Guardians of the Malaysian Rainforest

My bones now lie buried on top of a hill overlooking the saddest sight you can imagine. Majestic hills stripped of trees, mountains blown up to make a dam. I may be dead but my spirit lives on in my songs, and in the sacred (and now badly scarred) landscape I love so dearly.  One day my songs will be heard and they will soften the hardened hearts of the greedy ones who destroy more than they construct. When men’s hearts heal, so will the land.
Extract from Mak Minah Uncrowned Queen of the Temuan –

Guardians of the Forest

There’s no doubt that the Temun are thriving since they were relocated to their new village and now have access to clean running water, sanitary toilet facilities, electricity, satellite TV and Internet. I feel sure Minah would have enjoyed being able to watch her favorite Bollywood movies at home, but she would, I suspect, feel sad that the oral tradition she was so fiercely proud of has pretty much passed on along with her generation. Today, the call from the surau (Muslim prayer house) not the tappety tap of bamboo instruments, mingles in the evening breeze along with the sound of motorbikes, barking dogs, karaoke stars and laughter.

Photos of Kg Pertak by Ailsa Wright

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Take another deep breath

Take a Deep Breath - by Sylvius

Friends of Earth,boys and girls
I tell you the truth Human youths.
It's time to give a break to your planet, before all breaks.
Everywhere you hear despair.
Time of war, no more air.

Want pure oxygen to fill your lungs tomorrow?
Let the forests breath.
Want rain for crops to grow?
Let the oceans breathe
Want to drink clear water tomorrow?
Let the rivers breathe.

It's the Butakala Plastik time.
The Kali Yuga time.
Time of fear and scarface,
Never ending rat-race.
The nightmare will pass, be brave.
Don't be afraid, much to save.
In front of danger keep your smile.

Because every morning the Sun-Lord rises
Promising to always shine.
To give us love and light, that is your human right
Now, it's time to fight.
Join the army of nature's saviors.
You are the rainbow warriors.

Human take a deep breath, right now, right now, right now
Before it's too late.
Before you regret.
Before all disintegrate.
You must in nature celebrate
Right now, right now, right now.

A personal tribute to Mak Minah, from Ulu Selangor, Malaysia.
Minah kept the oral traditions of the Temuan tribe alive in the form of song and was an inspiration to many.