My Bagan Datoh Vacation, Final Installment

The house began to look like a hospital wardMy five children weren’t the only ones sick over the vacation. The wife was busy vomiting all over the place too. The problem: Penyakit buatan orang. That literally means a man-made illness but refers to a hex or voodoo curse placed on someone. Black magic is alive and well in Malaysia, at least in people’s minds. It is not uncommon to hear people complain of illness, change of a spouse’s affections or other problems as being caused by witchcraft and to seek remedy from bomohs, often in the form of Quranic verses and the like. In this case, though, the hex was placed by me: she’s pregnant. Thank you, thank you. Bin Gregory Production #6 is due sometime in early July. Blame it on Malaysian birth control.

I never imagined I would become the father of such a large family, but now that it is happening it feels very right, masha’Allah. When I reflect back, maybe I should have known it would be so. The family I had been closest to over the years prior to getting married was an American convert couple who have six kids. My wife’s wali and the mediator between me and my wife’s family back in Malaysia during our marriage process also had six kids. In fact I had completely forgotten, until my wife recently reminded me, that he had made dua for us on our wedding day that we should have more kids than him. Uh Oh.

Anyway, with all five kids down with the measels, and the wife incapacitated by a single-celled organism of a different nature, our vacation post-Pangkor consisted of me slipping out of the house on excursions for medicine, diapers, hot chocolate, and so on. Thus, my final offering to you from our school vacation is a windshield survey of the musallahs and masjids of Rungkup Road, Bagan Datoh. Not quite the Bridges of Madison County but I do what I can. You can also see all my photos of Islamic places of worship in Malaysia as a slideshow on Flickr.
Madrasah al-Maarof Surau Jamiatul Islamiyyah Masjid Khayri Surau, Kg. Sungai Burung Surau Idrisiyyah Masjid Ismailiyyah Surau along Jalan Rungkup Masjid along Jalan Rungkup Kecil Masjid al-Falah Masjid Sungai Nipah Baroh Sign

Masjid Sungai Nipah Baroh

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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  1. assalamualaikum… gembira saya menemui website ini, saya juga berasal dari bagan datoh, tinggal di Taman bagan pasir, batu 20, bagaimana agaknya keadaan kampung saya sekarang, tapi dilahirkan di Kampung sungai Haji Muhammad, saudara dimana di Bagan Datoh tu. Sekarang saya sedang belajar di Al-Azhar University… baik jumpa lagi… ilal liqa

  2. Alhamdulillah.

    yes penyakit buatan org indeed was very expand in Malaysia,

    Oh by the way, is that all your kids in the living room? May Allah bless your family with good health and peacfulness.

  3. Ibnulfaridh,
    waalaykum salam sidi,
    dua anak saya lahir di Sungai Balai Darat, tempat asal isteri saya. Walaupun saya orang asing tapi sejak sepuluh tahun yang lalu, saya dah rasa macam itu kampung saya juga. Bila saudara nak habis belajar?

    Yes, those are all my children in my mother-in-law’s living room, the two youngest ones in the buaians. Alhamdulillah, everyone is sihat wal afiyat now.

  4. salam… sungai balai baruh… tak jauh dari rumah saya, huh rindunya kampung halaman… tengok gambar diatas dengan pohon kelapa yang memang sudah sinonim dengan bagan datoh.. lagi menambahkan ingatan saya pada kampung… insya allah kalau semuanya berjalan baik saya akan balik 2 tahun lagi..

  5. Talking about black magic, I’ve personally experienced it since I was 15 in a boarding school in Malaysia where my dorm mate was possessed by jins. I thought those things happened in movies only. Next, when I came here, I personally had to be Harun Din wanna be exorcising a girl whose boyfriend was rejected by her father. He avenged his humiliation by sending a jin all the way from Malaysia to haunt this girl. Next, a Sarawakian girl was also possessed and this time we were fortunate enough that a local shaykh was about 25 miles away and had asked me and two other brothers who were memorizing Quran with me to handle the case. You should have seen their faces, it was their first time dealing with something like that. In a précis, penyakit buatan orang is scary and does happen in Malaysia and to Malaysians abroad..

  6. Assalammualaikum,

    Semasa hayat arwah datuk, Hj. Mat Desa Ghazali,
    he was a great man, a bilal and the imam di Masjid Sg. Lanchang. Saya ingat lagi, masa kecil, on the way back home from rumah opah, my family and i would pass the Masjid and he would always be there duduk di wakaf titi Masjid while waiting for waktu masuk.

    I miss him so much.

    PS – Mak cik saya runs the grocery store kat corner Sg. Darat tu πŸ˜‰

  7. oh ya, i wonder if you have an entry written on the founder of Sek. Agama Bt. 26 tu, arwah Tn. Hj. Ghazali, kalau tak silap, beliau tu berpangkat ulamak. I’d really love to read about him as my encounter with him was about 25 years back, i was too young to appreciate him then.

    Masa saya kecil, my father would always take me to visit him and his wife. Lepas tu, before balik, ayah would make us stand before him, where he touches our forehead and recites some doa for us πŸ˜‰

  8. wa alaykum salam Lailadewi,

    Your pakcik is pakcik Hasanal Basri (or pakcik Bauk they call him, but don’t tell him I said that ;)) ?! I know him pretty well. He took me and my wife to hospital to deliver our first child. Arwah Tn. Hj. Ghazali is my late father-in-law, my God bless him, if we’re speaking about the same man. He passed away closer to 30 years ago, 28 at the latest. His wife, my mother-in-law, is Hjh Maznah, who lives about four houses down across the street from Pakcik Hasan.

    Small world, kak. Where are you know?

  9. Yup… Alang Hasan Basri is my pak cik since he married my father’s sis, Alang Zainon.

    Your late father-in-law, was he the founder of the school? If he was, then we must be talking about the same person. I’m not sure what is his wife name (gotta check with ayah)… but one thing i’m sure of, she is a fair lady and i can see her beauty despite the wrinkles on her face, must be a pretty hot chick then…hihi πŸ˜‰

    I’m currently in Bandar Baru Bangi, staying with my husband. My parents are in Teluk Intan and some relatives are back there in Bagan Datoh.

    Salam to your mrs.

    PS – I supposed mat salleh ni pandai ngomong jowo lah yo? caya lah πŸ™‚

  10. πŸ™‚ haha… sik hal la… but i’m sure kitak nang pass (faham) apa nok dimadah sidak family di Sg. Balai ya.

    what are you up to now, brother?

    sorry… that was a wrong url i’ve given you.

  11. sorry (where’s my manners… was carried out with my personal thots of my childhood :-))… tahniah ye… on the pregnancy… i hope she’s passed that uwek2 stage πŸ™‚

  12. I’m sorry, I don’t really know. The masjid in Sungai Nipah Baroh is dated from 1903. The Masjid Jamek Jawiyyah in Sungai Balai Darat is also over one hundred years old. But Bagan Datoh itself, and its masjid, are probably older than the kampungs on jalan rungkup.

  13. Assalamualaikum Laila

    I think we are related coz Alang Zainon is my cousin. Could be your Opah, arwah my father’s sister. Who’s your father. You said your father’s sis, so either you are Abang Mat’s daughter of Abang Nei’s daughter? I wonder?

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