Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Orang Laut Seletar: Life on the Margin

In the days of old, the Orang Laut Seletar roamed the Straits of Johor in boathouses, living as nomadic seafarers. By the mid-19th century, they moved on to shore, settling amidst the mangrove forests along the southern margins of the Johor coastline. Once touted as fearsome warriors and revered seamen, the Orang Laut Seletar are in fact a peaceful and shy group. Today, scenes of Seletar where children frolicking in the river during the rising tides and adults returning from fishing trips are still very much a typical part of the landscape where they dwell. Their bond with the sea prevails even as the backdrop setting of lush mangroves and tranquility are increasingly lost to urbanization.

“Life on the Margin” is a powerful reminder of the existence of the Orang Laut Seletar and a portrayal of how they strive to blend into the modern era. The gallery also promotes fund-raising to improve their livelihoods via an ecotourism project overseen by the Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences.

You can check out the exhibition from today (August 24, 2010) till November 24, 2010 from 4pm to 12 midnight. The gallery is open everyday except on Monday.

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