Tuesday, June 9, 2015

From Possession To Hysteria (歇斯底里)

Hysteria is normally associated with sudden uncontrollable outburst of emotions. I personally think that hysteria is a release of stored energies after these energies are suppressed within our bodies for too long. This is same as with cooking with pressure cookers and at some point, steam is released from the cookers making sharp noise.

This phenomenon used to be prevalent in a society where activities are highly controlled. For example: in a strict religious society or in a fast path assembly line. In both of the situation, there is no freedom of activities as all tasks must be completed within a stipulated period of time; added to that is the monotony of daily tasks.

While I was working in a factory in Bayan Lepas sometime ago, I have seen female operators in the production lines attacked by hysteria. At first it was only one lady lifting both hands and shrieking in high pitch noise, soon her eyes rolled back and sprawled onto the floor as stiff as a log. Then a second lady followed the same thing, and then the third and soon the numbers escalated to 24 ladies.

When there are ladies in trouble, the men would be the happiest of all because they can ‘rightfully’ hold and carry the ladies in distress to the in-house clinic. The security manager of that time was the busiest person as he carried one lady after another out from the production line. As this lucky security head told me that that was his happiest moment in the factory for allowing him legally ‘rescuing’ dozens of ladies in distress.

Of course, other operators benefited from this hysterical attack too as the factory has shut down for half a day. The Human Resource manager was busily contacting a Malay shaman or locally known as a ‘bomoh’ to perform exorcism for the hysterical ladies. As the Human Resource person disclose in staff meeting that the cost for exorcism was about $5,000… a big sum in those days.

Luckily, cases of hysteria are getting less now days with the advent of smart phones and communication devices. Perhaps, now everyone can express freely in the intranet and communicate without boundaries to vent out those stagnant energies and there is no need to shout or yell out anymore.

Hysteria is just like mental depression, but with much lesser damage done. It is certainly not related to spirits or possessions in anyway. The best way is to let the patient to rest in a quiet place without the service of ‘bomoh’ of course.

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