Cheq Wong people

Cheq Wong people
Cheqwong / Chewong / Che' Wong / Cewong / Siwang / Beri / Chuba
A Cheq Wong man with a child in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Pahang.
Regions with significant populations
Pahang 818 (2010)[1]
Cheq Wong language, Malay language
Animism (predominantly), Islam, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Semang, Semai people

Cheq Wong people are an indigenous Orang Asli people of the Senoi branch in Peninsular Malaysia. Although they have the physical appearances of the Senoi sub group, the Cheq Wong language that they speak however are closely related to the Northern Aslian languages.[2]

Settlement area

They are originally found in only two areas, namely Krau Wildlife Reserve and Raub District in Pahang.[3] Other Cheq Wong villages are also found in areas including Temerloh and Jerantut District in Pahang.[4]

Recent developments have caused the settlement areas of the Cheq Wong people to be exposed to the outside world, logging, roads and an elephant sanctuary for tourism.[1] Some of these developments have led to flooding and pollution of river in their area.[5]


The population change of the Cheq Wong people in Malaysia:-

Year 1960[6] 1965[6] 1969[6] 1974[6] 1980[6] 1982[3] 1996[6] 2000[7] 2003[8] 2004[9] 2010[1]
Population 182 268 272 215 203 250 403 234 664 564 818


During the World War II, many of the Cheq Wong people were killed by the Japanese army. Which is also one of the factors that led to the small population of the Cheq Wong people.[10] It was during this time, the Malayan Communist Party sought help from them in the Communist's fight against the Japanese army.[11] After the World War II, the area of Cheq Wong people were declared as "black area" due to the presence of the Malayan Communist Party rebels during the Malayan Emergency.[10] The government then informed the Orang Asli concerning the communist rebels for the fear that they are helping the communist rebels.[11] Many of them were killed by the Communist rebels in suspicion of helping the government, while some of them were also attacked by the government military for thinking that they were helping the Communist rebels.[12]


The Cheq Wong people traditionally adhere to a form of animism that makes distinction between species that possesses ruwai (meaning, soul or consciousness) and those that do not. There is even a shamanistic song that refers to the incident of Japanese war plans flying over the jungle during the World War II as ruwai.[13]

Similar to the Semaq Beri people's talan[14] and the Temuan people's celau,[15] the Cheq Wong people have a sacred law called talaiden, where any form of transgression including even laughing or teasing committed against any animals is forbidden.[16] Such offenses will result in the punishment of the storm (or snake) talaiden, where storms, rain and thunder will be sent as a form of punishment.[17] Another form of talaiden that the Cheq Wong people believe is the tiger talaiden, where an incorrect mixing of foods or things will result with the offender being attacked by a tiger.[17]


The Cheq Wong people are regarded as one of the peaceful and non-violent groups among the Orang Asli. They have a proverb that says "To be angry is not human; but to be fearful is", where the Cheq Wong people believe in avoiding conflicts and fleeing from dangers as a natural defensive measure.[18]

Cheq Wong people practice a form of simple shifting cultivation, as well as hunting-gathering.[19] They are also known for making blowguns and using them for hunting. However the art of making blowguns is threatened as people would go to the market for meat and they do no longer need to hunt as frequent as before.[20] They also practice a traditional form of agroforestry by cultivating fruit orchards among existing tree species with minimal damage to the jungle, unlike oil palm estate or commercial fruit orchards owners. This method of orchard cultivating has positive impact on the ecosystem by enriching a variety of flora in the system and providing food for the fauna.[21]


  1. 1 2 3 Kirk Endicott (2015). Malaysia's Original People: Past, Present and Future of the Orang Asli. NUS Press. p. 2. ISBN 99-716-9861-7.
  2. Signe Howell (1984). Society and Cosmos: Chewong of Peninsular Malaysia. Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 01-958-2543-8.
  3. 1 2 Signe Howell (1982). Chewong Myths and Legends. Council of the M.B.R.A.S. p. xiii.
  4. Tarmiji Masron, Fujimaki Masami & Norhasimah Ismail (October 2013). "Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia: Population, Spatial Distribution and Socio-Economic Condition" (PDF). Journal of Ritsumeikan Social Sciences and Humanities Vol.6. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  5. "High time to say 'tidak boleh'". The Star. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Nobuta Toshihiro (2009). "Living On The Periphery: Development and Islamization Among Orang Asli in Malaysia" (PDF). Center for Orang Asli Concerns. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  7. "Orang Asli Population Statistics". Center for Orang Asli Concerns. Archived from the original on 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  8. "Basic Data / Statistics". Center for Orang Asli Concerns. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  9. Alberto Gomes (2004). Modernity and Malaysia: Settling the Menraq Forest Nomads. Routledge. ISBN 11-341-0076-0.
  10. 1 2 "Hampir pupus angkara Jepun". Utusan Melayu. 8 November 2014. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  11. 1 2 Anja Lingjerde Lillegraven (May 2006). "Paths of Change in Fields of Power: A study of the Chewong – an indigenous minority group in peninsular Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  12. Hin Fui Lim (1997). Orang Asli, Forest, and Development. Forest Research Institute Malaysia. ISBN 98-395-9265-3.
  13. Kaj Arhem & Guido Sprenger (2015). Animism in Southeast Asia. Routledge. p. 55. ISBN 13-173-3662-3.
  14. Malaya. Museums Department, Malaysia. Jabatan Muzium (1971). Federation Museums Journal, Volumes 16-23. Museums Department, States of Malaya. p. 6.
  15. Man Ess (2014). Kisah Lagenda Temuan: Wak Beull dengan Mamak Bungsuk. Blue Crystal Enterprise.
  16. Lisa Kemmerer (2012). Animals and World Religions. Oxford University Press. p. 51. ISBN 01-997-9067-1.
  17. 1 2 Signe Howell (1982). Chewong Myths and Legends. Council of the M.B.R.A.S. p. xxiv.
  18. Thomas Gregor (1996). A Natural History of Peace. Vanderbilt University Press. p. xvi. ISBN 08-265-1280-1.
  19. Philippe Descola & Gisli Palsson (2013). Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives. Routledge. p. 131. ISBN 11-348-2715-6.
  20. "Tradisi yang semakin pupus". Utusan Melayu. 8 November 2014. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  21. "Orang Asli Boost Biodiversity with their Fruit Gardens". Clean Malaysia. 12 February 2016. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
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