Temuan people

Temuan people
Uwang / Eang Temuan / Orang Temuan

Temuan people in traditional clothes.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Malaysia (Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor)
Temuan, Malay, English
Ancestral worship or Islam (predominantly) and a significant population practice Christianity.
Related ethnic groups
Proto Malays, Orang Asli, Malays

The Temuan people (Temuan: Uwang/Eang Temuan, Malaysian: Orang Temuan) are an Proto-Malay ethnic group indigenous to western parts of Peninsular Malaysia. They can be found in the states of Selangor, Pahang, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca. The Temuans are classified as part of Orang Asli group according to the Malaysian government. They are also one of the largest (numbering to almost 30,000 people) and the most widespread of the Orang Asli ethnic groups.

They speak Temuan, an Austronesian language closely related to Malay. Like other indigenous tribes in Malaysia, most Temuans live in poverty.

Flood Legend

Thousands of years ago, many Temuan people died because they had committed "Celau" (the sins that angered god and their ancestors). Their god has sent a "Celau" punishment in a form of a great flood which had drowned all the Temuan sinners that day. Only two of the Temuans, named Mamak and Inak Bungsuk survived that day by climbing at Eagwood tree at Gunung Raja (Royal Mountain) located at the border of Selangor and Pahang state. There was a Temuan village over there named Kampung Orang Asli Pertak. Mamak and Inak Bungsuk survived because they had an enchanting mantra or spell to ease down the "Celau" storm.[2] Gunung Gajak (Gunung Rajah, Pahang, Malaysia) became the birth places and ancestral home of the Temuan tribe.[3]

Mamak Bungsuk (Adam) and Inak Bungsuk (Eve) are the Temuan analogues of Adam and Eve in the myth of the birth of humanity.


The Temuans have their own language called the Temuan language or Bahasak Temuan. It is distinct but closely related to the Malay language spoken by their Malay neighbours. The Temuan language is a Malayan language spoken by the majority of the Temuan people. It is essentially a spoken language with several dialectal variation. Temuan is divided into two major dialects namely Belandas and Mantra which differs mostly in terms of phonology and also some of the vocabulary but still mutually intelligible to one another. Temuan is mostly written in the Latin alphabet although no standard orthography has been made.

Comparison between Belandas and Mantra dialects

Sample of Temuan Belandas dialect - diak ( he/she ), hajak (only), kitak ( we ), tai ( the end of sentence particle ).

Sample of Temuan Mantra dialect - dien ( he/she), hajen (only), kiten ( we ), tea ( the end of sentence particle )


A basic traditional Temuan belief is that their God and ancestors are always present with them, guarding their safety.

At the end of every year, the Temuans celebrate Aik Gayak Muyang (Ancestor Day in English). This celebration is to thank their God and ancestors for the crops they grow and for the peaceful life they have had.[4]

The Temuans believe they were placed on the earth (Tanah Tujuh) by Muyang (God) to be guardians of the rain forest and that if they fail in their sacred duty, the whole world will turn upside down and humanity will perish.[2] Each river, hill, stream, rock, tree and shrub is animated by a guardian spirit. Rivers are guarded by dragons (naga) and snakes (ular) which often cause mayhem if their homes are desecrated.

The Temuan’s culture reflects their belief in these nature spirits. Their animism takes the form of taboos, herbal remedies, ritual ceremonies and magic. They have dukun (healers) and a village bomoh (shaman) who, when in a trance state, communicates with the nature spirits. It is the shaman who leads the tribe in the annual sawai or sewang - an ancient earth healing ritual to honour their ancestors and appease the guardian spirits.[5]

Today large numbers of Temuans have now converted to Islam, Christianity or even Buddhism, this happens when Temuans married with people outside of their ethnic groups, whether its Malays, Chinese or other ethnic groups in the country.



1.The Temuan celebrate Aik Muyang (Ancestor Day) at the end of the year and the beginning of new year.[4] The celebration take place in different day between 15 December to January 15.

2.Gogo (Bogeng) is village ceremonial dancing.[6] When the Temuan get married their will organised "Gogo" at between 8 p.m until 7 a.m the next day. The live band will played the music and every people from other village join to dance.


Some traditional superstitions still held by Temuans:

  1. Respect for their elders ; bad luck is said to strike those who fail in this.
  2. They do not praise a baby, in the belief that it would make the child sick and die.
  3. If a Temuan is travelling and a little rain falls, he must slip a leaf into his ear to protect himself on his journey.
  4. If a Temuan desires something he cannot get, he must say pinah hunan and put their saliva on his neck, in the belief that failure to do so would result in an accident.
  5. A Temuan who must leave a meal in a hurry without eating food must tempot (touch the food to his skin) before leaving, in the belief that failure to do so would result in an accident or death.
  6. A Temuan must stay quiet during thunderstorm. If he makes noise, the Thunder god will mistake him for a devil and strike him. Temuans believe that a thunder strike occurs when the Thunder god is hunting devils. That is why they must stay quiet; to prevent the Thunder god from striking at them.
  7. A murderer will be haunted by his victim's ghost.
  8. Stay away from a place that was haunted, to avoid being disturbed by an evil spirit.

Hierarchy structure

  1. Batin = Temuan leader
  2. Mangku = Batin Assistant ( temporary replacing Batin when the Batin away from the village )
  3. Jenang = Customary Leader
  4. Menteyik = Batin advisor ( Menteyik judgement is not influence by the Batin )
  5. Jekerah = Jekerah duty to take care of enekbuah / Mon
  6. Panglimak = Panglimak is Jekerah vassal
  7. Bidan / Bomoh / Dukun = Temuan shaman
  8. Enekbuah / Mon = is Temuan ordinary people


Typical Temuan food are usually cooked in bamboo. Temuan dishes are such as:-[7]

See also


  1. "Temuan, Benua in Malaysia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  2. 1 2 Man Ess (2014). Kisah Lagenda Temuan: Wak Beull dengan Mamak Bungsuk. Blue Crystal Enterprise.
  3. "Akar Umbi". Magic River. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  4. 1 2 Fatimah Zainal (28 April 2016). "How our dependency on fossil fuel is harming indigenous folk". Malaysia Kini. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  5. Tan Sooi Beng (2005). "Akar Umbi: Songs of the Dragon, indigenous identity and Temuan rights to the Forest". Aliran Monthly. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  6. Bahuk (23 April 2009). "Kamus". Temuan Orang Asli. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  7. Kerry-Ann Augustin (31 July 2016). "The Good Earth". New Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
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