Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Getting Horny by Bekam.

BEKAM is a traditional Malay medical practice which is not often carried out anymore nowadays.. My late grandpa was once a well known Tukang Bekam. The aim of bekam ( noun) (verb: berbekam) is to remove the darah kotor (dirty blood) from the body in the most unnatural way. (Note: the natural way occurred monthly, I suppose to some) The dirty blood is drawn out by the partial vacuum instrument traditionally made of cattle horns. Nowadays, glasses or even tin cans are also used. Some use big leeches ( lintah but not pacat) to suck blood from the various part of the body. It is claimed to help those who suffered from stroke and arthritis.
My grandpa used the cattle horn (tanduk bekam) consisting of the well curved sharp end of horn about 6 inches long. The horn edge is cut to make a small hole and the natural wax bee is placed over the hole to act as the air sealant .The main tools used for this minor head operation are the Bekam horn (three or four pieces to spare), a long needle made from the wire ( straightened paper clips), sharp traditional shaving knife (pisau cukur) , coconut shell (for placing the bad blood,) good morning towel, cotton wool and a basin of water.

The Bekam is usually done on the head – and mainly for headaches and migraine. It can also be done to other parts of the body if the horn can be stuck on but it is not possible on the more hairy parts of the body. The tukang bekam will shave the hair at the top back part of the head (at 2.5 inches square) and then, the horn will be placed on the shaved patch and the tukang bekam will suck the air out of the horn through the temporary hole made in the wax to create a partial vacuum before biting the wax with his teeth. Well, after that the person being treated will become “horny” and “devilish” i.e. having a horn on his head looking like the devil. As a little child, I like to see the patient with the horn who looks like a Unicorn Viking. My grandpa used to threaten my cousin and I to put the horn on their head for being naughty will never be taken out.

After 10 minutes, the horn on the head will be detached by poking a pin hole on to the wax which devacuum the horn. The bald patch will be swollen from the vacuum suction. So, my grandpa used the shaving knife (with the cover folded to it back) to slice 5 to 7 cuts (toreh –like tapping rubber) on the skin head. And he had to read the jampi to ensure that only the bad dirty will ooze out. Then, the horn is placed back on the shaved patch to cover all the cuts; and suck vacuum and sealed back.
After another 10 minutes, the first bad blood is drawn. The horn is de vacuum and is usually filled dark coagulated blood. The colour depends on the severity of the headache - the severe it is, then darker it gets. This process is repeated three times. By the third time, there is no more blood. For the service, the patient paid about $ 5 - $ 10

The blood is put into the coconut shell which is buried and not thrown anywhere. The sealing of the wound on the bald patch is done by placing the rubbed hands (demah) on the skin head. After two or three times of demah, the sliced skin was sealed. However, the bald square patch (3x3) patch remained for some time and some of them hide it by using songkok or kopiah until the hair grows again. By then, your headache may come back again and your have to have another round of bekam. I remember seeing it done before the fasting month when the old folks don’t want to get head ache for fasting. However, my grandpa said that the occupational hazard of being a tukang bekam is that you teeth will drop fast. That true when he lost all his teeth a relatively young age. He cannot continue since he needs them to bite and seal the wax.
My grandpa wanted to teach me how to do the bekam but I was not interested. Sometimes, I have splitting migraine, how I wish he is still around a give a bekam.
MOTHER, OH! MOTHEROur mother or some call her Mom,
She is the one, the only one
For her, there’s no replacement
Many a times, she keeps reminding
Though we listen but detesting
If possible, she insisted not to argue
But just follow whatever she ask to doE
very step we take
When we are awakeMum always said
Do this, my dear; don’t do that
Don’t be like this; don’t be like that
It is not pleasant to be that way
It is not polite to be this way

On seeing us changing clothes
She will ask right away
Where are you going?
From where you’re coming?
At times, we heave a long sigh
And at random we answer her
What she said we do understand
But often we overlook and disregard them
Our mother is only one
She does not recognize how clever we are now
She only knows that we are her child, forever
As she grows older, her heart grow harder
Her love will only be felt deeper
When she is gone, gone forever