Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Headhunters!

When I was a kid, we children were warned not to wander or play alone because some nasty guy armed with a sickle might spot us and lop our heads off. The severed heads will then be buried underneath bridging projects so that the 'water spirits' are appeased and won't interfere with the projects. As kids we were really terrified of such stories and terrified still whenever we came across farmers who bring their sickle around (actually they need the sickle to gather weeds and grass for their livestock). The growth and development of Malaysia during the late 70s and early 80s with a number of infrastructure projects going around give more 'substance' to story, especially during the building of the Penang Bridge.

As time goes by, such stories faded from our collective mind, although it still surfaces from time to time although not as frequent as it was in the 1980s. The reason I wrote about this entry is because I probably have found out the myth behind such stories. It didn't even originate here, it was in London! Bored at the end of the office hour, I checked out the Wikipedia and it was theorised that the popular nursery rhyme 'London Bridge Is Falling Down' refers to the burying of children under the bridge's foundations so that the bridge won't collapse unless human sacrifices were made - which was debunked by archeological findings.

So, there you go. There were actually no sickle-swinging men looking for human sacrifices, it was just a tale brought by the Brits and adopted by us generation after generation....just like a bunch of other urban legends....

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