Selung/Moken - History and Cultural Relations

Moken oral history and reconstruction of historical materials postulate origins in the southern end of the Strait of Malacca, suggesting a cultural and historical connection between Moken and peninsular Malaysia's Jakun. Orang Laut history is full of stories of Malay slave raiding and exploitation that forced the sea nomads' settled ancestors to flee in boats and adopt a nomadic maritime life-style. A characteristic consistently recorded about Moken is their timidity and the likelihood of their fleeing outsiders. The transition of sea people into settled coastal fishing peoples, integrating cultural features of the locally dominant culture of the region and accelerating during this past century, was occurring long ago. The sea nomads' maritime mobility and their intermittent and scattered sedentization had a profound effect by carrying and spreading "Malay" cultural traits.

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