Malayan secret society ritual

IMG_1560 (4)Found – a rare Malayan police manual Notes on secret societies (Caxton Press, Kuala Lumpur 1953) by one C. T. Dobree. It is more of an anthropological study than a detective’s manual with much emphasisis on the  initiation ceremonies of each society; there are also notes on secret methods of communication known only to society members. This what he writes on the Wah-Kee (aka ‘Chow Fah Chee Tow’  or ‘Sze Kor Long.’) The way of refusing a cigarette is interesting – ‘push back the cigarette with hand-palm facing inwards.’

Jargons and signs.

After initiations the new members to the brotherhood are taught the secret jargons and signs by which strangers to one another may identify themselves as being of the one brotherhood.

These are some of the jargons and signs in common use: –


a) Where do you come from? – from Singapore. (This is because the Malayan Wah Kee started in Singapore).

b) What is your surname? – Either Sui (Water) or Loke (land), or Peng (Peace) or Onn (Tranquility).

c) Are you long or short? – Long.

d) Do you sink or float? – Float.

e) Are you heavy or light? – Light.

or this object heavy? – No. It is light.

f) How do you come? – Walk(even though you actually came by car or by train).

g) Who is your master? Name the one who conducted your initiation ceremony.

The signs.

a) In a coffee shop when a few members gather together and if they do not wish a member to say anything which will divulge a secret, all they have to do is to cover the tea cup with their palms.  

b) When a member pours tea into another member’s cup, he taps his middle finger on the table by the side of the cup to show  you.

c) If a member is offered a cigarette, and if he refuse, he has to push back the cigarette with his hand-palm facing inwards.

d) If a member is  a stranger to another place, and he wishes himself to be recognised, he can stand with his arms folded showing four right fingers on the left arm and five left fingers on the right arm.

e) Tugging at the chin is also another indication of a Wah Kee member.

f) The figure 4 is yet another indication. 

3 thoughts on “Malayan secret society ritual

  1. Harold R

    This is interesting and a book I would like to have. I collect books on secret societies. Available?

  2. Jot 101 Post author

    Many thanks Harold. This was written before we put the book online and it will be found at abebooks – almost certainly the only copy. Price kind of high on account of rarity and subject matter but will come down. N

  3. Sharon Bakar

    “b) When a member pours tea into another member’s cup, he taps his middle finger on the table by the side of the cup to show you.”

    This made me laugh. This is Chinese etiquette to this day. It’s a way of saying thank you, without needing to stop your conversation.


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