No not that wind…
Living in Indonesia, one will hear the term masuk angin, a lot when one is unwell. This term usually refers to a cold or having a cold. However, it is mostly a term when one feels a bit down and not 100%.
For a lack of a better term, having a cold is masuk angin. However, there is something behind this term. Being from Canada and having ridden a motorcycle in Canada I have learned a thing or two in Bali. During the rainy season, people get sick for the simple reason of getting wet, and sometimes riding on a motorcycle and or entering an airconditioned house or office when one is somewhat damp or soaked.
The other thing is when on a scooter or a motorcycle, the wind is the wind. I love to ride without a jacket and the wind in my hair… Alright I don’t have hair and I wear a helmet but you get the picture.
As the wind picks up, one can get the wind inside you. This is mostly referred to as a draft. Or as in Canada, that time you left the window open in the spring or fall and the temperature plummeted overnight to -5.
A sore neck and sore body that comes from this cold draft can happen. There you go, you have the wind inside you. Now, this is what I am having. I have given in. Instead of a cold, I have the wind inside me.
Is there a remedy?
Yes and no. Like a cold, the best thing to do is to rest. This is harder to do when the sun is shining, the beach is calling and the palm trees are swaying in the wind. Or when you need to make some content for your TikTok video the next day and look all happy and smiling.
However, the traditional remedy is to take something like Vicks Vapour rub and lay down. All this while someone takes a coin and rubs red lines across your back in the direction of your ribs. This creates a rib-like pattern or a fishbone pattern referred to as dermabrasion in real life. Here it would translate to kerik or coining.
I have yet to have it done.
I have done this kerik on others but have yet to have it done to me. As the above article states it cannot hurt. However, it is the belief of this that works. It’s much like prayer, alternative medicine, and so forth. People take some local medicine or vitamins and have this performed on them.
The point is that they believe it works and that’s half the battle. Can I argue against masuk angin? Probably not, but it happens. One can catch a good breeze on a scooter. Sure it feels good, but at the same time there is a decent draft that happens and this can and does cause one to be able to feel unwell.
We know we cannot catch a cold by being cold. However, the masuk angin exists in the culture and yes, even foreigners are susceptible to the Indonesian wind inside you.