Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Ritual

Kimie looking a little apprehensive waiting for his turn

Norman already inside being comforted by his Mom, Adura. Dr Razak is partly seen on the right

Norman on completion of the procedure. None the wiser.

Kimie being briefed by Dr Razak before going through the procedure

Kimie confidently allowing himself while being comforted by his Mom

On completion, Kimie was allowed to look when he requested for it

He was happy on seeing the result before leaving Dr Razak's room

Norman ready to go back home after the procedure

Kimie ready to go back also


Most men folks can relate to this especially so those who are circumcised. Circumcision is the act of removing the foreskin of the male sexual organs mostly associated with religious reasons. This is relevant to the Muslim and Jewish faiths. I can readily relate on how the Muslims do it though I would not think it would be that much different for the Jews ( I stand corrected)

In certain family groups the ritual would be accompanied with some festivities to acknowledge the coming of age, sort of. However things get simpler nowadays. It would just be a normal visit to the doctor who would just perform a minor surgery.

The Mid-50s and Earlier

How it was done then was how my brother Ghafar and I went through it. I was 11 and Ghafar was a few years younger. My late father had gathered our relatives for the week-end. There was a little do, some prayers in the evening to seek the grace of ALLAH SWT the Almighty that everything would run smoothly.

The next morning both of us were made to take a bath. The duration was longer than the usual baths we used to have. It took quite some time. The idea was to numb the outer parts of the body in readiness for the ritual.

We were then brought in to the ‘operation theatre’. There was no operating table, nor bright lights over above nor any contraptions, wires, nothing. The only ‘props’ was a 3ft banana trunk, some small vessels of water, two pieces of bamboo chop-stick like ( but slightly longer) and kite-flying paper as ‘bandages’. The surgical knife or whatever was no where to be seen. So that was it.

I was to go first. I was still shivering from the cool dip earlier. I was called over still in my sarong, to stand astride the banana trunk. The sarong was then lifted a wee bit like how the ladies curtsy before the Queen and I was then made to sit astride the trunk on my bare butt. You know how cool is a banana trunk even touching it by hand, more so now when your bare butt was in contact.

The sarong was then slowly lifted to my waist and the whole world now suddenly had a glimpse of my manhood. It was not that flattering given the effect of the cool dip and the cool banana trunk. Everyone’s attention was centred wholely on my crotch. It was pretty embarrassing to say the least!

Two burly relatives one on each side held down my shoulders. Two others held my knees one on each side also. It was somewhat like a wrestling lock which could put the WWF wrestlers to shame. I just couldn’t move!

The Mudin ( the person to conduct the ritual) was sitting cross-legged directly in front. He took the two ‘chopsticks’ and stabbed the pointed ends into the trunk. The very act was intimidating! He then took my ‘John’ in his hands, recited certain verses, pulled back the foreskin inside out and confirmed it was ok to proceed. Whew!

Next the ‘chopsticks’ were pulled out. He deftly held them in his right hand . He pulled the foreskin towards him with his left hand.It was nicely and firmly stretched. He then clamped it with the 2 'chopsticks. I had not up to that point in my life been manhandled in such a fashion. He pulled it back stretching it further and pushed the two sticks now clamped, forward towards me. This had the effect of having the penis head out of the way. Apparently he was ready now. I closed my eyes recited some Quranic verses of whatever I could remember. There was no anaesthetics applied. He could have at least applied the some such sprays that footballers use these days . None of those then.

Suddenly ‘swish’, I could almost hear it. I did’nt see it coming. Blood spurted out. I could only let out a slow ‘aah,’ half whispering. It was painful! Only then the 4 burly handlers switched their roles. Instead of restraining, they now held me with care and then extended reassuring words. I did not pass out but I felt nauseous .

I opened my eyes. A shaving knife similar to the ones found in Indian barber shops was still in the Mudin’s hands. It looked shiny and sharp with traces of blood. Blood was then still oozing out from the wound.Blood was all over. I was later told the knife was hidden in a sheath behind him around his waist. Apparently with a quick movement he just brought it down on the stretched foreskin and had it severed.

The Mudin then applied some concoctions ( to arrest the bleeding it seemed) reciting verses at the same time and wrapped my proud ‘John’ in the kite paper ( absorbent and soft ). There were no stitches whatsoever. The pain was unbearable. A piece of cloth was then wrapped around it and knotted.

In the evening when an elder came for a routine check, blood was seen dripping slowly. Bang Lang Sarin who was there then requested for some shallots to counteract. He munched them (skin and all) then lifted my sarong, recited some verses and blew out his mouthful all over my ‘John’. It worked, apparently. After about 15 minutes the dripping stopped.

I was then transformed and ready to face puberty like a man!

Ghafar was next and he went successfully through the same procedure as I had experienced.

I was in bed for more than a month. I got up occasionally to clean up the wound and for my daily routines. I had broth and liquids initially and avoided eggs and other ‘itchy edibles’ ( prawns,cuttlefish, pineapples,peanuts etc )

The 80’s and 90’s

My son Hafidz had it done in 1987 when he was 10. Shadah was shedding tears to no end ( before and after) mindful of what I had gone through. She cried before the procedure , saying she felt the pain ( I couldn’t imagine how) She cried after when Hafidz felt the pain in the evening on the first day. That was when the effects of the anaesthetics had worn off.

Yes, around this time the procedure had undergone change. We brought Hafidz to OP Dr Idris in TTDI. Just as in any minor surgery, the good doctor applied anaesthetics by a few injections on the foreskin. After a few minutes he just nonchalantly used his scissors and followed with the stitches to finish the job. Nothing of the harrowing experience of a shaving knife and raw flesh.

My other son, Azhar also had it done at OP Dr Idris sometime in 1997 following the same procedure.

Present Day

It is literally a stroll in the park. This is best narrated with the pictures above of my grandsons during the school holidays in December last year. They were not subjected to pain. It was laser technology that cuts and mends simultaneously. No scissors cut, no wound, no blood, no stitches and most of all, no pain. They were smiling when they walked out from the clinic.


Al-Manar said...

How will it be, say, another thirty years from now?

You have made a good description how you went through the process. I would not want to think about it!

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik,
I doubt mechanization is possible. Perhaps a technological advance of some sort!

ninotaziz said...

I am glad in a way, I do not have boys...

My brother always complained about having this ritual done when he was a baby. Like me, he too was born in Tasmania and the doctor did the procedure when he was a week old!

My brother felt it was a missed opportunity for bonding with his friends when they went through the ritual. And the fact that he had to explain again and again why he did not need go through it - in Chenor, Pahang, it was a very embarrasing thing!

kaykuala said...

Ninot Ma'am,
I was at odds whether to just mention superficially or be open in my narration like I did. I'm glad I said it like it is.
By doing so the reader can compare and now realise the ritual had been revolutionized and gone a long way from the good old days.
I wish to apologise if I appear crude in my explaining but I couldn't help it.
Peer pressure on your brother was expected. His friends felt it was unfair they had to suffer pain then when he needn't to.

sanusi said...

I've gone through the harrowing experience myself with the 'mudin' way back in 1981 but lucky me,my predicament was not as bad as yours.

kaykuala said...

Yes, now it is ok. Laser technology is a lifesaver. It need not be done at birth even. It can be done later,at a time when they know the reasons for it. The parents can take them into their confidence and explain the reasons.The bond between child and father gets stronger.

The point is, there's no pain so it can be done anytime before puberty.

Thanks Sanusi. Have you checked out my poetry blog at Rainbow?

Salam and Rgds,