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Title: The Orang Laut and the tide of time
Authors: Siti Nur Aisha Omar
Keywords: Humanities::History
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: This thesis is a study of how the identity and culture of Singapore’s Orang Laut has evolved from about the mid 20th until present times, and what factors led to those changes. I argue that Singapore’s rapid transformation from the mid 20th century acutely impacted the Orang Laut’s water-oriented lifestyle, which had led to a great diminishment in their culture. The Orang Laut previously resided in aquatic spaces, performed marine-related occupations, enjoyed various maritime pursuits and conducted maritime-influenced practices. From the mid 20th century, multiple changes, such as reclamation, increasing religious conservatism, tightening maritime borders and industrialisation compelled this community to assimilate. Thus, they were induced to relocate on land, become wage labourers and be more religiously inclined, changes, which led to a great degree of deculturisation. Hence, the perception of the culture and identity of the Orang Laut in Singapore has vastly changed, as the main criterion for being one, which is the residence in houseboats or stilt villages, is no longer adhered to. One could be Orang Laut if they had experienced living in aquatic dwellings, were adept in all things marine-related, could retrace their maritime origins and most importantly, were proud to identify as Orang Laut.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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