Friday, 5 February 2010

Ancient Andaman tribe dies out

Friday, February 05, 2010
11:44 Mecca time, 08:44 GMT

Ancient Andaman tribe dies out

Boa Senior died last week, ending the existence of the Bo tribe in the Andamans [Survival International]

An indigenous tribe from India's Andaman Islands, thought to have existed for 65,000 years, has disappeared with the death of its last member.

According to the indigenous advocacy group Survival International, Boa Senior, the last known member of the Bo tribe, died last week at the age of 85.

She was also the last speaker of the Bo language.

"With the death of Boa Senior and the extinction of the Bo language, a unique part of human society is now just a memory," Stephen Corry, director of London-based organisation which lobbies for tribal groups, said in a statement.

"Boa's loss is a bleak reminder that we must not allow this to happen to the other tribes of the Andaman Islands."

The Bo are thought to have been among 10 distinct Great Andamanese tribes which numbered around 5,000 strong when the British colonised the Andaman Islands in 1858.

Most were killed or died of disease, with just 52 now thought to survive.

Tsunami survivor

Narayan Choudhary, a linguist at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University who is part of an Andaman research team, wrote on his website that Boa Senior "epitomised a totality of humanity in all its hues and with a richness that is not to be found anywhere else."

Andaman factfile

Island languages thought to originate from Africa

Some thought to be 70,000 years old, with links back to pre-Neolithic times

Bo was one of 10 languages spoken by the Great Andamanese group of tribes

Around 5,000 Great Andamanese lived on the islands when they were colonised by the UK in 1858

Most of the tribes were killed or died from disease brought by outsiders; today only 52 are thought to remain

Her death, he said, not only represented the end of her tribe, but was also "a loss of several disciplines of studies put together, including anthropology, linguistics, history, psychology, and biology".

Boa Senior survived the Asian tsunami of December 2004, which swept over the Andaman Islands less than an hour after the initial earthquake off northern Sumatra.

She reportedly told linguists afterwards: "We were all there when the earthquake came. The eldest told us 'the Earth would part, don't run away or move'."

At least 1,300 people are believed to have died in the Andaman and Nicobar islands when the tsunami struck.

Though Bo the language has been closely studied by researchers of linguistic history, Boa Senior spent the last few years of her life unable to converse with anyone in her mother tongue.

Boa Senior's follows the the passing last November of Boro Senior, another woman who was the last surviving speaker of Khoro, another Great Andamanese language.

Anvita Abbi, a linguist, who knew Boa Senior for many years, said that among the Great Andamanese population, there are only speakers of the Jeru and Sare ancient languages remaining.

There are up to five speakers of the languages on the islands and they have not been transferred to younger generations, she told Al Jazeera.

"These languages will live as long as they live, and it is a very sad situation," she said.

"Languages are not only a string of words, it exposes a different kind of society and worldview, and they were the only link to the past culture and ultimately, memories of that commuinity."


Abbi said that since Boa Senior was the only speaker of Bo she was very lonely as she had no one to converse with.

"Boa Senior had a very good sense of humour and her smile and full throated laughter were infectious," she said.

"You cannot imagine the pain and anguish that I spend each day in being a mute witness to the loss of a remarkable culture and unique language."

Boa Senior also told Abbi she felt the neighbouring Jarawa tribe, whose population had not dramatically declined, were lucky to live in their forest away from the non-native settlers who now occupy much of the islands.

The few surviving members of the Great Andamanese tribes are now largely confined to one small island.

They are reported to depend largely on the Indian government for food and shelter, and abuse of alcohol is rife.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Kelantan Vs The Federal Government: Former Finance Minister Ku Li Dares UMNO Over The Petrol Royalty Issue

Tindakan disiplin tidak relevan, Umno boleh lakukan apa saja

Sabah Leads The Way: Natives Settle their cases at Native Courts. What Happens to the Malay Courts and the Mahkamah Syariah in Borneo?

By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 1/31/2010

Malaysian couple fined buffalo over affair : report

A tribal court in Malaysia's Sabah state on Borneo island has fined a man and his lover four buffalo and a pig for having an extramarital affair, a report said Sunday.

The pair were convicted by the Penampang Native Court after the man's wife lodged a complaint, the Star newspaper said. The wife said her husband and the woman were living together and were caught in shorts and sarong when she confronted them.

Judge William Sampil said the court had found evidence of an intimate affair despite their defence as being just "best friends."

The judge ordered the man and his lover to pay compensation of four buffalo, a pig and a fine of 2,000 ringgit (586 dollars).

Indigenous people make up less than one percent of Malaysia's 28 million population.

MSN News

On the native courts of Sarawak:

Sunday, 31 January 2010

The State VS DSAI: Malaysia Says Boleh Amnesty International Says Tidak Boleh

By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 1/30/2010

Amnesty urges Malaysia to drop sex charge against Anwar

Human rights group Amnesty International has urged Malaysia to drop a "politically motivated" sodomy charge against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, ahead of the trial due to start next week.

Anwar lost his final appeal on Friday for access to the government's evidence in a case which could see him jailed for up to 20 years if convicted of sodomising a male former aide.

Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister and jailed a decade ago on separate sodomy and corruption charges.

"The Malaysian authorities have resorted to the same old dirty tricks in an attempt to remove the opposition leader from politics," Sam Zarifi, Amnesty Asia-Pacific director said in a statement issued late Friday.

"Malaysia's judiciary should throw out these charges."

Amnesty said it is "seriously concerned" over a fair trial for Anwar, especially after Friday's ruling which the watchdog described as an infringement of international fair trial standards.

"Anwar's case has rightly raised doubts among the international community and investors about Malaysia's commitment to justice and the rule of law," Zarifi added.

Anwar spent six years in prison after he was convicted in 1998 but the sex charge was eventually overturned. Amnesty had considered him a prisoner of conscience before his release.

After being freed Anwar reinvigorated the opposition and rallied it in 2008 to achieve its best ever results in national elections, when it won a third of parliamentary seats.

Anwar has accused the Malaysian government of seeking to convict him quickly as part of efforts to deflect attention against its own woes.

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