Beyond the quaint Gopeng town of white water rafting and Rafflesia trekking, lays a village named Kampung Ulu Geroh. It is surrounded by durian orchards, rubber, palm oil plantation and forest reserves. The inhabitation of Orang Asli settlement here is dominated by Orang Asli Semai.
Global Peace Malaysia paid a visit to Kampung Ulu Geroh and immediately recognized the issue of poor quality water in the village. In collaboration with Laneige, a Korean cosmetic product company, 23 water filters were donated to this village.This is also an effort to realize Goal No. 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
On 25th July, we departed from Kuala Lumpur at 7:30 am for Kampung Ulu Geroh to celebrate the installation of all the water filters with the sponsors of their water filters, Laneige. The journey took us around 2.5 hours. The weather was not on our side as it started raining cats and dogs the moment we entered the village. What a coincident since our project was about water. The venue setup was flooded with pools of muddy water from the rain. Deo volente, the rain stopped and the muddy water subsided right before our ceremony commenced.
The ceremony kicked off with speeches given by Dr. Teh, Tok Batin (village chief) and Foong Winnie (brand manager of Laneige). The motive of this ceremony was to enhance the engagement with the villagers whilst making a difference in a disadvantaged community with the support from the corporate entity. The villagers presented hunting implements to Laneige team and Global Peace Malaysia as souvenirs, which included tu-wet hunting whistle, nose flute (pensol) and ah-ne-roi jungle puzzle.
Without further ado, they went to the newly installed water house to officiate the water filter by cutting the ribbon made of coconut leaves as a culmination of the ceremony.
The villagers were so heartwarming as they prepared a surprise for everyone – traditional village food like deep fried fish, bamboo shoot in coconut gravy, fried Baku leaves and tapioca kuih. They were so welcoming and insisted to only eat when all of us were ready to eat with them. It was totally scrumptious and mouth-watering! Everybody enjoyed it.
Right after that, the Orang Asli performed a traditional dance named ‘Tarian Sewang’. This dance was originally performed to treat the sick or wounded, nonetheless, it now serves as an entertainment. It involved dancing in a circle to music produced from hollow bamboo hitting against bricks. It was an eye-opening and unique performance! The dancers were quick to involve us into the dance and taught us a few simple steps.
Four of us from the Global Peace team brought representatives from Laneige and media team to 4 village houses respectively to interact with the Orang Asli for a deeper understanding of their lifestyle and cultural settings. The informal interview ran smoothly and we gained significant insights from Orang Asli.
At the same time, Global Peace Malaysia prepared some activities for the children and Laneige organized a makeover session for the women. The children were taught to fold a rose origami after introducing them chicken dance. The children were really satisfied with their own DIY product. The women were initially shy to approach Laneige team but after seeing some of their friends enjoying the session, they followed and joined the crowd in no time!
We called it a day by taking group photos altogether. Laneige gave out water bottles and color pencils to all of the village children. The joy on their faces was genuine! Despite the washouts earlier, the experience of engaging Orang Asli was worthwhile and rewarding.
We sincerely extend our gratitudes to Laneige for being the sponsor of this project. Global Peace Foundation will not stop here and will continue to engage with the communities that are needy.
Written by our intern, Loh Jia Xin.