We give them respectability here. We don't call them anything as crass as witchdoctors. They are bomoh, and they even have the gall to recite Islamic prayers and talk about the will of God. Give them some gifts, or a donation (they rarely ask for a set amount, or even for anything at all), and they will happily lie in ways that will end up killing you if you believe them. And no one ever calls them to book. No one charges them with murder.
But some of them are murdering Malay women. And we let them get away with it.
Many, many years ago I went to a session with a bomoh in a suburban house near mine. Among the many there that night was a young woman who had just been told she had cervical cancer and she was to come in for treatment/surgery. Instead, she'd come to the bomoh to ask if she really did have cancer. He was in a trance, and told her she didn't have cancer, just gastric problems. I wonder about that women to this day. Did she believe him and not go back to the hospital? Quite possibly. Which means she's dead now. I should have spoken to her, and I didn't, although I did express misgivings to someone else there that night.
In yesterday's paper a Malaysian doctor (ethnic Chinese) was brave enough to stand up and say some things out loud that should have been said long ago. These are some of the statistics for the University Malaya Medical Centre that were quoted in the article (The Star, Thurs 17th p17).
40% of Malay breast cancer patients seek treatment too late , compared to
15% of ethnic Chinese Malaysians
Survival rates for breast cancer patients after 5 years:
For Malay women: less than 46%
For ethnic Chinese Malaysians: 63%
For ethnic Indian Malaysians: 57%
And why do Malays go to hospital so late?
Because the lying b***'s of bomohs have told them traditional treatment can save them with 100% certainty - without surgery, chemo or radiation. Of course, their chicanery doesn't work, and the dying women then go to hospital, too late for proper treatment. Many of these women, by the way, are educated. They just haven't learned to leave superstition behind.
Why do we let these murdering criminals get away with this confidence trickery?
Because they are culturally acceptable? Because they pretend a direct line to God? Because none of the dying, betrayed women do anything about it, but allow other women to die after them? Because Islam teaches acceptance and submission to fate? Perhaps someone can explain it to me, because it just makes me furious.
The odd thing is that because I write fantasy, there are some people who think that I believe in ghosts, the supernatural, and things that go bump in the night. I don't. I write fantasy, I don't believe in it.
The Demon-haunted World by Carl Sagan should be required study for every highschool student the world over. It teaches how to see through the nonsense to the fallacies.