The village consisted of 10 or 12 shelters. Most were made of bamboo rattan, but a few were made of blue plastic tarps. In addition to the 4 or 5 children playing in the center of the village, a couple of men passed by, but I didn't see any women. A young Batek man, the son of the village leader, demonstrated how to start a fire using only a piece of wood and a piece of bamboo rattan, and how to make a blow dart. He then demonstrated how to shoot a dart using a blow pipe, and gave us each a turn at blow pipe target practice. I was surprised that just a light blow was able to send the dart into the target with a great deal of force.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to chat with any of the Batek people and learn anything about their way of life and their hopes for the future from their point of view. From an outsider's point of view, it seems truly astonishing that the Batek, living in a rain forest surrounded by Malaysian rubber tappers, loggers, hunters, tour operators and all sorts of entrepreneurs, have managed to preserve their traditional nomadic way of life, surviving on hunting and gathering, governing themselves, and seeking refuge in the national park in order to avoid being completely pushed from the land that has always sustained them.
They choose to accept some parts of the outside world, such as blue tarps, transistor radios, and sometimes even cell phones, which seem like they would be an extremely useful form of technology for nomads. The Batek in the village I visited didn't have cell phones, as there was no service there, but our guide told us that others, living in other places, do.
The Batek interact with the outside world when it benefits them, such as through occasional work, selling handicrafts, and inviting tourists to their village. Some of the travelers in my group seemed to find the Batek use of blue plastic tarps and radios to be somehow "inauthentic." But the Batek did not build their village in an attempt to create a modern living museum for the enjoyment of tourists. Rather, they have adopted some useful things from the outside in order to preserve their lifestyle. And if I were a nomad, I would most certainly want to have a blue plastic tarp, too.