth of humanity.
The Temuans have their own language called the Temuan language or Bahasak Temuan. It is distinct but closely related to the Malay language spoken by their Malay neighbours. The Temuan language is a Malayan language spoken by the majority of the Temuan people. It is essentially a spoken language with several dialectal variation. Temuan is divided into two major dialects namely Belandas and Mantra which differs mostly in terms of phonology and also some of the vocabulary but still mutually intelligible to one another. Temuan is mostly written in the Latin alphabet although no standard orthography has been made.
Example of Temuan Belandas dialect: diak (he/she), hajak (only), kitak (we), tai (the end of sentence particle).
Example of Temuan Mantra dialect: dien (he/she), hajen (only), kiten (we), tea (the end of sentence particle).
A basic traditional Temuan belief is that their God and ancestors are always present with them, guarding their safety.
At the end of every year, the Temuans celebrate Aik Gayak Muyang (Ancestor Day in English). This celebration is to thank their God and ancestors for the crops they grow and for the peaceful life they have had.
The Temuans believe they were placed on the earth (Tanah Tujuh) by Muyang (God) to be guardians of the rain forest and that if they fail in their sacred duty, the whole world will turn upside down and humanity will perish. Each river, hill, stream, rock, tree and shrub is animated by a guardian spirit. Rivers are guarded by dragons (naga) and snakes (ular) which often cause mayhem if their homes are desecrated.
The Temuan's culture reflects their belief in these nature spirits. Their animism takes the form of taboos, herbal remedies, ritual ceremonies and magic. They have dukun (healers) and a village bomoh (shaman) who, when in a trance state, communicates with the nature spirits. It is the shaman who leads the tribe in the annual sawai or sewang - an ancient earth healing ritual to honour their ancestors and appease the guardian spirits.
Although today the Temuans mostly adhere to their animistic beliefs, the rest have now largely converted to either Christianity or Islam. This happens especially when Temuans married with people outside of their ethnic groups, whether it's with the Malays, Chinese or other ethnic groups in the country.
The Temuan celebrate Aik Muyang (Ancestor Day) at the end of the year and the beginning of new year. Aik Muyang honoring their ancestor for giving them good life and save from Celau (storm). The celebration take place in different day between 15 December to 15 January.
List of places and its Aik Gayak Muyang celebration dates:-
Gogo (Bogeng) is village ceremonial dancing. When the Temuan get married their will organised "Gogo" at between 8 p.m until 7 a.m the next day. The live band will played the music and every people from other village join to dance.
Some traditional superstitions still held by Temuans:
Typical Temuan food are usually cooked in bamboo. Temuan dishes are such as:-
The Temuan people also possess knowledge in traditional medicine. There also those from the city folks who would seek consultation from the Orang Asli to cure their illness and problems. Among of the illness that the Temuan shaman could cure are such as fever, diarrhea, blood clot, kidney disease and many more by using herbs or animal based medicine. Examples of herbs used:-
It is also known that the Temuan people themselves have begun to cultivate some of the herbs as an indication of the common health problems faced by them. Examples of such species that have been cultivated by the Temuan people instead of gathering them from the wild are:-
The common method of administering the herbs by the Temuan people are by consuming the decoction of the roots orally, such as the Polyalthia bullata, Andrographis paniculata, Parkia speciosa, Zingiber officinale and many more. Other methods of administering the herbs includes eating, rubbing, chewing, bathing, shampooing and poultice. Some herbs have multiple methods of administering its medicinal properties to treat for different illness. For example, root decoction of Alpinia conchigera is used as a shampoo to clean fleas on the head, its leaves are used as poultice to treat boils and post-childbirth swelling on the stomach, while its rhizome can be pounded as rubbing for bone ache, and also powdered to be mixed with water as poultice for stomach ache.
There are also many of the city folks that uses "Love potion" (Minyak pengasih, literally means "Love oil") from the Orang Asli shamans. Minyak pengasih are among the most popular item obtained from the services of the Orang Asli shamans. The function of the oil is to regain the feelings of lost love ones.
Some of the settlements that the Temuan people are located includes:-
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