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The Negotiation of
Ethnicity in
Malaysia
Leanna Wolfe, Ph.D.
California Community College
Anthropology Teachers Conference...
MALAYSIA
POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS
 Current Population: 30, 267,367
41st most populated country in the world
80% Peninsular Malays...
ECONOMY
 450 Billion GDP
 Third Largest Economy in ASEAN
(Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
 29th Largest Economy...
ETHNICITY IN MALAYSIA
 Malays (Bumiputra) 67.4%
 Muslims
 Tribal Peoples
 Animistic Practices
 Converted Christians
...
DISTRIBUTION OF BUMIPUTRA VS. CHINESE
ETHNOCENTRIC CHATTER
 Chinese blatantly discuss how the Malays
are lazy and misguided
 Failing Businesses
 Misguided po...
Islamic
Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Brunei
Central
Mosque
Water Village
Mosque
Mulu
Kuching
BRITISH AND MALAY HOSTS
WITH MY MULU HOSTS
ROBERT, DINA AND
DAUGHTERS IN MULU
DINA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
DINA CELEBRATES WITH HER KIDS
DINA DANCES
BIRTHDAY DINNER BUFFET
Chinese Borneo
Chinatown,
Kuala Lumpur
Visiting with Steven, my Chinese Couch Surfing Host and his
Friends
Shopping
Center
Display
for
Chinese
New Years
Chinatown, Kuching
New Years Celebrations
in Kuching
Celebrator
y
Offerings
MALAYSIA’S INDIANS
Batu Caves
Kuala Lumpur
Ascending
Stairs
TRIBAL PEOPLES
 140 different languages/dialects
 Acculturation into the Modern World
 Headhunting abandoned three gene...
BARIO ARTIST STEPHEN PALA
INSIDE STEPHEN’S HOME
STEPHEN’S ARTWORK
STEPHEN’S ARTWORK
DAVID AND CENNI,
MY KELABIT HOSTS
WITH MY KELABIT HOSTS
TRADITIONAL KELABIT
EAR STRETCHING
 Explained as purely decorative
 Symbolically appears to express openness
THE EAR STRETCHING PRACTICE
DECLINED IN THE 1960S
MIXED KELABIT ECONOMY
 Wild Boar Hunting
 Hunting dogs
 Gathering of Jungle Vegetables
 Rice Farming
 Water Buffalo
...
WILD BOAR
WILD BOAR FROM THE BACK
WILD BOAR BARBECUE
WILD BOAR BARBECUE WITH BEGGING DOGS
HUNTING DOGS RESTING
HIGHLAND DOGS
HIGHLAND KITTY
WOMEN WITH BASKET KNAPSACKS
RICE FARMERS
RICE FARMING IN BARIO
BARIO RICE
(EXCELLENT TASTE AND TEXTURE)
HIGHLAND ROOSTER
HIGHLAND HEN WITH CHICKS
CHICKEN CURRY
WATER BUFFALO
WATER BUFFALO
WATER BUFFALO ARE
RELATIVELY TAME
CHILIES FORAGED IN THE JUNGLE
JUNGLE GREENS WITH GINGER FLOWER
HIGHLAND FOOD STORAGE SYSTEM
PURCHASED FOODS
Milo (chocolate drink ) is big
all over Malaysia
Coffee pre-mixed with sugar
and powdered milk is also
pop...
BREAKFAST WITH MY KELABIT HOSTS
Malaysia’s
Courtship
with the
Primitive
“TRIBAL PEOPLES” AT THE CULTURAL VILLAGE
Being
tribal as a
“Day Job”
20 Years as
a “Native”
Stone
Carver
MALAYSIA AIRLINES
 1947 Established as Malayan Airways
 Malaysian Government owns 52%
 1980s Economic Boom Spurred Grow...
MH370
 Left Kuala Lumpur March 8
en route to Beijing, China
 Boeing 777
 239 people aboard
 152 Chinese passengers
 3...
ACCUSATIONS AND DISCOVERIES
 Reflect uneasy relations between Malays and Chinese
 Chinese kin offered $5,000 condolence
...
CONCLUSIONS
 Malaysia’s Bumiputra Majority Controls the National Government
 Readily Admit that the Chinese are Ruthless...
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia
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Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia

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An overview of how the Bumiputra (Malays) interact with the ethnic Chinese, Hindu immigrants and traditional natives including the Kelabit. Includes discussion of Malaysian Airlines Flight 377.

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Negotiating Ethnicity in Malaysia

  1. 1. The Negotiation of Ethnicity in Malaysia Leanna Wolfe, Ph.D. California Community College Anthropology Teachers Conference January 17, 2015
  2. 2. MALAYSIA
  3. 3. POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS  Current Population: 30, 267,367 41st most populated country in the world 80% Peninsular Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 20% East Malaysia (Borneo) Sarawak and Sabah Population Growth-2.4% per annum
  4. 4. ECONOMY  450 Billion GDP  Third Largest Economy in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)  29th Largest Economy in the World  Chinese Businesses  70% Market Capitalization  Bamboo Network  Share cultural and family ties
  5. 5. ETHNICITY IN MALAYSIA  Malays (Bumiputra) 67.4%  Muslims  Tribal Peoples  Animistic Practices  Converted Christians  Chinese – 24.6%  Three migrations from mainland China  Largely Tao Buddhists with strong ties to their homeland  Indians – 7.3%  Tamils (Hindus)  Punjabis (Sikhs)
  6. 6. DISTRIBUTION OF BUMIPUTRA VS. CHINESE
  7. 7. ETHNOCENTRIC CHATTER  Chinese blatantly discuss how the Malays are lazy and misguided  Failing Businesses  Misguided political decisions  Malays openly discuss how the Chinese are cut throat in business  Swindle deals in their favor  Their lives lack a spiritual context  Acquisition of money is their sole pursuit
  8. 8. Islamic Malaysia
  9. 9. Kuala Lumpur
  10. 10. Brunei
  11. 11. Central Mosque
  12. 12. Water Village Mosque
  13. 13. Mulu
  14. 14. Kuching
  15. 15. BRITISH AND MALAY HOSTS
  16. 16. WITH MY MULU HOSTS
  17. 17. ROBERT, DINA AND DAUGHTERS IN MULU
  18. 18. DINA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
  19. 19. DINA CELEBRATES WITH HER KIDS
  20. 20. DINA DANCES
  21. 21. BIRTHDAY DINNER BUFFET
  22. 22. Chinese Borneo
  23. 23. Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
  24. 24. Visiting with Steven, my Chinese Couch Surfing Host and his Friends
  25. 25. Shopping Center Display for Chinese New Years
  26. 26. Chinatown, Kuching
  27. 27. New Years Celebrations in Kuching
  28. 28. Celebrator y Offerings
  29. 29. MALAYSIA’S INDIANS
  30. 30. Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur
  31. 31. Ascending Stairs
  32. 32. TRIBAL PEOPLES  140 different languages/dialects  Acculturation into the Modern World  Headhunting abandoned three generations ago  Berawan Secondary Burial last practiced in the 1960s  Only the Penan remain as purely nomadic  Kelabit Highlanders maintain a mixed hunting, gathering and farming economy
  33. 33. BARIO ARTIST STEPHEN PALA
  34. 34. INSIDE STEPHEN’S HOME
  35. 35. STEPHEN’S ARTWORK
  36. 36. STEPHEN’S ARTWORK
  37. 37. DAVID AND CENNI, MY KELABIT HOSTS
  38. 38. WITH MY KELABIT HOSTS
  39. 39. TRADITIONAL KELABIT EAR STRETCHING  Explained as purely decorative  Symbolically appears to express openness
  40. 40. THE EAR STRETCHING PRACTICE DECLINED IN THE 1960S
  41. 41. MIXED KELABIT ECONOMY  Wild Boar Hunting  Hunting dogs  Gathering of Jungle Vegetables  Rice Farming  Water Buffalo  Used as a tractor and for hauling goods  Chicken Farming  Purchasing Manufactured Foods
  42. 42. WILD BOAR
  43. 43. WILD BOAR FROM THE BACK
  44. 44. WILD BOAR BARBECUE
  45. 45. WILD BOAR BARBECUE WITH BEGGING DOGS
  46. 46. HUNTING DOGS RESTING
  47. 47. HIGHLAND DOGS
  48. 48. HIGHLAND KITTY
  49. 49. WOMEN WITH BASKET KNAPSACKS
  50. 50. RICE FARMERS
  51. 51. RICE FARMING IN BARIO
  52. 52. BARIO RICE (EXCELLENT TASTE AND TEXTURE)
  53. 53. HIGHLAND ROOSTER
  54. 54. HIGHLAND HEN WITH CHICKS
  55. 55. CHICKEN CURRY
  56. 56. WATER BUFFALO
  57. 57. WATER BUFFALO
  58. 58. WATER BUFFALO ARE RELATIVELY TAME
  59. 59. CHILIES FORAGED IN THE JUNGLE
  60. 60. JUNGLE GREENS WITH GINGER FLOWER
  61. 61. HIGHLAND FOOD STORAGE SYSTEM
  62. 62. PURCHASED FOODS Milo (chocolate drink ) is big all over Malaysia Coffee pre-mixed with sugar and powdered milk is also popular (Starbucks is only found is the big cities and very pricey) Tea can also be pre-mixed with sugar and powdered milk
  63. 63. BREAKFAST WITH MY KELABIT HOSTS
  64. 64. Malaysia’s Courtship with the Primitive
  65. 65. “TRIBAL PEOPLES” AT THE CULTURAL VILLAGE
  66. 66. Being tribal as a “Day Job”
  67. 67. 20 Years as a “Native” Stone Carver
  68. 68. MALAYSIA AIRLINES  1947 Established as Malayan Airways  Malaysian Government owns 52%  1980s Economic Boom Spurred Growth  Flights to 47 international destinations  Periods of Unprofitability  1997 Asian Financial Crisis  2005 due to fuel prices and overall management  2011 largest losses
  69. 69. MH370  Left Kuala Lumpur March 8 en route to Beijing, China  Boeing 777  239 people aboard  152 Chinese passengers  38 Malaysian passengers  12 Malaysian crew members
  70. 70. ACCUSATIONS AND DISCOVERIES  Reflect uneasy relations between Malays and Chinese  Chinese kin offered $5,000 condolence  Malay kin offered $2,000 condolence  China accused of false leads that have detracted from the search effort  Chinese satellites first to record black box pings  Chinese ships first to hear sound signals  Malaysian Government Accused of Withholding Information  Often suggesting prayer rather than strategic action
  71. 71. CONCLUSIONS  Malaysia’s Bumiputra Majority Controls the National Government  Readily Admit that the Chinese are Ruthlessly Skilled in Business  Chinese Minority Control the Nation’s Business  Negative judgment of Bumiputra’s political and economic decision-making  Ethnic/Spiritual Collisions (Despite Proclamations of Harmony)  Chinese critical of Malay People’s Islamic Devotion  Indian minority live culturally segregated lives  Traditional Animistic Practices celebrated as Cultural Curiosities  Christianized Tribal Peoples Disconnected from Native Traditions/Identity

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