A survey of fishing villages in north-west Malaya
indicates a high incidence of sea-snake bites. It is
estimated that a total of 150 victims are bitten each year in the villages surveyed. The latter contain about one-tenth of the fishing population of Malaya, itself a minute area amongst the world habitat of sea-snakes.
Relevant findings from the 144 sea-snake bites recounted in the survey are presented. Some of the more pertinent or interesting items of general knowledge, folklore, and superstitions amongst the fishermen are described. The mortality of sea-snake bite appears to be low, but fear of them is universal and a potent source of worry. Effective treatment, including a polyspecific antivenene, would be a great boon to Asian fishing folk.
The particular agricultural adaptation we have been considering is the ultimate determinant of the presence of malaria parasites in the intracellular environment of the human red blood cell. This change in the cellular environment is deleterious for normal individuals, but individuals with the sickle-cell gene are capable of changing their red-cell environment so that intense parasitism never develops. Normal individuals suffer higher mortality rates and lower fertility rates in a malarious environment than individuals with the sickle-cell trait do, so the latter contribute proportionately more people to succeeding generations.
This paper discusses the prevalence and characteristics of epidemic hysteria among predominantly rural Malay schools in Malaysia. An illustrative episode in a Malay residential girls' school is described, and contributory factors to this outbreak are elaborated. An attempt is made to analyze the complex interweaving of psychological, religious, cultural, and sociological factors in the precipitation of the outbreak.
The Temiars are a tribe of negroid pygmies of basically Proto-Malaysian affinities. Field-work in the Malaysian jungle provided some observations on the sleep-wakefulness cycle of two young Temiar adults. This cycle was monophasic circumstances permitting. Their rest-activity cycle at night was similar in the jungle and in the laboratory. Polygraphic total night-sleep recordings were made with both of them in the EEG laboratory in the Hospital Besar in Kuala Lumpur. The eye-movement frequencies of PS were compared with those from young adults of the West. Although the differences were not statistically significant, the Rem-densities of the Temiars were constantly at the low side. The significance of the results are being discussed.
According to Malinowski there are no peoples, however primitive, without religion and magic; nor are there any societies lacking either in the scientific attitude or in science (Blumberg 1963). Magic and taboo are resorted to when through the normal use of science, or rational techniques, man is unable to control unpredictable events important to him. Where there is difficulty in predicting the outcome of behaviour, where the results of action are not consonant with effort, where there are great limitions on man's knowledge of vital issues, magical techniques are employed--in short, where circumstances of life are uncertain, uncontrolled and unknown. Magic and animism are systems of thought which give not only the explanation of a single phenomenon, but make it possible to comprehend the totality of the world from one point, as a continuity. Of the three systems of thought--animistic, religious and scientific--animism is perhaps the most consistent and the most exhaustive, the one which explains the world in its entirety.
The primary objective of this project was to study the life cycle and ecology of Plasmodium pitheci, a malaria parasite of the orang-utan. The field work was based on the orang-utan rehabilitation centre in the Sepilok Forest Reserve of eastern Sabah. Two visits were made to Sepilok, the first in February and March, 1972, and the second (by W.P.) in January 1974. On the first visit two species of "surrogate host" were taken to Sabah, i.e. chimpanzees and Aotus monkeys for experimental work. The arboreal habitat of the orang-utan in the dipterocarp forests of eastern Sabah is described. In the Sepilok Forest Reserve dwell gibbons and leaf-monkeys, in addition to a small population of semi-domesticated and wild, free-ranging orang-utans of various ages. Although numerous species of anopheline mosquitoes have been collected in eastern Sabah, longitudinal studies are not available. Anopheles balabacensis was caught both attracted to orang-utans and to man at Sepilok. This species which is the main vector of human malaria in the north of Borneo, is suspected also of transmitting orang-utan malaria in this part of Sabah. Repeated blood examinations have been made on a number of orang-utans in the centre since 1966 and a high prevalence of infection was recorded with Plasmodium pitheci. In 1966 10 out of 19 animals had demonstrable parasitaemia. Detailed case histories are presented to show the course of parasitaemia in several orang-utans. Infections of P. pitheci were found to run a very chronic course. During the 1972 expedition a second, previously undescribed malaria parasite of the orang-utan was discovered, and was named P. silvaticum. The new parasite was successfully transmitted both by blood inoculation and, later, by sporozoite inoculation, into splenectomized chimpanzees. Although both species of malaria parasite may cause transitory signs of illness, orang-utans in general appear to be little discomforted by the infection. The animals do however suffer from other infectious diseases such as amoebic and balantidial dysentery, and melioidosis is a serious natural hazard which may have accounted for several deaths of wild orang-utans. An unidentified, intraerythrocytic structure that appeared in the blood of one chimpanzee, which had been inoculated with blood from an orang-utan, may have contributed to its death. Detailed descriptions and illustrations of P. pitheci and P. silvaticum are given. All stages of the life cycle of P. silvaticum are known (the tissue stages having been described in the liver of a "surrogate host", the chimpanzee) but only the blood and sporogonic stages of P. pitheci have been seen. This species was not infective to a chimpanzee, although there is an earlier report of a transient infection in this host by other workers. In the blood both parasites showed a tertian periodicity. From the appearance of the tissue schizonts on the seventh day it was estimated that the complete pre-erythrocytic cycle of P. silvaticum in the chimpanzee would occupy 8 days. P...
Cancer of the cervix is exceedingly uncommon in the Malaysian Orang Asli (aborigine), despite the presence of factors associated with an increased risk of developing this malignancy. In only three patients was the diagnosis of carcinoma of the cervix established, out of a total of nearly 18,000 female inpatients, admitted to the Gombak Orang Asli Hospital over a 13-year period. Over this same period, 81 female patients were diagnosed as having cancer. Interviews with female Orang Asli patients show the presence of alleged risk factors for cervical cancer, including early age of first intercourse, multiparity and non-circumcision of husbands. The low incidence of cancer of the cervix in this aborigine community may be due to the strict moral code of the Orang Asli, limiting extramarital sexual activity and associated venereal infection.
The phenomenon of amok is reviewed in order to demonstrate the heuristic value of an ethno-behavioral model of culture-bound syndromes. The notion that culture-bound syndromes share underlying common disease forms is rejected. Instead, the ethno-behavioral model postulates that culture-bound syndromes consist of culturally specific behavioral repertoires legitimated by culturally sanctioned norms and concepts, but with both behavior and norms acquired in accordance with basic principles of human learning universal to all cultures. Consistent with this model, amok is shown to be a common behavioral pathway for multiple precipitants (which may or may not include disease pathology), but with a distinct form and conceptualization which can be traced to the social learning practices and beliefs of the Malay.
This paper examines the symbolic properties and cultural relevance of latah, a behavioral state noted in Malay and Indonesia since the 19th Century. Most interpretations of latah have been psychological, latah being perceived as a 'mental disorder.' In the following, it is concluded that latah is intimately related to other aspects of Malayo-Indonesian culture and that it is a well-known cultural pattern and not a mental disorder as such, though it may occur among persons, largely women, in a socially and psychologically marginal situation. Latah is a symbolic representation of marginality, and it is as appropriate to certain mythological and religious figures to the socially marginal.