My Bagan Datoh Vacation, Final Installment
My 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.