Following my recent trip to Malaysia, and an opportunity to go into deep jungle, it was again time for reflection on the Temiar people. How much they can contribute to our way of thinking about both children and older people.
The Temiars are child-centred, and children are encouraged to develop their spontaneous play, and dancing and singing. It was noticeable that the further away from outside contact, the greater the playfulness. Although all the tribal groups in Malaysia, including the Temiars, have cause to be anxious with the encroachment on their land and the destruction of the rain forest, there was variation. It was possible to observe greater child focus and attachment in the more remote settings, and greater irritability in the accessible communities.
Older Temiars are respected because they have lived longer! They hold the stories, and traditional crafts that are demonstrated to the younger generation. Older people are listened to, and the views are heard and shared.
For the Temiars, both the very young and the very old, carry the wisdom for health and healing.