Sunday, November 20, 2016

French Engineer & Malay Magic (法国人与巫术)

We seldom hear stories of Malay magic nowadays perhaps due to strict religious control. Some of the Malay magic in northern peninsular has many similarities with traditional Thai magic and traditional Malay magic is equally powerful to Thai magic. Our old Malay friends would be able to tell you many of those soon to be forgotten stories about how Malay magic works. Just to set an example, I will tell you a story about how a French engineer married a Malay lady and stay put in Ipoh selling ‘nasi lemak’ (coconut milk rice).

This story happened towards the middle on the 60’s. Old Ipoh folks may remember there was an outstanding couple selling ‘nasi lemak’ in a small store beside Ipoh railway station during 60’s and 70’s. I said the couple looked outstanding because the husband was a Frenchman and the wife was a local Malay lady. The Frenchman was a tall and handsome one while the lady only reached her hubby’s chest level and she was quite ordinary looking. Many people patronised the ‘nasi lemak’ stall just to satisfy their curiosity and to listen to bow this outstanding couple ever got together at the first place.

Story has it that the Frenchman was an engineer sent to Ipoh to supervise a construction project. After his project was completed, this Frenchman went to the railway station to travel to Kuala Lumpur. When he arrived at the Ipoh railway station, the Malay lady approached him to promote her ‘nasi lemak’. Somehow the Frenchman looked down on this lady and not only he did not patronise the lady, he spited in front of the lady. The Malay lady calmly collected the engineer’s silver and went off.

Strange thing happened to this French engineer. As soon as he reached Kuala Lumpur, the Frenchman told his company representative in Kuala Lumpur that he ‘quitted’ and took the last train back to Ipoh. The Malay lady was already waiting for this Frenchman. As soon as this French engineer saw the lady, he immediately proposed to the lady and this Frenchman stayed with the lady for that night. The couple was officially married the next day and a feast was held to treat those relatives came to celebrate their flash wedding.

A few weeks later, the Frenchman’s parents came to Ipoh to persuade their son to return to France but of no avail. Some local Malays said the Frenchman must have the victim of extremely potent Malay love magic. After the engineer’s parents had exhausted all their ‘scientific’ approaches, they started to seek the help of other Malay bomoh (shamans) but almost all of the bomohs declined to land a hand after knowing the love spell caster was the ‘nasi lemak’ lady. The reason was that her father though deceased, was a very prominent Malay bomoh cum martial arts exponent. No one wanted to take up such an opponent.

After a while, the Frenchman’s parents had to come with the terms that their son already hooked to the lady and they cannot be parted whatsoever. So, they returned to France leaving the said engineer to form a family here in Ipoh. I heard this Frenchman stayed in Ipoh for more than a decade or so but no one really knows what happened to him now. Perhaps this is yet another urban legend.

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