Orang Asli fights off tiger with rock
By Sylvia Looi
Sunday February 7, 2010
IPOH: Orang Asli Yok Meneh has been foraging in the forest for years bringing home petai and other vegetation. Yesterday, the usual uneventful trek became a harrowing one for the Semai when a tiger pounced on him.
But the 47-year-old is not one to be easily done in. He summoned up courage and fought the animal with his hands and a rock. And the human won. The animal slunk away.
The attack left Yok Meneh with a gaping wound measuring 15.2cm (6in) long and 10cm (4in) deep on his back. He also suffered injuries to his hands and legs from fighting back.
“In all my years of going into the forest to collect produce, this is the first time I have been attacked by a tiger,” said Yok Meneh,from his bed at the Teluk Intan Hospital.
He was in the forest near his house at Kampung Ras in Sungkai, about 80km from here, when the incident happened.
“I was so engrossed in collecting petai that I did not notice the tiger had crept up behind me,” he said, adding that the tiger was silent until it had pounced on him and pinned him down.
“And then it started growling and growling. I shouted for help before it sunk in that I was all alone and no one could save me.
“The moment I realised I had to save myself I tried to grab anything I could with my hands.
“I found a rock, grabbed it and fought back, hitting the tiger on its head again and again until it slunk away.”
The feisty orang asli then dragged himself about 1.6km out of the forest to his home.
When his wife saw him bedraggled and bleeding, she sought the help of a worker from a nearby oil palm estate to take him to a clinic.
However, because of the severity of his injuries, Yok Meneh was transferred to the Teluk Intan Hospital for treatment.
Asked whether the attack would deter him from going back into the forest, Yok Meneh said he had no choice but to continue as his family’s survival depended on the produce he collected.