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Mike's Missing Underpants

Mike was not too worried when his laundry returned and he found two pairs of underpants missing; but his best friend, Rina, was. So concerned that she went to the laundry to find them, where the staff in the laundry could not find them.

Calling Mike that afternoon, asking him if he had had any girls around that week. Mike honestly answered, “Yes”, still puzzled over the behavior of his normally rational friend. “Are you thinking about meeting anyone of them again?” she replied. Mike, wondering if his best friend was getting a little jealous, said nothing.

The next few nights Rina came around and watched Mike suspiciously, and he began to get worried about her. Mike had never slept with Rina, they had been buddies at University together in the States. When Rina returned back to Indonesia after graduating, she found Mike a job in Jakarta, a kind of payback for all the help he gave her in the States.

Mike put up with this behavior for a while, until he asked Rina if she was jealous considering they both agreed they were only friends. Rina, laughed, “No, but I am afraid one of the girls might have taken your underpants to a dukun.”

A dukun is the Indonesian version of a shaman, and man Indonesians believe in them. All over Jakarta, you can still find houses that offer the services of a dukun. Not the stereotypic African type of witch doctors, dukun are often modern in appearance, selling a variety of ‘mystical’ powers.

Some girls often go to a dukun to have ‘susuk’, which means shiny particles of gold or diamonds are somehow placed in their face and they become irresistible to men. I have seen many Indonesian girls, whose faces often glitter slightly with gold. Even one girl at my office who is perfectly normal, and religious, but perhaps having ‘susuk’ is only reserved for her husband.

Dukun can also make someone fall in love with you; all you need to do is take to them a pair of underpants or panties, and they will do the rest. I am not sure it works, but many seasoned expatriates swear their friends often get married to some often unsavory girls because of a dukun.

One time I mislaid my passport; we could not find it anywhere. My fiancé's mother was worried and told her that she knew a dukun who would know were it was. The point is my fiancé's mother is a practicing Catholic and a professional businesswoman. So it made me wonder, how deep the belief is in Indonesia, of the power of the dukun.

Rina never found Mike's underpants and Mike swore he never saw any of the girls again that he had slept with that week. He did marry someone a few months later, a village girl he met in a club in Kota. Rina, to this day, swears that somehow a dukun was involved and the cause was the missing underpants.

by Mark W Medley

Copyright © 2008, Mark W Medley, City of Dreams: An extraordinary journey, inside the heart of Indonesia's capital - Jakarta