Wednesday, April 6, 2016

You Have Forgotten Me (你忘了我)

This is a funny but true incident that happened on my friend’s construction site just a few months ago:

Kenny is a construction project manager and he has a project in Kulim Industrial Park to build a factory near a hill slope. Somehow his work progress was delayed due to material shortages and most of all; the construction site has seen many big and small accidents. So much so that he was given a verbal warning by the local Health & Safety Authority as final warning before action is taken to close the site.

So, Kenny’s site supervisor, Goh is an experience guy; he figured that all those accidents were caused by local spirits dissatisfied because they are being disturbed by the construction work. Further no one has made offerings to them.

Kenny is a non believer but just to satisfy and console his fellow workers; he held a big offering ceremony and in addition, he also built a datuk’s (earth spirit) shrine. If you come to Malaysia, you will not miss those small red (sometimes green) houses for local earth spirits.

The offering and praying session lasted for one whole Friday morning and everyone was satisfied; they too thought the spirit community around the place should be satisfied too. Having said so, Kenny’s smile didn’t last for too long…

One week following the inauguration of the datuk’s shrine, a work’s inspector from Health & Safety Department came and visit. That was supposed to be a routine inspection to give green light to start construction work. But quite an unfortunate incident happened just when the inspector was about to leave the site, a steel spanner suddenly fell from 2nd floor and only missed the inspector by one foot.

What else? The grimed face inspector ordered the site to be closed for another week!

Now that was indeed real bad news for Kenny as his project was already 1 month behind schedule, if the construction work does not begin soon; the whole project will be delayed. And the company will lose a lot of money.

As last resort, Kenny gave me a call:

Kenny: “Hey, Liew! Are you free to talk?”

Me: “Oh it’s you! What’s the problem?”

Kenny: “How do you know I am in trouble?”

Me: “You would never call me if have no problem for sure!”

After Kenny listened to what I had to say, he described his problem to me and I decided to perform an earth blessing ceremony using ‘Hayagriva torma cut offering’ (马头明王切割供). In Tibetan ritual, Hayagriva reacts as fast as a galloping horse and hence he is almost always evoked in obstacle removal session. On the other hand, the Hayagriva in Hinduism is very different with the Tibetan one.

On the agreed upon day, I visited the site with Kenny and his site supervisor Goh. I purposely asked both of my buddies to let me alone for an hour or so while I did the puja session and meditate.

An hour later, both of the guys returned to me and I started the conversation:

Me: “Did you forget to make offerings to some spirit?”

Goh: “Well, we had a big offering with mutton curry and yellow sticky rice. We even had the Datuk’s shrine setup as you can see…”

Me: “There is one spirit you have forgotten… and it is very angry!”

Goh: “What spirit?”

Me: “The mountain spirit, of course! It said that everyone has something to eat and a place to stay but it had none!”

After Goh and Kenny heard my words, they promised to hold another food offering for the mountain spirit the following week.

Do you believe it or not? Right after the supplementary food offering, Kenny’s construction progress went on very well; he even made up the lost time and with zero accidents on site since then. 

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