The Chewong, along with the Batek and Semai, are one of the Orang Asli societies located in the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia. Their ethos of respect for all living things was clearly reflected in one situation when a tree fell in a Chewong village, injuring several people. It was thought that because someone laughed at a millipede the entire village was subject to punishment. Laughing at living things is strongly prohibited in their society, a sanction that they call talaiden. They feel that most sentient beings, including humans and spirits, exist in the same moral universe.
The Chewong lack words for aggression, fighting, and punishment, and have no violence in their mythology. When confronted with hostile situations they will withdraw and move to a different settlement to avoid those with whom they have a conflict. In accordance with this belief, being brave is not admired in their society. Instead, to be fearful is to be human. Even outsiders cannot be harmed, no matter what they do to them.
The Chewong experience, or at least they used to experience, absolutely no violence within their society. In contrast, they view others, primarily neighboring Malays and Chinese, as violent, fearless, demanding, and angry. They are clearly aware of the many ways they differ from their close neighbors. For additional information on the Chewong please see the encyclopedia and news and reviews of this website.
“Highlight of Che Wong tribe at Kuala Gandah Lanchang Pahang” (3:45): This video highlights the Chewong community located at Lanchang, next to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary in Malaysia’s Pahang State. Produced by Telunjukanan Creative Photography, the video provides a brief glimpse into the daily lives of the residents of this community. This video was also reviewed by Peaceful Societies on February 2, 2012.