Saturday, September 1, 2018

Learning Santau 1 (学习山道1)

Santau is a type of poisoning method that makes use of spirits to transmit. The notorious 'hantu raya' (giant wild spirit) is most commonly associated with santau. The Indochinese 'gu' (蛊) is closely related with santau.

In earlier years, santau is the most feared Malay black magic in Malay Archipelago as anyone who become the victim of santau will surely meet their doom. Santau is so lethal that even some santau masters suffered from the very poison they made.

So said, stantu masters have no worry about lacking customers for some unknown reasons. Luckily, the forbidden art of santau is no longer in proliferation and only a handful of bomohs (shaman) have mastered this deadly art. At least, I have not heard any recent cases of santau poisoning being reported...

For a pretty long period of time, when I was working in Ipoh; I was hooked to mysterious Malay magic. Another friend of mine too whose hometown is in Teluk Intan, a small town in downstream of Perak River also very much into the practices of Malay Magic.

Ah Keat was my colleague and he was already quite advanced in his Malay Magic study when I knew him. He used to meditate for days in the middle of the jungle and said to have a magic pearl given to him by a giant serpent.

One day, Ah Keat pulled me aside after work and asked if I would be interested in learning the mysterious santau. I was a little surprised on his abrupt attitude change because I thought I have begged him for many times to bring me to his master but only received a cold shoulder.

Apparently this time is different because Ah Keat need to travel to an isolated Kampong to visit a infamous santau master but he lacked funding. The master requested MYR2000 for teaching santau. Hmm... MYR2000 was quite a big sum during that time, so Ah Keat wanted someone to split the bill.

I agreed but was curious why he was so interested in Santau. So I threatened Ah Keat that if he didn't tell me the reason behind his intention, then I will not take part in his seemingly deadly expedition.

Finally Ah Keat gave way under pressure and it transpired that Ah Keat's girlfriend has jilted him for our company manager. And the couple was scheduled to marry soon. Ah Keat wanted to 'teach them a lesson' that they will not forget. Though I didn't condole with his intention, I was interested to learn this forbidden art.

We traveled to Teluk Intan first to Ah Keat's place and then proceeded toward the kampong where the black magician lived.

After travelling for one hour or so through muddy path and until the trail became too narrow for my car, we continued to walk for another half an hour or so and arrived in front of a small attap hut.

An old Malay grandpa came out from the hut and hinted us to come in quickly. So we hurriedly in and as soon as we sat on the floor, the old man reached out his hand to demand for payment. And Ah Keat gave him the money.

The grandpa passed a bottle filled with black liquid to Ah Keat and asked him to add some to his ex-girlfriend's food with some mantra. 

After the initial transaction, the grandpa asked us to write down his instructions of making santau and asked us to return to him a week later with all the ingredients he wanted. Grandpa said that the best time to make santau is on a Thursday night, preferably during full moon.

Happily we returned to Ipoh and after gathered materials such as florescence tube, caterpillars, bamboo fur, betel nuts and etc. And soon it was time to visit the old man again.

We were in luck as it was full moon that Thursday night, so said the grandpa. We again entered the old attap hut and all windows and huts were quickly fastened. The old man said that he didn't want Kampong folks to know what we were doing.

We sat around some offering ingredients like burning benzoin resins, betel nuts and leaves, tobaccos, roast chicken and yellow sticky rice. The ingredients are very similar to those normally used in Thai magic come and think of it.

I was instructed to break those ingredients into pieces and then pounded them into powder the old man started to fall into trance and called upon his hantu raya assistant: "Oh, my child, the formidable hantu raya, come and empower this ingredients into deadly santau for my grandsons..."

The chanting lasted for about 20 minutes and then the santau is said to be readied. It is then poured into a bottle and sealed. We were again instructed to bury all the offering materials into ground. The santau must stay underground for 40 days so Ah Keat and I must again return home.

This time the old bomoh said that he will teach us how to obtain a hantu raya spirit servant but with extra fees. Of course, that is another long story to tell...

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