"Su, why is Lina absent? "
"She's not feeling well la.."
"Oh, fever again?"
"No.. she couldn't sleep well since last week. She's too scared to sleep well."
"Scared? Scared of what?"
"Haven't you heard? Our place has been attacked by the Orang Minyak."
"What??!! You are kidding!"
"Ehh.. no la. There's been stories... Many girls have been 'you-know'.."
"So what are you girls doing to protect yourself?"
"Read the Quran at night la.. what to do."
I asked around. True enough, everywhere I go, there are rumours about the so-called Orang Minyak or Petroleum Man. Apparently, a man who's studying black magic needs to rape 40 virgins in order to gain invinsibility or whatever spells. And guess what, everyone will point to the mystery attacker as a Malay man. Why? Because traditionally this black magic is learnt by the people of Malay origin. And yes, too bad that Malays are also generally known to be Muslims. Don't know la if in this modern age, the Malaysia Boleh ideology has made the Indians and Chinese men interested to learn this black magic spell too. Anyway, rumours have it that this 'sticky oily black petroleum man' is invisible if he wants to and can penetrate walls (heck, he's better than David Copperfield the illusionist) which helps him to achieve his goal of 40 virgins. So the panic has already begun last week among the young ladies when news of the attacks surfaced. Apparently, the local Chinese-medium newspaper has run a report on it. I'm not sure what's going on because I am not a permanent hostel resident.
"Have you seen the 'orang minyak?"
"Aliya, I pray I don't have the chance to," replied an Indian friend.
"So what do you do to stop that 'orang minyak' from attacking?"
"Pray a lot la..what to do," replied the Muslim girls.
"I'm hoping for the best la.. but I'd be lying if I say I'm not scared."
"You shouldn't be scared, you should be angry. Anger will help you to fight back. That creature is disturbing you. Don't allow him to create havoc in your life," I advised another friend.
"You should recite whatever prayers in your own religious teachings before you sleep, " I told my Chinese friends.
"Why are you scared? Don't you have your Hindu god with you in your hostel room? That should give you enough protection," I tried to comfort a panicky Indian friend.
"Then you should keep a lighter with you la.. burn him if he comes near you. After all he's covered with oil."
"Yeah, and I heard that a yellow bamboo stick will make him weak if you hit him with it. So always have a stick with you. Just whack hard between the legs."
"Aiyah... no need so scared la. Just hang your soiled undergarments high above the door before you sleep. If he passes underneath, he'd be soii (unlucky) for seven years.. just remember to take it down every morning mahh."
"Lucky thing I'm married... maybe I should put a notice at the door so he'd leave me in peace - Married and Unavailable. Ooh no, that's MAU (want).. the undergarments seems a better option. I don't think he can read anyway."
Anyway, all sorts of preventive remedies have been suggested to prevent from getting raped by this orang minyak:
1. wear pyjamas inside-out ( to prevent from being hypnotised or a new unappealing fashion?)
2. put the broom at the door (to sweep him away?)
3. keep a yellow bamboo stick in the room ( to scare him or hit him?)
4. put a surah yassin book beneath the pillow when you sleep (can or not ustazah?)
5. scatter the ‘keladi’ leaves and ‘kelopak jantung pisang’ on the floor ( too slippery for him to walk?)
I mean, this is 21st century. And besides, believing all these 'remedies' instead of Allah's power can make one syirik. Does the orang minyak' really exist or is it just a human being disguising as one to scare the victims into silence? My vote goes to the latter. Yet the panic that this creature creates is so great that some young ladies have spent nights trying to stay awake and losing precious sleep as a result. A few have become sick due to the stress of being too scared to go to the the loo in the middle of the night. Also some have been squatting with friends at their rented houses because they fear sleeping at the hostels. If indeed the oily man exists, he certainly succeeds in creating fear in the hearts of the young ladies. What are the Muslim girls doing to overcome this problem among themselves? The general feeling I get from the population is one of fear and worry. This shouldn't be. Perhaps young ladies are more vigilant nowadays due to the rumours of this creature, but they should also realise that everything is determined by Allah swt. We should pray and trust Him to protect us from harm, as well as talking every precaution for our own safety. I pray that they don't let fear of the unknown to take over their lives.