Monday, April 5, 2010

040410 Die & Let Die

Unikeb - Lenggeng N9

040410 - Number 4 (sih) in some Chinese dialects sounds like the word "death,". Sum of 5 + 5, the number 10 represents the two opposite current directions of the conscience: involution & evolution.

Hence - 10 represents the first couple, the marriage: 1 = the man, 0 the egg fertilized by the 1.

The number ten is regarded as the most perfect of numbers, because it contains the Unit that did it all, and the zero, symbol of the matter and the Chaos, of which all came out; it then includes in its figure the created and the non-created, the beginning and the end, the power and the force, the life and the nothing. Regardless of the auspicious date, nothin gonna stop us from ridin.

With dark gray Nimbostratus clouds hovering over the palm trees in Broga, we really thought we were safe. The "Wet" looking cloudy layer associated with continuously falling rain made me go "Ah...the weather was gonna be kind". We're in for a BIG disappointment.

4 years back, we got caught in a massive find traffic jam and chaotic mess along Jalan Sungai Lalang - the road that leads to Sungai Tekala & Perez (Genting Peras). Blinking red tail lights & bumper to bumper crawl - it drizzled sporadically & soiled my spanking new jersey.

Beautiful shades

Last year Zharin SIDI's sole came off, endless punctures... Some unseen entities, I believe - were messin with our equipment.

my Hatu Raya, Azam, Syarul Hulk, me,
Mr Won, Rizal, Cikgu Hisham, Bokat & my twin.

Say hello, wave goodbye - Soft Cell

No tech problems this time but the nite before the ride, I was hallucinating without acid - I'm seeing things...hmmm... Ghost Whispering "oooooohhhhhh Jennifer....." that perked me up quite a bit.

Half way thru the ride, most of us nearly bonked. Our back felt heavy, legs felt weak. Feelin weary, we cut short the route & abandoned the Mendom Hill climb. Probably "someone" or "something" had hitched a ride on our bikes....eeeeeeeeeee....

Can you find Casper? Click pix for larger image.

That's what you get if you ride on Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Day. (Remembering the dead) All souls day? No, sounds similar but its different.

Once a year, during Qing Ming, the Chinese visit their family graves to tend to any underbrush and weeds that has grown out of hand around the cemetery. Weeds are pulled, dirt swept away and joss sticks, green bean biscuits (food), hell money, fruits, grub, flowers and Chinese tea as well as a paper box containing clothing are offered to the departed.
"Hell money" or "paper money" in the belief that the dead needs to spend money in their afterlife as well. Some would also shave off the skin of a pineapple and offered the fruit to the deceased with the hope that "Ong" (Prosperity) would come to the family and descendants. It is believed that the souls of the departed are allowed a grace period to leave the underworld and enter this worldly realm to accept offerings from their living relatives.

In ancient times, Qing Ming was a holiday celebrated with dancing & singing - no karaOK pliz. The ritual is akin to a picnic as relatives from far and wide gathered for this annual event and feasted on the offerings at the graveside but nowadays, many families prefer to take offerings home to eat. It has evolved into a time of quiet solitude to honour the departed. It is also a time for families to bond.

The concept of filial piety to one's ancestors is a very important concept in the Chinese culture. The Chinese believe that to be buried at one's hometown will mean that the spirit will rest well and in turn, bless the living family will continue to prosper through good harvests and more children from the ancestor's blessing. On the burial tablet or the ash holder, the hometown and birthplace is always inscribed in addition to the deceased name and date of birth and death, so that the spirit can find their way home.

Waking & walking the dead

Not so far away but just at a corner of the Malay Archipelago, the Toradja people of the mountains of Celebes island in Indonesia has the ability to walk the dead. If someone dies in Toradja, the deceased will be hypnotized so it will be able to walk back home o be present at his own funeral. Hence, will not trouble the living as the mountainous & isolated terrain makes transporting the corpse difficult. In Toradja, a person is not considered dead until this last ceremony and the soul is released to the heavens.
Even with the availability of good roads that connects the villages of Tana Toradja, the ability to bring the dead back to life has not been entirely forgotten, however. According to them, the spirit of a dead person must return to his village of origin. It is essential that he meet with his relatives, so that they can guide him on his journey into the after-life. If someone died beyond his/her village, without a strong magical power, it would be necessary to procure the services of a chaperone, to guide the dead person back to the village.
The corpse would walk stiffly, without expression - in a robotic manner. (Remember MJ doin the zombie Thriller dance?) It would fall down senseless, If anyone addresses the dead thing directly, stop short of it's journey. So, those accompanying the deceased on the macabre procession had to warn people they met on their path not to talk directly to the dead man. Sometimes, even now, the deceased is made to continue breathing and seems alive until all his relatives are gathered around him.

If you're a Malay bloke with that kind of super-duper-power, I'd say you're a Hantu Raya buddy.

Thats kind of far fetched eh? I heard similar stories from Borneo. Customary to the "Ulu" folks from the interior. After weeks of being buried, the dead would be called back to visit siblings or parents who long for them. A shaman (not like the one on a bus in Phuket) would summon this "Being". As they enter their former homes dressed in grave-clothes, remnants of mud & sand from the graveyard would been seen along the path - of the so called body who woke up & "Walked" to see their family...
To delay it, beads such as pearls or beans will be presented as play-things, but the corpse needs to get back to it's grave before sun-break.

Malaysian Muslims on the other hand, usually visit the graves of their dead in the wee hours of the first `Eid day or the evening before. "I must come here every year to remember my forefathers and recite some verses from the Qur'aan," Arief Zain, a young boy, said as he laid some flowers on the grave of his great grandmother in the Sg. Pinang cemetery. Read the story here.

During my teenage days, we would gather a group during the school break & go camping by the seaside for a week, at least (The luxury of Penang). Usually there would be a stream nearby, for us to survive. Incidentally right across the road lay a huge cemetery atop the hills, facing the sea - for good Feng Shui.
It was my turn to go get some TIT-bits & groceries for the night & with another friend when we stumbled upon droves of people leaving the cemetery after tending to the graves.

Where there are graves, there will be fruits I'd say. Why the trouble going all the way to "Tanjung"/town where you can get it for free here. Without fear, we just helped ourselves as if it's our grandfather’s farm.

Not knowing that we took the fruits from the deceased, they wallop the grub without much thought. (How to even think or even worry when almost of them were in a sorry state - drunk). One fella did ask us albeit being stoned “How come so fast ah, go & come back from town - you Lap/Rempit/Speed ah?”.
I just blurted "What you know?! You hantam 6 bottles of "Bulldog"/Stout - shattup la, why u sibuk - I go & buy susah-susah u lalok & sleep only..."

Either the spirits has got into them or they're simply out of their minds - After the feeding, they’re one big happy soul - blurry & free.
I was awoken by a huge commotion at the break of dawn. One of the boys stumbled across some pieces of red paper with Chinese characters stuck by the fruits remnants. My six senses told me to keep low & together with the other guy, slid away from the tent & hid behind some rocks, sniggering. We quickly sped off when the coast was truly clear & laughed hysterically at their folly.
Not until much-much later in the afternoon that we felt really safe, gathered our guts - to return & face the clan.

Why I don't fear the graveyard.

My primary school was located right in front of an Indian Cemetery whereas my secondary school was facing the biggest Chinese Cemetery in Penang. Jalan Batu Lanchang, any Penangnite would know. Being curious kids, we'd go see almost all the cremation & lowering of the casket ceremony. For a boy scout like me, Saturday is all about spending the mornings scavenging the hills. We would do a game like finding treasures (Similar to orienteering) & of all the places we'd do it, we'll go for the cemetery as it's vast, empty & no one would bother us, especially when we're in our scout's uniforms. A BIG passport for doing mischief or A license to be naughty!

We would use stick, twigs, stones & if we're lucky - bones of the dead as directional signs! Massages & clues would then be hidden within the gravestones cracks or around the graveyard. A compass will sometimes point at a certain degree to the late MR. so & so. He/She (The dead) would also be some help in determining the winner. Even though he/she is lying in state, their help is crucial!

I was there in Jalan Batu Lanchang - for 9 years since Std. 1.
La Salle School, yes La Salle what a sad case. The original school in Jalan Sekolah La Salle in Air Itam was in a bad shape. Cracks appeared & we had to abandon ship - abandon school I mean.
So...all the king's horses & the king's men, couldn't put Humpty together again. In this particular case - All the Governor's architects & the engineers fail to repair it ever again... Pity Humpty Dumpty.
For 9 years we had to endure afternoon school at the mercy of the original inmates. We would be tormented by the boys & girls. Harsh words like "So poor, can't even have own school/Tompang sekolah saya tak malu/Shame you, squatting in my school". There would be fights every other week with the rowdies from SRK Batu Lanchang & SMK Georgetown. "Hey you! Don't play-play ah, we're ruffians too" as we La Sallians would finger-point back.

I played the drums during my Xaverian days & made some dough accompanying hearses. We would play an extremely slow beat (Dead slow), a hymn or sacred song until the casket is secured on the hearse or when it's lowered into the grave. Remembered vividly being scolded & eyeballed for uplifting the tempo for "When the Saints Go Marching" song at the saddest-crucial point.
What do you expect? As a Xaverian drummer, every Monday during assembly we would drum-it-up (The song) to a rousing applause!

Caught in the act...

About time I watch the "Evil Dead" cult movie.

"Live & Let Die" means to live your life in lavish while the others struggle and die. This phrase is a spin off of the phrase "Live & Let Live" which means you live in peace and others may do the same with your blessings. "Die & Let Die" on the other hand, is the opposite of both...forever be dead or forever in death.

*SIDI - Cycling shoe brand, Latin - Starlike, A very good person in Arabic (Someone who is knowledable, talented, respected and looked up to).
*Orienteering - Sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain. Participants are given a map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they use to find control points. Originally a training exercise in land navigation for military officers, Orienteering has developed many variations. Among these, the oldest and the most popular is foot orienteering.
*Dough - Money/RM/Duit/Ongkos/Uang/Lui/$.
*Grub - Food.

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