Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mountain Jinn: Nenek Kebayan

The above photo shows the legendary Mount Ophir, located in the Ledang District, Northwestern of Johor.

Mountain jinn are the most feared of spirits amongst all in mountain range areas. The Tibetan master Guru Padmasambhava has subdued many of the mountain spirits in Himilayan regions to force these spirits to be Buddhist protectors.  Even so, many of the Himilayan folks are still in fear of such spirits and offering ritual such as smoke offerings are still a daily practice.

In Thailand and Laos mountain ranges, the precious leklai is said to be gifts from mountain jinn to powerful hermits who know the way to please the mountain lords.

In Malaysia, there are still some Malay folks today believe in the existence of a famous spirit “Nenek Kebayan” or sometimes it is also known as “Hantu Nenek Tua” or “The Ghost of Old Grandmother”.

“Nenek Kebayan” is said to be originated from a beautiful royal princess named Gusti Puteri Raden Ajeng Retno Dumila from Java, Indonesia. This royal princess finishes her later years in Redang Mountain. In daylight, when materialize, “Nenek Kebayan” takes the appearance of a very ugly old grandmother with long white hair; her back bend forward while holding a walking stick.

However at night, “Nenek Kabayan” will transform into a very pretty young lady. Some people who have seen Nenek Kebayan said that Nenek Kebayan will sit in a swing and sing her favorite songs.

At times “Nenek Kebayan” will possess a shaman to massage or to perform traditional healing. If “Nenek Kebayan” likes you, she will give you many presents such as keris, precious stones, rings etc. There are many people sworn that they have received presents directly.

There is also a folk game called “Nenek Kebayan looking for grandson”. It is usually played outdoors or a relatively open area. It is played by several people. We will need handkerchief to cover the eyes and a walking stick as a tool. In this game two songs are sang.

How to play the game:

·         Lots are drawn to determine who will be a grandmother. Who is the loser in this poll will be crowned as “Nenek Kebayan” (Nenek) who will find her grandson.

·         Then a handkerchief is used to cover the eyes of “Nenek.

·         A wooden stick is also needed for our newly made “Nenek”.

·         Songs that are sung are as follows:

“Nenek, Nenek, who bent three.
Daytime sleepy, alert at night;
Search for grandchildren where ever they are located,
Nenek, she married to a prince.”

When the grandson finished singing, the “Nenek” starts to sing:

“Grandson, granddaughter cannot escape.
Old lady with a lot of magical power;
Now I am looking for replacement,
Whoever is caught, he is next.”

·         When the catcher finished singing, her would be grandchildren will squat in silence. This catcher will not know the positions of her grandchildren, once the “Nenek” holds one of her grandchild. The “Nenek” would hold the grandchild and start guessing. If the guess is correct, then the player will replace the catcher as “Nenek Kebayan”. If the guess is wrong, the catcher will have to restart the game.

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