Rentak Selangor 2018 – Mah Meri in Pulau Carey

Rentak Selangor or the Beats of Selangor a trip by Gaya Travel and UPEN Selangor is, of course, a build up to the main event which will be the Visit Malaysia Year 2020… and it is also coincides as part of the Eco Tourism Masterplan… since it incorporates homestays, villages and places off the beaten track…


Whatever it is, whenever we travel, let’s just remember and be sure to practice 3 things… travel, enjoy, respect… meaning.. let’s travel and enjoy our destination but well, respect is the most important thing… respect the country, the culture, the people and most importantly – your surroundings… you do not know “what” or “who” you might offend…(and I don’t mean the visible people and things)….

So far practicing respecting my surroundings wherever I am even alone in the forest (though for a short period of time or in my hotel room ) have kept me safe so far from any disturbances of the supernatural kind which some of my other travel mates have experienced…. so it is important to respect even the unseen entities, whether they are there or not..


One of the other places we visited was the Mah Meri community, who lives on the island of Pulau Carey….


The Mah Meri, who are a subgroup of the Senoi people were once sea gypsies.. traveling from place to place… pretty much the Malaysian version of Moana…

However like most of the other sea gypsies, they have been modernized somewhat and landed, most with jobs in nearby plantations and farms, but well, much care has been taken to ensure that their ancient rituals and customs are preserved.


The Mah Meri are best know for their impressive woodcarving and the expressive masks worn during dance rituals….

They are pretty famous as some of the best mask makers in the world; and did you know some of these Mah Meri handicrafts have pretty hefty price tags ranging from hundreds of ringgit to thousands…

I find it fascinating that their wood carvings and masks are pretty gargoyle-like and makes me think of Notre Dame in Paris….

But the Mah Meri claim that their handicrafts are all representations of wood spirits that live around us…


Our little International group under Rentak Selangor or Beats of Selangor were warmly welcomed by the community who crowned each one of us with a unique origami headgear made from Nipah leaves to indicate us as their visitor….


Then we got to learn a little about the back ground before the beautiful Mah Meri ladies did the Mayin jo-oh dance…

The Mah Meri people are somewhat small in stature, and tanned, and the ladies however are somewhat beautiful – ok, I might sound biased but for an indigenious tribe or community, normally, the ladies are quite plain looking but these Mah Meri ladies were pretty… and they are all also very friendly…

The Mayin jo-oh dance is I think the only mask dance practised by an indigenous community in Malaysia, usually during Hari Moyang (Ancestor Day Celebration), weddings and other joyous occasions….


After showing us how it was done, the Mah Meri ladies invited us to join in the dance in which some of us did…


Once the dance was over we took the opportunity to learn more about the community and tried our hands on blowpipes, nipah leaves origami weaving, wood carving and of course, taking pictures to remember our moments there…


Then we were taken to the Rumah Moyang.., which was located about 300-400 metres away tucked in a quiet palm oil estate.. and we were also warned not to do or say anything untoward since the area was believed to be “keras” or well.. mystical…(which is where my advice for respect the surroundings comes in)


The Rumah Moyang is a small altar house decorated with different kind of nipah leaves origami with different names for them.

Rumah Moyang is a place where the Mah Meri community pay their respects to the spirit and also their ancestors who they believe protect their village and give them good luck, good life…

After telling us some stories about Rumah Moyang and how they celebrate Hari Moyang.. as well as a legend of a grandmother and her two tiger “sons”… we said our goodbyes and left, enlightened and also happy to have learned some new things about a new culture etc..

Jln Kampong Orang Asli Sungai Bumbun, Kampung Manikavasagam, 42960 Pulau Carey




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