Time to rein in superstitions and deviant practices

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After watching Raja Bomoh’s latest video on ‘North Korea’, I have kept the bewilderment as well as amusement to myself. The reason is simple; I was not brave enough to express my views on it, given the potential sensitivity involved.

Although there were rituals which appeared ridiculous and even stupid, but there were also prayers recited. Because of that, I thought it was better for me to keep quiet.

Even before the latest video, there were other equally ridiculous videos made by the same bomoh when MH370 went missing and when MH17 was shot down. I understand all these videos are now circulating in the social media and also broadcast on television channels abroad.

I am writing about it now because a few days ago the mufti of the Federal Territories has reprimanded the bomoh and asked him to repent because the rituals performed were deemed un-Islamic. Yesterday I gathered that a deputy minister in the PM’s department has given instruction to the public to stop circulating the bomoh’s video. Today the inspector-general of police (IGP) said Raja Bomoh will be hauled up for shaming the Malays.

Since the authorities have said their piece, please allow me to chip in a little in this matter.

First, I think we have to ask ourselves why our country, instead of becoming more progressive and scientific, has become more superstitious, archaic and stupid. Not only that, superstitious and archaic people are now holding sway as if they are more knowledgeable and learned than others. Many of the stupid antics have gone unchallenged.

Second, I think many rational Malaysians are becoming apprehensive in expressing our views. We hold our horses even though some of the antics unfolded are obviously very wrong and stupid. We are afraid to criticize the people engaging in nonsensical crafts or expounding crazy ideas for fear of inadvertently insulting their religion or race.

Third, I think unscrupulous people are using religion/race to promote their fraudulent trade. They would make ridiculous claims but at the same time would recite some verses from the holy book to protect themselves from being charged for indulging in deviant practices or engaging in fraud.

Fourth, the sad reality is everything is dependent on the authorities now. If the authorities had not opened their mouth, no one would dare to criticise the nonsensical practices being perpetrated and perpetuated.

I hope we can all see the unintended consequences of authorities asserting too much control and influence over the people in the name of race and religion.

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