Punan Batu, How Science Blooms with Hope

By Benau Cave and
Sajau River's stream

Layis lived
in a green forest dream

We eat from a table high
He roamed under the sky

Along with his dad on his side

Every day they walk,
long and wide

Be a hunter...

and gatherer

One day,
Samsul showed Layis the know-how

Of using
a poisonous dart and blowpipe now


The dart flew fast

A catch at last

As the day approached sunset
Dinner was set

Yams and pork belly were plated
Everyone anticipated

Saliva dripped free
In a hunger glee


Juicy meat gone in a gulp.


Bone cracked
Umami taste attacked

Teeth clicking
Lip smacking
Mouth swallowing

As the stomach stopped growling
Everyone heard birds chirping


In a circle round
Joy did abound

That was
the Punan Batu Story
during its Glory


Scientists came to learn

Saw if they could make a turn

Crossed the croc's domain

To look at Punan Batu genetic chain

Pradiptajati Kusuma
among the crew

DNA secrets he sought
to pursue

Steve Lansing from the US
in his quest

Explored culture,
its every zest

Punan Batu welcomed them in
Community Engagement later began

Through stories,
they walked to the past
Memories, long last

Bonds were spun
Under the sun

Trust made
Beneath the shade

Scientist then said with a plea
"We want to study you, you see"

"Oh, what about?"

"About our origin
and the future of medicine"

To represent the often-forgotten
Their knowledge to be begotten

Scientists wondered,
what could be gained?

Unexpectedly, a prayer was explained

"Help us protect the forest!"
they pled


Their Life, Now,
were Laid Ahead

They struggle
with the fact...

Of boars that are now rare

Of the lack of healthcare

Of maternal death grief
they have to bear

Of shrinking of forest
they always take a good

Those receive
Must think how to give

Thus, scientists vowed
To aid them, they avowed

By Benau Cave
and Sajau River's flow

Needle pierced, blood flow

Ouch! pshhh

To the tubes, red hue
For DNA research, anew

Eyes saw deeper
Ears tuned in sharper




Punan Batu,
its uniqueness surfaced

Genetics of Punan Batu : No Austronesian trace
The language of Punan Batu : Has distinct language to embrace
Symbols used by the Punan Batu to communicate : Quaint symbols, hard to replace
Got melodious music, prayer to His Grace
Punan Batu's territory in Kalimantan : The grande forest, their home base

They are
the Last Hunting Band
In Kalimantan

Scientists recalled

A promise to
avoid the forest downfall

After an open call
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara gave a call
They have the same call

They convinced leader
To protect the last hunter
and gatherer

By the cave of Benau
and the river of Sajau

Boars return to the riverside
Meat on the plate, with yam beside

Layis learns law to defend his side
with his own guide

That's Punan Batu Dream

2 June 2023

There comes a light

After using science to fight
Punan Batu got their right

They are now distinct indigenous people
With rules made by its people for the people

Dream is in sight
Future seems bright

By the cave of Benau
and the river of Sajau

There is a lesson for all to glean

Science may sparks hope,
in its unseen

In every effort for curiosity
Do find ways to benefit the community


Science is not just about discovery
but also humanity