n. A Malay shaman or witch doctor.
Dukun is a 2007 Malaysian horror film. The film is loosely based on the true story of the murder of a Malaysian politician, Datuk Mazlan Idris, by Mona Fandey, a once mildly popular Malaysian singer in 1993. The film was originally slated to be released in December 2006 but as of today there were doubts as to whether the film will ever be released for public screening due to the controversial nature of the film.
A dukun is an Indonesian-Malay term for shaman. In Malaysia, they are often referred to as bomoh, but dukun or pawing/pawang also used in various languages. Their societal role is that of a traditional healer, spirit medium, custom and tradition experts and on occasion sorcerers and masters of black magic.
The dukun is the very epitome of the kejawen or kebatinan belief system indigenous to Java. Beneath the thin superficial practice of Islam, very strong and ancient beliefs of animism, ancestor worship and shamanism run through the people of the Nusantara. While modern medicine along with revivalist Islam and Christianity have undermined the dukun's prominence, they remain highly respected and somewhat feared figures in Indon-Malay society, even in the most orthodox Islamic areas. In the pre-colonial past, dukun were exempt from paying taxes, as with Hindu priests and Buddhist monks.
Many highly prominent and highly educated Indonesians, Malaysians and Singaporeans, even those with Western doctorate and masters levels degrees will still consult dukun or soothsayers. Indonesians who are known to have employed dukun include former President Sukarno, former president Suharto, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, Sultan Hamengkubuwana IX and Sultan Hamengkubuwana X and many more.
Dukun are most common on the island of Java, though the island of Madura is especially feared for being very powerful practitioners of dark magic, and Bali is well regarded for its dukun. The Dayak people of Kalimantan are also feared for their use of dukun when head-hunting. In Sabah, the Kadayan community are renowned for their dukun who are said to look waif-like with red eyes.
In common practice, a dukun is consulted when a person perceives they have an issue that has a supernatural or paranormal association. If a dukun is not known to the individual, their family or friends, word of mouth often creates a situation where the dukun will appear as if summoned, most especially in the case of possessions.