Here’s my 1st post as PopIN’s PopMuda. Tune in at PopIn’s Facebook page and Twitter for updates on my posts this whole week!

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Face it, we Malaysians are such a superstitious lot. Admittedly, it adds a certain flavour and colour to our culture, but there are some instances where the superstitions border on being absurdly ridiculous.

Let’s take a look at some of the stuff Malaysians take to heart:

1. Numbers
Countless Malaysians suffer from an irrational fear for numbers. The result: we have floor 3A instead of floor 4. Also because of this, car plates that contain variations of ‘444’ or ‘4444’ are relatively cheaper than other vanity numbers. Funny, innit?

Don’t even mention getting nombor ekor. We see them in the weirdest of places.

2. Bomoh
Bomohs and pawangs are almost part of our national health service, that I fear one day it might join the ranks of other alternative pseudo-treatments like homeopathy and acupuncture. The thing is, bomohs are notorious for rape cases and even murder. Furthermore, they do not need legit training, be hygienic or even certified. Unlike doctors, they are not obligated to abide by the oath to “do no harm”.

Why do we trust them so much again?

3. Hantu
Boy, we have so many names for different ghouls! (Danny Lim’s The Malaysian Book of The Undead is an amusing guide to most of them). However, more sinister is that there are always some hantus or makhluk halus to be blamed for everything that went wrong. Rape? That was the orang minyak. Theft? Toyol. Car acccidents? Pocong. Abduction? Hantu tetek.

Others? Just blame in on dark arts or djinn possession.

4. Media
Do we have so many supernatural news in the media because we believe in those nonsense, or do we believe in them because they come up a lot in news? Malaysian tabloids thrive on these paranormal sensations (here looking at you, Harian Metro and Kosmo) and we have kids reading Mastika instead of Reader’s Digest.

The tabloids are not the only guilty ones. TV3 featured the praying sejadah hoax a few weeks ago.

5. Bogus
Looking at the ads targeted at Malaysians, it seems that all we care about is getting thin and being virile. It is very common to see ubat kuat or urut batin ads plastered around, and to get thin, we’re easily duped by sham products ranging from diet juices, irradiated gems in Premium Beautiful corsets, magical crystals, magnetic mattress et cetera, et cetera.

I reserve my greatest gripe for the BioAura water system. According to their TV ad, some filtered water is all you need to become a successful person. Pfft.

For more take on the supernatural, visit Unscientific Malaysia.