This paper investigates the spatial cognition and navigation techniques of the Batek of Malaysia. It has been recognized that people who travel long distances without modern navigation techniques use natural objects for orientation. Such populations travel through open spaces using winds, mountains, valleys, and astronomical phenomena as reference points. On the other hand, wayfaring in the tropical rainforest cannot refer to such features because the dense vegetation obstructs them, though little has been discussed on spatial cognition and navigation in such environments.
The Batek are hunters and gatherers of the Malaysian rainforest. By analyzing their wayfaring and social customs, it was found that 2 elements play a crucial role in their navigation and spatial cognition. The first is their detailed knowledge of river systems that serve as a frame of reference in the rainforest. Their naming custom and analogical understanding of river systems help the Batek to memorize places by environmental socialization. The second is their classification of the environment into 3 main divisions: the Tom (“river”); the Gunung (“mountain”); and the Hep (“forest”), and vertical movement plays an important role for orientation in the former two, whereas horizontal movement plays an important role in the latter. Among those divisions, the border of the Tom and the Hep corresponded to the norm of not mixing the cooking fire of water-dwelling creatures and that of land-dwelling creatures. The Batek navigation in the rainforest is realized with iterated camps made along rivers and topography recognition in both vertical and horizontal dimensions.
This paper examines the discursive configuration of chief in contemporary Fiji. In doing so, it analyzes a dispute over the long-standing failure of holding a chiefly installation ritual and narratives on the descendent of the chiefly lineage in the Dawasamu district. Thus, it reveals that this dispute over the chieftaincy is a dispute over indexicality of the legitimate chiefliness.
To begin, the paper delineates the history of the chiefly succession in Dawasamu and illustrates how it is conceptualized into 2 familial genealogies; one is “authentic” from the past, the other is “illegitimate” in the present. The analysis in turn highlights one particular person, Adi Litia, who is frequently referred to through the discourse on the history of Dawasamu as the last descendant of the chiefly lineage which existed in the past. Investigating such a discourse surrounding Adi Litia, the paper focuses on 2 particular narratives, which show her as categorically “ambiguous” in regard to the handover of chiefly possessions and the villages where she married and had children. In doing so, it reveals that the chiefdom in Dawasamu is mediated by various “proofs” of chiefliness, i.e., ivakadinadina in Fijian, such as a whale’s tooth, the chief’s drinking cup, the chiefly land, or a specific village site, which are repeatedly mentioned in the narratives on history in Dawasamu.
In such a way, this paper demonstrates that these proofs function as “signs of history,” that is, the chiefly succession issue in Dawasamu, which has been divided against itself, is a dispute over the sign of chiefliness. The paper also illustrates how such signs of history, including Adi Litia as aproper name, are primarily indexical, i.e., “signs in history,” which pragmatically ground the chiefdom to a particular context of discourse and regiment the present political context through the evocation of certain cultural dichotomies. Thus, the paper indicates that chiefdom exists as a constellation of cultural categories evoked by various signs of/in discourse, and in doing so constructs new meanings of the past toward present claims in the political context of Dawasamu.
The purpose of this study was to assess the diversity of banana cultivars and their usage in 3 lowland areas of Papua New Guinea, where bananas are a staple food. We focus on the kalapua subgroup, which is of genome group ABB. We found 3 subgroups of banana at the 3 research sites: the kalapua subgroup, a subgroup of cooking bananas other than kalapua, and a subgroup used as dessert bananas. We observed that kalapua subgroup cultivars and other subgroup cultivars are planted in separate gardens, likely because the growth rate and tolerance to climate differ between kalapua and other subgroup cultivars. A nutritional status assessment revealed that in the kalapua subgroup, nutrient levels, except for carbohydrates, are comparatively low. Thus, farmers classify and produce kalapua and other cultivars separately. Kalapua, which are known for their tolerance for both dry conditions and flooding, are cultivated as a sustainable energy supply. Other banana cultivars may be grown because of their nutritional composition, as a matter of preference, or as a means of cash income.
Intensive cropping of rice has supported a high population density in the Sundanese society of West Java, although the cropping system has changed in some regions due to the introduction of cash crops. We studied cropping systems in 2 communities (Ciparia and Lebak Tulang) in Rancakalong Subdistrict. Ciparia has maintained the indigenous multiple cropping system of rice, whereas rotation cropping of rice and sweet potato was observed in Lebak Tulang, where the cash economy has a stronger influence. Although sweet potato is a profitable cash crop, it was not adopted by people in Ciparia, as they prioritized synchronization of the timing of their rice harvest to minimize damage from rats and birds. All households in Ciparia maintained strong social bonds of kinship or marriage, regardless of economic status. In contrast, the households in Lebak Tulang were not connected by kinship; thus, each household was able to prioritize its income independently.
This paper aims to provide a practical guide to those who have the opportunity to conduct sociolinguistic field research in Micronesia, focusing on the hands-on, nitty-gritty experiences of actual data collection rather than theoretical aspects. Informed by my fieldwork experiences as a novice researcher in the 1990s, it discusses 2 main issues: how to gain access to the community and how to find potential informants. It also provides some useful tips for dos and don’ts for field research in Micronesia.
The objective of the study was to determine the burden of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in a rural Papua New Guinea (PNG) setting using an active case detection approach and to describe the health seeking behavior of prolonged cough patients. A cross-sectional, house-to-house survey was carried out in November 2005 to March 2006 in rural communities in Sum Kar district, Madang Province to identify the prolonged cough patients. Sputum from prolonged cough patients was collected to confirm the presence of PTB with acid fast bacilli (AFB) microscopy. Questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were carried out to explore factors related to health-seeking behavior. A total of 184 of 7,311 (2.5%) people (aged≥15 years) reported prolonged cough, and 15 new PTB cases (205/100,000) were diagnosed and detected from the survey. Passive case finding detected only 32% of all PTB cases, whereas approximately 40% of PTB cases had never sought care at any forms of health facilities. Those seeking health care did so within 16 days after onset of cough. The health system’s delay, however, was pronounced, with an overall median delay of 12 months. Closer distance to the health center and the severity of clinical conditions were significant factors for promptly seeking health care. The PNG TB control program would need to improve PTB diagnosis capacity at rural health facilities as well as integrate an active case finding approach into the program.