Wednesday, October 16, 2013

THE PENAN: True Sons and Daughters of Mother Earth


The Star | Monday November 3, 2008

Semi-nomadic tribe goes back into jungle after delivering lost surveyors


MIRI: The group of Penans who rescued two surveyors lost in the deep jungles of Long Seridan in remote northern Sarawak have declined any reward for their heroic deed.

The Sarawak police are impressed by not just the bravery and kindness of the semi-nomadic Penans but also their humility.

So too is Ba’Kelalan state assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining, who stressed that the Penans had been at the forefront of many search and rescue missions in the jungles and mountains of Sarawak but had never asked for any reward or publicity.


Surveyors Ismail Salleh, 31, and Rano Sani, 26, went missing on Oct 28 while carrying out demarcation work for a multi-billion ringgit inter-state gas pipeline project between Sabah and Sarawak.

The two men were in a group of 50 surveyors that is handling the task of drawing up a land route to lay the 500km-long gas pipeline from Kimanis near Kota Kinabalu to Bintulu town, the gas capital of Sarawak.

The duo were found in a mountain village on Saturday afternoon following an aerial and ground search mission launched by the police.

They were rescued by a group of Penans, who were out hunting and gathering jungle produce, and escorted to the village.


Baram district police chief Deputy Supt Jonathan Jalin said he had spoken to the group of surveyors via satellite phone from Long Seridan yesterday.

“They are weak, but otherwise unhurt. They confirmed that it was the Penans who saved them, not any of our search parties.

“The group of Penans led them out from the jungle to a settlement after giving them food and water.

“My conversation with them was brief because of connection problems, but the surveyors said the Penans left them in the hands of the villagers and promptly went off into the jungle again.

“We (police) are trying to find out who these Penans are, and which settlement they are from. We must give them due credit,” he said.

Asked if the duo would be brought out for medical treatment, DSP Jalin said that they were still recuperating in the camp and did not seem to be in need of urgent medical help.

Long Seridan is located between Long Lellang and the Bario highlands. It is eight hours by land from here via Long Lama village.

Balang, whose constituency also covers Long Lellang, Bario and the area north of Long Seridan, said the Penans who rescued the duo should be given public recognition.

“It is the Penans’ nature to be helpful and yet shun publicity. They know the jungle like their backyard. They are capable of walking from Long Lellang to Bario non-stop,” he said.

Balang called on the police and the survey firm to try to trace the Penans who saved Ismail and Rano, saying that at the very least, they should be given a banquet.


This story was also featured in Malaysia Today and here are a few comments from readers worth quoting...
written by liko, November 03, 2008 09:31:23:

"Balang called on the police and the survey firm to try to trace the Penans who saved Ismail and Rano, saying that at the very least, they should be given a banquet."

They don't need a banquet, Balang. What they have done are just a noble act of human beings whose hearts are not polluted with greed for power or materialism. They might not have proper educations like us but their act of humanity are higher than most of us who claimed to be highly educated. Not everyone who do good deeds ask for material rewards. Shame on you for implying that the Penans will want to party and be happy with you showing them around the tables, proudly parading them for photographers who will be snapping photos of them as if they are one of those exotic animals. Just leave them alone, respect them, respect their way of life.

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written by Kreator, November 03, 2008 09:47:30:

Stop cutting the forest. Stop raping their women. Let them live in peace. That would be the greatest gift to the Penans. Not a banquet!

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written by sactyr, November 03, 2008 11:51:35:

The original Bumiputeras of the land, I salute and thank you from the bottom of the heart. And I have strong reasons to believe, had you been in power in this country instead of arrogant self-declared bumiputeras, I am sure we would be doing way better than we are now.

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written by magickriver, November 03, 2008 19:15:23:

Who are the "primitive" folk - the billionaire eco-rapists whose greed is insatiable and whose arrogance knows no bounds and who only ever perform charitable acts when the media are present? The Penans may live simply and in perfect harmony with their forest home but their spiritual qualities are LIGHT YEARS ahead of bureaucrats, businessmen & politicians who behave like human locusts.

I have met some Penans on several occasions and have been deeply impressed by their gentleness and patience. They don't speak unnecessarily, but they are constantly observing and remembering. What they don't know about the outside world, they are far better off not knowing, for it would only burden their souls. The Penans are the closest human species to the mythical elves that you read about - without doubt they are much akin to the Orang Halus and a universe apart from the Orang Kasar who only see MONEY when they look at a forested hill and whose every step lays ruin to Mother Earth and poisons the soil that sustains us.

BRUNO MANSER: Tribute to an Ecowarrior

[First published 3 November 2008]