Event Title

Presentation, "The effects of development on Batek sacred sites"

Start Date

12-6-2014 10:45 AM

Description

ABSTRACT — Combining approaches from human geography, political ecology and socio-cultural anthropology this paper will highlight contemporary threats to Batek sacred sites and analyse how these places are being transformed.
Batek sacred sites include places marking the activities of Batek ancestors and culture heroes as well as the homes of benevolent and dangerous other-than-human beings. While some sites are avoided by the Batek due to supernatural dangers others are visited on a regular basis as they are associated with serenity, beauty, joyfulness and the sacred knowledge which can be obtained from benevolent other-than-human beings.

Development and landscape transformations (conversion of forest to palm-oil estates, tourism, quarrying and mining) threaten the physical existence of these sacred sites and transform the indigenous meanings associated with them. Many sites situated outside the Taman Negara national park under threat—particularly the limestone karsts which dominate landscapes near Gua Musang—are also located in areas with high levels of bio-diversity and incredible natural beauty. Malaysian ecologists and environmentalists trying to protect these sites are often unaware of their cultural significance. The paper will conclude by suggesting steps which need to be taken to achieve national and international recognition and protection for these landscapes.

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Jun 12th, 10:45 AM

Presentation, "The effects of development on Batek sacred sites"

ABSTRACT — Combining approaches from human geography, political ecology and socio-cultural anthropology this paper will highlight contemporary threats to Batek sacred sites and analyse how these places are being transformed.
Batek sacred sites include places marking the activities of Batek ancestors and culture heroes as well as the homes of benevolent and dangerous other-than-human beings. While some sites are avoided by the Batek due to supernatural dangers others are visited on a regular basis as they are associated with serenity, beauty, joyfulness and the sacred knowledge which can be obtained from benevolent other-than-human beings.

Development and landscape transformations (conversion of forest to palm-oil estates, tourism, quarrying and mining) threaten the physical existence of these sacred sites and transform the indigenous meanings associated with them. Many sites situated outside the Taman Negara national park under threat—particularly the limestone karsts which dominate landscapes near Gua Musang—are also located in areas with high levels of bio-diversity and incredible natural beauty. Malaysian ecologists and environmentalists trying to protect these sites are often unaware of their cultural significance. The paper will conclude by suggesting steps which need to be taken to achieve national and international recognition and protection for these landscapes.