The informant wishes to empathize that despite how ridiculous this tradition may sound to foreigners, it is not only completely valid but also almost universally practiced.
If an Indonesian has to pee in the wilderness, he or she must perform a chant beforehand. The chant goes –
In original Indonesian: Pang numpang numpang anak tuhan mau kencing
English translation: Excuse me, excuse me, the child of God wants to be pee.
The reason behind this ritual, the informant says, is out of a fear for ghosts. Because ghosts are unseen and unseeable, it is possible for a person to unintentionally piss on a ghost when he or she pisses in the wilderness. And the consequence can be dire. There are stories, the informant assures us, of people who were two days later found dead in car accidents as a result of pissing on (and off, I guess you could say) a ghost.
The informant has lived in Indonesia all of his life up until his current studies in the United States. When asked about how he came across this tradition, he points out that everyone in Indonesia does.
It’s very amusing – and telling – seeing people’s reaction to this folklore. The informant is too very amused by how difficult it is to convince anyone that this is a legitimate practice in Indonesia. What one culture finds to be perfectly serious, legitimate, and widely accepted and practiced, other cultures might find it to be completely ludicrous and unbelievable.