Skip to main content

Hungry Ghosts, Good Money

The bus ride back to my little room rented from a human family takes about 35 minutes every evening, and passes by many HDB flats (The Singapore government built flats, HDB stands for Housing and Development Board) in Chinese housing area including the China Town. Since mid August, I have been noticing a lot of burning of candles, prayer paper that represents "hell money", joss sticks, and paper replicas of luxury items in these areas. There are also some heavily decorated stages and tents set up in various areas, completed with altars and amazingly, karaokes! It looks like something really big is going on.

Aahhhhh... it's one of the most important Chinese festivals in Singapore: The Hungry Ghost Festival! The festival which the Chinese believe that the hell gate would open and free all underworld souls to wander amongst the livings' world. All that burnings are the humans' offerings to feed these hungry and perhaps greedy ghosts, so that they shall not disturb or harm the living.

What amuses me is, the Hungry Ghost Festival is meant to be only on the 14th day of the 7th Lunar month, but this has been going on for weeks, since the first day of the Lunar month. And tonight, the 15th day of the 7th Lunar month: I still had to walk through rows of burning candles and joss to get to the lift lobby.

It's rather ironic that all these are happening in the clean and modern Singapore. Didn't Singapore just organise a Live Earth Concert recently, shouting about global warming? But then again, the concert itself was a gigantic hypocritical bulls**t, no wonder they can create all that smoke and pollution for a few weeks and still get away with it.

There is nothing wrong with having and keeping one's tradition and belief. But taking a few weeks to celebrate a one-day festival, is really unnecessary (although some believe that the gate would be open for a whole month, what do we aliens know eh?).

If this is about tradition and belief, the ghosts were "traditionally believed" to be let out of hell for just that one day, every year; and in the town I lived in when I was in my younger human body, people used to only give offerings a day or two around the 14th. Now who did they get that extra holidays from? And if they can be feasting freely for so many days, there will be no hungry ghosts left because they would have been well stuffed!

If this is about tradition and belief, there is another Chinese festival in the 7th Lunar month, 7 days prior to the Hungry Ghost Fest, which is the Qi Xi Festival or the 7th Sister Festival. Why has that been ignored completely then?


To make offerings, these believers will have to buy a lot of specially-made paper merchandise (or it may not keep the ghosts away), candles, fruit, candies and cakes. If they feel the need to burn these things for longer and more secure protection from the ghosts, they will buy more.

Setting up the tents, stages and karaokes, involves the hiring of some event organisers, contractors, and material suppliers. And if you wish to attend to one of these events for a sit down dinner, you may have to buy some tickets.

I have checked with a human I know in Singapore, and the answer is: yes, the prolonged festival is highly profitable. Perhaps some humans still believe that they could get some lucky numbers off the ghosts and win some lottery money! So, the extended version of the festival seems absolutely necessary, so that they can burn massive amount of paper and candles every night of the "official" celebration period, to pray for extra safety and prosperity. Sorry Qi Xi Festival, you just aren't profitable enough to be remembered.

So, who is having prosperity at the end of the day, and laughing all the way to the bank?

This is the modern day Hungry Ghost Festival. Feeding the ghost, or the hell money manufacturers?


Popular posts from this blog

Sit Back, Relax, And Please Put Your Feet On the Seat

I absolutely hate buses with those facing seats: they are narrow, you get dizzy when you're facing the back of the bus, not to mention that you also have to be staring at other passengers doing the same thing to you; what's worse, THIS:   This person here thinks he owns the bus and had his feet up the whole journey! I was tempted to tell him off but would I dare risk my life dealing with someone this rude and inconsiderate so openly? No, I won't - especially when this is a Seri Kembangan bus route in Malaysia. No offense to the residents there, my family lives there too so trust me - I KNOW. And yes I'm just a coward who only knows how to take a picture and rant about it online, and wished that the bus driver could've done something about it. But then again, this is Malaysia, and this was a Rapid KL bus No.540. You get what I mean, if you're one of the locals.  Such a disgrace to the local people!

Handbags not allowed

This afternoon, I went to Giant Supermarket in Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The security guard at the entrance stopped me and demanded me to leave my handbag in an open cupboard (note: not a safe locker). Well for those who are not familiar with this, you may want to know that there is a funny rule here in Malaysia where certain supermarkets require customers to leave their shopping bags in the cupboard prepared by the supermarket. If you insist on having them they will lock the bags with cable ties so that you can't steal anything with those bags. They will usually let the ladies bring have their handbags in but God forbids, they somehow think that I may steal the whole shop with my "gigantic" handbag. So I refused and told them that it is in fact my handbag and I will not leave my handbag with them. He then demanded to know the content of my bag which I refused again because he simply did not have the rights to invade my privacy. Then he decided that he will

Change Of Driving Direction On Just 1 Road In Petaling Jaya - Left To Right, Then Back To Left Within A Month!

Just when I'm about getting used to this 1 road in Petaling Jaya being changed to right side driving last month, walking across this road this morning, it has just been changed back to left side driving!!! Picture taken on 3 Feb 2018 Picture taken this morning Not that I would complain about it being reverted back to normal, but is this really a matter can be taken so lightly that some "authority" can just decide to change twice in such a short period of time? What exactly is the standard of healthy & safety of this country? Or should I just be thankful that no one got killed because of that? Mind you, that's only my hopeful assumption.