Meet The Natives

Meet The Natives 

 For years, anthropologists have travelled to the South Pacific to live with local tribespeople and observe their traditional ways of life.

Meet the Natives follows two groups of men from the South Pacific island of Tanna – one venturing to the UK and the other travelling to the U.S. – to observe the natives of these exotic lands. From cattle roundups and snowball fights in Montana, to bars with drag queens in Manchester, and traditional fox hunting and a meeting with England’s Prince Philip, these men experience some of the best – and most unusual – activities that each country has to offer. They provide a unique spin on life in the UK and America, filtering what they see through their own experiences and offering their perspective on homelessness, traditional gender roles, livestock artificial insemination, and more.

There’s always something romantic about a Dayak experiencing a completely new thing, new environment and so on as truly some (mis)adventure of culture shocks. That is normally a case of rural-urban migration among the Dayak youths seeking employment or simply thrown yourself to the unchartered territory hoping to realise your Dayak Dream. Well some Dayak made it (like the 40,000 Dayaks in Johor, the ‘Singapore mainland’), able to settle down, even bring fellow siblings or friends later on while some simply can’t manage their hard-earned money to usual booze and decadence lifestyle.

Watching Meet The Natives in NatGeo channel (check your local Astro listings) reminds me just how awkward for any Dayak being a first-timer to move out from the typical slumps of hopeless Dayak village. Where to buy air ticket, enough money to rent a shack flat in one of DBKL ubitiqous human slime nest, where to find the cheapest nasi campur, would Dayak in KL treated just like another Myanmar slave…those are the question linger the most. To the adventurous Dayak, simply fend yourself alone try to survive would be stupid act or just silly fun. But for the cautious and follow the ‘resettled’ Dayaks there, consider yourself a plain lucky Dayak.

Now you get some rag-tag jobs in IKEA mall you’ll find many more people in the same boat with you. Like the Orang Asli worker. First thing you note how they talk or greet each other. For the Dayaks usually the ‘OhhAhhh’ (all the beer and langkau cheers) but the Orang Asli would say ‘Ohh-Uiii’. So far there is no official record how many Dayak married with Orang Asli and how fair or tan their kids would be (but certainly the purest Bumiputera of all!). Like migrating Dayaks, Orang Asli also experiencing rural-urban migration life and of course without the stereotypes like Jakun Sakai crap all that. Fine though, modernity is too much for any first-timer Dayaks but that is just the beginning of the story. A story of trust which any Dayak seems to be easily manipulated with.

“There is indeed a view that they are human beings who shouldn’t be corrupted by outside influences,” – Will Anderson, Meet The Natives producer

How do you trust the new environment that is fit for you? Or you become part of the cunning environment? In one of Meet The Natives episode in UK, the tribesmen were visiting local bar and tasting beer for the first time. “It’s cold and mild” One of the tribeman said. Instantly the rest of them simply embrace and enjoy drinking beer. When the bar owner told them they come here to drink for fun time, the tribeman said in their village they drink something like this in a village hall to discuss important thing only. Hehehe! Well of course we can discuss important things in bars drinking beer, right. Ironically for Dayaks alcoholic beverages means a lot too: it’s a proof of your manhood and a potent item during election period where BN giving out crates of beers to fish some votes. Very important decision indeed for BN!

While visiting KLCC and look at the twin tower like a giant pepper tree, it’s quite a grandeur feeling to the Dayaks. From a green environment to a total concrete jungle, it’s simply shock and awe experience. How ‘altered’ the Dayak in a new environment? Would they follow the city slicker culture vulturing on fellow Dayak? Or when 40,000 Dayaks creating a new Dayak community in Johor the ‘Singapore mainland’, the Dayak become more enterprising and living life fullest than what they can achieve back in their own hopeless Dayak village? Or how influential these new resettled Dayaks able to bring the ‘Change’ message back to their longhouse as they witness first hand the terror nature of Umno there?

Well exactly the same perspective that Meet The Natives trying to tell us. The Polynesian natives definately enjoying their trip, wondering how different the White man’s world really is. While the American, the English people would find it funny to note their first-time experience little did they know that because of their simple laid-back lifestyle therefore the objectification, materialistic nature of Western world doesn’t mean much to the natives. That’s why you won’t find any major wars, religous bigotry in most Polynesian nations bar Fiji island. Well, tolerence for migrating Indians simply turned into another colonial conspiracy theory for the native Fijians. Or the distant Polynesian clan of Papua New Guinea natives where recent capitalism of timber logging somehow a testament of how damaging it can be to the natives, not to their forest but their greed. Their greed lead to the belief of money would buy almost anything, like buying your honour from The Queen of England through the Papua natives dignitary and landing even a Foochow timber crook for a dubious ‘Sir’ title.

The Dyaks Blog Final Donkeys:

Meet The Natives – It will mark a scientific first: for generations, western anthropologists have travelled to faraway lands to live among native tribes and document their way of life. But, until now, anthropology has always been a one-way street; alien cultures have never “gone native” over here. The project was an experiment in what one might call reverse anthropology. – The Independent UK

This is the point that the Dayak BN leaders were all wrong in propagating Yang Dikasihi’s falsehood of Politic of Development. While anthropologist like James Masing would ignore how important reverse anthropology factor in evaluating the need to preserve nomadic nature of Penan people, he simply regard them as nuisance and good story tellers instead. Penan people by all means have the right to continue their lifestyle and likewise to reject the hidden greed agenda of BN trying to plunder and loot as much timber in Penan areas. The failure to understand Dayak lifestyle doesn’t mean BN must force-feed the idea of greed to the Penans. Never too late though, unlike USA with regret the hardest word imaginable to the native Red Indians now would be “Sorry for the land theft by the whiteys”.

Also note in of the UK series in which Chief Yapa ironically pointed how much the English folks really care for their pet dog better than the homeless people sleeping on the street. Which remind right here in Sarawak how Yang Dikasihi thru Forestry Dept care so much for Orangutan survivals better than the Penan people being oppressed of their rights and lands to live.

“One of the problems of our modern world is that for too long we’ve regarded these cultures as a sort of exotic creature, thinking how primitive they are,” says the Sydney-based anthropologist Kirk Huffman, who acted as a consultant to the project. “But I’ve spent 18 years living with them, and there’s a lot we can learn. They are much more open-minded, and interested in the big questions. In the West, we are obsessed by little things. Our culture is all about how: to travel faster, to live longer, and make more money. Smart cultures are more about why. They are more reflective. That’s what they can teach us.”

It’s the same perspective for the Dayaks too, with simple laidback longhouse kampong lifestyle. The idea of economics and concept of money basically an alien thing for early Dayaks even when James Brookes first came here. The imbalance of wealth was further strengthen when scores of Chinese traders and workers brought here to toil the lands. This is where modernity suppressed Dayak’s mentality with the idea of greed and money. And now how the Dayak BN leaders sums up the nature of greed become the guidance of their life, betraying the trust given by own Dayak people to protect them. Unlike the tribesmen in Tanna island of Vanuatu Republic like Chief Mangau(pic below)that insist preservation on local culture, Dayaks here under BN happily accept the culture of greed.

Chief Mangau Hello Chief Mangau!

It’s very sad. If ever there is Meet The Natives with Dayak version, it’s better to round up BN Dayak leaders (Lead by Chief J*bu, Mawan, Masing, Lee Han Joke, Manyin) but this time do a reverse tour back to tribesman world in Tanna island not in the modern west. Let them be reminded again the world without greed and tyranny but a world of peace and harmony. The Tanna island people might regard Prince Philip as their mystic God, as much as BN Dayak leaders regard Rajah Yang Dikasihi also as their mystic God but for sure it’s all a false God anyway.