Heterogeneity in the Musical Acquisition of Orang Asli Children from the Mah Meri and Semai Groups
The music acquisition and aesthetics of children in two Orang Asli villages, the Mah Meri of Kampung Sungai Bumbun, Carey lsland, Selangor, and the Semai of Kampung Ulu Geroh, Gopeng has shifted from an oral tradition transmitted from ancestral lineages to institutionalized learning acquired from a teacher outside the Orang Asli cultural tradition. The interaction of Orang Asli children with friends from multicultural backgrounds, exposure to the mass media, and the evangelization of religious groups has also increasing dislocated Orang Asli children's music from a place-based and ethnic heritage to one of "deterritorialized" space and time. These phenomena emerged due to the nation's hegemonic policies of assimilation, development and globalization since lndependence in 1957. This article discusses the variables that infiuence and determine the music acquisition of Mah Meri and Semai children today. These variables include; issues of identity, worldviews and religion, tourism, locality, the mass media, and multiculturalism. l posit that there is growing heterogeneity in the music acquisition of Orang Asli groups conglomerated into specific ethnic categorizes. l argue for the construction of multiple Orang Asli identities in a developing country constantly exposed to national and global aspirations. These emerging identities transcend the stereotyped categories of Orang Asli groups originally constructed to administer control and surveillance over Orang Asli movements during British governance in the 1900s.