Article from Ms. Ching
A lot of stories had been written about the Banana Tree Spirit. I am sharing my personnal encounters. The spirit of banana tree is well known in countries of South East Asia such as China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and especially among the Chinese communities. The myth originated from old villages during our grandfather generations from the 1930s. What is the banana tree spirit? Banana tree spirit is believed to be supernatural beings that possess magical attributes. The banana tree spirit is different from the common Chinese folklore spirit where the soul leave the body of a decessed and remains to roam the land. Banana tree spirits are special beings that can reside in any creation of nature, particularly in deep forest. It is not transform from a soul of a dead person. It is a natural spirit with higher level of inteligence. The spirit of banana tree is usually more sinister and evil compare to a common spirit.
It was told to me by a Bomoh (A Malay priest) that beside banana trees, there is spirits in rocks, water and soil. The banana tree spirit is believed to take form as a young attractive female girl. The bomoh does not quite agree with this but he couldn’t conclude any answer either. These spirits are usually not harmful but certain taboos we must follow when hiking the jungle to avoid agitate these spirits.
When I was a kid in the 60s, I used to live in a Kampong (Malay term for village) in Kluang JB. There were dozens of banana trees near the loo. In those days, we do not have the convenient of toilet facilities, the toilet is shared among neighbors in the same kampong. We have to travelled pass a distance from our home to the loo to carry out our business. The proximity of street lamps was about 50m apart. The path will be in almost darkness as early as 7 pm in the evening. When we do our business, especially the big one, we have to endure the 15mins in that confining wooden hut. The leaf of the banana tree will keep flapping on the openings on the top of the toilet with its shadows flickering in the half lit environment as if it has a life of its own. We had become used to it. I have heard legends about communicating with the spirit inside banana trees.
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