These are the Semang or Pangan, the Sakai or Jakun, and the Malays.
The Semang, as they are most usually called by the Malays, are Negritos - a small, very dark people, with features of the negroid type, very prognathous, and with short, woolly hair clinging to the scalp in tiny crisp curls.
The mistake of speaking of the Sakai tribes as practically identical with the Semang or Pangan has very frequently been made, but as a matter of fact the two races are absolutely distinct from one another.
Broadly speaking, all the brown races which inhabit the portion of Asia south of Siam and Indo-China, and the islands from the Philippines to Java, and from Sumatra to Timor, may be described as belonging to the Malayan family, if the aboriginal tribes, such as the Sakai and Semang in the Malay Peninsula, the Bataks in Sumatra, and the Muruts in Borneo, be excepted.
For any aboriginal race inhabiting these countries, such important articles of diet as the duri-an, &c., could not fail to be among the first natural objects to receive a name, and thus we find primary terms in use among the Sakai and Semang, the aborigines of the Peninsula, to describe these fruits.
The fact that the semi-wild tribes, which are ethnologically Malayan and distinct from the aboriginal Semang and Sakai, are met with almost invariably in the neighbourhood of the coast would seem to indicate that they reached the peninsula by a sea, not by a land route, a supposition which is strengthened by their almost amphibious habits.
In the mountains behind Chantabun a small tribe called Chong is found, and in southern Siam the Sakei and Semang inhabit the higher ranges.
About one sixth of the native population of the interior, and a smaller proportion of those living on the coast, suffer from a kind of ringworm called kurap, which also prevails almost universally among the Sakai and Semang, the aboriginal hill tribes of the Malayan Peninsula.