The Seafaring Bajau People: A Unique Culture in Southeast Asia

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The Bajau people, also known as the Sama-Bajau, are an indigenous ethnic group found in the coastal regions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand. They live over water in the sea and have a strong cultural identity despite being spread across different countries. The Bajau people have a deep connection to the sea and are known for their seafaring ways. Historically, they have been deep sea fishermen and pearl divers, with the unique ability to hold their breath underwater for at least five minutes. Their homes are built on stilts over water, and boats are a big part of their lifestyle.

The Bajau people are globally known for their free-diving skills, where they dive without breathing equipment to search for fish, marine animals, or deep sea pearls. However, their way of life is being impacted by environmental changes such as rising temperatures and water pollution, which affect their occupation. Modernization has also influenced their traditional practices, but they continue to adapt and keep their traditions alive.

Overall, the Bajau people’s seafaring lifestyle and strong cultural identity make them unique in Southeast Asia. They have a deep connection to the sea and are known for their free-diving skills. However, environmental changes and modernization are affecting their way of life. Despite these challenges, the Bajau people continue to adapt and preserve their traditions.

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