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Leaves of the Same TreeTrade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka$
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Leonard Y. Andaya

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831899

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831899.001.0001

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The Orang Laut and the Malayu

The Orang Laut and the Malayu

(p.173) Chapter 6 The Orang Laut and the Malayu
Leaves of the Same Tree

Leonard Y. Andaya

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on the communities that form the ethnic category known as “Orang Laut.” It studies the historical shifts in the economic and social fortunes of the Orang Laut within the Malayu world, as well as the corresponding adjustments made in their ethnic identities. The Orang Laut are well known in the history of Southeast Asia because they are associated with trade and piracy. They were arguably the most valued subjects or allies of the Malayu rulers because of their indispensable role in promoting international trade. But their most valuable contribution was maintaining security in the sea lanes and in “persuading” international merchant vessels to frequent the ruler's port. In the ethnography of the Orang Laut, three divisions are usually mentioned: the Sama-Bajau, the Orang Laut, and the Moken/Moklen.

Keywords:   Orang Laut, Malayu world, ethnic identities, international trade, piracy, Sama-Bajau, Moken/Moklen

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