Thursday, August 23, 2018

Between Toyol And Kumantong (鬼仔比较)

Both supernatural beings mean 'ghost kids'. 

Toyol is almost extinct in Malay Archipelago while Kumantong is continued to be worshiped by Thai magic fans around the world.

It is believed that the original Toyol was brought back from Mecca by pilgrims many years ago. the ownership of Toyol is through inheritance either from mother to daughter or a person can also purchase a Toyol from a bomoh (shaman).

The purpose of keeping a Toyol is to steal money. A Toyol will not take all the money but just a small sum each time and most of the time, victims wouldn't discover that some of their monies had lost. Of course, there is a price to pay to own a Toyol as its owner must feed her Toyol with blood drawn from her thumbs. Hence it is generally believed that if a woman is exceedingly thin, rich and lived alone, then she is most probably be a Toyol master. Oh, normally a Toyol would be kept by a woman somehow.

So said, Toyol has very weak concentration as it can be easily diverted to tidbits such as sweets. In old days, people would throw some sweets outside of the house or some sweets are put on top of their money at night in the hope that if a Toyol did visit their houses, it will take sweets instead of money. I have seen my friend's mother placed sweets in the drawer where she kept her money.

Khairul said his kampong was once besieged by a Toyol. At first, some villagers found part of their money missing from their safes. At first they thought there are thieves in the kampong. So they took turn to petrol the village at night and occasionally during daytime. But nothing was found. One day a villager found some small footprints on his kitchen floor where a layer of fine sugar has dispersed due to a broken glass container. 

Since the footprints looked like that of a small kid, this villager went to the village imam and asked for guidance. The imam thought the foot prints were that of a Toyol and a witch hunt was initiated.

Eventually the villagers found a slender lady who stayed alone by a riverside possessed a large sum of money. Since she cannot explain on the possession of her cash and she did not work; she was accused of using black magic for monetary gains. Since nothing strange was found in her house, the imam made her swear on the holy Koran that she is not the mastermind of those lost monies.

Very strange too, the slender lady refused to do so. In view that there was no real hard evidence; the lady was let go with some cautionary remarks. Strangely too, after the ransack,  no more cases of money lost were reported.

A few months later, Khairul found that the lady's house was vacated. No one knew where she has moved to.

Of course, we don't hear too much of Toyol nowadays with the installation of CCTV and the wide availability of smartphones. Perhaps a Toyol is indeed a fable character.

Talking about Toyol reminds me of Kumantong. Modern Malaysians like to equate a Toyol with Kumantong. Although both indicated as 'kid spirits'; their places of origin are different. Very strangely too, the more popular Kumantong has lesser fame and power of that of a Toyol... At least a Toyol brings real money to its master while a Kumantong just burns its owners' money! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Modern kumantong is the weakest of all spirits as most of them cannot even communicate in real time. Some could just appear in dreams while others did nothing. The most powerful kumantong I seen can make a chair rock but it is a little too expensive to pay just to rock a chair I supposed. I can just rock a chair with my own hands and free of charge!

Once I was yielding a phurpa and the phurpa suddenly flung towards one of my kumantong statue. When I went to retrieve my phurpa, I found some bloodstain in front of the kumantong statue. Perhaps a kumantong is only as fragile as a kid after all. I dismissed all my kumantong spirits after the phurpa incident. There is no point to keep a spirit that is too weak I supposed.


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