Thursday, June 28, 2007

Where's your toyol?

I thot since I blogged about the Thailand's amulet and the Chinese coffin, I thot i should complete it with some Malay-Indonesian amulets. But Google gave me toyols instead. So I thot it would be interesting reading for some of you. (If it resembles you in anyway - either in appearance or behavior - it is pure coincidence and unintentional! However if there are any similarities, it will have SERIOUS legal and biblical consequences, of an earthquake proportion!)

A Toyol or Tuyul is a mythical spirit in the Malay mythology of South-East Asia (notably Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore). It is a small child spirit invoked by a bomoh (Malay witch doctor) from a dead human foetus using black magic. It is possible to buy a toyol from such a bomoh.

Some say that toyol has its origins from Mecca near the Kaaba (the belief refers to the Pre-Islamic Era where the Arabs used to kill their children and bury them all around Mecca. The Chinese name for the toyol is guǐ zai (literally "ghost child"). The corresponding term in the Hokkien dialect is kwee kia.

A person who owns a toyol uses it mainly to steal things from other people, or to do mischief. According to a well-known superstition, if money or jewellery keeps disappearing mysteriously from your house, a toyol might be responsible.

One way to ward off a toyol is to place some needles under your money, for toyols are afraid of being hurt by needles.

A Malay source give us a bit more details.

The toyol’s main task is to steal for his master. It is believed among the Malays that a toyol may be brought back from Middle East or Holy Mecca, after paying a sum of money to its’ keeper.

However, a toyol only steals some amount equivalent to his own price. It is said his owner may never get rich but will never be short of cash. The toyol has to be fed with a blood charm drawn from the toe of its owner.

The toyol is known to be short and small with a bulging stomach, wide-eyed, and with big pointed ears and childish nature.

According to the Malay beliefs, one way of deterring the toyol from stealing, is to place live crabs near the house. The toyol is believed to be fond of playing with the crabs until dawn and thus not be able to steal any money.

There are some slight differences in the toyol folklore of the region, such as Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines or Brunei.

Some Western ghost resembles the Malay toyol. Their characters are identical; mischievous, playful and dull-witted.

The Malay Language version

Mengikut kepercayaan orang Melayu, toyol dibeli dengan harga tertentu daripada penyimpannya di Timur Tengah. Toyol dikatakan bertubuh kecil, pendek, berperut buncit, berkepala botak, mepunyai mata dan telinga yang besar serta bersifat keanak-anakan.

Pemilik toyol memberi makan kepada toyolnya dengan menghisap ibu jari kakinya dalam sebuah bilik gelap. Toyol digunakan oleh tuannya untuk mencuri wang, namun toyol tidak boleh mencuri wang yang melebihi daripada harga beliannya pada setiap kali curiannya. Walaubagaimanapun, pemilik toyol dikatakan tidak akan kaya raya, tetapi dapat hidup selesa kerana tidak pernah kehabisan wang.

Mengikut kepercayaan masyarakat Melayu, bagi mengelakkan toyol mencuri, ketam diletakkan didalam rumah supaya apabila toyol masuk, dia akan leka bermain dengan ketam hingga ke pagi dan tidak jadi mencuri. Namun demikian, terdapat pelbagai versi cerita toyol dalam masyarakat di Nusantara, Indonesia, Filipina, Brunei, Malaysia dan Thailand.

Ada hantu Barat yang menyerupai toyol. Kelakuannya sama, iaitu nakal, suka bermain dan bersifat kebodoh-bodohan.

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