Who are the Penans? They are the natives from inland Sarawak. In 2009, it was estimated that there were 10,000 Penan people, with over 400 of them leading a nomadic lifestyle (The Star 11 September 2009).
The Penans cultivate rice and vegetables. Their diet mainly consists of sago, jungle fruits and wild fruits and wild animals.
They practice “molong”, which means never taking more than what is needed.
The Penans are humble. When we met some Penans in rural Sarawak in 2008, they said they are not good in the Malay language. I told them in simple Malay that we cannot speak Penan language. They then decided to speak in Malay with us.
The main point is the Penans are taking natural food in maintaining good health.
The other key point is modern man is taking more than what is needed. We in Malaysia are served with too much food, especially during festive season. The coming Chinese New Year will see plenty of food served at functions and homes.
Let’s learn from the Penans. Do not take more than what is needed. The same is true in terms of taking food.