Rainforests ~ a sacred & fertile heartland for the Orang Asli [indigenous]

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Throughout my many journeys, I met many Orang Asli who shared a respect for Nature. Orang Asli are the indigenous people of West Malaysia (Peninsula), with less than 200,000 people within a cluster of tribes. Trees have always been held in particularly high regard : by their many communities, who show unearthly reverence or a kindred spirit to the rainforest. My attitude went far and beyond respect for the role of Nature and the Orang Asli’s simplicity, of adapting and blending to the needs of the planet. I regard all forms of life as equally as important, and in a bizarre way considering Nature as incarnation of a single energy or life force.

Nature is an architectural splendour, brutal to everyone, but maintaining the balance in which Nature knows best. The Orang Asli have shown me that in no other human hands besides theirs could accomplish their loving admiration for their rainforests. To me, the rainforests symbolise the immortality of Nature’s power and the source of all life in Malaysia.


An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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