Saturday, 29 December 2012

The fear factor: Bdellophobia

I have just had a bath and was drying myself in front of a mirror in the bedroom when I saw, through the mirror, a big black spot on my thigh. I took a closer look at the black spot and saw it squirming.

As far as I can remember, that was the loudest scream I have ever made in my entire life. I shouted for help while jumping up and down in the room, obviously forgotten that I was only clad in a towel.
Mom came in to rescue me.  When I showed her the black, wriggling thing on my thigh with my eyes tightly shut, to my surprise, she screamed too! Because there was no one else in the house at that time except for my two younger sisters and a baby brother (my father was at work), we did not know what to do.

“Oh mom! I’m gonna die! I am definitely going to die!”
I cried my heart out, still jumping, while mom frantically tried to find a stick to remove the black spot. It was a leech. A huge one!

After about half an hour or so, the leech was finally detached from my skin. Not because mom kept poking it with a skewer (Yeah, that’s right. OMG!) but because it had drained up all my blood and now it felt a bit dizzy with this non-stop jumping activity of the host so it decided to take a leap of faith from high above and landed a splat on the floor. Looks like suicide to me.
That was my first encounter with a leech. I was only ten then. Apparently, the incident left a remarkably scary impression of a ferocious blood-sucking beast in my mind until… yesterday.

We had a family gathering yesterday at my sister-in-law’s house. We ate, talked and laughed merrily.  The whole night was all about food, politics, movie, gadgets, and futsal too. After some while, my SIL brought out a plastic container wrapped nicely in a black plastic bag. When asked what was inside the container, she took it out and showed the content to everyone – LEECHES. Very alive and aggressive too. The sight of the leeches gave me goose bumps. It reminded me my horrible experience with a leech long time ago.
“Anybody wanna have this leeches suck up your dirty blood and perhaps solve some of your health problem?” She offered.

“Such as what?” I asked.
“Sinus, migraine, pimples, pus, delicate backache, gout, in short, anything associated with dirty blood”
 [photo courtesy of Encyclopaedia Brittanica]

I have heard about medicinal leeches used in reconstructive surgery, or for treating abscessess, painful joints, glaucoma, and in some cases, microvascular surgery (more information here).   But honestly, I am not sure if this curing method using leeches to suck impure blood as suggested by my SIL would work. Even if it really works, I have doubts that only doing it once will instantly solve the health problem. I believe it needs to be done repetitiously in order to see results. Just like we repetitiously take antibiotics to cure influenza. As a matter of fact, the main application of medicinal leeches in modern medicine is to help with blood circulation and to prevent blood clot during major surgery. So how does sucking dirty blood from a person’s temple help him/her get rid of his/her migraine problem?  *scratch head*
Anyway, with a different objective in mind, I decided to let these blood-sucking slimy squirmy little creatures with powerful jaw sink their sharp, devilish teeth to do what they do best: suck blood! (credits go to Hugh Laurie from House for giving me a lesson or two on using magical sarcastic words!) Not to cure any illness in me, but to overcome Bdellophobia: the fear of leeches.

So here are the pictures of the medicinal leeches sticking at the back of my hubby (always the best model for a photography session!) and sucking on the so called impure blood of his to cure backache.

Also here is the picture of my SIL’s husband who threw a ceremonial feast for the spineless creatures all night long to cure his sinus. LOL.

Just look at the fantastic incision made by a medicinal leech. It has a strong tripartite jaw and hundreds of tiny teeth that cut into the skin in a sawing motion and leave behind an incision mark in the form of inverted Y within a circle. Neat!  

[photo courtesy of Carsten Morkel]

At the end of the session, I figured out that the word ‘fear’ is not so suitable for me because it’s not the feeling of fear of leeches that I felt inside me. It’s more of the disgusting feelings of ‘ewh’ and ‘yucky’ that overwhelm me when I encounter these creepy-crawlies and that include maggots and caterpillars too.

 And oh! By the way, the picture below is the bag of dirty blood from 7 people in the family sucked by about 20 leeches altogether. Can you see the mouth of the leech [enlarge the pic] within the plastic bag?  Yucks!

In conclusion, I am brave enough to say that I am not afraid of leeches after all. But one thing I am totally sure, I am afraid of my creator, Allah The Almighty.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The big bad wolf strikes again!

Thriller. Fiction. Romance. Murder. Architecture. Design. Contemporary arts. Politics. Health. Beauty. Hobby. Marketing. Photography. Bibliographies. Travel. Cookery. Business. Bla..bla..bla.. etc. etc. etc. *sigh*

This happens at The Big Bad Wolf (BBW) book sale held at the Mines International Convention Centre (MICC) from 7th to 23rd December 2012, from 9am to 9pm. This is the second year BBW holds such event. The organiser claims that this is the biggest book sale in the world with over three million book titles offered at unbelievably low prices. Well, firstly, I do believe it. I have never seen so many books in my life. Secondly, the books are definitely cheap! Novels of RM30 to RM40 normal retail price are selling at RM5 to RM8 only! Thirdly, name what you want and you'll find it here!

The best part? For the first three days, the organiser is holding a non-stop 72-hour rally to attract as many visitors to the sale. I went there at 11pm on the first day. There was a massive traffic jam just outside the exhibition centre as people stormed in and looked for parking spaces. Either the car park are limited in numbers or there were too many visitors jamming the place simultaneously.

The exhibition hall was packed with book lovers. Would you believe that many visitors came with suitcases and even supermarket trolleys (where on earth did they get those trolleys from??? arrghh!!!) These people must have experienced the "aura" from last year's sale so they came well prepared this year.

After about four hours wandering in this big area, my legs could not stand straight anymore. Hubby has long surrendered at one corner of the hall, so I assigned him as "the bookkeeper". Hahaha! We were all tired of walking, but even then, we estimated that we have covered only about 70% of the floor area. Oh! This is what I call heaven on earth. I ended up buying 37 books, mostly English novels, each at a flat price of RM8 only. The children got some educational books for themselves too.

We went back at nearly 5am the next day. We thought by that time most people would have gone home but we were wrong. More have just arrived to join the crowd! There were long queues at all six paying counters.

Well, here are what we brought home that morning. Two boxes full of books! Now I am having difficulty to choose which book to read first....

Well, it seems like the big bad wolf isn't so bad after all...


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