Tuesday, January 3, 2017

al qalwa tales .....from crocodile dundee to exorcist




that was the week that was!

i was fresh from umrah the evening before but had to take the early morning firefly flight to kuala trengganu, taking advantage of the long weekend following new year. i was looking forward to nursing my makkah flu back in al qalwa, pantai telaga papan....the fresh air and the raging sea could perhaps soften the body ache and general lousiness of a makkan flu.
beside that, my boys back there would be penniless by now and waiting for their 'gaji'.

by mid morning, myself, and hamzah went canoeing to check on his 'bubu' and fish net he laid upstream, the previous night, some 100 yards from our pondok. it was almost 11 months now since our encounter with a full grown estuarine crocodile probably 8 to 10 feet in length by gross estimation, and the 'croc fear' that we had earlier has now abetted somewhat. 

we are back canoeing, but no longer going the full distance. 
[     http://drnikisahak.blogspot.my/2016/02/a-close-encounter.html    ]
certainly avoiding the deeper part of sungai telaga papan, especially near the now abandoned , unfinished clubhouse. we just limit our forays to our own backyard and the lubuk up stream, even then, with caution, looking at tell-tale signs of the big croc.

but even then we do not have to venture very far.
just a 100 feet beyond our pondok,
lo and behold, we found a three foot baby croc stucked into our net!
very aggressive despite its small size.



only probably six month old according to the perhilitan officer, but already bronze in discolouration.
for every small croc, there must be at least an 8 to 10 foot parent or parents prowling around!
the mother or dad that playfully grazed my canoe 10 months ago near the muara of sungai merang are very much alive and well....... take care when you fish  or canoe in any teganung river!


aggressive plus plus...i would have love to rear this chap in our small pond but the 'noise' it make is respectable. we do not wish her 10 foot mother prowling near our kitchen.


ready to go to hulu terengganu....


hamzah suggested we just sell it to a chinaman  he knows who would have him for dinner perhaps. 400 rm could exchange hands easily i was told, and that is a hefty sum for hamzah!

lan, my younger brother suggested we give him to dato yeh, my good friend in kota bharu who might be interested to rear it in his 'moat' surrounding his kb holiday pondok. he has a huge estate cum private holiday resort near penkalan chepa in kb.

'no hamzah, i have to dissapoint you. we cannot sell to your chinaman friend  because your boss is not that quite low profile. if the kampong people come to know we will be in trouble. lan, dato yeh is not contactable, i think he is still in makkah and i think he will also not agree to the plan. we can of course rear it here in the back yard if you guys love it very much ,but that would be asking it's mother to come for you guys!....let me call perhilitan. my kl friend knows the pengarah, encik hasdi, and has provided his hp number.',..... that was my considered opinion after one day of serious deliberation.



that night i thought to myself i could have some peace and quiet and settle down to some serious zikr and night prayer. remember, this was just two days post umrah in makkah. body and spirit , both were still in the mood! despite the bad flu and generalised body ache. 


don't underestimate shallowness of the alur, this is 'croc territory......setiu basin reforestation has worked!!


suddenly, in the wee hours of the morning around 4 am, a loud shrill shout outside the house from hamzah's wife,

' abe lan! abe lan!, dakto! dakto! mari cepat , mari cepat! fatehah kena rasuk hantu!'.

'omg!...., i said to myself, 'apa pula? i have been here the last two year. even camping alone on the beach during the initial construction phase of al qalwa....and no hantu!
now with all the prayers...got hantu!'

fatehah and her husband just arrived three days earlier to al qalwa from rantau panjang. her husband lost his odd job in kb and was jobless for 6 months. hamzah asked them to come over, to give him a helping hand. 

unknown to me then, the two , husband and wife had joined hamzah upstream some 400 yards away from al qalwa towards lawyer dato hisham's beach house at 10 pm. hamzah still back to his fishing activities. they stayed too long there and fatehah decided on her own to walk back alone to al qalwa......brave girl!! [ also careless ]. 

that place is well known to be a wee bit 'keras' amongst the local, but despite that quite popular with young couples at night. also popular with the local 'pencegah maksiat' as well....and also the occasional drug addicts and the occasional police patrol
so the 'keras' aspect is pretty relative. the more 'keras' the place is, the more the attraction i can guess.

by 12 midnight she started to behave 'unnaturally' moving her hands in a semi-purposive manner nad complaining of feelingg extremely cold., according to hamzah. i was not told of this until later the next day. hamzah and her husband tried to pacify her in their ways until her 'problem' got worse, then they decided to call the boss at 4 am!

i have always been called at this wee hours of the morning to salvage people in heart failure and more often than not , to open people's blocked coronary arteries.....these are no sweat! it come with the territory of being the substantive senior consultant cardiologist at sjmc, after some thirty two  years of cardiological  practice.

this one.....a girl moving her upper limbs in odd fashion and grimacing away with eyes darting from one corner to another is a different kettle of fish!
this is not heart failure nor blocked arteries.

from the little that i still know of neurology, this is not seizure or epilepsy.
certainly not temporal lobe epilepsy.
could this well be histrionic behavior of a kampong girl under stress?.....highly probable in the list of all possibilities. this is her first time leaving home and having to interact with others as adults.....the 'internal' pressure for a kampong girl like her must be tremendous.

could this be a schizoid reaction to 'stress' from a kampong girl with a schizoid predisposition and tendency?....possible but remain to be seen and would need a full history from husband.
but 20 years of age, this could well be her 1st episode, so history is not effective here to exclude this.

these differential diagnoses raced through my mind.
uppermost in my mind was histrionic personality with acute conversion reaction, remembering my psychiatric training under prof teoh of university hospital in my fourth year medical school some forty something years back!

this being the case, given that fatehah, just turned 20 and coming from the backwater of rantau panjang, with its inherrent socio-cultural belief and back ground steeped in 'bageh' [  a kampong ceremony in the 60's in back water places like bachok and tumpat , kelantan involving neighbours and main actor the magic man , the bomoh with his ensemble, with the intention of driving away evil spirit supposedly truobling a member of the family. this usually a community affair ], 'rasuk hantu' [ devil possession ]and 'bommo', i am ready to dance to her tune and play the 'game'.

my initial game plan was to play around with her belief and play along to the point towards the end i can offer her some semblance of 'save waterface' outlet.
tomorrow , insyaallah, all will be ok.
the husband and her new friends will be gentle with her and cajole her along for a week or so until she get reorriented to the new 'stressfull' environment, of being fully adult.

that is the 'gameplan' with most histrionics as far as my little understanding of clinical psychiatry goes. 

my gameplan is to 'play the game' with her and offer her a 'soft landing'.

so i jumped in and start working.

'demo sapo. demo margi mano weh!? ', i bravely asked. [ damn it! who are you. where are you from ]

'.....mari sanno..', she answered, cheekily, pointing to the beach, in the direction towards lawyer dato hisham's beach house, some half kilometre away. [ ..i am from there... ]

that 'cheekily' part unsettled me a wee bit.
'am i on the right tract?', i asked myself.

' apo pasa  demo gedebe sangat demo mari kaca rumoh  kawae..mari kachau anok buoh kawae...tepat sining orghe semaye, orge bezikir!...guano ya demo gedebe sangat nih! '
[ why do you come and disturb my place and people. this is a place for prayer and rememberance..]

' sejuk sanno', it says , pointing in the general direction of the beach. it was raining outside.
' ambo nok tupe jah..' it said [  it is cold outside...just want to stay awhile.. ]

'that voice does not sound like fatehah'..., hamzah's wife, her half sister, echoed from behind me. hamzah and zaki [ her husband ] were there some distance away. lan, my brother, obviously did not like this encounter. he 'cabuted' back to our pondok.
lan and i, had in our childhood days seen the film,' the exorcist ', and i can read what went on his mind.

he had a choice. for me the bucks stopped here!

i did not waste time i started with a series of 'kul a'uzubirabbinnnas', followed by ' kul a'uuzubirabbil 'kul falak', finishing off with  a long series of 'ayat kursi'. even forgot to read al fatihah. i would already be on shaky ground, if this really is not hysterical conversion reaction, but a 'real rasuk hantu' case, i thought to myself, if i missed al fatihah.

after 30 long minutes of doing the series, there seemed to be no improvement. in fact i get a wee bit of palpitation when she asked,

'demo baca gapo weh!!?? ', glaring at me. [ what are you mumbling about my friend....]
now it is nik howk the 'bomoh's time to  get cold sweat in between his sarong!
she is now turning into an 'it'.

fatehah, given her age and back ground, i reckoned, would not have that  mental dexterity and nuance to understand that she is dealing with a pure amateur in front of her, and even joking about it!!

i was pretty sure at this juncture, it is no longer a 'mind game' i can play.
is this 'exorcism, fullstop?.

'am i reading it wrong? my reading may be all over the place', self doubt began to creep in.

from there i changed my 'gameplan',for good measure i added the last three ayat of surah albaqarah to my armamentarium and restart in full gear with the six small surah al 'khidr and strengthened further by 7 readings of the last three ayat of surah al baqarah.
i was sweating in my sarong despite the rain outside.
my hairs stood on ends!

after another very long 20 minutes, it began to work, the limb movement lessened and IT's glare become less fierce.

'..ambo nok kecing..', it said.   [ .. .i want to go and pee..]
' sapo dio ambo nih ', i asked.  [  who is this who want to pee..]
'ambo lah '  [ me ]
' ambo, ambo ni sapo dia?, i asked harshly. [ me , me  me, who is me!!?? ]
'ibleh ko jinn nih?', i asked, gaining in confidence. 

' yo lah, ambo fatehah.....', IT smiled cheekily, then added, abruptly, ' ambo iblis!.... '

my hairs stood on ends but i maintained my composure.

we asked the husband to follow her to an outside toilet, some 15 yards away from the workers quarter. the husband reluctantly followed her , in fear, accompanied by hamzah's wife. both in fear.

when they came back, fatehah regained her composure.
she told us ,
' i am  very tired. i want to go to sleep..'
the movement in the fingers had stopped by then.

myself, lan and hamzah left the couple to themselves and went outside the quarter to have coffee while waiting for the azan subuh, while zaki and hamzah's wife attended to fatehah.


shortly after that the husband, zaki, came out to join us for coffee.
'dakto, ambo takut tadi dekat bilek air.....bining ambo lambai tangan kat sapo dio ambo tok tahu, dio kata 'bye...bye..'
[ dr, i was fearful at the outside toilet just now...my wife waved bye bye to some object in the dark.........]

now it was time for dr nik howk to have cold sweat!!
what a weekend!

the morals of the story are:

1. dr nik howk can say good bye to his plan to canoe in all the great rivers of terengganu....especially in the setiu basin. 
crocs are endemic here in terengganu, full stop!

2. girls! if you have to walk in the wee hours of the morning or at night on the beach far away from any beach house or motel, walk in company. please, please, never do it alone. there can be unwarranted 'encounter of the third kind'. or even 'encounters of the first kind' can be dangerous. one do not know what lurks in the minds of men at these places at such time.

3. if ever i have to face this kind of situation again i will put my 'scientific', analytic thoughts and scepticism away on the back burner, and right on from the first word go, proceed full steam ahead with my usual gambit of the 'six khidr' plus my favourite last three ayat of surah al baqarah. no more 'mental game'. assume it is exorcism right from the word go.
even if it is not, it will work for histrionic conversion reaction, most time.

7 x fatihah
7  x an nas
7  x al falak
7  x kul huwallah
7  x kulya
7  x ayatul kursi

and add my favourite, 
7  x last three ayat of al baqarah.

.....and if this does not work, i will get someone to call the local imam.....whatever the time. frankly, i would rather do primary infarct emergency angioplasty than this kind of work!!
it is damn scary because you do not know what kind of 'devil'  and 'demon' you are dealing with!

and if the 'demon' turned out to be a benign  'internal demon of the histrionic ' kind, even in this situation, the serious right on approach will work.








mr gedebe, the stud, a cross between pure arabian and a brazilian breed, mangalarga machador; pedro, ex-polo; mek bunga,  pure arabian but 'tak comel, thus the name; and salsabil, ex-race, now heavily pregnant.

al qalwa is a small piece of heaven on earth but don't stray too far away from it at night on the beach, especially alone!







other articles on haj and umrah in the blog:

1. http://drnikisahak.blogspot.my/2010/06/tan-sri-ibrahim-promet-in-memory.html

2.  http://drnikisahak.blogspot.my/2016/12/umrahour-time-for-renewal_8.html


3.  http://drnikisahak.blogspot.my/2016/12/umrahto-next-level.html



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