The Power of Water


Water from rivers and lakes, has historically played an important role in Malay culture, allowing frequent bathing and providing drinking water (Boomgaard 2007). The Ngaju Dayak people in Indonesian Borneo believe that ‘the life-giving essence of everything in existence is contained within the Water of Life which is, in turn, stored up in the Tree of Life’. There is, however ambiguity in the role that water has for the Ngaju Dayak: the river is a lifeline and annual floods are a source of prosperity, but on the other hand it causes ‘bad deaths’ including drowning, and death by crocodile (Boomgaard 2007).

Completion Requirements

  • Explore all topic, themes and concepts
  • Read the core texts identified in the Books section and (optionally) in the references section below.

Learning Outcomes

  • Basic understanding of the water cycle in Malaysia
  • Comprehension of the major uses and functions of water in Malaysia
  • Recognition of how water abundance, use and quality in Malaysia compares with other parts of the world.


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