Yesterday, 20th August 2009 is the beginning of the Hungry Ghost Festival. I was rather free so I went ronda around town after doing some errands. I passed by the Hainan Temple and decided to stop by to video.

IMG_0113
(this is the ‘door god’ or guards of the hantus)

I notice something. The Hainan Temple has mostly female deities. So, I told myself, “No wonder we Hainanese women are so benevolent lah…our roots are intricately tied with female gods (and not goddess, ok?)” So, tuan-tuan dan puan-puan sekalian, don’t mess with Hainanese women like me because when we naik angin, we create typhoon like the typhoon that blows to the Hainan island in China.

IMG_0116
(when I was small, my brother used to get prizes from kin chiu (banana) huey kuan)

There is one deity where people offered ‘ko long chui’ or Florida water which is like a cologne and the old, Chinese face powder. I didn’t ask the temple caretaker who is the deity but I guess it is a deity to help women find their matches. You know…those spinsters who cannot find a man to like them so they need to pray pray for ‘ean’ or love luck.

IMG_0102

I must be thinking all sorts of naughty thoughts because when I came back, I took a nap and dreamt that a woman came to lie next to me and groped me! OMG, I am sorry for intruding into temples when I shouldn’t. Anyway, I like going to the Hainan temple because I like looking at those old photos of the people there. I don’t have many relatives here in Malaysia because my father came from Hainan island. So, I don’t have uncles or aunties except for one.

IMG_0105

After the temple, I still have time before I need to fetch my son from kindie. So, I went to Phor Tay where my father and mother are laid to rest in the columbarium. Actually they have their graves but we kept a memorial tablet at the Phor Tay because it is easier for my siblings to pray and worship.

So, don’t see Hungry Ghost Festival as the time to offer to hungry ghosts only. It is a time to remember your departed loved ones. I hope I have time to make a video of both temples visit. It is a nice time to visit my mother’s little corner in Phor Tay because I normally do not join my siblings to pray when they go. Not that it is because I am a Christian but rather, the timing wasn’t ngam.

Last night, Penangites were going all out to please the hungry ghosts. They left all sorts of foods on the roadside. They threw or rather flung lots of hell money. I notice that people now tend to pray in such elaborate ways. And guess what? As I was driving by at night, a couple of migrants where carrying plastic bags of the foods they picked up from the road offerings. God bless them. It is kind of ironic that people will not mind offering perfectly good foods on the roadside and yet, we never think of actually offering them to our poorer brothers and sisters. Rituals…..sometimes we can be so blinded by rituals.