Legend has it that Bujang Senang was not just a mere crocodile, but the reincarnation of a fierce warrior who died 200 years ago.
Simalungun was a brave Iban fighter known for his skills, especially in headhunting. His prowess was so great that one day, his wife was kidnapped by his enemies, and they both died at enemy hands as he attempted to save her.
Fueled with vengeance, Simalungun returned in the form of a 20-foot crocodile with a white stripe on its back to seek revenge on their killers and their descendants.
The crocodile which the locals nicknamed Bujang Senang, brought terror to the people of Batang Lupar from 1975 up to 1992.
His reign of terror ended in May 1992 after the attack of his 14th victim, a 20-year-old-woman who was on her way to a paddy field at the Pelaban River in Batang Lupar.
After the attack, the final hunt for Bujang Senang began. Bujang Senang was eventually shot and killed using 10cm nails as bullets on May 21, 1992. This was after several failed attempts of killing him using normal bullets and even javelins.
Another version of the story is that Bujang Senang was the friendly neighbourhood crocodile. His job was to patrol Batang Lupar against other gigantic crocodiles, but when the people of Batang Lupar allegedly began to disturb crocodiles’ nests and take their eggs, Bujang Senang began to take action against humans.
Bujang Senang, the ‘crocodile that choked to death on bone in witch doc’s nose’
Out of all the stories that we have heard about the mighty Bujang Senang, one tale has stood out for its overall absurdity.
It is also a version that most of us have never heard of and it is apparently the story of how Bujang Senang was caught.
Written by Irwin Fisher for the tabloid Weekly World News on Apr 11, 1989, the report included an excerpt taken from AP news that stated, “A 23-foot crocodile called Bujang Senang or King of Crocodiles by river bank people attacked and ate a fisherman – its 13th victim in 10 years.”
Quoting a wildlife official named Yahay Maidin who talked to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, the alleged crocodile in the report was choked to death on the bone in a witch doctor’s nose.
Yahay reportedly said, “It was the damndest thing I have ever seen. When we found the croc by the bank of a river it was belly up and bloated, with two human legs sticking out of its mouth. We didn’t know what was going on until we split open the carcass to free the man’s body. That’s when we found the witch doctor’s nose bone, a big two footer, stuck in the croc’s throat.”
The nose bone wearing witch doctor in the story was a 76-year-old man and the incident took place allegedly in ‘Sungei Antek River’.
Fisher included a testimony from a witness who claimed to hear the old man screaming. Unfortunately, it was too late and the witness saw ‘the monster dragged him into deep water’.
The witness’ story did not end there. He continued, “I didn’t think we’d ever see him again but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Within seconds the croc had swum back through shallows and was up on a dry land.
“The witch doctor’s legs were sticking out of the croc’s mouth and it was acting real crazy. It would run a few feet, then it would stop and shake its head. It finally rolled over on its back and started kicking its legs. That’s where it was when it died.”
According to the report, the poor witch doctor suffered massive head and neck injuries during the attack and died in the crocodile’s throat.
And yes, the writer did not fail to mention the specific location of where the victim breathed his last.
Meanwhile, the alleged wildlife officer admitted that the death of the killer croc itself was “just a stroke of luck.”
He said, “The crocodile could have snapped the old man’s nose bone like a twig if it had gotten it in his jaws. By some strange twist of fate it didn’t. That’s why it got stuck in the croc’s throat. That’s why the monster is dead.”
Fisher did not fail to point out that the killer croc’s death was welcome news to the river people.
Bujang Senang, the crocodile that made headlines in a US tabloid
Before you lay judgement on the tabloid, The Weekly World News was known for publishing mostly fictional news stories.
It is known for its outlandish cover stories often based on supernatural or paranormal themes.
Hence, do no expect any fact-checking from the publication.
As ridiculous as the story might sound, it is not a common occurrence to have a piece of Sarawak news come out in an American tabloid.
Sarawakian readers should just take it the fictional tabloid report as a piece of entertainment and applaud the writer for his colourful imagination.