Culture is the distinctive way of life, of a group of people and their complete design for living it is also important for creating social heritage, and it provides people with guiding values, norms and ideals for living. Culture provides the foundation for our thoughts, emotions and actions. Human beings share the same biology and have the same physic nature however how we respond to a range of situations will depend on our cultural influence.Penan’s roam the rain forest invisible to us, every step impulsive and holds promise of a better day as a government authorized logging frenzy has all but destroyed the Penan homeland in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo fewer than 300 Penan nomads remain alive today and to survive as a culture, they must keep moving, but they have almost nowhere left to go as loggers has invaded there homelands and is taking the meaning of home back to western civilization in order to make a better life for them selves. “If they continue to extract timber,” said one Penan headman, “our lives will wither like leaves on the trees.
..” The world in which the Penan is living in, is threatened and is slowly coming to a halt at a rapid rate, as their homeland in the Malaysian state of Sarawak is undergoing one of the highest rates of logging on earth. The destruction of the forest in which these nomads have lived in for generations is forever being altered as the lives of the Penan and the other indigenous peoples of the rain forest are miss placed, these cultures will soon cease to exist if this hazardous attack on the forest and its residence is not stopped immediately.Though the remaining Penan civilization have been influenced by western behavior in terms of now having permanent homes by riversides, they continue to make long journeys into the forest to collect food, medicine, and other jungle products which is used to aid them, this however has been lost in the western societies as they depend on technology rather than traditional methods of helping and healing one self herbs and bushes which once had medicinal uses/value have been devoured in order to expand countries and build houses.If these basic methods of healing one self were still in place the eco-system would be in better shape that it is in now.
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The Penan, like other nomadic hunter-gatherers has developed social relationships, but, the society remains in equilibrium as both sexes are equal, they are no social classes or hierarchies, there is no wealth or poverty, and all food is combined and shared equally to maintain the survival of their culture. Each band has a headman who acts as a spokesperson but wields no power.Although certain tasks are reserved for men and others for women, there is no obvious sexual inequality, and neither sex exercises power over the other.
Both men and women are gentle and soft-spoken. Outsiders who observe them are consistently struck by the complete absence of violence among the Penan Many parts of Southeast Asia are blessed with a remarkable wild tree, a resource that provides the basis for a nomadic existence these trees are used to provide sago floor, which can efficiently provide members with food for an extensive period of time.Once again the social relationship, which Marx talked about, is enforced, as men, women and children have created a system in order to preserve there heritage, and culturally socialize the younger generation with the basic necessitate and survival skills which they will need to implement in the near future, when they become the leaders and preservers of a slowly vanishing culture.
After appealing to the government for several years to end the destruction of their traditional homelands the Penan gave a powerful statement in hopes of redeeming what is rightfully theirs “We, the Penan people of the Tutoh, Limbang, and Patah Rivers regions, declare: Stop destroying the forest or we will be forced to protect it. The forest is our livelihood. We have lived here before any of you outsiders came. We fished in clean rivers and hunted in the jungle. We made our sago meat and ate the fruit of the trees.Our life was not easy but we lived it contentedly. Now the logging companies turn rivers to muddy streams and the jungle into devastation.
Fish cannot survive in dirty rivers and wild animals will not live in devastated forest. You took advantage of our trusting nature and cheated us into unfair deals. By your doings you take away our livelihood and threaten our very lives.
You make our people discontent. We want our ancestral land, the land we live off, back. We can use it in a wiser way. When you come to us, come as guests with respect. “These peaceful nomads have no need for violence with in their society but they made it clear they would fight if that’s what it meant to preserve their way of life.
As time passed their culture was placed on the line and only one thing was left to do, retaliate these peaceful resilient nomads erected a blockade across a logging road in the Tutoh River basin armed with blow pipes (efficient weapon more accrete than the shot gun loaded with poisonous darks) this was one of the most remarkable resistance movements ever mounted by an indigenous people. generations to come.