I never realized it was a real word. When someone said that "It went amok." I always just presumed it was some regional slang (well, I guess it is - but definitly not rooted in the culture in Midwest America.) I am reading this book for my Multicultural Counseling class that will start in about a week & a half and it is a term that is addressed in there.
So, what does amok mean?
It means: Some sources have identified Malaysians as having a particular tendency to run amok, though they are by no means the only people to do so. A Malay will suddenly and apparently without reason rush into the street armed with a kris or other weapons, and slash and cut at everybody he meets till he is killed. These frenzies were formerly regarded as due to sudden insanity. It is now, however, certain that the typical amok is the result of circumstances, such as domestic jealousy or gambling losses, which render a Malay desperate and weary of his life. It is, in fact, the Malay equivalent of suicide. "The act of running amuck is probably due to causes over which the culprit has some amount of control, as the custom has now died out in the British possessions in the peninsula, the offenders probably objecting to being caught and tried in cold blood."
There were a couple of other words I found particularly interesting. They are Brain Fag and Koro.
Brain Fag - In West Africa, this disorder is usually experienced by high school and college students whose brain has become fatigued in responce to academic stress and have difficulties concentrating, remembering and thinking.
Koro- basically this means penis panic, referring to a type of mass hysteria or panic where males grow fearful of removal or shrinking of the penis. The phenomenon is usually associated with some kind of occult belief, such as witchcraft. These irrational panics generally happen where access to education is limited, but have also been reported under drug use. Compare with castration anxiety.
Penis panics have occurred around the world, most notably in Africa and Asia. Panics concerning the female genitals are far less common and briefly discussed here. Penis panics in southeast Asia are known as Koro, with psychological diagnosis and treatments under development, but it is becoming increasingly clear that these forms of mass hysteria are more common than previously thought.
I think I had brain fag in school (maybe will get it again as I start back with school, I think a lot of the kids I work with have brain fag.)