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Title [MBC Docu Special] Story of ‘Orang Bajau Laut’, the boat-dwelling people in this cutting edge world
Upate 2013-06-18 15:06
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*MBC broadcasts at 23:20 on June 17th

[MBC Docu Special] depicts the life of ‘Orang Bajau Laut’, people who live floating on the sea with small pieces of boats. Their boats float on the coast of Malaysia.

‘Orang’means ‘tribe’, ‘Bajau’is the name of the tribe, and ‘Laut’means the ‘sea’. Altogether, ‘Orang Bajau Laut’means ‘tribe named Bajau living on the sea’.

They are not fugitives but they live wandering on the sea. They do not have any big ambition for living and the only tools they have are human being’s basic hunting instinct, plus experience and wisdom they have learned through long habit of living on the sea. They leave the boat only after the death. No one knows from when they have started living on the sea but they certainly are the last ‘sea people’of the 21st century.

A boat is the home to ‘Orang Bajau Laut’. On a boat as narrow as 9~13㎡, as many as 20 people at most are living together.
Depending on a boat, they wander on the sea trying to avoid wild wind and waves. They are not given any chance to experience the culture from the land and they accept their sea life as such destiny. The documentary production team followed and interviewed Ara and Hibalio, the brothers. They were born on a boat and have been living on the sea for whole life. They say that they like sea more than land. They rather feel nausea when they step on the land. And because they have been living on a small boat from the time they were born, they feel more comfortable on the shaking boat than on the firm land. The only times they get off the boat are when they need to bring the drinking water and dry branches to make a fire to cook.

For all through the life, they have to hunt food on the sea and their eyes are like those of a hawk. They can spot the fish in a long distance and they can swim underwater for more than 20 meters. They can stay underwater for more than 5 minutes and need only one harpoon to catch fishes. Their bodies have preserved the hunters’instinct of the primitive men. After finishing hunting, Ara returns to a place where there stands a long pole in the middle of the sea. The pole marks his house. They stick a pole to express that the area is occupied and possessed. Under the pole hangs the shells and crabs they have caught. They have no place else to keep them and no one would steal them away even if no one is watching.

‘Orang Bajau Laut’seem to live a peaceful life but they do have times of trouble. Rainy season is one of them. During the rainy season on the boat, they have no place to avoid the rain and they cannot get any food. They dry the sea food to prepare for the rainy season. And ‘Orang Bajau Laut’do not know their own age. Because they wander on the sea for all their life, they cannot go to schools. And of course they do not have any nationality. Without nationality, they cannot find any land in the whole world that would accept them to settle on. This is the actual reason they cannot stop inheriting the lives as wanderers. And this is why people on the land ignore them even when they step on the land to sell the fish they have caught.

The bigger trouble they have now a days is that the Malaysian coast and the islands are turning into the national sites and grand resorts are kept built on these sites. The sea area they could freely travel is getting narrower. They can not fish In the sea area appointed as the national site. What’s worse is that, in the resort area, if any ‘Orang Bajau Laut’are found, they are forced into a poor village which is no better than a refuge camp. They cannot live on the sea as they used to be as the restricted area is getting wider. As such ‘Orang Bajau Laut’, the last sea-people are on the verge of being dispelled from the sea.

[MBC Docu Special] have stayed close to ‘Orang Bajau Laut’to tell their story for the very first time. Life story of ‘Orang Bajau Laut’, the people who live the modern time but a different life, will be emotionally touching to the TV viewers.

[MBC Docu Special]’s ‘Orang Bajau Laut’will broadcast on MBC channel at 23:20 on June 17th.