Tijah Yop Chopil, “We, the Orang Asli, are not stupid anymore.”

______________________________________________________________

TIJAH YOP CHOPIL IS NO ORDINARY PERSON. She is a Wild Asia Hero!

aa

Wild Asia Heroes: Tijah Yok Chopil

Wild Asia nominates Tijah Yok Chopil, an indigenous woman of the Semai tribe as our fourth Wild Asia Hero. Tijah has devoted her life to empowering and uniting the once-scattered Orang Asli’s of Peninsular Malaysia. Her dedication led to the historic 3,000-strong protest at Putrajaya in March this year. Jules Ong is honoured to meet this formidable woman at her village in Bidor, Perak.

Written by Jules Ong on 6 Sep 2010

http://www.wildasia.org/main.cfm/library/Tijah_Chopil

—–

Free Malaysia Today

Orang Asli: We are not stupid anymore

Vignesh Kumar | November 25, 2013

The Orang Asli throughout the country are awakening to the loss of their lands and rights and demand that the government cease these acts of crime.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Orang Asli communities say that they are not stupid anymore and have realised how the government is grabbing their land.

Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Se-Malaysia (JKOASM) co-ordinator Tijah Yop Chopil said: “I hope the government will be fair in protecting indigenous people’s land and rights”.

“The government must realise that robbing the indigenous people of their land is a crime. They do not comply with the indigenous people’s land laws.” she said

“They have to stop this immediately. We are not stupid anymore,” Tijah said.

Tijah was speaking at the 7th Land Conference of the Indigenous People held at the YMCA Brickfields today.

She also wants the government to respond to Suhakam’s report on the national inquiry pertaining to the Orang Asli land rights.

“We are the original people of Malaysia and we have the rights,” she said.

“We will fight all out to protect our land,” she added.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/11/25/orang-asli-we-are-not-stupid-anymore/

This is a special moment: Augustine Anthony and Tijah Yok Chopil.

Augustine Anthony is Senior Lawyer, Bersih 3.0 Perak coordinator,  Head of Orang Asli Affairs BCHRC) and Legal Advisor.

Wild Asia Heroes: Tijah Yok Chopil

Wild Asia nominates Tijah Yok Chopil, an indigenous woman of the Semai tribe as our fourth Wild Asia Hero. Tijah has devoted her life to empowering and uniting the once-scattered Orang Asli’s of Peninsular Malaysia. Her dedication led to the historic 3,000-strong protest at Putrajaya in March this year. Jules Ong is honoured to meet this formidable woman at her village in Bidor, Perak.

Written by Jules Ong on 6 Sep 2010

Tijah Yok Chopil still remembers her first day of school in 1976. The traumatic events that enfolded that day are forever etched in her memory. Her reflections of those events and subsequent experiences with the outside world changed her to who she was to become today.

That day, when Tijah was eight, the Orang Asli children of Kampung Chang, Perak were bussed out of their settlement to be schooled in a national school in Bidor town, some 30 minutes away.

“When we got down from the bus all the other kids looked at us like we were aliens. They were afraid of us and we were afraid of them. Then they jeered and teased us. We felt so ashamed,” recalls Tijah who is now in her early 40s.

Subsequent negative experiences with people outside of her community made her ask why her people are so alienated in the country that recognised them as the Original People.

“I realised the answer is not to run and hide away… but to stand our ground, to unite to empower ourselves and to explain to the outside world who we are.”

With 18 diverse ethnic groups numbering 150,000, Tijah has the challenge of empowering and uniting the Orang Asli to speak in one voice. She started with the people closest to her – her family and community. At 17, she started teaching her siblings and neighbours’ kids in her house to read and write. Due to the many negative experiences in school, and having no money to buy food or books, many Orang Asli children dropped out of school. But through sheer effort and determination, Tijah managed to continue schooling despite having to help her mother farm and tap rubber to support her nine siblings when her father died when she was only 12.

As a result of her classes, which eventually included adults, there is almost no one in her village who is illiterate today. Tijah also began to engage in discussions with the Orang Asli leaders on the problems besetting the community. But she realised soon enough that the menfolk could not accept a young, vocal woman who speaks her mind.

“I found the men who claimed to be our leaders were not really engaging with the community or finding creative ways to solve our problems. So instead of waiting for them, I decided to start my own group. I decided to engage with the womenfolk and we called ourselves Kumpulan Ibu-Ibu Kampung Chang (Kampung Chang’s Women’s Group).

“After many years, the young people who had been my students and the womenfolk became my strong allies. They helped me organise the community when there are land incursions or when we need to voice our demands to the government.”

The men eventually joined the women in the village and together they changed the name of the group to Sinui Pai Nanek Sengik (SPNS), which means New Life, One Heart in 1995. Through this organisation, they ran classes and workshops for the community on activities ranging from weaving baskets to paralegal training on land rights.

From those humble beginnings, the SPNS model spread to other villages. Over the years it became a network linking five states in Peninsular Malaysia and SPNS evolved to what is now known as the Village Network of Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli. (Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia).

The Village Network has over the years become a powerful force in voicing for Orang Asli rights on their cultural identity, which is intrinsically tied to the land. Through their collective efforts, they managed to stave off several threats of land incursions into their native customary territories.

Their latest struggle is to protest against the new land policy that was approved without consultation with the Orang Asli grassroots by the National Land Council last December.

The title of the policy – “Policy of Awarding Land Titles” is in itself misleading and offensive to the Orang Asli, says Tijah.

Read more in

Wild Asia Heroes: Tijah Yok Chopil – Wild Asia
www.wildasia.org/main.cfm/library/Tijah_ChopilCached

Star

Tuesday November 3, 2009

Tijah’s efforts to lift her people

By SHAUN HO

KUALA LUMPUR: Since she was 18, Tijah Yok Chopil has been helping orang asli children in her village learn subjects like mathematics by relating them with everyday life issues.

Twenty three years later, Tijah runs a literacy programme for over 60 orang asli children at two centres in Perak and one in Negri Sembilan. The programme helps the children learn to read, write and count.

“This programme will give them a sense of self-confidence,” Tijah said of the Pendidikan Celik Huruf programme which is run by the group, Sinui Pai Nanek Sengi.

The group is a network of orang asli settlements across Perak that was founded by Tijah.

Efforts rewarded: (From left) Mawar Baheak, Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan, Tijah and Haniff at the ECM Libra office Monday.

Sinui Pai Nanek Sengi means “new life, one heart” in Semai language.
………………
Yesterday, Tijah received a cheque for RM50,000 from the ECM Libra Foundation to run the programme.The foundation also pledged two more donations of RM50,000 in the next two years, in addition to three donations of RM10,000 annually to organise educational trips.

Former Inspector-General of Police Tun Haniff Omar presented the cheque to Tijah on behalf of the foundation.

Tijah’s efforts to lift her people – Nation | The Star Onlinethestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/11/3/nation/… – Cached

——————————————————————————–

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tijah Yop Chopil, “We, the Orang Asli, are not stupid anymore.”

  1. Pingback: Orang Asli Matters | weehingthong

  2. Pingback: All my Posts on Malaysia’s Exceptional Women | weehingthong

  3. Pingback: The Orang Asli: All my Posts | weehingthong

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s