Far from the shocking notion that aborigines sport loin cloths with painted faces, a day’s travel to an Orang Asli family in the Johor National Park, located in southern Malaysia, proved quite different. The Orang Aslis, a native of the Malaysian jungles, have been successfully resettled and brought into the 21st century with modern amenities like piped in electricity, refrigerators, fresh water, satellite TV, and medical assistance available on the park.
Asli Lim is a Chinese man who is married to an Orang Asli woman. Lim’s family was in the mining business which took him into the deep jungles of the Malaysian countryside. That was how Lim met his wife from the Jakun tribe. They have a beautiful eight year old daughter who stays at a government boarding school and only comes home on weekends.
Lim’s extended family appears happy, healthy and growing. Within a short space of one afternoon, we were impressed by the backdrop of beautiful forests, hanging orchids, waterfalls, and minnows swimming in clear streams. Frankly, there is little time to speculate if interracial marriages between Orang Asli and other Malaysian ethnic groups are common and as dramatic as old books like “Outcast of the Islands”, by Joseph Conrad, make them out to be.
Interracial or not, any marriage will have its challenges but there seems to be a healthy balance of both worlds between Lim, his wife and the lifestyle they live. Despite lacking the latest of every new gadget, as long as there is love, there is hope and promise to see interracial marriages survive and is indeed a sign of evolution.