Introduction / History
The 1981 Language Atlas of the Pacific Area listed a population of 500 Maleng people in Laos. Their location is within the Nakay District of Khammouan Province, in the central part of the country. Specifically, the live near the banks of the Theun River, around Ban Si Nho.
An additional 200 speakers of Maleng live in Vietnam, where they are officially included as part of the Chut ethnic group. The Maleng are also known as the Pakatan. The Lao often call them Kha Pakatan, which carries derogatory connotations.
The Maleng customs and language is closely related, yet different from the several Chut tribes along the Lao-Vietnam border. It seems plausible to suggest that these tribes were once one group, but the ancestors of the Maleng migrated away from the mountains on the border and settled inland near the Theun River. Over time, they developed their own ethnicity and language. Outsiders today view the Maleng as "more civilized" than their relatives on the border.
The Maleng live in one of the most poverty stricken areas of Laos, despite the abundance of natural resources in the region. The economic plight of people in Laos is improving, however. In 1989 the annual income was just US$ 135 per capita. By 1998 the average person in Laos was earning US$ 370 per year.
Khammouan Province, which has a population density of only 17 people per sq. kilometer, produces tobacco, beans, sugarcane and rice as its main crops.
Most Maleng people are farmers. Since they came down from the mountains, the Maleng have been forced to learn how to plant and harvest vegetables, and how to live sedentary lives. The related Chut-speaking tribes in the mountains continue to get most of their food by hunting, fishing and foraging on the forest floor.
Christianity has made no impact on the Maleng, despite the fact there is a growing church in the eastern part of the province. Believers in the area have experienced harsh persecution for their faith, which in many cases has caused the believers to lose their boldness and to become 'secret believers'. A Gospel recording is available in Maleng.
* Ask God to convict the Maleng of sin, righteousness and judgment, that they might seek Him with all their hearts.
* Pray the Gospel would spread to all parts of Khammouan Province.
* Pray the Maleng would not be forgotten by the Body of Christ. Ask God to direct workers to them.