Moken, Salon in Myanmar (Burma)

Moken, Salon
Photo Source:  manothegreek  Used with permission
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People Name: Moken, Salon
Country: Myanmar (Burma)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 4,700
World Population: 6,800
Primary Language: Moken
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.05 %
Evangelicals: 0.04 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Malay
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Moken people are to be found in Southern Burma or Myanmar and in Southern Thailand. They are nomadic on the sea which could make it difficult for the gospel message to be given to them.

The Moken have their own language which is Austronesian, a language used in South East Asia and Oceania. The Moken in Thailand can speak Thai while the Moken in Burma can speak Burmese.

In Thailand the Moken are known as Chao Ley and can be called Selung in Burma. Some of the Moken are Buddhists while others follow traditional religions.

The Moken live off plant life from the sea as they are familiar with the sea. That which they do not eat they exchange for other things at markets. Some Burmese Moken have small wooden boats with a living room, bedroom and kitchen and they move about on the sea in these. Some of their traditional life is lessening though.

The Thai and Burmese governments have tried to get the Moken into the cultures of their countries but it has proved difficult. The Moken live in the Surin Islands and the Phi Phi Islands. With the 2004 tsunami, many of the Moken died but in some regions knowledge of the sea helped the Moken to know the tsunami was arriving and to stay alive.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Oral traditions in Moken culture: “An interesting feature of this people is their pure monotheism, the confession of one Supreme Being, whom they name Tooda, and recognize as the creator of all things. There is also among them a distinct tradition of the deluge.”

“After the deluge, of which the Salongs preserve a distinct and unique tradition, God came down from heaven, and assigned to the different nations and tribes of men their habitations and employments. He said to the Salongs, “You are foolish and disobedient. You must not possess gold, silver, domestic animals, houses nor lands. Go, be poor, and hunt fish in water seven fathoms deep.”

“The Salongs are a mild and timid race, are credulous and affectionate—and rarely quarrel, unless stimulated by intoxicating drinks. … They have many interesting traditions of a creation and universal deluge. They believe in future rewards and punishments in another state.”

Prayer Points

* Pray that the Thai and Burmese Christians will give the gospel message to the Moken leading them to salvation.
* Pray that the nomadic Moken can be found without too much difficulty.

Text Source:   Anonymous