Saturday, October 13, 2018

Badi Of Deer (鹿尸鬼)

The belief of the existence of 'badi' is perhaps specific to Malay culture. It is a common belief that some sacred animal carcasses or corpses are possessed by a type of spirit known as 'badi'. This badi must be removed before the carcass or corpse is taken care of or ill results will be fallen onto the persons handling carcass or corpse.

Most local hunters will perform a simple ritual after making a kill of their prays. The ritual is simply taking a piece of tree twig with leaves to sweep the animal carcass from head to tail a few times. This action though simple will save people who handle this carcass many troubles later.

I don't do hunting but I do join my friends to go into forests to hunt. We have different aims: My pals wanted to hunt for deer and wild boar while I wanted some rare herbs. Of course hunting is a dangerous game and killed by friendly firings are very common. So, I cannot wander about freely. Nowadays I seldom join my gangs to hunt because lack of freedom of movements.

My pal, Albert was an avid hunter as he used to go into forests to hunt for bats, squirrels, deers, wild boars and anything that he could find. Normally Albert are accompanied by a more experienced friend Ahmed. This time Ahmed was not around, so Albert went to hunt alone.

The luck was on Albert's side and he returned with a 50kg deer and after slaughtering it, Albert divided the deer meat to his neighbors and I was lucky enough to enjoy a portion of the fresh deer meat.

However, on the same night Albert was attacked by severe back pain coupled with high fever. He also murmured in his sleep of seeing the dead deer came to him insisting to seek revenge. Since Albert flipped flopped in his bed, his wife Mary was awaken by her hubby's violent and restless behaviors.

Having no licence to drive, Mary knocked on my door in the middle of the night asking my help to send Albert to the hospital. So I sent the couple to the district hospital and Mary decided to stay with Albert while I drove back alone.

As I drove past a mamak stall that still operates in the dead of the night, I stopped over to take a cup of hot milk tea. There I saw Ahmed was there too with his friends.

We started to chat and our conversation somehow went around Albert's sudden sickness. After hearing my story, Ahmed was quite sure that Albert was the victim of the badi of the dead deer as the symptoms were quite similar to the doing of badi.

As Ahmed was explaining, he took a bottle of mineral water and chanted some holy verses. After that he handed the water to me and said: "Ah, I see Albert has not learnt. He has forgotten to remove the badi of the deer before loading it in his truck. Give this water to him and ask him to drink some and wash his face with some water; and the rest he can add to bath water. Albert will recover very soon. No worries!"

I thanked Ahmed and returned to the hospital and handled the mineral water to Mary and asked her to do what Ahmed told me. Since Albert was then still being treated by doctor, I returned home to rest.

A few days later, I saw Albert again and he looked pretty healthy. I asked him about his condition and he replied: "Thanks for the holy water, I felt 50% better after drinking it. But the doc insisted to keep me in the hospital for observation for 1 day. Now I know why Ahmed sweeps the animal with tree branch!"

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