On finding professional distance…

Hello my love,

I’m writing today from a small Dutch colonial town of Sumbawa Besar, the Mecca for black magic practitioners in Indonesia. Haven’t been well the past two days, down with a nasty fever and flu, so been tired to write… must be the black magic ehh?

So far, I’ve been lucky, no spells or curses on me yet. Or perhaps I’m not high on the wanted list… Some of the stuff they’re selling here include buluh perindu for singing and casting a love spell, batu kebal so that you become kebal lah, parang penjaga to take care of your house, keris teman to bring some sort of genie with you, and all sorts of other hoollaballoo lah! Dunnolah, for me, don’t think it works unless you put faith into it, right?

One of the nastier things they’re selling is a sort of minyak made from this tree, that if a person or any other animals passes under, the pokok will grab you and suck your blood out, or something equally sticky like that… I can’t quite recall the name of the tree, but the minyak has been banned, even in Sumbawa. Purportedly, this oil makes your blood rush to where ever you put it – so one of the more stupid uses is to put it on your err… more interesting bits, and you quite literally die ‘standing’! Usually the locals put it on their parangs, so their enemies die of blood loss in fights… that kind of thing…

You’re probably asking what has this got to do with the day’s topic right? Its distance, I would say. There must be a line drawn, between being completely gullible and utterly disbelieving, I say personally. It would not be good, especially if those responsible for ohh… tv production, lets say… to report on this oil from Sumbawa, right? Some people might take this sort of reporting to be the absolute truth…

The other worry is that, when does a person begin to put professional distance first, before succumbing to morbid curiosity? As I write, most of the expedition members, with the exception of myself, Stingray, Zamros and Dr. Avtar are ogling a ‘magic’ show being put on by the so-called mystics. Poobah, I say… they’re doing the usual ‘ubat’ man show – minyak panas, angkat berat and all that… how can we be so gullible to believe it?

Tomorrow we leave this madness for Senggigi, on the island of Lombok. There, I’m hoping there’s no more of this loolapalooza… I’m getting a bit bored of buggers offering me some love potion. To those who do offer me despite my withering look, I tell them, at least as I ugly as I am, I don’t need ‘love potion’… and if they’re trying to do me a favor and make me fall for them, I laugh really really loudly and say, “Dah lama saya tak gelak camtu,” and wipe tears from my eyes. Usually they get the idea… just usually…

tetbridge.jpg    sunset3.jpg    labuhanbajo.jpg

Thinking of you, without the help of ‘love potion number nine’ – Jasmine


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