Bomoh Encounter in Bentong.

= The following story was inspired by a true account from Mr. Yap, my renovation contractor. Names have been changed. =

Four friends were sitting in their favourite coffee shop in Kepong, lamenting over their financial losses from the recently concluded World Cup.

“Brazil has set me back by four K” said Lim. “I cannot afford to go anywhere this year during the school holidays. My wife will nag me until I die.”

“Four K is nothing. I lost ten thousand. That’s my entire life savings. There goes the down payment for my house. ” exclaimed Mohan.

“At least, you two lost your savings. I owe my colleagues two thousand. Next six months, I have to starve and pay them back by installments from my food money” cried Shukri.

Lee, who has been very quiet throughout, suddenly burst out. “Stop talking about betting losses. You guys  know nothing about betting loss.”

His three companions were stupefied by his outburst.

“What’s wrong, Lee?” asked Shukri after a long silence.

Lee was then sobbing. “I lost ten thousand of my own money. I tried to recover back and borrowed money to double up. I now owe Singh, twenty thousand.”

Everyone was stunned.

Mohan broke the silence, “You borrowed from Singh? He is a loan shark. The interest is killing. How can you ever pay back?”

Lee explained, “I know, I know, I have to pay 10% of the unpaid loan amount every month as interest. My debt is now twenty two thousand. If I don’t pay this month, next month will be another interest of two thousand two hundred added on. My pay is only three thousand a month. I still have a car loan and a house rental to take care of”

Shukri expressed, “There is no way you can pay it back.”

Lim who seriously thinking, said, “Guys, I was thinking of a long shot in making a quick buck to solve all our woes. Are you with me?”

“Where got such thing?” asked Mohan.

“Eh! I won’t do anything illegal.” added Shukri.

“Tell us about it.” said Lee.

Lim explained, “Well, there is this bomoh in Bentong who is very well known. Many people have consulted him for all kinds of problems, relationship problems, illness, black magic, lost children or to get rid of curses. It is said that most of those who consulted him, have managed to have their problems solved”

Lee asked, “How can a bomoh help us? Can he make me invisible so that the loan sharks can’t find me?”

“We will ask him for a 4 D number to solve our problems.” Lim replied

Shukri laughed, “Got such thing, ah? If the bomoh is so good, everyone will strike 4 D.”

Lim advised, “The thing is if you want to strike 4D purely to make money, then I think the motif is purely greed and it is wrong. What we want is only to solve our problems. It is not to enrich us. Think about it. I don’t want to be nagged by my wife. Mohan at least can put his down payment for his house. Shukri can get to eat and Lee doesn’t have to be chased by Ah Longs.”

“We are not asking for extra money. We are only asking the bomoh to help solve our problems. I am sure the bomoh will understand” added Lim.

The four friends decided to give the long shot a try the following Sunday morning.

It was still dawn when Lim parked his old Toyota Landcruiser along the country lane in Kampung Chamang. All four friends alighted from Lim’s rugged boneshaker and started trekking up the jungle trail beside the river. They came early to avoid the crowd. The bomoh is so famous that people came down from as fas as Alor Setar to consult him. It was told that sometimes, you have to wait for three hours before you could see him.

The four friends, were all in their own thoughts as they laboured through the jungle trail. What does the bomoh look like? How will they ask him? Will the bomoh grant them the 4D number? Will he ask for anything in return? Will they really win the first prize?

After a 20 minutes walk following the trail beside river, the four friends reached a fork which took them up a little hill. After short walk from the hill, they reached a clearing with an old wooden hut. It was quiet and dark. The morning sun is still hidden behind the thick jungle. It was misty and cold. There wasn’t anyone in sight. There was no crowd. It was barely seven in the morning.

“Great. We are here first before anyone else” thought Lim.

“Looks like we are the first. But do we go in or wait for the bomoh to come out?” asked Lim. “Is it too early?”

Shukri said, “Normally, the country side people are awake before dawn. I think we can try calling out.”

The four friends decided to knock at the door and Mohan proceeded to do so.

“What do you want?” asked a voice from inside the wooden hut.

“Can we come in?” asked Lim. There was no answer to Lim’s question!

“Hello!?” greeted Lim. No answer

Mohan knocked again. No answer!

“Let’s all go in together” said Lee.

Lee opened the door and went in was followed by Mohan and Lim. Shukri hesitated at the door but went it after.

It was a small living room. It was dark. The air smelt stale and moldy.

“What do you want?” asked the same voice in the dark. 

After their eyes had adjusted to the dimness of the room, the four friends could see a frail looking old man with a head full of shocking white hair sitting on loafer at the corner of the room. 

 “Pakcik, we came all the way from Kuala Lumpur to see you.” explained Lim.

“What do you want?” asked the old man again.

“Pakcik, are you the Chamang bomoh that everyone is talking about?” asked Lim.

“What do you want?” asked the old man again.

“Actually, Pakcik, we have a problem and we want to ask for your help.” replied Lim.

“What do you want?” asked the old man again.

“You see Pakcik, we have lost a lot of money during the World Cup and right now, all of us have problems with money.” Mohan tried to explain.

“What do you want?” asked the old man again for the seventh time.

“We were hoping to ask for a 4D number so that we can win back and cover our losses.” Lim explained.

“We are not asking for extra money. Only enough to cover our losses.” Mohan chipped in.

The four friends looked at the old man who rocked away in his loafer chair. Shukri noticed that the old man has a deformed left hand with six fingers.

“Pakcik, I owe some Ah Long twenty thousand and I really need your help.” Lee tried.

The old man stared into empty space and Shukri squirmed uncomfortably as his three other friends stepped closer towards the old man.

“Pakcik” Mohan called out.

“Pakcik, it there anything which you want in return for grating us the 4D number” asked Lee.

The old man turned and stared at the four friends. The four friends could see that the old man had only one good eye. The left eye was cloudy white, scarred by cataract.

“Yes, Pakcik! Can you help us?” asked Lim.

All of a sudden, the old man burst in laughter. He laughed and laughed for what seemed like eternity. Then equally sudden, he stopped laughing.

The old man’s good eye glowed angrily and he started shouting, “Get out of here! I only help people with real problems. Your problems are caused by your own greed. Get out of here!”

 

The four friends promptly bolted out of the wooden hut.

“Get out of here!”

Shukri was running in front!

“Get out of here!”

They could still hear the old man’s shouts.

“Get out of here!”

They are going downhill towards the river.

“Get out of here!”

Echoes in the jungle as they reached the trail beside the river.

“Get out of here!”

Is the old man chasing them or is the voice only in their imagination?

Finally, the four friends came out of the jungle and reached their vehicle.

“What a weird old man?” exclaimed Mohan.

“What do you mean weird? He was darn scary, ok!” said Shukri.

“Well, at least, we tried.” Lee consoling himself.

“Let’s forget the incident and go for breakfast” said Lim.

The four friends reached Bentong town and immediately went for roti baker and soft boil eggs.

The coffee show owner, asked, “You guys are from out of town, right? What brings you to Bentong?”

“We went to look for the famous Chamang bomoh” explained Lim.

That would have been a waste of your trip.” replied the coffee show owner.

“You are right. He refused to help us.” said Lim.

What do you mean, he refused to help you?” asked the coffee show owner.

“Well, we saw him and asked him for his help. He just sat there. We kept asking until he chased us out of his house.” replied Lim.

The coffee shop owner looked puzzled. “It cannot be the Chamang bomoh”, he said.

“Well, we did see him. The bomoh is an old one eyed man with a white hair.” replied Mohan.

“He also has a deformed left hand with six fingers” added Shukri.

The coffee shop owner looked shocked and he explained. “You described the Chamang bomoh perfectly but you couldn’t have seen him. You see, the Chamang bomoh died 3 months ago.”

This entry was posted in Happenings, Literary Attempts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bomoh Encounter in Bentong.

  1. Leo says:

    Howdy Tony! Such beautiful flow of storyline and to top it, a REAL one! Maybe might accompany u there IF decided u need a good helping hand! The Chamang Bomoh seems to be talking in good faith…..

  2. Pink Jeans says:

    Oooh…nice story…but sounds made up to scare li’l kids.

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