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Wandering thru the Jungle with the Indigenous Peoples

orang asli

As any jungle-faring angler would tell you, it is unwise to wander into the woods without a local tracker.

Not only would you need help to locate good fishing spots, a guide would also keep you from getting lost, touching dangerous plants or insects and even save you from offending the “spirits of the forest”.
Quoted from The Star

That’s a big job description, and nobody fits the bill better than the jungle-dwelling orang asli. Having lived in and off the jungle for generations, these unassuming folk are familiar with the terrain. They possess an uncanny ability to find their way, in daylight as well as pitch darkness, without relying on maps or a compass. Although skilled in many ways, it is perhaps the “horse power” of the orang asli that endears them to out-of-shape city slickers like us when trudging through the jungle.

These guys may look runty and scrawny, but man, they are tough! The average orang asli tracker can easily carry twice the weight of whatever you have on your back and still walk with a spring in his stride, while you pant and wheeze trailing behind him. Apart from the obvious advantage of literally lifting a load off your shoulders, orang asli are also experts at catching fish.

Depending on your powers of persuasion, they can impart invaluable lessons and information pertaining to bait selection and the most ideal types of rigs for the area you are fishing.

Jungle Tracking with Orang Asli

These guys may look runty and scrawny, but man, are they tough.

Indispensable as they are, engaging the services of an orang asli guide requires a certain degree of tact. Usually, an introduction by a mutual friend would be the most desirable approach. But in the absence of such, it is best to befriend them first over drinks and a couple of fags before subtly broaching the possibility of tapping their resources for a fee.

Although acceptable in the metropolis settings that we are used to, just walking up and offering cold, hard cash for labour can be considered vulgar to these people. Most times, a modest pack of cigarettes in addition to the agreed cash remuneration goes a long way in opening hearts and minds. As it is in everything else we do, a pleasant disposition begets likewise treatment and the jungle is no place for arrogance.

After all the effort involved in making your trip, the last thing you want is a disgruntled guide taking you around in circles, leading you to dud fishing holes or worse yet, taking off and leaving you at the mercy of beasts and the resident jungle genie!

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