May 5, 2006

Bomoh Nation

Posted in Malaysia, Religion at 1:07 am by egalitaria

As reported in Malaysiakini, an Umno supreme council member’s aide has confirmed that using bomohs was a norm among Malaysian politicians.

Now what exactly is a bomoh? The closest English translation one can think of is the word shaman.

Shaman, n.

A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events.

Apparently there are a whole host of bomoh-types. Political bomohs, event bomohs, and so on. This is very much akin to the fortune telling one would see on old Penang streets, or mediums who believe they are easily possessed by spirits of the past such that inter-world communication is made possible.

Now if you look at certain religions (read: Islam or even pure Buddhism) carefully, you would note that mediums and shamans have no place whatsoever in their belief systems. Much of what Asians practise today is a result of tradition and culture. In which part of any faith-based religion is there a call to “seek out spiritual mediums” in order to determine your future? The Judaistic religions would certainly hold no ground for seeking out bomohs.

Picture a scenario in a developed nation. (It is unfortunate that immediately one thinks of a white people in a white nation, although Japan and Korea are fast moving ahead of the others)… so let’s say Australia. The top politicians in this country are well respected. Imagine all of them turning to a spiritual medium that practices magic or sorcery in order to make predictions about the future, and to secure a stable position for themselves. Does this not speak of the lack of confidence they place in their individual leadership capabilities? Such that their own merit is not anywhere near relevant. Oh yes, this still happens in our country.

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1 Comment

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