Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Thanks to all who gave helpful advice and comments on my Streamyass problem. Nothing worked. The line drops as often as a randy nymphomaniac drops his pants. I am trying to send back the 4 year old modem that came with my account and buy a new one.

My Latah post somehow was read by a researcher L.K. Tucker in Georgia, USA. He (or she) sent me an email giving me a web page where other Culture Bound Syndromes are explained as part of a psychology project. Read the webpage here.

According to the page, latah is linked to Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome although I must say that not all that latah in Malaysia jump. As the story in my post illustrated, latah may be triggered by vision but most start to latah by an unexpected tickle or a slap on the back.

I also find that the findings on latah in Malaysia concentrated too much in the longhouses of Sabah and Sarawak. There are afflicted persons all over the 13 states of Malaysia and most of them do not live in longhouses or in cramped condition. Villages in Malaysia are hardly cramped, unlike the squatter areas in urban centers.

I wish I can point Mr (or Ms) Tucker to some psychologists or psychiatrists in Malaysia to get more information on latah. Anyone that can shed some light on this should contact Mr (or Ms) Tucker at this email address. I would like to add that latah is not considered a disease or even a mental illness. I have found no one in Malaysia that sought treatment for latah. Now, latah has crept into the media as melatah, a knee-jerk reaction common to politicians and government servants. It is not as funny as the original latah and those afflicted with it should seek mental treatment immediately.

Mr (or Ms) Tucker also appealed to Malaysians to shed some light on amok. This is thought to be a peculiar Malaysian thing although we have read of similar incidents elsewhere. Something snapped and people go berserk. It is true that amok perpetrators were shot or otherwise killed simply because in most cases that was the only way to stop further massacre.

Amok reminds me of a story my father told me very long ago. Please forgive the occasional mixup in tenses. First cigarette after iftar tends to give me a confusing high. He told me of a Mat Licing Le'e in Terengganu who was obsessively jealous when it comes to his wife. Mat suspected that his wife slept around whenever he was not around. Not having the benefit of chastity belts, Mat did the next best thing. Every time he came home, he would run his hand over the wife's suspected part. He would then pronounce it "Licing le'e" (super smooth) and went about his business. My father didn't tell me what Mat's business was. How Mat certified his wife fidelity just by touch is something beyond me. I am not a psychiatrist and Mat is mental, remember?
Anyway, one day he found it not as smooth as per his usual standard and he went amok, killing several unsuspecting neighbours and bystanders before being shot dead. Tragic but true. Jealousy is hazardous to your health, and your neighbours health too.

An academician's view on amok (in Malay)