Entry Title: "Real Malaysians"
Name: Adam Yeo , Singapore
Category and Expertise: Deeper Perspective|Photo Essay and Feature Story|Lifestyle, Non-Professional


Entry Description: While driving down from over 1,400m above sea level, I caught a rare glimpse of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia and took these shots through my window. Known as the Orang Asli, or ‘original peoples’, these jungle dwellers have been living deep within Malaysian rainforests for centuries. Today, they continue to live in fear as their ancestral lands and burial grounds are being taken away by state authorities for development. Forced to give up their homelands and stripped of their dignity, how different are they from wildlife that are driven down the road to extinction?

Story: While driving down from over 1,400m above sea level at Cameron Highlands, several hikers had caught my attention – they were the only ones travelling on foot at the highest point of Malaysia accessible by car. I soon realised, I’ve finally made contact with the indigenous peoples of Malaysia. I hastily took these shots through my car window as I drove pass each of them. Known as the Orang Asli, or ‘original peoples’, these jungle dwellers have been living deep within the rainforests even before the first road was laid upon Malaysian soil. Today, they continue to live in fear as their ancestral lands are being taken away by state authorities for more development and dam projects. All they want is to remain in their native lands with their customary rights intact, including their burial grounds. Under the Aboriginal Peoples Act, they are guaranteed no rights whatsoever to their lands. In fact, the state is not obliged to pay any compensation. Forced to give up their homelands and stripped of their dignity, how different are they from wildlife that are driven down the road to extinction?

About the Artist:

Shooting what's real. www.fb.com/poptography