My Greatest Fear

Everyone fears something or someone in his life. Fear of height, fear of flying, fear of slithery animal or fear of closed space; they have happened to people. It is not something strange to have fears. In fact, having fears makes us more human and in touch with reality. Identifying the fear that we have is the first step to discover our own self. Some fears are more devastating than others; as a result of our dark past. Others are light and have less impact on our lives. I know only one Malay word to describe fear; which is “takut”, a negative connotation that closely related to the act of cowardness. Maybe there are other words but my childhood experience has taught me to avoid this by all means—-fear no one, trust no body. In the end you would grow up as a stubborn old man ! I think having fear is normal; being “penakut” is the result of untreated fear. As a child I fear darkness, we did not have any closet in our bedroom so the monster could not hide in the closet but in the darkness. Or right up that big old tree that would haunt you when you came back from that nightly mengaji Quran (religious lesson). I would run like hell. The most fearful place was the cemetery. You have to recite some prayers while passing by the place and never look back whenever you thought you hear something. That fears have eased out of us as we grow older.

I grew up in a community that resort to shaman and witchcraft whenever people became ill. The bomoh (shaman) will do a ceremony to cure the ill. I remember not to miss it whenever the bomoh came around in the village. They set up elaborate offerings to the “dewa-dewa” and “jin” that will help the cure. This would be done a few hours before the actual ceremony started. I remember witnessing one ceremony being done on an elderly lady in our village that had been ill and bed-ridden for some time. The shaman would start with a chant followed by a ghostly music from seruling, gendang and gong. Pucuk pinang (leaves) would be used to wake up the soul of the ill elderly woman. The shaman would continue chanting to the tune of seruling and not long he will be in trance. He seemed to be out of this world speaking in a foreign language we all did not understand. He started to lose control of himself as something else started to occupy his actions and his speech. Everyone started to get excited as the healing process went to the next stage—the time when that elderly woman got into action. I would hide behind my brothers as the scene scared me to death. I would not let myself to get into such thing—–get really excited and lose your mind. The shaman went into dancing and shortly the sick elderly woman slowly got herself up and danced. That was the highlight of the night. The two would dance for while and more and more people got into trance and danced with them. The dancing would go on for a few hours. I never got to see the end of such ceremony as it would go on well into the wee hours of the morning. I usually fell asleep after the old lady woke up and started dancing. That was history and nowadays people don’t do such ceremony anymore. It’s scary.

My greatest fear is to lose control of my self. Some people like to lose control of himself. I just could not imagine myself being out of control. I fear that one day I would completely lose control of my mind that I forget people around me; family, friends and relatives. Maybe I would give a blind stare and have no idea who are all these people. I fear that I would run amok and beat anybody who stands in my way. When I see “orang gila” I always fear that it could be me; running around naked and jack off in front of the people. What would I do if the madness of King Henry the Eighth recur within my soul? It would be very sad indeed. People will say that and they would just leave it at that; because you are one crazy old man. I would fear after all these years of knowing and loving people, you would end your life as a grumpy old man that could not let anyone to love him. I imagine myself lying on a slumpy old bed stained with stinking pee and dirty soil with nobody around. Laa Haula wala QuwwataiLlah biLlah hil ‘aleey il ‘azim.

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