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What can we learn from a Malaysian nomadic tribe?

From the Penan nomadic tribe in the jungles of Borneo, Malaysia, Molong means: never taking more than is necessary.

It’s both about conservation and the notion of resource ownership. They use what they need for today while preserving resources for the future.

A simple, but extremely powerful concept.

When they “molong” a fruit tree, they make markings in the trunk that let others know that this tree has been harvested and should be left to replenish its own supply before the next people might take it to a level too far depleted to recover.

In other words, they don’t strip down something to the bare bones and hope it survives. They use what they need, but keep it strong so that it lasts.

Molong. Langsam langsam. Slowly, slowly. [Mulu, Borneo, Malaysia]

Molong. Langsam langsam. Slowly, slowly. [Mulu, Borneo, Malaysia]

Let’s apply this to our own bodies. What if we never let ourselves get so depleted that we couldn’t easily recover? What if we treated our bodies like the Penan treat the forest: with respect and with a long-term strategy knowing that what they protect and nourish and take care of will return the favor many times over.

I’m a westerner in a nice hotel in the jungle. I could even apply Molong to the buffet: take what you need and use what you take.

The jungle is a magical place. It does more than survive: it thrives. It doesn’t need electricity, WiFi or even flip flops. It needs balance. It needs Molong.

How can you put a little Molong into your day?


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