Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chart Of A Nun (尼姑的八字)


Can you tell if a person can be a nun or a monk from his/her birth date? If so, if the person is a rich and influential one, or simply rich; or a poor nun/monk? 

你可以从生日看得出某人可否成为尼姑或和尚?她或她是个有权有势,有钱有势,有钱没势力,没钱没权还是有权没钱呢?


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Toad And Peppercorns (蟾蜍与胡椒)

What is a toad going to do with peppercorns? Though toad is one of those ingredients in Traditional Chinese Medicine, I am certainly not suggesting anyone to cook a toad with peppercorns!

Eric is a retired tour guide who used led tour groups from Malaysia to China in early 70's. During that time, visiting China was only allowed under the reason of visiting family members and those who want to proceed to China must be over 30 years of age.

For that particular visit, Eric went alone to visit his uncle resided in Fujian, China. Because his uncle's house were crowded, Eric decided to put up in a small hotel in town. The hotel is still within walking distance from his uncle's place.

During that period, online booking was non-existence so Eric just walked in and told the receptionist that he wanted a room. So the receptionist asked: "Standard or deluxe?"

"What is the prices like?" Eric asked.

"Standard RMB50, delux RMB200. But I would suggest you take the deluxe one as standard room may not be suitable to you." Answered the receptionist. 

Thinking of saving some money, Eric demanded to have the standard room as he would spend most of his time with his uncle and relatives; and he only need a place to sleep at night.

So, Eric checked into a standard room and after he threw his luggage inside the room he went about with his relatives. Eric only returned to his room nearing 12 midnight. After a hot shower, he sat by his bed to go over the next day's itinerary.

Suddenly Eric heard the sound as if someone was sighing: "Hai.. hai... hai..."

Even though Eric is not superstitious, he started to think of ghosts as his uncle warned him the hotel he stayed in was haunted. And another series of sighing sound made Eric developed goosebumps all over.

Without thinking twice, Eric immediately rushed to the hotel receptionist and told her that he wanted to switch to deluxe room. And the receptionist was happy to comply. So Eric topped up the RMB150 bill difference and a porter was summoned to help Eric to move his items to his new deluxe room.

Before the porter left, Eric gave him some tips. Due to curiosity, Eric asked the porter if his previous room was haunted. The porter shook his head and replied: "No. This is the trick the hotel management used to coax foreigners to choose a more expensive option... I was told to put a toad with peppercorns in its mouth under your bed. The toad will produce sound as if people sighing in pain..."

Eric almost fainted after knowing the fact. Of course, we don't see this tricks nowadays being used anymore. It is interesting to share however.. Please don't torture a toad in such a way though.


The Divorce Room (离婚房)

Alice told me this said to be a true spooky story happened to a newlywed couple in Bali.

Wong and Grace had just married and the couple planned for a tour in beautiful Bali a week after their wedding. They enrolled with Alice's company and she happened to be assigned to be their tour guide. There were other members joining the Bali trip of course.

Alice's group departed from Penang and a few hours later they found themselves checked into a classical Balinese hotel facing sea. It was approaching evening and after dinner, the group members were allowed to have their free time to roam about the hotel and the town. The official tour itinerary only starts next morning when a local tour guide would take over.

Wong wasn't feeling well so he retired early in the room while Grace felt that the night was still young; she went out with other group members to enjoy Balinese night life. Alice too retired into her room as she has been to Bali for many times. Besides there were some paper works she must finish before the next morning.

Following was narrated by Wong:

"Not too long after Grace left, I went to bed and just as I started to doze off, I heard someone opened the room door. I thought it must be Grace. So I remained to have my eyes shut and I heard the sound of TV being switched on; and then the sound of water flowing in bathtub. 

I guessed Grace wanted to have a bath so I continued to sleep. Half an hour later, someone went into the bed and slept beside me. Again, I thought that must be Grace but I couldn't see her as she was lying in my back..."

That was what Wong could remember before he dozed off until he was violently awakened by the shaking of Grace somewhere after midnight.

Grace was furious and she rose her voice at Wong: "Who is the girl I saw came out from the room just now? Can't I leave you for a few hours?"

In a state of half awakened, Wong replied: "Wasn't that you dear sleeping with me tonight?"

*SLAPPED!!*

Grace became more furious as she thought Wong was making fun of her; and she gave a big slap onto Wong's face. After the big slap, Grace searched frantically in the room for traces left over by the lady she saw but she found nothing.

Grace's high pitched voice caused Alice and hotel attendants rushed to the couple's room to investigate.

Since Grace was still in a stage of anger, Wong thought he had better to rest in an arm chair by the receptionist counter until he could put one plus one together in the morning... So Grace was left alone in the room to calm down.

Just as everyone thought everything was over, an hour later the frightful scream of Grace came out from the room. Now Wong being only about 10 feet away rushed to the room and he bumped into Grace head on who was just exiting the room. The couple fell onto the floor and shouted in pain.

With frightful voice Grace pointed her trembling finger at the room and said: "There is something in the room... I saw the silhouette of a man and I thought it was you came into the room to reconcile. But when I called out your name, the figure didn't respond so I switched on the light... And I saw the figure of a stranger without legs!"

Alice was there and she ventured into the couple's room but she slipped after stepping into a pool of water... Or should I say urine. Apparently Grace was so frightened until she urinated on the floor...Since Alice had a direct impact on her buttock, she couldn't walk and had to be escorted to the hospital.

A new tour guide was immediately sent to replace Alice the next day. Wong and Grace was given a replacement room and according to room attendants, they were not surprised of the couple's ghostly encounter because a married man and a lady had committed suicide in that particular room. Their restless spirits are known to roam the place and play tricks on unwary folks especially newlyweds. Some couple were even divorced after staying in that room.

That was the most interesting hotel haunting I have heard and poor Alice still couldn't walk properly after the big impact...

The Yemen Tea: Khat (巧茶)

Paul did tell me about 'khat' or the Yemeni tea leaves that saved him and his filming crew from the grasp of local militants. Seems that when local folks see khat, they became much friendly and being invited to chew khat together fosters some kind of comradeship. So during Paul's stay in Yamen for his work, he purchased a big bag of khat and distributed them wherever he went. According to Paul, khat really made miracles in making contact with Yemenis.

But there is a catch as 'khat' though is legalized in Yamen and a few Arabian countries, it is illegal in Europe and USA. Even planting of khat may be prosecuted in the State as I was told. Paul didn't realize khat is illegal until he was about to check in his flight to US. So as to avoid legal prosecutions back home, he and his team had to throw away all his khat before departure.

Intranet sources cited khat was originated from Ethiopia and it is used to combat hunger and fatigue as early as 13th century. The chewing of khat gradually spread to Arabian Peninsula and continent Africa. According to modern medicine, chewing khat in long term can cause vascular disease and anorexia.

In Yamen, khat is treated as socializing drug and it is consumed by students and drivers for refreshing purposes while laborers used khat to reduce fatigue. It is said that the effect of khat is equivalent to 5 milligrams of amphetamine. Until today, Yemenis still reserve their best room for khat chewing and socializing. I was told that the best khat variety was that of the 5 leaflets.

I personally treat khat chewing equivalent to betel chewing in Asia or the ketum leaves in Southeast Asia but  other than from what Paul told me and from intranet sources, I have no real personal experience as yet. 

My purpose of posting this information is in case you are travelling to Arabian or African countries and intent to bring khat back to your home countries; please check your customs regulations concerning import of drugs. In some places, you maybe slap with a fine; while death penalty maybe awaiting you in some countries. So travelers beware!
  

The Yemeni Ordeal (也门的考验)

Being the host of a travel program might be what you and me are looking for... Not only this host can enjoy delicacies of the world, he/she can travel 'free' and stayed in luxury 5 star hotels? Perhaps I can spare a column and let Paul relate his own Yemeni experience to you...

As we all know that Yemen today is not safe to general tourists ever since the start of the civil war in 2015. Before the war, Yemen was said to have been controlled by different warlords in various regions. So if one must travel across Yemen then, this person must first obtain permissions from various parties. That is to say that a permission in one region is a no go in the next. This is very different in region like EU where once you enter an EU country, you already obtained a almost free-to-all pass. 

Paul used to be a TV travel program host who was sent across the world to film travel programs and his programs were sold to TV stations across the globe. When I chat with him one day, I asked him to relate to me his most frightful experience when shooting his travel programs.

According to Paul, he got an assignment to produce a travel program to introduce tourists spots in Yemen many years back. So after his team done doing homework and aware of the chaotic situations in Yemen, off they flew to Yemen.

The first few days of shooting were relatively calm as they have gotten permissions of local militia. Though being warned by local Yemeni guide that Paul and his gang should not move outside of the town, the crew thought it will do no harm just to move a little distance away from Sana'a. Well, what could go wrong with only a few hundreds of meters away out?

So, in order to have a more dramatic shot, the filming crew decided to use a quite decently looking building as background for Paul to conclude his introduction of Sana'a...

When the camera started to roll and Paul started to speak, a group of militants rushed out from the building with AK-47 machine guns. They shouted at the filming crew and Paul in Arabic language that none of the folks understood. Unfortunately, the team's local guide wasn't around then.

The militants swiftly approached the filming crews and pointed their AK-47 at them. Poor Paul and his crew were scared to death. Not only none of them understood what had happened and none of them expected to be held at gun points after obtaining permissions.

As recalled by Paul later after taking a sip of cappuccino, he said that what he could remember then was the sensation of the scent of gunpowder and the muzzle of AK-47 by his temple.  

The entire filming crew was dragged into the building behind them and that building transpired to be the commanding post of the militias. Perhaps Paul and his gang had chosen a wrong location for shooting. Luckily they were not shut at literary speaking.

Since Paul and the militants couldn't communicate, and since Paul is a white man; the militants have some scruples and after some shouting; they called in an interpreter. 

Lucky for Paul, the interpreter was his local guide. After some local to local talks and a big bag of khat (a type of drug); Paul and his crews were released with a warning and their records were erased.

After returning to their hotel, Paul asked his guide on the reason of the commotion. His guide said: "Paul and his friends were taking photos of sensitive military locations. Further, the camera looks just like a bazooka from a far. So the militants thought they were under sieged at that time. Further being white, they thought Paul was some CIA agents..."

I cheered to Paul's story and emptied my cappuccino and asked him if he would return to Yemen again to complete his shooting. Paul cheered to me in return and replied: "Only when I have gotten used to being pointed with AK-47!"



Monday, November 19, 2018

The Doll (玩偶)

I was in Villach about a decade ago and stayed in a small hotel in the middle of a cornfield. There was a small shrine outside of the hotel I resided in the remembrance of the deceased son of the hotel owner.

A friend of mine, Sam told me that he has some kind of mysterious experience while staying in a hotel in Fellach. He has kept this secret to himself as Sam cannot confirm if what he encountered can be considered as 'spiritual'. Since I am writing blog, Sam was kind enough for me to post his story. So you be the judge if what Sam saw is spiritual or his own imagination.

Sam worked as a freelance tour guide specializing in leading small group of 3 to 4 people to explore places of interests where no ordinary tourists would go. A few years ago, Sam received an order to lead a newlywed couple to have a personal tour in Austria. This particular couple was interested in places around Fellach and there was where the trio stayed put for one week.

Sam booked a small hotel facing a beautiful lake. He took one room while the couple took another. According to Sam, he has no complaint about the place and his trip as the couple was quite independent and they preferred to go about their own business leaving Sam with a lot of free time.

Fellach is a beautiful place with natural beauty to the newlywed, but Sam was paid to do a job so he cannot enjoy as his customers did. Besides he has been to the place a few times and a pay check was much more anticipated. So said, while the couple was out enjoying the natural beauty and fresh air; Sam just stayed in his room to watch TV program.

There was just thing about his room... There was a baby stroller sitting beside the TV. There was a baby doll inside the stroller with both of its legs raised. The doll looked quite innocent on the first look and Sam didn't have a second thought about it at first.

On the second evening while Sam was lying in his bed watching local TV programs, his room door suddenly swung opened as if someone has pushed it with great force. A few minutes later the door shut with a slam as if someone returned.

At first Sam couldn't be bothered of the opening and shutting of the door as he thought it might just be the wind. However after the same incident repeated for 3 or 4 times within an hour or so, Sam became agitated and he pulled his luggage and pushed it against the room door. And, to his relief, the door did not open after that.

In the middle of the night, Sam heard someone knocked on his door. He thought the couple was looking for him. So he quickly opened the door but there was no one there. Feeling helpless, Sam returned to bed. A few moments later, the knocking sound repeated. He again rushed to open the door and there was no one there again. Feeling a little annoyed as he thought someone must have been playing tricks on him. Sam again shut the door and returned to his bed.

Since Sam was disturbed twice at night, he couldn't fall into sleep easily. So he twisted and turned in the bed and suddenly his hand grabbed something cold and he immediately jumped out from his bed, and switched on the light...

To his horror, Sam found himself was not alone in the bed... there was the doll that was supposed in the stroller. Shocked but Sam was quick to reason that this must be the prank of a little girl he saw playing outside of his room earlier in the morning.

Sam calmly put the door into the stroller and nothing special happened until the morning Sam and the couple checked out of the hotel. After breakfast in the morning, Sam returned to his room to pack.

Just as Sam busily packing his personal belongings into his luggage, his eyes suddenly caught an object in his bed... That was the doll again staring at Sam! The right hand of the doll somehow raised as if waving to Sam to say 'goodbye'.

Though shock, Sam continued his packing and when he passed the hotel owner the key at the receptionist, Sam asked the caretaker: "Whose's doll was that in my room?"

"Oh, the room you stayed in was formerly the room of the owner's child who died a few years ago. The doll was her beloved toy... I hoped you were not disturbed! That room was not meant to be rented out but as you can see now is the peak holiday season. It was our mistake to overbook. So we had to let you stay in the room as we knew you came from far away..." The caretaker smiled.

I think Sam did have some very strange encounter but I will let you be the judge!


The Psychic Tour Group (灵异旅行团)

May was a tour guide mainly leading groups from Taiwan to European countries. She visited me once for casting astrological charts. After her chart analysis, I asked of her profession and she said she led tour groups. After that she told me a bizarre story and that experience made her change her profession.

That was perhaps May's last tour group from a community college students. That group was comprised of about 12 members and they were a little weird as all of them were into occult matters. And, all of the youngsters claimed they can 'see things'...

May's group was chartered for a Western Europe tour and Germany being the main focus. After stopping over a few tourist spots in Berlin, the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg was the next stop. The infamous camp was about 35km north of Berlin.

As the tourist bust was traveling from Berlin towards Sachenhausen, May started her routine speech to introduce her group members concerning some historical backgrounds of this Saxon's House; some members started to feel headache and some were trembling with fear and complaint of something disturbing them. The students asked if they can skip visiting the concentration camp but May insisted that the itinerary cannot be changed due to company policy. So, like it or not, the plan must strictly be adhered to. May suggested to her group members that they can stay in the bus if they don't feel comfortable.

Now the bus was about 20 km away from Sachsenhausen camp, some members started to hiccup and vomit furiously until at one point the driver decided to stop by roadside to let those people empty their stomach contents so that the bus would not be dirtied.

After a round of vomit discharge, May urged her members to embark into the bus to continue the rest of the journey as they were getting late. Just as May thought all were under control, then about 10 km away from their destination; some members started to fell into trance, their eyes rolled up and they started to vomit white foams from their mouth. A few people even started to speak Hebrew...

Viewing on the deteriorating physical and mental conditions of her team members, under the advice of her bus driver; May decided to called up her company and a decision was made to cancel the visit to the concentration camp.

When a decision is made to take an about turn, as the tour bus drove away from Sachenhausen; all of the team members had miraculously recovered. 

May approached one of the students who spoke Hebrew a few minutes ago but the person cannot remember what had happened to her. She even asked May if she has missed her visit to the concentration camp. Apparently, this lady has no recall of what happened to her judging from her reactions.

After telling her story, May asked me if I believed that her group members were possessed by ghosts of the concentration camp. My take was that though I cannot deny ghosts exist, the students were perhaps put themselves in a state of collective hypnosis since they were all into spiritual practices. It is very easy to fall into collective hypnosis if everyone in a group has the same believe. Unfortunately or fortunately that May wasn't into spiritual stuff or else she too will be influenced by those odd behaviors of her tour members.