Saturday, July 11, 2015

Encountering Datuk Kong (巧遇拿督公)

The so-called ‘Datuk Kong’ is a form of earthbound spirit believed to be haunting places in Malaysia and Singapore. By definition, a ‘Datuk’ in Malay means ‘grandfather’. So, one can imagine that a Datuk Kong is the spirit of an old man. However, this is not necessary true as most of the Datuk spirits many people including I have seen appear as white shadows. Many people have seen a Datuk spirits before especially those who work in night shifts and those field workers such as plantation workers.

The Malaysian Chinese are particular fond of worshipping Datuk spirits but their faithfulness can become the heartburn issues of our Malay friends because many people would worship the statue of a Malay elderly in a small red shrine. Even to some extent, shrines mimicking mosque would be built to honor a Datuk. But in many cases, a Datuk spirit is represented by a stone or an anthill or even a plaque inscribing with words ‘Datuk Kong’.

It is very difficult to say if indeed a Datuk Kong is really a Malay elderly spirit as it can be a wandering spirits, earthbound spirits or just any spirits. One thing for sure, Datuk spirits come in many colors: black, green, white, yellow and red. The black and green Datuk spirits are said to be of having very bad temper.

It is also believed that Datuk Kong has many pets especially snakes. Although Datuk Kong normally dwells in a caves, huge trees, anthills or huge boulders, they can be at times dwelled in factories or warehouses too.

Now, let’s come back to my story proper…

The electronic factory with initial ‘I’ that I used to work in Bayan Lepas is believed to be haunted by a Datuk Kong. This Datuk Kong is normally seen in the air-conditioning room at night. My technicians were sometimes afraid to do their rounds as they often complaint of seeing a white shadow wandering in the vicinity of the air-conditioning room. The best timing to see the Datuk is on a full moon night. Although this Datuk doesn’t bother facilities personnel; periodic offerings were made especially on Thursday noon time to appease this spirit. A small shrine is also being built so that this Datuk has a place to sit and that it doesn’t wander out too often to scare people.

Another best time to experience the presence of Datuk spirit is during factory annual shutdown period. In case you are not aware, factory machineries run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. So, at certain timing, the machineries need to be shut downed for maintenance. As general rule of thumb, a factory would normally perform two shutdowns a year.

It is during the whole factory shutdown that everything becomes standstill and dead silence. During this time, even the sound of a needle dropping onto the floor can be heard. Since the factory is producing microchips, these inventories must be watched over for the whole of shutdown time. During one of the shutdown I was scheduled to sit in the inventory room to guard the precious commodities.

It was just over midnight and the surrounding was dead silence as usual. I was sitting lazily in a chair waiting for my colleague to relieve me. Suddenly I saw a pair of extremely white hands pushing open the room door! As soon as the doors are pried; the security alarm sounded signifying unauthorized intrusion. But there wasn’t a single soul there!

Some investigations were carried out later and it was revealed in the CCTV that the strange hands were seen prying the door… everyone was baffled.

Now that I have left the company and spend most of my time in wilderness and my herbal garden; strangely speaking that I have not really come across a Datuk Kong. What I have seen often are snakes said to be the pets of the Datuk.

I have once struck a cobra with cane until it lay weakly on the floor in my garden. As it still living, I lifted the snake with the cane and brought it to a river and I said to the cobra: “This is my place, don’t come again.”

Strangely, the snake nodded and swam across the river. I have not seen the cobra again since then. My friends said that it was the Datuk’s pet snake.

There are many signs in the forest indicating the presence of a Datuk. For example, when the surrounding is suddenly being covered by thick fog; then this is the best time just to sit down and wait until the fog disperses. Otherwise one may get lost along with the fog. It is said that the Datuk spirits like to trap unwary forest hikers in this way.

I normally appease the mountainous Datuk Kong spirit with smoke offerings. You would be surprised with the effectiveness of smoke offerings and enjoy your journey into the forest after such a simple ritual. So, please be serious and don’t play when entering the forest.

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