Orang Asli: Introduction To The ‘First People’ Of Southeast Asia

For much of my adult life, I have been collecting old photographs of the so-called “little blacks” of Asia.

Satun Woman and Child, Satun province, Ban Doan Village, S. Thailand. Photo: Brandt, John H (1961–1968). Source: Brandt Image Collection, Keene State College. Mason Library, Orang Asli Archive.

As a kid growing up on the far South Side of Chicago, whenever I would envision the physical features of Asian people—since those I saw most were in martial arts movies and…