KUCHING - With modern textbooks and conventional Western knowledge almost completely replacing the oral traditions of our ancestors, Sarawak is at risk of totally losing our traditional knowledge handed down through generations orally or through observation of practice.
This knowledge includes how indigenous communities have used our environment’s natural biodiversity for food, medicine, health, personal care and a host of other applications.
“A lot of this knowledge is transmitted orally, not written,” said Margarita Naming, Sarawak Biodiversity Centre’s (SBC) senior research officer leading the Traditional Knowledge Documentation programme.
Fortunately, this knowledge is still retained by the older generations.
Unfortunately, the younger generation in certain communities are not interested in learning this traditional knowledge.
For others, says Margarita, the effort of documenting traditional knowledge is not a major concern and they often overlook its importance.
“The usual thought for some of these communities is – ‘There is still a lot (of information left), they are in my backyard.’
But the research officer emphasised that if we did not document it, we will lose it.
“If we lose the older generation who retain all these knowledge, it is like a library that has burnt down.”
Source: The Borneo Post Seeds