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Monday July 10, 2006

Hundreds turn up to see mummified mermaid


SHAH ALAM: They came by the hundreds to the small hall wanting to see for themselves what they had read in books and seen in movies. 

At the “Genies, Ghost, Coffin?” exhibition at Museum Sultan Alam Shah, a mummified mermaid has caught the imagination of the visitors. 

Encased in glass, the exhibit is half-a-metre long with hair and scales on its body and the tail of a fish. 

IS IT REAL?: A visitor admiring what is said to be the mummified mermaid at an exhibition held at the Museum Sultan Abdul Alam Shah in Selangor.
The mermaid’s owner, Safuan Abu Bakar, is adamant that the exhibit is real. 

He told The Star that he and a group of bomoh (mediums) took months to locate the mermaid “in a secret location in a neighbouring country.” 

“After locating it, we performed special prayers, including throwing yellow rice into the sea, to entice the creature out,” he said. 

The mermaid died when it surfaced. 

A visitor, Mohd Rafi Osman, 35, said he came out of the exhibition with mixed feelings. 

CURIOUS FOLK: Visitors waiting to get inside the hall where the "Genies, Ghost and Coffin..." exhibition was held at Museum Sultan Alam Shah in Shah Alam yesterday. The exhibition, which opened recently, will end on Oct 4.
“I don’t know whether to believe it or not,” he said. 

Azmi Baharin, 37, said it was not logical for mermaids to exist. 

“If there is a female specimen, where is the male?” he asked. 

Souaud, 61, was so curious of the exhibition that he brought his wife, daughter and grandchildren all the way from Kota Kinabalu. 

“I’ve not seen a live one. Hearing all about them makes me want to see the real one,” said the farmer. 

But the large crowd left many people disappointed. 

“When there are too many people, I don’t get to see the exhibits properly,” said Chong Moon Har, 23. 

Arifin Shamsudin, 40, said: “My family and I came purely for the entertainment.” 

Will Redsky, 36, from the United States, who did not get to go in, said he wanted to know more of the Malaysian culture and folklores. 

“In America, we have our own folklores too like (those on) Bigfoot and werewolves,” he said. 

Selangor Museum Board acting director Mohd Lotfi Nazar said the exhibition, ending on Oct 4, received an overwhelming response and the museum was looking for a bigger hall to display the mermaid.  

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