Saturday, May 30, 2009

On a hunt or two

I strongly suspect that many smart-reading children nowadays will good-naturedly dismiss tales of haunted houses, ghosts and ghoulish giants for what some are meant to be - entertaining at most.

Ghosts, it seems, are fast losing their credibility and functions at a time when almost anything can be assembled by a do-it-yourself buff with an allen key, the oft-unappreciated high-tech ghost included. Thanks to that blessed contraption sometimes quite unjustly labelled as the idiot box, ghosts are as good as making regular house calls now and can be as friendly as your delivery person. Or more.

There was a time when ghost-busting was a deadly serious business though it could not be denied that some ghosts were invented to keep the more boisterous children in cheek.

From a very young age, I had often been warned against reprisals from a list of "hantu"(s?) who were specifically equipped and assigned different duties well-suited to their hidden features. So behave, or else.

Growing up in a small town like Kluang , my contemporaries and I were saturated with many accounts of people sighting frightful figures time and again.

Once, it seemed, developed massive breasts and when she chose to, flapped people out flat with her overdone adornments. The risk was yours should you enroll yourself as the "hantu kopek's" bosom pal because just a playful swing spelt only disaster.

Then there was the blood-draining "polong", our own answer to the celebrated Central European Count Dracula supposedly reared by a certain anti-social outcast. This one was duty-bound to turn away unfortunate victim like a hysterical wreck unless subdued by a powerful "pawang" (shaman).

There's more. It's the "tuju-tuju", a projectile that worked along similar principles as our international policeman's "elective bombings". Only this time, the handiwork wasn't quite as devastating because the missile could be directed at one individual target at a time. Still, it was the work of a friend all the same.

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