Cheq Wong people
|Regions with significant populations|
|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.
They are originally found in only two areas, namely Krau Wildlife Reserve and Raub District in Pahang. Other Cheq Wong villages are also found in areas including Temerloh and Jerantut District in Pahang.
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. Some of these developments have led to flooding and pollution of river in their area.
The population change of the Cheq Wong people in Malaysia:-
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. It was during this time, the Malayan Communist Party sought help from them in the Communist's fight against the Japanese army. 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. The government then informed the Orang Asli concerning the communist rebels for the fear that they are helping the communist rebels. 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.
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.
Similar to the Semaq Beri people's talan and the Temuan people's celau, 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. 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. 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.
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.
Cheq Wong people practice a form of simple shifting cultivation, as well as hunting-gathering. 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. 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.
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