TV SMITH's Dua Sen: Tears For Fears
TV Smith's Dua Sen
TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...


by TV Smith

Local satirist and humour writer TV SMITH of Dua Sen writes this chilling tale from the year 2022...

Ani Harris had a bright future in front of her. The eighteen year-old recently earned a scholarship to study at a prestigious university in the US. The proverbial dream however was unexpectedly shattered during her first journey abroad. She picked up a book by a popular Japanese horror writer while on transit at the new Kansai floating mega-airport. The bestseller spun the harrowing and deeply moving tale of a young girl's spirit trapped in a lavatory cistern.

After going through just three chapters of the book on the resumption of her flight, Ani suddenly screamed uncontrollably. She yanked the foldout LCD screen from the seat in front of her and flung it violently at the startled air marshal. To make matters worse, her actions triggered a mid-air mass hysteria among the forty-four other Malaysian passengers aboard. Air Asia Flight 0013 was forced to return to Osaka thirty minutes after take-off.

The airborne incident once again brought into the international spotlight, the controversial Malaysian Dream Control Programme that spanned almost two decades. Like many of her generation, Ani had grown up not ever experiencing a spooky moment or waking up to a nightmare. Despite the mandatory pre-departure training on avoiding counter-cultural material, she became the ironic victim of a bizarre doctrine that was first propagandised some nineteen years ago.

Horrified at the people's inordinate fascination with the supernatural, the government then, decided to isolate gullible children, and wean corrupted adults, from the goose bumps inducing world of ghosts, demons, pontianaks and assorted evil spirits. There were no other significant issues to grapple with in the year 2003, it seemed.

It started with the banning of books that contained elements of mysticism, fantasy and superstition. The policy was soon expanded to cover most fictional material on all media including the then fledging new medium known as the Internet. Authors like Stephen King and JK Rowling were initially perceived as 'benign' by the authorities and left untouched.

Two years later, a group of twelve-year-olds viciously attacked a harmless but obnoxious mime performing at a street carnival. Mistaken for a clown, the blame was erroneously assigned to a copy of Stephen King's "It", which one of the youngster's father had left lying around, unattended. The celebrated author soon disappeared from local bookshelves along with clowns from circuses and corporate 'family-days'. In 2008, incidence of nightmares among Malaysians dropped to the low and desired '2 per 10,000 persons'. Spurred by their success in nightmare suppression, the ghost-story-busters targeted Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom Of The Opera" and the 59th installment of the Harry Potter series in 2009.

As a result of the unceasing and ever-widening bans, a loose-knit underground rebellion headed by detractors with dissimilar intent and battle cries emerged. A woman, who surgically changed her face to look like a character reverently portrayed by Linda Blair, leads the Penang rebel group known as The Exorcists. The group is fighting for the re-instatement of the Chinese Ghost Month and the historical rights to call Caucasians "Gwei Lohs". Another group in Johor is said to have distributed over a million copies of the banned music video Thriller by Michael Jackson. A former pirate-DVD peddler named Lee (and fortuitously christened Christopher), heads this cell.

Outlawed bomoh, Shahrizal from Taman Melati conducts clandestine classes on the lost and dying skills of treating possessed and charmed individuals. Students are taught the fine art of spitting antidotal water on the faces of 'patients' sedated with kemenyan smoke. Joshua Nair, the sixteen-year-old son of a legendary hacker, is a self-proclaimed freedom fighter. Hunted by the authorities for setting up proxy servers that circumvent online bans, he leads a high-tech campaign for the restoration of traditional myths and old folklores.

The motley ensemble of unlikely heroes and spirited supporters gained some headway in their running battles against the 'dream de-contamination' proponents. By their very act of creating nightmares for their nemeses, they have already achieved some poetic justice.

Not so lucky and successful was taxi driver, Tan Soo Chong of Cheras. He was imprisoned for inciting nightmares by repeatedly terrifying his passengers with stories of a headless ghost haunting the grounds of the KL Hospital. Sharing his jail cell is Alfonso Maniam who once headed a guided tour of the various ghoulish spots and creepy places around Kuala Lumpur.

Across town, Ani's future lies in a straightjacket. In a padded cell next to her is a former mime locked up for the strangling a school kid. He has not spoken nor gestured for seventeen years, either from reticence or remorse. No one knows for sure but inexplicably, he started to motion crying the day before Ani arrived. Was it a silent, tragic cry of self-exasperation or prophetic tears for her fears?

This article also appears on page 3 of today's StarMag (The Sunday Star).

© 2003 TV SMITH
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