I don’t mean to be crude but I am watching the 3 boys I am homeschooling having their 15 min break. They decided to play hide and seek or ‘menyorok’ in Malay.
Suddenly I had to giggle. I remember, back then in my hometown, in the place I grew up in, Jalan Eunos in front of the ‘tangki air’, the era where there was rampant tales of Hantu Tetek, Hantu Kom Kom, Orang Minyak and what have you in the Malay ghost world. I remembered wanting to play ‘menyorok’ /’sembunyi-sembunyi’ with my childhood friends, Budin and Norman, only to be yelled at by Budin’s elder sister, Zuraida with ‘ Ehhhh tak boleh main sembunyi-sembunyi nanti korang kena tangkap hantu tetek baru tau eh !!!’
Now, this is the tricky part. The image painted on the famous hantu tetek was that of a super buxom-perhaps size triple D material, whose job was to catch children, kidnap them and crush/suffocate them to death in between her ( its? ) cleavage. Oh.. those were the days before the late Anna Nicole Smith made the idea of big boobs appealing. So the idea of a big breasted ghost was perhaps not such an erotic idea, but rather, a scary one for both children and women ( especially- for whatever reason there may be ).
Since then, my gang of childhood friends and I, naive at mere 4 years old— decided not to play hide-and-seek at all, because it was not cool, to us at least to die suffocated in between a ghostly cleavage.
Then there were also talk of the Hantu Kom Kom. We were not allowed to go out of the house during dusk. Maghrib is the time Hantu Kom Kom would come out hopping around and kidnap children. So again, we obeyed and maghrib time was time for washing up and getting out those rehals and muqaddam, for the ‘aaa eee uuu, baa bee buuu, taa tiii tuuu’ ( belajar mengaji ) session.
Looking at these kids now at present times, I think even their parents are not bothered scaring them with any hantu stories. They seem to be afraid of bigger things like war, petrol hikes, no PSP/PS2 to play– you know, the works.
Up to this day, I still wonder how in the whole wide world the Hantu Tetek came about, how the Hantu Kom Kom was coined and how in the whole wide world it could send shivers down my spine at that time. Or the most bizarre thing is, WHY were we, innocent children of that era scared off with such an image. And why the Hantu Tetek and Hantu Kom Kom wanted only children ? They don’t want adults? And why must it be Hantu Tetek? I mean it could be Hantu Hidung or Hantu Mata or Hantu Kaki, Hantu Kepala ( with each I have a mental image of what it may look like..hehe ).. but nooo. It HAD to be erotic. Hence Hantu Tetek it was.
But now, with the fact that Anna Nicole Smith had died, probably the term hantu tetek brings about a whole different perspective, to me at least.