TRAVEL DIARIES: LIBBY & THE ORANG ASLI OF MALAYSIA

Culture, Interview, Video

Orang Asli means original people” Libby tells me over a morning coffee in the only open cafe we can find over Christmas/New Years of 2018 in Mangawhai, New Zealand. She has just returned from a one year trip to Malaysia. Predominantly a resident of England, Libby has ties to New Zealand after attending high school in Cambridge for a few years. She is a photographer, visual artist, traveler and poet. While visiting Gua Musang in the Kelantan region she unexpectedly set out on a photo journalism trip deep into the Malaysian jungle, which is one of the oldest in the world. “At the time I was just hanging about [Kuala Lumpur] with my artist friends and then the news kind of grabbed me, the logging that was happening at the time. I wanted – just to know more.”

Libby kept a travel diary documenting her experience with the indigenous from her mother’s homeland, Malaysia. It would turn out to be a magical trip, a once in a lifetime experience she won’t forget. Logging photos of her experience, the post is a nostalgic throwback and a beautiful account of a spiritual experience that I fully recommend!

EXCERPT FROM LIBBY’S TRAVEL BLOG:

“The sacred site we were soon to visit is a large cave, further into the jungle, called Gua Janggut. The hallowed space is revered, not only by the Temiar but also the Negrito community, another Orang Asli group that live within the area. They speak a separate language known as Mendriq, and there are about 220 of them left, making this a very endangered language. Before heading to the cave, we visited the Mendriq village and we received another blessing from their local elder in order to enter. They too, used a Tualang candle. “

Check out the rest of her diary HERE.

BATU BANG – ‘RED RUBBLE’ Photo by Libby.

EXCERPTS CONTINUED:

“There are various gateways named here; Pintu Raso, Pintu Sindat, Pintu Haluan, Pintu Kong connecting to the other worlds. It was a quiet and potent sensation simply being in this space. Although I was given permission to take photographs here, it almost felt wrong. Only the Shaman can enter the deepest parts of the cave.”

” The earth here is a deep and vibrant red. When it floods, it’s like blood. The Temiar referred to the floods that abolished their housing and brought disaster to the whole of the Kelantan region as the infamous Bah Merah (red floods). As trees are cut, they no longer soak up the rainfall. Silt and other debris is carried downstream by the flow of rainwater into the rivers. Eventually the rivers fill with silt and burst their banks. The ‘killer’ Bah Merah of 2014 rose thirty meters above the level of the river. “

LIBBY HAS PRINTS FOR SALE ON HER WEBSITE.

“Much like the beliefs of the Temiar, the Mendriq also explained that if the construction of the hydroelectric dam was to continue, flooding over Gua Janggut, terrible consequences would take place as the balance of nature is disturbed further and the forest spirits are angered,” Libby writes.

  At the beginning of 2019 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke in the session Safeguarding Our Planet alongside broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Ardern was asked by former US Vice-President Al Gore what she would say to world leaders who don’t believe the climate crisis is real.

She replied:

“I wonder whether or not I would say anything or if I would just show them something,” she said. “It only takes a trip to the Pacific to see that climate change isn’t a hypothetical, and you don’t have to know anything about the science … to have someone from the Pacific island nations take you to a place they used to play as a child on the coast and show you where they used to stand and where the water now rises.”

 

East Asia is another area of the world feeling the affects of climate change.
In the past year alone there were typhoons in Japan and East Asia, flooding in Japan and China and drought in Central Europe. Commercial logging and deforestation on the continent contributes heavily to this damage.

Libby writes:

“Malaysia has one of the world’s highest deforestation rates. These are valuable ecosystems and are the most ancient and beautiful, tropical forests I’ve ever seen. We must fight this before it is too late. As Orang Asli are displaced from their land because of logging, they are abject to poverty. The once clear river water is now polluted and floods will only worsen. We must learn from the native people and also become guardians of the forest and it’s creatures. Soon, all we will have are these fake paintings, towering over like imprints of a forgotten past.

“As the shape of the Malaysian jungle shifts, so do these cultures.

I am fascinated to see how their values take form in the moving landscape of their lives.”

On January 18th 2019 Reuters reported:

In a first, Malaysia sues state government for infringing land rights of indigenous people

In an ancient area of the world, now functioning amidst a quietly raging money machine intertwined with corruption, there is hope that although indigenous people and their values have been compromised within these societal ‘upgrades’, the now-visibly damaging effects on the earth by these processes, can be restored or at least healed using the values of the very people in which industrial destruction has disregarded. Even in the face of a) extinction for animals and b) genocide for people. Although it is widely accepted among indigenous and other minority cultures, when sacred sites and ancient graves are destroyed for example, there’s nothing that can rectify some spiritual damage, simultaneously it is clear the only way to survive harmoniously is to have a conversation and gain an understanding in order to work together going forward. It is obvious that the earth as a vessel is angry with humanity in its current state, changes must be made. Share some of Libby’s journey into the Malaysian jungle and her experience with the Orang Asli or ‘original people’ below:

Follow Libby on Instagram.

And check out her art on her Website.

BTS SHOTS:

A Little Bit of CTFD

Music, Video

We caught Hamilton  bass/ hip-hop underground producers CTFD this passed weekend when they played a gig in Welly.

These guys definitely know how to set it off, having played at Rhythm and Vines last year, and played in front of thousands in Christchurch and Auckland for the  Illuminate Paint Parties. If that’s not convincing enough, they’ve opened for Netsky, Lunice, Ryan Hemsworth, Baauer and Flosstradamus. It’s pretty safe to say that they’re on top of their shit. 
If you haven’t seen them play, you should probably put that on your bucketlist for this year.

Interview: Zane Lowe with Jeymes Samuels x Jay Electronica x Lucy Liu

Interview, Music, Video

This video is not new. But oh-so good. Ex-Aucklander Zane Lowe hosts a BBC1 Radio show.  Here he interviews Jeymes Samuels, Jay Electronica and Lucy Liu about The Bullitts project and how Lucy Liu came to be the central main character for the entire album involving Jeyemes Samuel and Jay Electronica.

On Okay Player Samuels says of working with the pair:

I headlined Big Chill in Summer 2011 as The Bullitts; I had Lucy Liu on stage narrating all of her parts from the album, and my side guy was Jay Electronica, who’s supposed to be one of the most elusive men not only in hip-hop, but in show business. Sometimes I’d ask, “How come you’ve always been on anything I ask you to? Whenever I ask you to do something, you do it no question.” He goes, “What’s admirable about you Jeymes, is your whole aim is based around planned excellence.” So that’s why he always does guest appearances with me when I ask him to. Our chemistry is amazing. He’s my brother, we bonded. The [friendship] just came from running up and down, driving around and different things, and then the music came. He saw me playing guitar and he was like, “This is the guy to do my album!” And we just really got on musically. If you listen to “Eternal Sunshine,” he’ll take Jon Brion‘s score, and assemble it in what would be called an overture, a compilation of all the different musical series, and rhyme over the whole thing and call it “Act I.” Within it, he’ll put samples of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Gene Wilder talking. These things are some of my favorite films and my biggest influences. That’s why our chemistry is so much fun to see. It’s a really easy thing. I can create a track for Jay Electronica tomorrow and not even present it to him, I just know it’s something that he’ll think is super-amazing. I will say this: his album is a masterpiece. A masterpiece. We live in a world where the bar is four. Before, the bar was ten. Jay Electronica as an MC is from a time where the bar was 10. He’s amazing.

Skate: DGK Win TransWORLD Team Of The Year

News, Skate, Video

“Finally, y’all. Thankyou. Finally.” Stevie Williams thanked everyone during his acceptance speech as his team, clothing label and business, DGK, accepted the 2013 prize for Transworld ‘Best Team’ of the year. This was an acknowledgment of their work efforts for the year of 2012. On their YouTube post the team wrote, “The significance of this is huge. DGK was started exactly ten years earlier and received a ton of hate early on. The general consensus was that Stevie Williams was crazy for leaving his former sponsor and the company would only last a few years. Through ten years of hard work and dedication, DGK not only gained mainstream acceptance – they also became one of the biggest brands in skateboarding. The culmination of this was the release of the first DGK video, Parental Advisory. The video was not your typical production, it was a big budget movie that showcased both the DGK team’s skill on their skateboards and told the story of the brand and lifestyle through a series of skits with cameos from celebrities like DMX and Lil’ Wayne. The response to the video cemented DGK’s position in skateboarding and winning team of the year drove this point home for the entire world. Everyone at DGK could not be happier about the success they enjoyed in 2012, and would like to thank Transworld for honoring their achievements with the Best Team award.”