The Senoi are a set of Malaysian hunting and gathering
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 Orang Asli
Orang Asli
Orang Asli , is a generic Malaysian term used for people indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia...



The Senoi tribes live in the central part of the Malaya peninsula, and consist of five different groups, the Semai, Temiar
Temiar people
The Temiar are a Senoic group indigenous to the Malay peninsula and one of the largest of the nineteen Orang Asli groups of Malaysia. They reside mainly within Perak, Pahang and Kelantan states...

, Mah Meri, Jah Hut, Sema Berisi and the Che Wong, all of who speak Senoic languages
Senoic languages
The Senoic languages are a group of Aslian languages spoken by about 33,000 people in the main range of the Malay peninsula. Languages in the group are Semai and Temiar , along with Lanoh, Sabüm and Semnam. The collective Language code for the Senoic languages is mkh....

 and have a total population of about 60,000.


Their ancestors are believed to have arrived from southern Thailand about 4,500 years ago.

During the Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

, the guerrilla war fought from 1948 to 1960 a small fighting force, the Senoi Praaq
Senoi Praaq
The Senoi Praaq is a unit of the Royal Malaysian Police made up almost entirely of the tribal people of Peninsular Malaysia known as the Orang Asli . The name Senoi Praaq means “war people” or “those who fight” in the Semai language...

 was created, which is now part of the General Operations Force
General Operations Force
The General Operations Force is the paramilitary arm of the Royal Malaysia Police. The General Operations Force was established in 1948 during the Malayan Emergency by the British Administration when Malaya was a Colony. The Police service was mobilised to the field role, primarily to engage...

 of the Royal Malaysia Police.

Lucid dreaming

Kilton Stewart, who had traveled among the Senoi before the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 wrote about the Senoi in his 1948 doctoral thesis and his 1954 popular book "Pygmies and Dream Giants". This work was publicized by Parapsychologist
The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning "alongside", and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research...

 Charles Tart
Charles Tart
Dr. Charles T. Tart is an American psychologist and parapsychologist known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness , as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, and for his research in scientific parapsychology. He earned his Ph. D...

 and pedagogue George Leonard in books and at the Esalen Institute
Esalen Institute
Esalen Institute is a residential community and retreat in Big Sur, California, which focuses upon humanistic alternative education. Esalen is a nonprofit organization devoted to activites such as meditation, massage, Gestalt, yoga, psychology, ecology, and spirituality...

 retreat center, and in the 1970s Patricia Garfield describes use of dreams among Senoi, based on her contact with some Senoi at the aborigine hospital in Gombak
Gombak is a district located in the state of Selangor, Malaysia. The district was created on February 1, 1974, the same day when Kuala Lumpur was declared a Federal Territory. Until 1997, Rawang was the district capital; the capital has been moved to Bandar Baru Selayang. Gombak borders Kuala...

, Malaysia in 1972.

Later researchers were unable to substantiate Stewart's account and in 1985 G. William Domhoff
G. William Domhoff
George William Domhoff is a research professor in psychology and sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz...

 argued that the anthropologists who have worked with the Temiar people
Temiar people
The Temiar are a Senoic group indigenous to the Malay peninsula and one of the largest of the nineteen Orang Asli groups of Malaysia. They reside mainly within Perak, Pahang and Kelantan states...

 report that although they are familiar with the concept of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreaming
A lucid dream is a dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. The term was coined by the Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik van Eeden . In a lucid dream, the dreamer can actively participate in and manipulate imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can seem real and...

, it is not of great importance to them, but others have argued that Domhoff's criticism is exaggerated
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