Here’s a true story, just related to me today over a coffee at my kitchen table.
The woman chatting to me has recently had a medical problem diagnosed (after an CT scan and ultrasound) as kidney stones, and is due to go for laser treatment in the local hospital here in Selangor. Her close relative, however, said he knows a very good traditional medicine man (bomoh), and why doesn’t she try him first for some non-invasive treatment, especially as he is renowned for his treatment of kidney stones.
Having a “try anything” attitude, she said OK, and off they went to visit the bomoh in Durian Tunggal, Malacca. Her first shock was the number of people lining up to see him. So many that he had a “Take a number” system. He was giving out between 50 to 70 numbers a day, 5 days a week, and sometimes there was more than one person to a number. The fee was a “donation”. The woman and her relative both paid 20RM (about $US6 or $AUD8 each).
Do the arithmetic. The guy is earning considerably more than my husband who has a Ph.D in science.
So the bomoh asks the woman what’s the matter, she explains and he cautions her not to have the laser treatment because it is dangerous. In other words, he is actively advising her to go against her doctor’s advice. He then massages the area over the kidneys and produces, one after the other, three “kidney stones” which he gives to her. Problem solved, no need to go for that pesky hospital visit.
Woman – highly suspicious – phones her doctor and asks to have another ultrasound. He very kindly doesn’t scold her and obliging sets one up. Of course, the kidney stones are still there, and woman is still scheduled for her laser treatment.
I dunno why I write stories about magic (which stories no one believes for a minute) and get paid so little. I should be setting up a bomoh clinic, have everyone believing in my magic, and earn a fortune at the same time (apparently immune from the law too, on the grounds of…what? Traditional cultural practices of cheating the public are sacrosanct?).
This man is a menace. He is a crook. He is ripping off the gullible public and possibly putting people in danger at the same time by persuading them to avoid medical treatment. Why is he allowed to practice? Why on earth do people believe in this crap?