A Light Orgy in Malaysia

Friend of IT Lisa Sonne recently had a close encounter in Kuala Lumpur that can only be described as illuminating.

There are several M words you can use to describe Malaysia – mysterious, mystical, magical, and, well, modest. An etiquette book for tourists going to Malaysia recommends, “no public displays of affection” (not even holding hands). It further suggests that women travelers to this equatorial hot zone not wear sleeveless tops or V-necked shirts to be respectful to local customs.

So I was rather surprised when I found out I could make arrangements to watch (but not participate in) a massive sexual orgy – thousands trying to seduce thousands each night, outside, in the dark. Even more intriguing, it’s rumored to be one of only two large-scale group-sex gatherings in the world where the males’ seductions are in a completely synchronous rhythm, like some mega-meta-choreographed sensory bacchanal.

For this, I boarded a plane to beguiling Kuala Lumpur, and then had a driver take me 90 minutes into the countryside. Then, to get to the titillating trysting target, I was told to step into a wooden flat-bottomed boat. A dark stranger thrust the paddles into the water. As he stroked, we pushed forward in spurts. After all this build up, I was afraid things might be anticlimactic, but we rounded a bend — and then — WOW!

Thousands of fireflies blinked on and then off in unison, a huge collective mating call to get the females’ attention.

It wasn’t the smell of powerful pheromones that hooked the females, or the eroticizing power of touch, or the seductive sounds of sweet talk – it was the glorious, gorgeous foreplay of light that teased the life force to reproduce. Light as an aphrodisiac! I wondered about the aurora borealis.

The vault of sky around me looked like constellations of stars were being turned on and off in syncopated synchrony, like huge strings of holiday lights pulsing in hypnotic union.

In the distance, I heard a muzzein calling out Muslim prayers in the dark. I turned inward and said my own prayer of thanks at seeing the light, again and again.

The fireflies in synch are located on the Selangor River near the Kampung Kuantan. The nearest city less than 10K away is Kuala Selangor, which is reachable by car or bus from Kuala Lumpur.

Photo: Lisa Sonne