Friday, June 24, 2016

The Evil Ou-ba-sang (邪恶的欧巴桑)


My Japanese and Taiwanese friends call old busybody ladies as ‘ou-ba-sang’. Not so long ago, employment is a lifetime engagement just like marriage in Japan. A person’s first job would also be his/her last job naturally; switching employment was almost never heard of in those days. My friends did tell me about their experiences with an evil ou-ba-sang spirit during their stays in a hotel situated at a lake near Mount Fuji. You heard my words right: not just one friend, but many! I just list down some of the more exciting ones to share:

A couple stayed in the said hotel for a few nights during their honeymoon. During their last night, when they were soundly sleeping under a piece of thick blanket; the wife dreamed of an old lady came to her and pulled the blanket away and in a half-awaken state, she kept her eyes shut and continued to sleep. After a while, she shivered due cold and she thought it was her husband who had pulled the blanket all to himself during slumber. So, the lady tried to push her husband with her hands but maintained shut eyes. To the lady’s surprise, all her pushes have failed to reach her husband. It seems that her husband was not beside her… Reluctantly this lady opened her eyes and only to find herself sleeping in the hotel corridor outside of her room!

In the morning, a hotel housekeeping lady told the couple that the wife’s ordeal was caused by the restless spirit of an ou-ba-sang who worked under the previous hotel owner but committed suicide when the new owner took over the building and asked the ou-ba-sang to take early retirement. After all, the ou-ba-sang was already in her 70’s at that time.

A friend arranged a trip for his parents to visit Mount Fuji. It was a coincident that he booked the said hotel and his parents stayed on the second floor.

At night, my pal’s mother suddenly heard a voice whispering beside her ear: “Wake up and follow me…”

In a dreamy state, the mother opened her eyes and saw an ou-ba-sang standing beside her bed. She recalled later that she couldn’t resist the ou-ba-sang’s call and as the ou-ba-sang turned her back and walked towards the corridor while she followed the ou-ba-sang at the back. So, as my pal’s mom walked, and walked until she felt a sudden pain on her cheeks.

It was due to pains that the mom opened her eyes only to find her husband standing in front of her continued to slap on her cheeks. Before she come to her senses; her husband shouted: “Are you trying to jump down from the balcony?”

Only now the mom opened her eyes, she found herself standing at the edge of a railing under which was a deep ravine…

My pal said if it was not due to his dad, his mom would have jumped down from the second floor into the ravine… interestingly speaking, that was the place where the ou-ba-sang fell to her death many years ago… It seemed that she wanted someone to accompany her to stay in the hotel for all eternity…

Another Use Of Tofu (豆腐的妙用)


Obviously, tofu is a type of food that we consume or used in Asian cooking…

There is a Chinese saying: 吃人豆腐 which means ‘taking a lady’s advantage’.

In Taoist offering to spirits, tofu is a must item; and do you know that we can use tofu to attract ghosts?

The method is simple:

You will need a few pieces of big tofu, a bell, some incense sticks, joss papers, some flour or chalk and 1 ~ 5 pieces of soul banners (招魂幡).

You will also need at least 2 players including you; but best if you can get 5.

The best place to perform this game is in a cemetery or a known haunted place and the time should be after 9pm.

First, at the designated place and time, the tofu pieces are placed on the floor and 3~5 pieces of incense sticks are plugged into the tofu. After that, spread the flour/chalk around the tofu evenly. Then some joss papers are thrown into the air to open the spirit portal (开路).

One of the participant should hold the bell and sound the bell slowly and best if he/she could chant some mantra, this would tell the spirits that the food is served and they shall come ASAP.

While the companions hold the soul banners and walked towards the 4 directions slowly. If anyone feels his/her arms felt heavy; that is the sure sign that the spirits are gathering. There should be some wind or breeze too. At this point, the person who holds the soul banner should return to the starting point and plug the soul banner into the floor.

Now, everyone can start inspecting the surface of the flour/chalk and there should be some patterns that resembles footprints but the sizes could be smaller than the human feet.

There are many explanations to these mysterious patterns:

It could just be that the ground is wet and the flour/chalk that has absorbed the ground moisture and forms some interesting patterns. Whatever case that might be, please just treat this as a game if you chose to play it. Please also remember to burn away all of the banners and joss papers before returning. This is to prevent any spirits from following you back.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dwarf Imperial Army (小皇军)


My pal Richard and his wife went to Japan for a tour and they stopped over at Osaka for a few days.

At the meantime, the couple stayed in a hotel beside a very famous noodle shop.

All went well and they enjoyed the sightseeing trip very much and only to return to their room to rest.

In the middle of the night, Richard faintly heard some thumping noise came from the left side of the room wall. He thought it was the noise of hot water pipe shaking; which is normal when the boiler has just heated up. So Richard continued to lie in the bed and tried to shut his eyes…

Then the thumping noise became more audible. Now the thumping noise resembles the marching noise of a troop of soldiers. It was ‘thump, thump, thump…’ sound of leather boots storming the ground in a rhythmic order. Slowly the ‘thump, thump, thump…’ became louder which caused Richard to fix his gaze on the left wall. Not long after that, he saw a trop of soldiers in WWII Imperial Army uniform marched out from the left wall. The soldiers were about 3 feet tall. They marched in the mid of the air and slowly passing Richard and his wife who were still lying in the bed.

Richard wanted to turn his body so that he could wake up his wife but he just couldn’t move or open his mouth. Some invisible force seemed to have taken control of him. So, Richard could only watch the dwarf Imperial Army procession passing him and his wife in the mid of the air.

Gradually, the procession entered into the wall on the right side. And row by row of ghostly Imperial Army disappeared into the opposite wall and as the last row of soldiers disappeared into the wall; so are their thumping sound of their boots…

Finally, the thumping noise subsided and Richard found the binding force on him has also gone. So he jumped out from the bed and rushed to inspect the walls on both sides of the room but he found no traces of any sort. Richard’s action stirred his wife from her slumber and she asked what Richard was doing. At this point, he could only squeeze out a bitter smile; he just couldn’t tell what he just saw to his wife. There was no sign or no proof whatsoever.

One afternoon when I happened to meet Richard in a coffee shop, he just poured the strange incidents onto me and wanted some explanation to the ghostly phenomena he saw in Osaka hotel.

Personally, I think what Richard saw was only a snap shot of images somehow ‘recorded’ from the past and this image was ‘released’ when the temperature, time and humidity are right. Since the ghostly figures did not react to Richard’s presence; it is safe to assume that they have no intelligence and they are just mirages of the past.  

Aisa’s Piano (爱莎的钢琴)


There is a now abandoned hotel in Shizuoka Prefecture (静冈县), Japan where the famous Mount Fuji is situated, the hotel was the house of a haunted old piano. Since the hotel was abandoned for more than 30 years and this story was told to me many years later by a pianist who happened to have visited the hotel during its operations; I have no idea if the piano or hotel still exist today.

Janet was a pianist who happened to know the hotel owner, Yamamoto and she did visit the gentleman during her piano performances in Japan. During Janet’s visit, Yamamoto invited her to stay in his hotel for as long as she wished free-of-charge. Janet was certainly delighted. So after completing her performances around Japan, she made it a point to have a short stay in Yamamoto’s hotel. Since the hotel is situated near Mount Fuji, Janet could spend her sweet time to visit areas around Mount Fuji. According to Janet, she disliked the hectic schedules of ordinary tour agency and Yamamoto’s kind offer came in just in time.

Finally, Janet found herself set her foot in Yamamoto’s hotel and she was warmly greeted by Mr. Yamamoto. After the dinner, Yamamoto excused himself due to his other business matters but he assigned his niece to attend to Janet’s needs. Before Yamamoto left, he suddenly said to Janet: “You can treat my hotel as if your own house but pardon me, whatever you do; please don’t play the piano you saw in the main hall… it belonged to my late wife, Aisa. I know you might be tempted to try…”

Janet gave Yamamoto her scout’s honour and Yamamoto left through the front door.

Days in Japan get dark very fast during winter. There was nothing Janet could do except to watch TV and chat with Yamamoto’s niece and due to curiosity, Janet enquired about the old piano. The young girl said:

“My aunty Aisa was also a pianist and the piano was Yamamoto’s present to her. She loved the piano so much that she never allowed anyone to play the piano without her permission. However, she committed suicide many years ago after uncle Yamamoto had an affair with a prat-time pianist. Hotel attendants found aunt Aisa leaned over the piano keyboard lifeless with an empty sleeping pill bottle… Apparently she had an overdose of sleeping pills and she wanted to play her last tune before she dies…”

Having said that, Yamamoto’s niece excused herself leaving Janet and a few attendants in a large hotel. Since Janet has nothing to do and no one was watching her; Janet thought she just try to play some tunes with the piano… well, no one would know and what harm could be done with some harmless tunes? After all, Janet was not a believer of supernatural stuffs. So Janet put her thought into action and she went to the piano and tried some of her favourite tunes.

After playing the first tune, Janet paused for a while to quench her thirst. At this time, she heard a series of footstep noise descending the hotel staircase. Janet thought it was just another hotel guest but she couldn’t see anyone came down from the staircase though.

Janet continued to play a few more tunes and suddenly her sight was fixed on the window curtain in front of her… the curtain moved without any apparent wind… No one would open the door or switch on a fan in winter time at night.

Just as Janet’s wandered about with her hands on the keyboard, the piano top cover suddenly slammed down with a loud bang which made Janet transfixed with shock on the piano stool.

Before Janet was herself again, she smelt the scent of lady’s perfume and a soft whisper near her ear: “Pardon me…”

As recalled by Janet later, she said perhaps the strange incident would not have happened if she just asked for permission first.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Granny’s Mysterious MIA Search (奶奶的妙法)


My friend, Chong went missing after his Bukit Hijau herb hunting trip last week. He went into the forest with a group of 5 people and a guide.

The guide only found Chong dropped off the trail when he was taking the headcount half way to the peak of the hill.

At first people thought Chong was releasing himself at the back of a bush but after waiting for some time; Chong was still not in sight. So the group decided to descend down to foothill just in case Chong was already down there. To their disappointment, Chong was not seen at the foot of Bukit Hijau. Before the guide decided to contact the authority for a search and rescue mission, one of the group member saw that there was a small shrine opposite the car park.

The group lead, Lee thought it is no harm just to go into the shrine to ask for a divination as to Chong’s whereabouts. No one wanted to follow Lee, so he went alone.

As soon as Lee set his feet into the shrine, a granny was in the shrine sweeping the floor. The granny saw Lee and asked him of his intention.

After Lee told the granny of the missing of his team member, Chong; the granny asked Lee to handle her Chong’s clothing and she would pray to the Datuk spirit of the shrine to help. Luckily, Chong has left his jacket in Lee’s car and Lee hurriedly fetch the jacket and passed to the granny. As soon as the granny got hold of Chong’s jacket, she started to kneel down in front of her altar and start chanting for quite a lengthy of time. She at times nodded her head and at times she shook her head; but the granny’s eyes remained shut during her prayer. Finally, granny opened her eyes and asked Lee to give her two coins. Lee complied to her request and the granny said: “Follow me!”

Out of curiosity, Lee asked his team members to wait at their cars just in case Chong returned; and he himself followed the granny to hike up the Bukit Hijau trail.

Though the granny looked aged, she could hike pretty fast while Lee could only follow at her back. Interestingly, whenever the granny reached a trail junction, she would put down Chong’s jacket on one of the trails and flipped the coins. She only picked the trail that was ‘chosen’ by the coins, i.e. the coins must show a head and a tail. So the granny repeated the process every time they came to a junction until they came to a place blocked by a tree broken half.

According to the granny, the place with tree broken into half is the dwelling place of the mountain god. Again, the granny started to kneel down in front of the broken tree and prayed earnestly just the way she did in the shrine.

Finally, the granny opened her eyes and told Lee that the mountain god has kept Lee behind the fallen tree as a punishment. Though a little disbelieved, Lee went to the back of the fallen tree and there he heard the moaning voice of Chong came from below a slope.

Looked like Chong has accidentally slipped and fall during the hike. Since the incident happened so fast and the jungle trail was slippery, there wasn’t time for Chong to shout for help. Whatever case that might be, everyone was glad that Chong was finally ‘lost and found’ though in quite a mysterious way just as how he got lost.

Until today Chong still doesn’t know how he has offended the mountain god. Since the granny didn’t say; and he didn’t ask either.

Sick Tree & Feng Shui (病树与风水)


I have said this before and I am going to say this again:

“Please pay particular attention to the condition of plants especially trees around your house for your own good…”

Perhaps what annoyed Westerners more is that Chinese likes to cut down trees around their houses. This is true due to Feng Shui reasons especially when a sick tree is around.

Basically a sick tree and a dead tree can bring very bad consequences to dwellers of a house.

If a sick tree is dying and in the process of decaying with sap oozing from tree trunk or root; then people in the house will suffer from sore related sicknesses. The location and size of the sores will depend on the location where tree sap came out from the tree. Whoever would be affected would depends on the location of the tree with reference to the house. If the sick tree is not removed in due time, then the sick will definitely die of blood related illnesses. As to when the ill effects of sick tree will attack will also depends on the zodiac animal and the arrival of flying star.

Dead tree on the other hand, will bring bad luck to due to dead chi which is bad for health and business…

Of course, all the talk mean nothing without a real life example.

Just fairly recently I received a call from Mr. Ho. His problem is that first it was his 65-year-old father suffered from unknown bad sore at his left leg, after a while; his mother too suffered from sore related issues at her legs… then Mr. Ho’s youngest sister also suffered from sore at her leg… A series of incidents made Mr. Ho think that the incidents are Feng Shui related.

After hearing Mr. Ho’s complaint, I knew that the series of issues were caused by sick tree and the location is at the northeast direction.

I told Mr. Ho my conclusion. Indeed, he agreed that his father’s house is indeed facing northeast direction, further just a few weeks ago; a mango tree was being chopped down due to termites leaving one foot of tree root protruding above the ground. As expected, tree sap still flew out from the tree root. Incidentally speaking, tree root represents a man’s legs. No wonder whoever stayed in the house suffered from sores at legs!

The remedy is simple too, the reminder exposed tree root must be excavated clean and the sore problems shall be cured with medication.

So, it is good to plant trees but remember to remove them when they are dead or sick. Please remember too to uproot the tree completely to avoid any side effects for your own good.

Fated (命中注定)


According to the arts of astrology, we cannot change what is fated to us.

Many scientific minded people would say astrology is superstitious and unfounded.

Many people yelled out: “My fate is in my hands!”

And many, many more…

To me, when it is fated; there is no escape. There is only misinterpretation of an astrology reading, unless one’s date and time of birth are wrong of course.

There is a Chinese saying:

命里有时终须有,命里无时莫强求。

“What is fated shall be given, there is no need to be persistent.”

This certainly sounds pessimistic, but I assure you that there is some truth in it:

My friend, Kenny spent many efforts to find his soulmate according to the principle of astrology.

One day, he hurried to my place and shown me the date of birth of a lady said to be his soulmate. It was a lady born in 1990 who matched all that are described to be rich and beautiful. Since Kenny did spend quite some time in the study of astrology so I just skimmed through Kenny’s calculation and indeed, his soulmate seemed to possess ‘heavenly ethics’ and quite well to do too…

I did tell Kenny that he is not fated to have decent soulmate before but he wanted to prove me wrong. Maybe this time, Kenny wanted to show off in front of me and made me apologize to him.  So, I gave him a big bow and not forgetting to congratulate Kenny on his ‘rare finding’.
As expected, soon the news of Kenny’s approaching marriage came to me. Just before I gave Kenny a call, he called me instead…

“What would it be if my soulmate’s year of birth is in 1991? I just looked at her identity card and she is born in 1990 and not 1991?” Kenny asked eagerly.

I answered lazily while checking on the calculation…

“Well, if the year of birth is indeed in 1990, your soulmate would be your pain-in-the-ass! Hahaha…”

Kenny: “What can I do now?”

“Pray… or get a divorce to lose 50% of your property or lose your life… Hahaha…”

Kenny: “…”

As expected, Kenny did marry the lady and only to learn that the lady is the sister of a local mafia group… And indeed, his wife is Kenny’s biggest pain-in-the-ass now!