Friday, June 24, 2011

LIM: Why Malay Black Magic Won't Work For White Folks

Bomohs are Malaysian (and Indonesian!) witch doctors.  People believe they have all sorts of powers, from having demon slaves who do their bidding in the forms of curing and haunting, to being able to forecast lucky numbers for gambling.

Every week or so there's a scandal as some bomoh is caught "cleansing" some woman's bad luck with the aid of nightly rumpty-tumpty, or bankrupting some family by demanding huge amounts of money to bring them good luck.

Even so, there are few weddings and public ceremonies where there isn't a bomoh in the background who is being paid to keep the rain away.  Friends who are senior execs in big international companies tell me (while saying, "Don't tell anyone I said this, OK? Promise!") that they have a bomoh budgets for launches, grand openings, and all VIP events.

I have few friends who think all bomohs are fraudsters.  For the most they admit there are bad apples, but 99% will then add, "Yeah but my aunt/boss/cousin hired this bomoh who....and it worked!"  So belief is very typical.

Recently I asked a mate to reveal the occult secret of keeping rain away.  Here's how it went.
Her: You have to hang up chilis at all corners of the ground you want to stay dry.  Then you read holy verses.
Me: What holy verses?
Here: Any holy verses.
Me: Koran or Bible?
Her: Either. 
Me: Germaine Greer?
Her: What?
Me: It's holy for feminists.
Her: Be serious.  Proper holy books only.

Me: Right.  But what chilis? 
Her: Huh?
Me: Red or green?  Chili padi or long sweet ones?  Single chilis or bunches?  Dried or fresh?  if bunches, can I tie with rubber bands or must I use ribbon or something else?
Her: Alamak!  All those questions! 
Me: I want to get the recipe right.
Her: Ayoh, you!  Recipe?!  This is magic!  Not cooking! 

Looks like if I ever throw a big outdoor event, I'm going to have to hire a bomoh.


The Chair Speaks said...

LOL! Heard a lot about this but have never seen one at work. Wish I could.

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Old Kitty said...

LOL!!!! Cooking IS magic!!! :-) Take care

고양이 아줌마 (Cat Lady) said...

LOL!!! I must be one of the few then, for I firmly believe all bomohs in all religions (not just Muslim) are fraudsters.

Brian said...

That keeping the rain away could sure come in handy in parts of the U.S.!!!

Katnip Lounge said...

rumpty-tumpty? LMFAO!

Whisppy said...

LOL! How about the ones where the bomoh says he needs all 3 teenage daughters to stay a week with him for some "cleansing" (read : rumpty tumpty) so the parents luck will change?
But if you find out the right type of chilli to use, do let me know. :p

BeadedTail said...

What a way to get some rumpty-tumpty! Sounds pretty crazy to me!

Kwee Cats said...

Ok... But where are, we wants to know how to make some rain happen! Not too much though. But just at least a bit would be soooooo nice. Mumsy says you remind her of friends she has from when she lived in New Orleans :-)

We sure are glad we got to meet you! And hey, we're tellin our Mumsy we want to be carried down the stairs too! He-he! :-)

Angel MoMo and Charlotte said...

Would like the recipe when you manage to find it. Love chilli!! :)

What a way to get freebie rumpty-tumpty! Fraud.

Mary Bergfeld said...

My day has started with a smile :-). I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

Naddy said...

bomoh are part of our culture, and they are different according to ethnic too. I don't believe in them especi

On another note you should see the movie "Sini Ada Hantu" which describes the types of ghosts in Malaysia.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

LOL @ Rumpty Tumpty!
I saw my parents' qigong sifu do the chili thing. He used dried red chilis (yes, the kind you use in kung pao chicken) and joss sticks. The sky was overcast but it didn't rain.

Cat Wisdom 101 said...

LOL, cooking well is magic and magic needs recipes called spells.

Neri said...

hahaha! haven't heard about the chilli one, but for weddings the most common one to keep the rain away is to throw/launch a piece of clothing and it should land on the roof. have absolutely NO IDEA how this would work.

Chaizani said...

Chillies? We had a very light shower at my wedding two years ago, and that's actually considered good luck. I never heard of this ritual before... I guess nobody bothers here in Kelantan because it absolutely POURS at all weddings at the end of the year!