Index  :  Akha  :  Karen  :  Lahu  :  Lisu  :  Hmong  :  Mien  :  Kachin  :  Daraang  :  mlabri  : 

        Some of the Moken, traditionally a seafaring tribe, have settled on the islands in southern Thailand . They have their own way of life: with a unique culture; traditions; values and beliefs; a nomadic lifestyle; and making their livelihood from the Andaman Sea . Most Moken live on boats called Gam-Bang, roaming the sea in search of food - such as shellfish, fish, crabs and other marine creatures. The main food is Taro, a root vegetable considered as a staple in oceanic cultures. The lifestyle is influenced by the seasons - in the northwest during monsoon season (May-November) when there are many storms, the Moken move onto the islands, building houses, or moor in sheltered bays, protected from the waves and storms.

        The search for food is the same importance today as it has ever been, but it is made more difficult because they are a minority group with no nationality. The Moken are largely uneducated, with little knowledge of the outside, land-based world, which creates further difficulties when communicating with others.

        The Moken have an annual ceremony to celebrate the ancestor's pole (Hnear-En-Hlor-Bong), with tribe members coming together to worship to the spirits to protection them. During this time, Moken people stop work. The ceremony includes casting lots, playing music, singing and dancing, and also have leeway the models to pensive and distress as illness from families, community. Moreover, the Moken have traditional beliefs that emphasize the spirits, including the spirits of their ancestors, and those found in natures, which have the power to protect individuals or cause illness. Therefore, they make sacrifices and offerings to the spirits. The Moken are also adept at using herbs for treating disease. In society, weddings often occur when the couples are teenagers, and are monogamous for life. They will not separate or change partners unless the wife or husband dies or have severe marital problems. Having children is an important part of life, so generally Moken families have 2-5 children - because they usually live in remote areas, or on the sea, they are far from basic services leading to a higher mortality rate which makes the Moken population a fairly constant number.

        The name, Moken, derives from "La-Mor" and " Kan " which is the name of the Queen's sister in an old legend of the Moken people. The younger sister stole the boyfriend of the Queen, who then cursed her and her friends promising them a life in which they could never settle in one place.

        Moken are also known as the Sea Gypsies - Descendents of the Porto-Malaysians who wandered the Andaman Sea for more than 100 years, living on islands and off the coast of the Mergui Islands in Myanmar, as far south and east as the islands of the Zulu sea in the Philippines, and including the coast of Malaysia and Indonesia. In the Mergui islands in Myanmar, the Moken population runs into the thousands. The Burmese people call the Moken, Selon', which is believed to have come from the word Cha-Lang' or Tha-Lang', an ancient name of Phuket province (Junk Selon) - the place that many fishermen lived before moving to live on the sea. This is the legendary tale of the Moken people.

 
Museum : About Us: Webboard : Guest Book : Contact us : Thai Version