On 2nd of March 2019, Putra International Centre (i-PUTRA) in collaboration with UPM Buddies Association conducted a visit to Mah Meri Cultural Village with 20 international students from UPM. The purpose of this visit is to introduced international students a culture that rarely known from other people in Malaysia. The ancient Mah Meri tribe or is also known as the ‘Masked Men of Malaysia’, is one of 18 indigenous communities living in Peninsula Malaysia. The word ‘Mah Meri’ means ‘forest people’ or people who live in the forest in which the word ‘Mah’ refers to people while ‘Meri’ refers to the forest. The Mah Meri tribes are renowned for their masterful woodcarving and expressive masks worn during dance rituals to represent ancestral spirits.
Mah Meri Community are extremely skilled in woodcarvings. Some of their carvings were given the Seal of Excellence from UNESCO. The Mah Meri believe that everything, whether living or inanimate, has a spirit. Each spirit carving was painstakingly crafted from the nyireh batu trees found in mangrove swamps, with the help of the carver’s imagination and interpretation. The Mah Meri tribeswomen are extremely adept at palm weaving and all students get to learn and involved at making headdresses and other decorative items made of palm fronds.
This activity was joined by students from different country such as France, Iraq, Jordan, China, Palestine, Nigeria, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Yemen. The students were taught by the community to make decorative items made of palm fronds. Students were also given the opportunity to experience the Mah Meri traditional wedding ritual and dance through their demonstration. Some students were chosen to be the bride and groom while the other participants were given a role as the bride and groom’s family members. The representative from the Mah Meri tribes then walked them through the ritual for their wedding ceremony. The students were then invited to participate in their cultural dance ceremony after.
All in all, the visit to the Mah Meri Cultural Village managed to give the students the chance to learn about new cultures and experience new experiences while at the same, ponder upon the variety of natural splendours that Malaysia has to offer.
Date of Input: 09/10/2019 | Updated: 06/07/2020 | sitiafiqah
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan