Monday, October 31, 2016

Sibu Haunted House (诗巫鬼屋)

I like to travel but the lodging cost already taken up most of my travelling budget. So, normally I would look for free or low cost room if I only stay for a few days; a house if my stay is longer. Fortunately speaking, I have many helpful friends; a place to sleep can always be arranged with a single phone call with a catch of course. The catch is that I cannot choose where I like to stay even the place is a little too spooky. Frankly speaking, it is not the ghosts that I am afraid of; but the thugs and personal safety. Having said so, I don’t enjoy to stay in a haunted house either because when a house is haunted, the Feng Shui of the house would also be bad also.

Once I visited Sibu for a week and called up a friend whose father owns a logging company. This friend of mine has a few empty houses served as worker’s quarters and he has generously emptied one of those houses for me with a caution: “This place is extremely haunted, stay at your own risk!” His warning actually intrigued me, so I pull him aside and demanded him to clarify his last statement. This guy just shrugged and veered at me while saying: “I will tell you when you pass the keys back to me… if you make it alive and in one piece… Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Having no choice as staying in a hotel would cost me $200 per day and it would be a lot of money if I had to stay for 7 days! So, I took up the challenge and moved into the house. The house was a wooden house with one kitchen, one bathroom cum toilet and two rooms. I stayed in one room of my choice and mind mine own business.

First few days were relatively peaceful perhaps I went out early in the morning and came back quite late. At times when I came back at night, I would hear noise of people taking shower in the toilet accompanied with Indonesian songs. I thought it might just be my pal’s Indonesian worker since this house I temporary sought shelter was meant for them to stay anyway.

One thing I disliked this guy was that he (my guess was that it must be a ‘he’ from his singing) liked to open my room door suddenly and shut it with a slam while I was sleeping soundly. The sudden bang startled me but I thought the guy probably got the wrong room in the dark. This person would also suddenly switch on my room light suddenly at night, sometimes he also purposely switched off the light while I was reading. Of course I paid no attention to those ‘mistakes’ as I thought I only want to have a peaceful stay in Sibu and not looking for quarrels.

7 days lapsed and I called up my pal to pick me up as I would be travelling to Kuching to meet up with my aunt. My pal came as promised and when I jumped into his truck, he looked at me with surprised and asked: “Did you notice anything unusual there?”

I responded as usual: “Oh, the place is fine… but it would be good that if you would inform me first when you let new worker staying in the house. I thought I have taken his room but he just went on with his business quietly and left me alone for the whole week…”

My pal looked surprised and said: “What did you say? I didn’t let anyone into the house except you… In fact, there was an Indonesian worker whose head was chopped off by his fellow roommates after he won some money during gambling. His murderers took the money and escaped but this poor man’s restless spirit remains in that house ever since. It has scared many tenants and no masters could get rid of it. Can you help to remove this ghost? I will pay for your service!”

I looked at him and shook my hands: “No way bro! I am afraid of ghosts… Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Magical Uses Of Rice Grains (茅山祭米术)

Raw rice grains are indispensable ingredients in Taoist rituals. Rice grains are normally being used to expel evil, to open spiritual portals, as food offerings, to conjure spirits and also to summon dead souls. So said, different Taoist schools have different requirements for the selection of rice grains. While majority of the schools are quite indifferent on the conditions of the rice grains used; the Mao’shan School is quite careful when coming to rice grains.

Normally only rice grains with perfect ends are considered qualified to be used in spirit conjuration matters. Symbolically speaking, two pointed ends of a rice grain means that the spirits can travel both ways without hindrances. So, good rice grains are the equivalent of human superhighways. Broken rice grains on the other hand refer to small muddy paths. When wandering spirits need to be summoned, Mao’shan Taoists will first select 36 perfect rice grains for the ritual. After a short summoning passage is recited, 6 rice grains are thrown towards all 6 directions: front, back, left, right, up and down. The gesture of throwing those rice grains are also of importance. Usually rice grains are thrown softly towards the 6 directions. Of course, rice grains are used in conjunction with incense, candles and joss papers.

Good rice grains can also be used to hasten the arrival of dead souls in the ‘rice asking’ (问米) ritual. Rice asking is a folk ritual used to summon the recently deceased soul up for conversations. This is similar to the spirit mediumship in the West. Although this type of ritual is normally monopolised by elderly women, Mao’shan Taoists too have learnt this capability though not many are willing to put it into practice.

When rice grains are used to exorcise evil spirits or in opening a spiritual portal, it is not necessary to select perfect ones. Rice grains are normally mixed with coarse sea salts, talisman ashes and the mixture is thrown forward forcefully accompanied by shouting and storming of left foot. This type of exorcism ritual is normally done as part of space cleaning ceremony for haunted locations.

If rice grains are to be used as food offerings to the spirits, they should be accompanied with Taoist food offering mantra and mudra. It is believed that after those rice grains are blessed by mantra and mudra, they will transform into delicacies for hungry ghosts. Taoist food offering rituals can be traced to Buddhist origins just a note.

Of course, when rice is cooked; it is also being offered to spirits and gods alike. However, when a household is tormented by strange happenings; cold rice mixes with cold water are served as food offerings to the spiritual world. The combination of cold rice and water was the last food for beheading prisoners in ancient China. So, by serving cold rice and water mixture; the spirits are asked to eat the cold rice and leave the place so to speak.

Love Magic And Scam (爱情术与骗子)

Many people are mesmerized by love magic and yet there are very rarely discussed about openly. Amongst many magical schools, the Thai love magical rituals may be one of the most bizarre and much talked about. There are magical oils, creams, talismans, amulets and statues etc. Amongst those items, ‘corpse oil’, ‘nam man prai’ or’ minyak dagu’ tops the list. The other more popular worshipped love magic idol is the Phra Ngan, the red eyed Casanova. If you want to know more, just drop yourself into one of those Thai amulet shops and you shall be lost in the dazzling world of love magic…

Of course, nowadays, people don’t really care about which form of love magic they practised. Instead of seeking love magic, perhaps a more appropriate term I would use is the ‘lust magic’. Well, we all know what men are hunting for with love magic really. A magician would always boast about how effective his/her love potion is but are those love magic that powerful as claimed? Can a love magic formula bring two strangers together and fall in love?

Not really. I am speaking as a practitioner of Thai and Taoist magic that any love magic could only make a person temporary attracted to another person; and that is all to it. The rest of the work would be shouldered by the person’s own ‘perception’. The real magic I would return to the 4 magical C’s: cars, cash, career and condominium, and of course, a looking body!

For example:

Malaysian ladies were and still are being cheated millions of dollars every year by intranet love scam operators whom they had never met before! The operators only need some handsome faces and a lot of sweet talks to fish out those hard earn money from those ‘love seeking’ women. In fact, these women are actually ‘defeated’ by their own ‘perceptions’: the dream of a promising future with a handsome guy.

Coming back to love magic, the effect of love magic is actually used as a temporary aid by playboys or playgirls to attract their targets. In reality, these playboys/girls would disguise as someone rich, handsome/pretty with a lot of cash. The victims after being attracted by love magic, and then reinforced by their own perceptions; would eventually become the playboys’/girls’ die hard lover. When their relationships turned intimate, other form of means would be used to bind those unwary victims: drugs, intimate pictures, personal secrets or even money.

As I was told by a professional playboy, nowadays; love magic is already outdated. It is actually the making use of a combination of deceptions and perceptions and threatening to trap victims so that they abide by the orders of unscrupulous folks.

Maybe now you would have a second thought about love magic…

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Conversation With Drowned Ghost (与水鬼谈天)

Kids now and then love waters. Where there are lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and seas; traces of kids can be found. Since open natural water bodies are not monitored by anyone, drowning cases amongst kids are very frequent especially during school holidays. Hence give forth the belief of drowned ghosts dwelling these water bodies.

Life in rubber plantation can be quite boring for kids especially when the adults either went out to work or busy in the kitchen preparing for dishes. So, times in between meals were indeed a kid’s happy hours. As a kid then, I always go fishing at a pond known as Golden Pond by the locals. The pond was once rich with tilapia fish, carps and snakeheads. I have seen an angler dragged a 3ft giant snakehead out from the pond myself.

Other than fishing and swimming, there are some games meant to be played in the evening or night. Normally dinner was served around 5pm by my grandma and after dinner we the kids would then play some games either to summon a spirit with an Ouija board, or listening to grandpa’s old time story. There were another types of ghost hunting games meant for older and bolder kids too. Oh, TV and video games were out of reach to us then…

First, there was the ‘watching drowned ghost’ game where two kids would sit near the waterfront of Golden Pond holding a piece of newspaper. Two small holes would be poked on the newspaper for one kid, so four holes are required for two kids. Before starting the game, some food offerings normally rice, sweets and biscuits would be placed in front. A pair of candles and some incense are burnt to attract the drowned ghost in the Golden Pond.

The kids would sit quietly near waterfront while holding the newspaper. They would peep through the holes from the newspaper towards the water surface for possible sightings. It normally takes 30 minutes or so to see some reflections on the lake. If the players can keep cool, then nothing would happen to them as no further contact would be made with the spirits. I have seen a shadow that resembled a friend drowned in the pool some years ago.

Second, there is another game to ‘hear voices of drowned ghost’. It is a simple game as the player only needs to find the most haunted spot of the lake and then either by standing or sit down; he/she should put his/her hands around his/her ears as if trying to hear something. If this person is persistent, then after a while; some noise could be heard. The person should just listen and he/she should not try to communicate.

The third game is a more advanced game. A player should get a piece of green bamboo and some joss papers. He/she should pick a spot he/she thinks where the drowned ghost is. Then, this person should plug the green bamboo into the water and then he/she should throw some joss paper towards the sky. After that, he/she should bow down and inclines his/her head so that his/her ear is parallel to the surface of the water.

Now, the player shall hear some kind of voice. At first the voice would either be blurred or high-pitched. Slowly he/she would be able to make sense of what the voice means. One can respond to this voice by physical speaking to it. This conversation can go on for a few minutes. Whatever it may be; please do not promise the voice anything. Before the person goes back, he/she only needs to throw another round of joss paper into the air. One thing to note is that, this player must not look back!

As far as I know, no one would play these types of monotonous games nowadays anymore. After all, computer games are much more exciting than conversing with ghosts…

Magician Codes Of Ethic (术士道德规范)

I don’t have too many things to post, since not many people mentioned about the magician’s codes of ethic; perhaps I just mention a little about it.

All magicians, white or black; are bound by a set of codes of ethics. Without this codes of ethic, a sorcerer may overdo his/her magic which will hurt his/her fortune and lifespan. According to I Ching, any harmful magic cast should not be over 7 day’s period. This is in accordance to the ‘returning’ (复卦) reading of I Ching. So, after 7 day’s period the sorcerer should hands off any curses and then let the nature take its course. This applies to love magic too.

If a victim of black magic dies within 7 days, then it is because of his/her fate. Likewise, if this victim recovers, then it is because of his or his ancestors’ merits that saved him/her. Similarly speaking, if a lady/gentleman is charmed by love magic; then this person has 7 days to persuade the lady/gentleman to continue with his/her relationship. So said, a man must be able to sustain the livelihood of his family. Otherwise, the love magic cannot work. Obviously, it brings no benefit to the men but to add on to his financial burden if he already finds difficulty in sustaining his own life.

We must bear in mind that love magic only acts as a temporary magnet to attract our target, we really must still have the ability to take care of whoever comes into our life.

I have seen a paranormal program where a Thai master boastfully said: “I only want money to kill anyone including my own father!”

Perhaps it is for the sensation effect, but no one would proclaim as such because such proclamation is against the codes of ethic of Thai culture; hence Thai magic: parents are revered same as one’s teacher. So, apparently this master is not an authentic Thai magician.

When I started learning Mao’shan Taoist magic with my Taoist master. We were asked to capture a spirit which tormented a house in Ipoh. As soon as this spirit was captured into an earth urn; my master asked me to close the urn mouth with a piece of yellow cloth. Bewildered with his instruction, I asked:

“Why do you ask me to seal the mouth with a piece of cloth? Shouldn’t I use the original ceramic cover? The spirit will escape once the cloth is decayed very soon…”

“Well, we don’t have the right to imprison this spirit for too long. After all, we don’t know its karmic relationship with the house owner…” Answered my master.

So you see, it is unethical to bind a spirit for too long.

Along the same matter, real magic combat will never happen in real life situation because as soon as a curse or black magic is successfully cast; a sorcerer would perform another ritual to divert any attempt to detect the source of this magic. In another words, any counter magic by any opponent will fall into void. At this point, it is really up to the opponent sorcerer to heal the victim; or if the victim’s ancestors had accumulated enough merits, then he/she will recover automatically.

Naturally, no one would reveal what I have just said. Since I think the codes of ethic is an important and mostly neglected topic; perhaps the magic lovers care to take a note. To others, at least you understand how traditional magician works.

Love Sustaining Ritual (爱情锁心法)

When a person has casted successful love magic onto someone, the next step for the person is naturally to ‘lock’ the heart of his/her love ones. Of course, many people only interested in one-night-stand types of magic then they do not need to bother about ‘locking’ the heart of the person he/she has enchanted. In this case, the said effect of love magic may fade away following the waxing and waning of moon.

In order to be able to ‘lock’ the heart of love one, there are many rituals to choose from. Strangely speaking, most of those love locking rituals are meant for ladies only. This phenomenon has troubled me for a long time and I finally understood that the best way to lock the heart of ladies is in accordance with the 4C formula: cash, career, car and condominium.

You may call me obsolete or mind locked, but how many times you cursed your boss as ‘old bold fat soul’ who has big tummy married a beauty queen just because he has a lot of $$$$! Well, he might not be able to win the heart of your girlfriend; but he certainly can win the hearts of a dozen ones that you would die for…

Let’s forget about those pathetic men and say something about love sustaining ritual for ladies. I can think two simple rituals off my head: one is the fish hook ritual the second is the love juice ritual.

First, the fish hook ritual:

In order to cast this love sustaining ritual, a lady must get a fish hook obtained from the stomach of a fish. Please don’t buy new ones or the magic might not work. Once a suitable fish hook is obtained, then the lady must get some body hairs (any body part would do). After that, she can write her lover’s name, date and time of birth on a piece of paper. Once done, the lady can use a piece of red string to tie this piece of paper onto the fish hook. This fish hook is then put into a small bottle.

Now, if the purpose of this lady is to bind her lover’s heart for the whole life, then she can just seal the bottle and bury it under a huge tree and forget about it. But I would advise the lady just keep the bottle just in case she wanted to release the binding spell when the love turned sour later. Well, we will never know.

Second, the love juice ritual:

In this ritual, the lady must collect some ‘love juice’ from her love ones into a small bottle and together with some bee wax. The juice and wax mixture should be heated until the mixture forms a mixture. While the mixture is still in liquid form, a piece of paper written with the lover’s name and date of birth is inserted into the bottle. The bottle opening is then sealed. The magic is basically done and the bottle should be kept in a secret place.

When the lover goes out of the house, the lady should take out the bottle and heat up the bee wax mixture. When the mixture softens, so is the lover’s penis. In this case, this poor lover cannot have the urge to have intimate act with any ladies out there.

When the lover is back, this bottle must be taken out and let the mixture cools off and harden. With the hardening of the bee wax mixture, so is the erection power of the lover.

I think the second ritual is the scariest of all for man. But have no fear, unless the lady has real magical power; the above ritual cannot work.

The Hung Ghost Lovers (吊鬼恋人)

The ending of a pair of couple would be quite different according to timing and place if I could say so.

If a pair of lovers are in love in this modern times and the place is in the modern day West, then they can either get married without due concerns; even if each of them is not at par such as that a teacher and a student. However, this couple may still get together even in conservative Asia if they can ignore cynical society remarks. Whatever case that might be, this pair of lovers will not choose to die unless some jealous party choose to end their lives by brute force: in the West, this couple may be gunned down. In Asia, they maybe stabbed or blown to pieces with dynamite.

In not so distance past, such as in the 50’s; an odd couple like that of the above may choose to end their lives. There were not many choices to choose by. Most of the people would choose to hang themselves amongst other methods. Of course, in modern times; people might put on red clothing and jumped from a skyscraper. If we flash back to ancient China, then this odd couple are likely to be put into a pig cage and drown in a river. People call this as ‘soaking pig’s cage’ (浸猪笼). If this did happen, then the title would be ‘drowned ghost’ instead of ‘hung ghost’.

Malayan society in the 60’s was quite conservative and love affairs between a teacher and a student was not unheard off; but this type of love affairs was rarely blessed especially those ones in clerical schools. This story happened in a clerical school in KK during the 1960’s. It is said that a lady teacher in her 30’s fell in love with an 18-year-old young lad and naturally their love affair was faced with not only objections from the lad’s parents; but also the school management.

Seeing no end to their marriage, both of the teacher and student chosen to hang themselves in a school store room. And, thus the beginning of my story…

After the teacher-student couple committed suicide, their restless souls were seen lingered within the school compound. At times, this spiritual couple would walk on the roofs of neighbouring houses making cracking noise in the midst of the night. Some residents even claimed to have seen two pair of legs hanging down from the above from their bedroom windows.

In the early 80’s, the school were demolished making way for town development project. Since then, this hung ghost couple was occasionally seen sitting on a tall talang tree near the old school rubbles during full moon night. The male hung ghost would just stare at the full moon and the female one would always look down watching passer-by.

I visited the place with my KK friends two years ago at night but found no traces of the spiritual couple despite the warnings from the locals. Though I could see two black shadows passed in front of me fairly quickly but I was not very sure if they were what I was looking for. Since we found nothing significant, we decided to go for a cup of coffee. Maybe the ghostly couple has moved on since it was already more than 50 years and that they had finally gotten together; as human or otherwise.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pink Hairs (粉红头发)

Sometimes what you think you see, is not what you get.

A few years ago, a newlywed couple invited me to perform Feng Shui audit on their newly purchased double story house in Penang. Let’s call this couple as JJ couple: James and Jane for short. Frankly speaking, I do not like to audit a done deal premise because most of the time when I opened my compass, the reading would be not of the expectations of those still joyful and proud house owner.

Same case happened to JJ’s one million double story house. When I opened my compass, the needle shook vigorously and perhaps there was an underground power cable running through I thought. Then I completed the audit and bid the couple farewell. A few weeks later, they invited me to their housewarming party and all was just fine back then.

One year later, James contacted me again. This time on another matter. This time, we met in a coffee shop in Bayan Baru as according to James; it was not very convenient to talk in the house…

So, we met in the coffee shop and both James and Jane came. As soon as the couple sat down, Jane started to talk:

“I am sure there is an entity in our house and we nearly divorce because of it.

About a month after we moved into our new house, I started to discover some pink hairs attached to James clothing, on the floor and on the bed too…

Since both of us are working, none of us would be at home unless our parents come for a short stay. Unless of course, one of us takes leave and stays at home obviously speaking.

At first, I thought the hair must be blown by wind from the neighbour’s place but as I got acquainted with our neighbours; I didn’t notice anyone with pink hairs. So, I started to doubt if James was having an affair. But after some interrogations, James denied all my allegations. Further, our house CCTV records didn’t capture any stranger in the house. Gradually our relationship was in jeopardy in directly affecting our works too until…

One afternoon, I felt sick. So I applied for a half day leave and rest at home. As I was lying flat in my bed and in a drowsy state, suddenly I saw the face of a young lady perhaps in her early 20’s materialised in the air above my face. She was smiling and I could faintly hear ‘hello’ echoing in the air. And, this lady has long pink hairs! Since then, I always hear voices when I was alone.

I started to investigate the background of our house. The neighbours either didn’t know or didn’t want to say anything about it until a cleaning lady accidentally slipped her tongue and revealed that the former owner of our current house was a female singer who liked to dye her hair to pink colour. Unfortunately speaking, this lady was an alcoholic and she also taking drugs. During one of her late night fiestas, she succumbed to drug overdose.

Her house was later bought by us. And, apparently this pink hair lady is not about to give up the ghost as yet…

Now, Mr. Liew; what can we do to keep our 1 million plus half a million renovation house?”

It was apparent to me now the ‘free’ coffee was not ‘free’ at all. Frankly speaking, I hate this type of impromptu cheap requests. So, I said slumber:

“First, you can sell off the property and make a quick profit while the property market is good… Or you can put an aquarium at the darkest or brightest place of your house with 2 black and 2 red fishes. Also, please get one cactus to put it on the aquarium cover. The fishes will change colour in a few weeks’ time. When they do change colour, then they will die soon. This means the fishes have absorbed and neutralize the negative energy in the house. You must get the same replacement until the fishes do not change colour.”

I bid the couple good luck and as I heard, JJ has finally sold off their property last year. Maybe it is too tempting to make a quick profit; or it is actually difficult to remove the pink hair female ghost after all…

Strange Encounter At Huangshan (黄山奇遇记)

Ms Ng is a tour guide taking care of tour groups operating between China and Malaysia. According to Ms Ng, she had a very strange encounter when she led a Malaysian tour group to China and this particular incident occurred at Huang’shan, China many years ago.

During that time, Ms Ng and her group visited Huang’shan and they spent a night in a guest house there. After a day’s activity, Ms Ng naturally felt very tired and she hit the hay after taking a hot bath. She thought that since the next day the group would be going to Nan’jing (南京) early in the morning. So, she really needed the rest.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, Ms Ng was awakened by a series of loud bangs on her room door. She thought it was odd since no one would disturb her during this wee hour. Nevertheless, she shouted at the door just in case her group members needed some help. But after some shouting, no one answered her shouts; so she continued to sleep. At first, Ms Ng was sleeping facing a wall where another empty bed was located.

Suddenly, Ms Ng noticed three gentlemen wearing Zhong’shan costume (中山装) appeared on the wall. All of them were with hideous facial expressions but their complexions were also all greyish in colour. Ms Ng kept watching and she discovered that all of the gentlemen have no legs! There was a suitcase in the other bed opened up showing some old style machine guns like those of the old Shang’hai gangster movies.

Ms Ng was too afraid to wake up. So she pretended to be sleeping and she turned away from the wall and now she is facing the window.

As Ms Ng was pretending to sleep, she looked at the window and there she saw many ‘people’ entered into the room. There were old men and ladies, children, men and women all of them were as if refugees escaping some war. All in all, according to Ms Ng, what she saw that night was as if the scene of WWII in China. People started to speak to Ms Ng in a language that she couldn’t understand. They just talked and talked as if asking for help… The scene persisted until cock-a-doodle-doo was heard at dawn.

Ms Ng said that she couldn’t sleep throughout the night. As soon as she heard the cock-a-doodle-doo and the vanishing of those spooky scenes; she rushed out from her room and stayed in the guest room hall until day breaks. The next day, as Ms Ng’s group was travelling to Nan’jing; she met another of her colleague; Joy. Both of them chatted for a while and they parted according to their own itinerary.

Two weeks later, Ms Ng and Joy met at their office in George Town. Joy pulled Ms Ng aside and told her strange encounter during her stay in that guest house.

Apparently, Joy also stayed in Ms Ng’s room but her encounter was of other kind…

Joy said that she spept soundly after a day’s touring activity. At midnight, she heard some squeaking noise came from her luggage. Joy thought it was the mouse at work, so she switched on the desk light but found nothing. So, she continued to sleep and before long… the squeaking noise repeated again. And, again Joy switched on the light and found nothing odd. She decided to go to sleep again but after some time; the noise came again.

This time, Joy decided not to switch on the light but jumped up and went straight towards the source of the noise. There she saw, her luggage was moving to and fro by an invisible force. It was in fact the rolling noise of the wheels of Joy’s luggage!

Unlike Ms Ng, Joy didn’t have the courage to stay in her room for the rest of the night, she rushed out from her room and spent her night at the lobby.

Of course, both of the brave ladies still working as tour guides although they didn’t really enjoy those spooky encounters…

Five Men Conjuration Ritual (五人招鬼法)

For once when I flashed back what I had done in the past, I could really appreciate it would be extremely lucky for kids of old days to grow up in ‘one piece’. Having said so, kids today too have many other challenges.

One of my relatives, Sam who had learnt some magic tricks from a Taoist liked to invite us the kids to play with spirits as there were practically nothing better to do those days in the evening after dinner. One day, after dinner as I was sitting in front of grandparents’ house; Sam came to me with another 3 kids staying in the neighbourhood. He invited me to join his newly learnt conjuration skill which he said is ‘5-men conjuration ritual’ and it is very effective in calling spirits in the environment.

I agreed though I was afraid of ghosts. Grandma always said that the rubber plantation was once a battlefield between the Japanese Imperial Army and the local resistance forces, and many people died there. Even years after the war, human bones could be found scattered in the plantation. I certainly hate to miss this great chance to find out the truth. Under Sam’s lead, we quickly gathered the required materials for the conjuration ritual. Amongst those required items were: 5 empty bowls, 5 pieces of chopsticks, some candles, incense sticks, joss papers and 5 chicken eggs.

There was an abandoned rubber collection warehouse situated near one end of my grandparents’ plantation. Sam thought that would be a good place to try the 5-men ritual. So, off we went to the warehouse.

As soon as we were there, 4 kids were being asked to sit at four corners while Sam sat in the centre. Each of us was given a chicken egg, an empty bowl, a piece of chopstick, a piece of white candles, some incense and some joss papers. The instructions were pretty simple: each participant must chant mantra, strike the bowl with chopstick and burn some joss paper. Also, one must not let the candle flame being extinguished or the spirits will possess the participant.

After Sam made sure that we understood the rules, the game begun…

One person chanted: “The sky is hazy…”

The other person continued with: “The earth is foggy…”

Then, the person in the centre, Sam said: “Where are you my good brothers?”

After some rounds of chanting, striking of bowl and burning joss papers; I suddenly saw many soldiers in Imperial Army uniform marching in rows. They were led by an officer like figure. As the ghostly army procession marched passed me, the officer suddenly bent down in front of me making the gesture of wanted to blow out my candle flame. When I looked at his face, it was the face of a skeleton with deep hollow eye sockets!

It appeared to me that this Imperial Army skeleton was quite adamant to extinguished my candle flame as he had many tries. Just as I was getting hopeless and my candle flame was about to die off; suddenly something made the ghostly skeleton changed its mind. It turned its back from me and pulled his samurai sword. Then it pointed its samurai sword towards the darkness and its phantom troops charged into the darkness… After that I heard disembodied voices of people yelling, shouting and some bang-bang noise purportedly to be gun shots.

Since I was frozen with fright, I have forgotten to chant the mantra as required. Sam noticed something was not quite right, so he approached me and picked up the chicken egg in front of me and threw it onto the ground. As soon as the egg was broken, all of the apparitions in front of me were gone. Instead there was just darkness.

After the ritual, other kids said they saw some strange figures too but those were not as sensational as mine, at least I thought. When I finally sneaked back to grandparents’ place from the backdoor that night, my grandma caught me red handed. Of course, I suffered another rounds of scolding. For once, I thought grandma was scarier than those ghosts I saw earlier.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Who Is Frying Peanuts? (谁在炒花生)

I stayed with my grandparents until I was about 10 years old in a piece of rubber plantation in Kuala Kangsar. My parents were working outstation so they would come to fetch me during the weekends.

As you know my grandparents’ house was situated in the middle of rubber plantation and the toilet was at a distance away from the house while the kitchen was setup beside of the house. My grandpa used to fry peanuts in the kitchen somewhere after the midnight so that my cousins could sell them at the cinemas in town. There were three cinemas in Kuala Kangsar town but now no more.

During that time, rubber plantation after dark was in real total darkness as there were no street lighting. I was quite timid then and I dared not look into the darkness at a far because I was afraid of seeing ghosts. It was rumoured that that piece of plantation was haunted by many Japanese Imperial soldiers and then communist guerrilla ghosts.

One night, the rain was pouring down heavily and suddenly I had to answer the call of nature. When I walked out from my room and as I was preparing to wake up my grandpa so that he could accompany me to the toilet, suddenly I heard the noise of people frying peanuts in the kitchen outside of the house. So I thought it was my grandpa. Since grandpa already doing his business, with sleepy eyes I opened the back door and went to the nearest rubber tree and after murmuring “sorry datuk, please step aside”; I peed onto the tree root.

On my way back after my business, as I was closing the door; I saw grandpa walked out from his bedroom. I could still remember that I greeted grandpa once and he just said: “Hmmm…” Looked like grandpa was still in a dreamy state. So, I jumped straight into my bed and continued with my sweet dreams without too much thoughts.

Since it was still raining, grandpa and grandma didn’t go out to tap rubber tree. We all sat around a table to enjoy our breakfast.

My cousin started to ask: “Grandpa, did you fry peanuts last night?”

Grandpa replied with a queer look: “You know I won’t fry peanuts on rainy nights…”

Only at this point I realised that when I met grandpa last night, he was just walking out from his bedroom! So the question remained to be answered is: “Who is the person then?”

The atmosphere around the table suddenly turned icy cold and after a long silent, grandma started to break ice: “I think we need to set up a datuk’s shrine outside of our house. Didn’t I remind you many times that I saw a white shadow lingered in our kitchen, grandpa?”

Perhaps grandpa couldn’t stand grandma’s grumbling, so after the breakfast he started to build a small hut for the datuk spirit. Luckily, no more strange sightings after the setting up of the datuk shrine.

Magical Accomplishment Of All Wishes (诸愿任运成就)

This supplication is also known as ‘Sampa Lhundrubma’ written by Do Khyentse in view of the appearances of various emanations of Guru Padmasambhava in Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Rinpoche’s meditative state to fulfil practitioners’ wishes. Hence, by chanting this supplication; one will automatically receive the blessings of the root guru himself. Many years ago, when I first involved in Thai magic and tormented by those seemingly uncontrollable wild spirits; I just sat with lotus posture and chant the below supplication. After a while the environment returned to peace ever since.

How amazing!

The union of the three gems, three roots and all compassionate auspicious great precious master,

He is the only place to seek refuge for those sentient beings of the end of era.

With lighting fast compassionate Guru Thogthrengtzal!

The great wrathful Guru Padma Heruka!

I pray earnestly with serious wish to supplicate to guru,

Send back all enemies, demons, dharma obstructers, magicians and obstacle creators,

Subdue all evil kings, she devils, ghosts and various demons;

Please bestow me so that all my wishes shall be magically accomplished!

Now I continue to chant this supplication every morning after my calling guru from a far (遥唤上师祈请颂) supplication. Both supplications are indispensable spiritual awakening songs for 3-Roots (三根本) practitioners'. I could feel the powerful echo of these supplications within my heart every time they are being chanted. This is a rare gem from the ‘terma’ (hidden treasure) tradition.

Finding A Soul Mate (灵魂伴侣)

Some lady come to me and said: “I want the handsome gentleman next door.”

Some gentleman come to me and said: “I want the pretty lady in my office.”

No one really knows who his or her soul mate really is.

A person’s soul mate is definitely not written on his/her face for sure. The only way to find out one’s soul mate is through his/her astrology reading.

In the West people advocate ‘freedom of love’ where when two people are in love, then they are considered as both person’s soul mates. Sorry to say, this is far from the truth. The person you love, or the person who loves you might not be your soul mate. If we put two persons who are not each other’s soul mates; then one will die or both of them would be divorced.

Many people come to me and complaint about their marriage lives but when I looked into their astrology chart, I found that none of them appeared in each other’s astrology reading. For example: if a lady is destined to marry an older person far away from her home, and she instead married another younger person near her place; then their marriage would not last very long. I just have too many examples in hand.

My soul mate stays a few thousand miles away from me, before I met her; I knew a lady. During the time we were together, I would have 2 minor car accidents yearly until this become a norm. When I first date this lady, my one-week old new car was bumped into by a drunk driver and I had to spend $1,000 to repair it. Lives were getting bumpy then and we finally parted. Now, with my new soul mate; my life has changed for better. For the first time, I near missed two freak accidents on a roll within a week!

So said, I would define one’s soul mate as a person who can compensate one’s shortcomings. For example, if a person is passive; his/her soul mate will normalize this person to a more active level comfortable to both parties. There is an old saying that when a couple gets together for a long time; they will have the same look (夫妻相).

If you have not found your soul mate, then you may try the Miao (苗族) moon praying ritual:

This ritual should ideally be performed on the full moon night of the 8th Lunar Month.

When the moon is full and clear in the night sky. Either go to a lake or pond where the reflection of the moon can be clearly seen on the surface of the water with offerings of 7 types of flowers, fruits and the ‘7 colour clothes’ (could be bought in Chinese shops selling offering materials) together with some incense and candles.

Perform a short prayer to the moon asking it to bestow you with a soul mate suitable to yourself. In this matter, you cannot put a condition of your soulmate such as rich, handsome, famous etc. If you do so, then it may work; or it may not.

After the prayer, just sit comfortably and look at the reflection of the moon. After a while, the image of your soul mate may appear. Otherwise, just thank the moon and go home. If you are not successful this year; then you may repeat the ritual next year. If you cannot find a pond, you may use a container filled with water.

I tried this ritual and got my soul mate in a very unexpected circumstances a few years later.

Headless Victoria Cowboy (无头牛仔鬼)

A friend known as Mariam told me that when she was staying in Victoria, Canada some 30 years ago; she had seen herself the figure of a headless horseman.

At that time, Mariam was studying in a high school in Victoria. Mariam stayed in the school hostel together with her other foreign school mates. One day, a friend; Mary and Mariam fallen sick after one’s night’s sleepless party so they decided to be absent from class the next day. They slept in their beds until way past lunch. Since both of them have missed the lunch provided by the hostel, they decided to go down to the street to get some hamburgers.

After visiting a snack shop at the end of a street just some walking distance from their school hostel, Mariam and Mary walked slowly along their most familiar street. As the ladies were slowly walking enjoying the autumn afternoon, suddenly Mariam heard noises similar to ‘crock, crock crock…” came from the further end of the street. She instinctively thought someone was riding a horse on the street. So, she turned her head and looked around while asking Mary: “Did you hear what I heard?”

Mary laughed at Mariam and said perhaps it was the hangover of last night’s booze. So, Mariam just brushed aside what she thought she heard and the ladies continued to walk and chat. A few minutes later, Mariam heard the familiar crocking noise again; this time Mary heard it too… Before anyone of them opened her mouth; there they saw a ‘headless’ cowboy with a cowboy’s hat and wearing grey suit riding on a horse galloping towards them.

Perhaps it was ‘inappropriate’ to say that the cowboy was ‘headless’ because as recalled by Mariam later, between the hat and the grey suit, she saw a blob of greenish gaseous substances instead of the normal head. It was an unexpected sighting and the ladies certainly weren’t expected to see apparition during daytime. Finally, panic broke between the two ladies and they ran with their record fast into their hostel and then jumped straight into their beds. This was their first time see a ‘gui lou’ (鬼佬/foreigner) who was an authentic ‘gui’ (ghost)!

Years later, the ladies returned to Malaysia. Mariam got a new boyfriend and on their first date, they somehow chatted about ghostly happenings. And, after her boyfriend heard Mariam’s strange encounter with the headless cowboy; the first question he asked Mariam was: “Was the cowboy headless, instead a blob of greenish smoke?”

“Yes. But how did you know?” Mariam asked bewilderedly.

“Well, I was in Vancouver and staying in a hotel some years ago. I saw this headless horseman after returning from a pub one night…

 If you are in Victoria, perhaps you have seen this headless one too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Movie That Never Screened (未上银幕的电影)

Naturally, there are many movies made but due to many reasons; they could not make it to the big silver screen. One of these movies is the story concerning 9-tailed-fox spirit. The reason as told by my Hong Kong friend who was once active in movie industry was that 6 of the movie crews were killed throughout the making of this particular movie. Rumour has it that the death of movie crews was attributed to the doings of the 9-tailed-fox spirit because it didn’t like its story to be viewed in public; of course we may not know the truth behind such claim. Whatever reason that might be, the deaths did put a halt on similar movies being produced in Hong Kong film industry.

Let us flashed back to early 90’s. As I was told; a famous movie company of that time wanted to jump on the bandwagon of ghost fevers to bag a fortune. So, the company gathered a group of movie crews to make the movie possible in the shortest possible time. A scrip writer was hired to write scripts, a director was hired to manage the filming of the movie, camera teams were assembled and potential actors and actresses were also identified. It looks everything was a go-go-go until…

First, the script writer was found dead while writing the movie scripts in his house. The autopsy result showed that the cause of death of this unfortunate gentleman was due to alcohol intoxication. Strange thing was that; everyone thought this script writer never drinks alcohol. Since the movie script was half done, another writer was asked to complete the task. This incident has put a considerable delay in the movie shooting.

So, in order to make up for time lost; the filming director was eager to start shooting. This said director worked extra hard and overtime to see through all the movie shooting details. Late one night, the director exited the filming company just past midnight with his new car. As his car passed through a stretch of downhill curve which was just another 10 minutes’ drive from his house; the director’s car lost control and rammed into a truck coming from the opposite direction. He suffered from serious head injury and after struggling in the hospital for a week or so; he too kicked the bucket.

Now, with two persons related to this fox spirit movie killed; there were some noises wanting the movie company to reconsider about making such movie. After some considerations, since money was already invested; they decided to press on. After all, no one believes in supernatural stuffs anyway.

So said, another film director was hired to replace the deceased. Now that the movie shooting schedule has delayed twice, the filming crews were under tremendous pressure to execute their tasks flawlessly. They couldn’t make another mistakes again.

Maybe it was due to sheer pressure, the camera man got drunk in a local pub and he eventually started a quarrel with a gangster. A fight then entailed and this camera man was seriously hurt when a bear bottle struck his head. This poor man was hospitalised but later pronounced brain death due to some reasons.

With three deaths on record, naturally the filming crews were afraid. But the management thought the latest death was another coincident and to answer to the investors; the filming has to go on. Very quickly, a new camera man was hired and business was as usual.

Somewhere in the middle of the film making, movie shooting must be done outside of the company. The place was at a hill top at the outskirt of Hong Kong and the shooting proceeded until night falls. With tired bodies, the crews tugged themselves into two company vans; each with about 10 passengers. The weather was pretty bad as heavy rain started to pour. Just as one of the vans was negotiating a sharp bend, it skidded and rammed upside down into a deep drain.

A rescue team was quickly dispatched and one actor and two actresses were found to have succumbed due to serious injuries and drowning; as the drain was practically filled with rain water at that time.

Now that 6 lives were lost, whether if it was due to coincidences or supernatural causes; the movie company had to make a decision to pacify those rumours spread like wildfires. The decision then was to temporarily halt this movie production until a more suitable timing. I was told that this movie was never revived until today. I guessed the 9-tailed-fox spirit finally won the battle against human kind and its secret is safe for now!

Ghost Fight Ghost (鬼打鬼)

During the 80’s I was a little obsessed with the True Buddha School movements so I did join many of their activities then. Although the True Buddha School was and still is being treated as the new kid on the block, it continued to flourish within local Chinese community. The reason behind its popularity is perhaps the loosely combined Taoist and Buddhist doctrines coupled with lots of folk beliefs. Almost everything one can think of would present in True Buddha School. Also, with the avocation of supernatural power which is strictly prohibited by mainstream religions; no wonder why so many people were crazy about the True Buddha. In addition, gurus could be ordinated easily too compared to other Buddhist schools.

At that time, many small common practise groups (共修组) comprised of 3~5 people were being formed within a residential area; and a small True Buddha shrine were setup within a community. Other than the standard True Buddha rituals; many localised and private practices were naturally being incorporated. A very interesting practice similar to the auto-movement or Tenaga Dalam exercise was called ‘soul awakening’ (启灵学) was the foundation practice.

Now, a very interesting phenomenon could be observed when a few people having auto-movements together in a rather small living room. With the ‘awakening’ of each person’s soul, all of the participants would individually started to dance and performing various mudras indicating their own patron spirits. The advocate of that time was ‘1 mantra, 1 mudra and 1 method’ as I could still remember it.

When one’s soul is ‘awakened’, he/she would be in a trancelike state as practitioners would proudly say that it is the person’s spiritual guide that is training the practitioner; I would not want to argue. So said, many pretty funny cases happened during these private practise sessions. During of the session for example after everyone was in a trance state:

Bro Lim started to move about in the living room amongst the 5 practitioners. After some movements, he made the gesture of Guan’gong (关公) and said: “Ho! Ho! Ho! I am the invincible Guan’gong’!”

Sis Tan also moved in a trance state while making the mudra of Green Tara and proclaimed herself as the ‘Green Tara’.

Aunt Lee danced for a while and sang in high pitch and announced she was the ‘Golden Mother Of The Heavenly Pond’ (瑶池金母).

Sandy also danced for a while and sang the ‘om mani padme hum’ mantra and indicated she was the ‘Avalokitesvara’.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling too well that day. So, for safety reasons, I couldn’t fall into trance. My spiritual guide for that time was the ‘Manjushri’.

As I sat in a corner and watched the fantastic display of spiritual dances, a commotion broke out after Guan’gong bumped into the Golden Mother and Green Tara. Both of them started to argue in trance state:

Guan’gong: “Golden Mother and Green Tara, do you mean to find fault with me? Why do you block my way?”

Goledm Mother: “Guan’gong, have you no respect on me?”

Green Tara: “Wait! You are no Guan’gong… I can see you with my 3rd eye… You are actually a pig spirit!!”

(While the arguments were raging, the compassionate Avalokitesvara continued to dance…)

Guan’gong: “How can you insult me! Now, eat this!!”

(Guan’gong was making a series of hand gestures at Golden Mother and Green Tara. And both of the said goddesses retaliated with more hand gestures…)

“Now, eat our powers!!” Both Golden Mother and Green Tara responded quickly.

(After a grand display of body movements and hand gestures, the Golden Mother and Green Tara were losing ground…)

Guan’gong: “Ha! Ha! Ha! Now, who is the mightiest? On second look, you are no Golden Mother and Green Tara; both of you are actually pigs!!”

(Just as when Guan’gong was celebrating on his victory, suddenly Avalokitesvara jumped in…)

Avalokitesvara: “Hey, pig head! I am the Thousand-Armed- Avalokitesvara! Retreat now or meet your doom!”

(Of course Guan’gong would not take the insult and another grand display of hand gestures between each other… And finally, Guan’gong dropped onto the floor…)

Guan’gong: “I cannot fight this long-armed lady ghost now! I must go now…”

So, said; Bro Lim shivered and a few seconds later; he was himself again. Likewise happened to Sis Tan, Aunt Lee and Sandy in turn. All of them celebrated with each other on another happy and progressive spiritual training… But I could only keep quiet…

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bad Dreams, Oh! Bad Dreams! (哦!噩梦!)

Everyone must have experienced bad dreams one time or another. People would suddenly awaken in the middle of the night and even long after that the fright remains deep inside the heart. Oddly speaking, when such scary bad dreams are being flashed back during daytime, people would then laugh at him/herself on being afraid of those absurd dreams. In old time, premonitions of dreams were of much importance but today, dreams are just dreams. Having said so, if a person is having bad dreams constantly, then his/her sleeping quality and mental wellbeing will definitely be affected. It is particular bad if children experience bad dreams on regular basis as their mental and physical developments would certainly be affected.

There are many methods to prevent bad dreams amongst others, true to my own experiences:

1.       Prior to sleeping: the pillow should be raised a little higher, and the person should sleep on either left or right sides. It is forbidden to sleep while lying flat face down or face up like a corpse.

2.       One should not sleep more than 8 hours a day.

3.       One should not talk once he has laid down.

4.       It is best to wear light clothing while sleeping and avoid sleeping naked. Even in tropical areas, temperature differences can be pretty high especially after a midnight rain.

5.       One should not laugh loudly before sleep or his unsettled emotion may bring forth bad dreams at night.

6.       One should not go straight to bed after a heavy meal, or after he/she has consumed something hot.

7.       One should wait until his/body is dried after bathing at night before sleeping.

8.       Postures such as putting one’s hand on his/her chest or sleep with crossed leg should be avoided altogether.

9.       Avoid sleeping in cold, especially right under a window or near a door.

Of course, all those precautions may still bring forth bad dreams. There are some small tricks to calm our mind if we find difficult to continue to sleep:

1.       One may chant the Sanskrit mantra of the watcher of the night: Vasanta Vayanti repeatedly until we fall asleep again; or any simple holy names repeatedly.

2.       A person can also use his/her left hand to pinch the area between his/her nose and upper lip 14 times and then biting his/her teeth 14 times then all his/her unreasonable fear shall be gone.

Generally speaking, when a person is too free and having nothing to do; it is very likely that he/she will get many odd dreams at night. So, instead of staying in the house and grumbling on badluck as scapegoat; maybe involving some charity works would make the person sleep better at night. Also, it is certainly true that doing charity work can boost one’s luck too! The idea is just to make the body tired so that we can rest-in-peace at night really.

Harnessing The Power Of Water Ghost (发掘水鬼的力量)

None of the Asian magical schools utilizes the power of water ghost except one. The Thai magic makes use of earth spirits while the Vietnamese magic utilises the power of plants predominantly. The only system I have ever known that make uses of water ghost is the Javanese ‘name of power of great river’ aka ‘Asma Sungei Rajah’ and the ‘sword’ aka ‘saefi’ typically speaking.

The understanding of water ghost is different in various cultures. The Chinese version of water ghost is anyone who is drowned in water, the West have their own version of water spirit and the Malay version of water spirit is totally different from any other traditions. The Malay water ghost has something to do with mythical story of Badang; who became extremely powerful after swallowing the vomit stuffs of a water ghost. This story was being filmed in 1962 locally.

According to the story, a water ghost used to steal fishes caught by Badang from a lake near his house quite frequently. Badang felt very angry after finding all his catch was being stolen by someone. So, one night after he has caught some fishes, instead of going for more catches; Badang hid behind a bush as he wanted to catch the culprit red-handed. After some waiting, a water ghost appeared from the lake and start devouring Badang’s fishes. In a state of furiousness, Badang caught hold of this water ghost and threatened to kill it unless the water ghost would pay him for all his loses.

As a gesture to redeem its guilt, the water ghost promised to bestow Badang supernatural power if and only if he would swallow all of the vomit stuffs from the water ghost’s stomach. Badang did as told and he became super powerful. Of course, that was the mythos.

Having so said, water ghost in the belief of local Malay is dominated by unisex: male. Its body is covered by thick and big scales and this water ghost has long beard that reaches its chest level. This water ghost is also believed to be bold, with a pair of pointed ears and sharp teeth and also claws.

I am sure you would agree with me that by now, the Malay version of water ghost subspecies is quite different and more powerful from the Chinese ones.

Now, if you have followed my earlier posting of Asma Sungei Rajah, then you would notice that for best results; Asma Sungei Rajah is best to be practised by submerging one’s lower body up to waist level into a river with clear running water starting Friday night coupled with a consecutive of 7 night’s mantra recitations.

I certainly don’t expect people to go into a river, lake or sea at night these days… But if you really do, then you might see a black figure linger near you. If you continue to stay put and not run away; then this creature shall jump onto your shoulder and then merge into your body. It is only after the entity has entered into your body successfully that the practice of Asma Sungei Rajah and some Saefi (sword) practices can be considered successful. The power of Asma Sungei Rajah must be recharged every two weeks by dipping into a river, lake or sea or else the water ghost will leave; and hence the power bestowed into a practitioner will also fade.

Before anyone started to jump into water, I must caution that inviting a water ghost into one’s body is very dangerous matter. If the practitioner failed to overcome the brute force of this water ghost, then it will take over the person’s body and this person may drown himself if not become insane. Hence, my advice is simply do not engage in this type of practices at all.

Meaning Of Foods For Ghosts (鬼魂与供品)

Singaporean and Malaysians are not so particular about food offerings to ghosts. This is not the case for those Taiwanese and Hong Kong people. Foods offered to ghosts especially during the Ghost Month should be selective because of their symbolic meanings.

Below are some of vegetables or fruits with their intrinsic meanings:

Banana (香蕉)

Banana is believed to be able to attract ghosts maybe because its link with banana plant and hence the infamous banana spirit; but also the word ‘香蕉’ in Cantonese meaning ‘to invite’. It is so afraid that once those good brothers and sisters enjoyed the meal; they refuse to leave.

Pineapple (凤梨)

Likewise, although pineapple is a must for gods and goddesses; it is not proper for ghosts due to its Chinese characters reads something like ‘come in wind’. If the ghosts do come like a wind, then this will also bring bad luck. Ideally, these ghosts should leave ASAP after the free meal and bring fortune to the worshipper ASAP too.

Apple (苹果)

Apples has the same sound as ‘poor’ in Chinese. So, by offering apples to either gods or ghosts; poverty may be fallen to the worshippers.

Pomegranate (石榴)

Pomegranate also has the meaning to ‘stay put’. So, it is also no good if the ghosts staying put and not bring any fortunes to the worshipper. After all, there is no free lunch in this world… that extends to the spiritual world too!

Tofu (豆腐)

There is a Cantonese proverb that sounds like ‘骗鬼吃豆腐’ (coaxing ghosts to eat tofu) meaning it is very easy to deceive a person. So, it is apparent that ghosts like tofu. The reason being that tofu is soft and wet, after one year in hell; the only thing ghosts can eat is tofu since their throats were already too dry and hot to swallow anything else.

Water convolvulus (蕹菜)

Water convolvulus soup is a must for some Taiwanese folks in ghost worships. The reasons are profound:

1.       Water convolvulus is tasteless so it is not anyone’s favourite food. In a ghost offering ceremony when all ghosts are summoned to enjoy feasts, strong and weak ones shall rush to the offering table at once. The strong ones will devour those goodies leaving the weaker ones nothing to eat. Naturally, no one likes water convolvulus would also not be consumed by the ghosts. Since the weaker ghosts are powerless against strong ones; at least they can still drink the water convolvulus soup. So, everyone would have a piece of something to eat.

2.       Water convolvulus is cheap and at times, it is also freely available from the nature. So, in old times when people cannot afford to prepare sumptuous food offerings for ghosts; just to console those lesser fortunate ones; they are allowed to present water convolvulus soup as the sole offering. In Taiwan, most of the places have joint food offering for ghosts for a village. This allowance enables practically everyone in a village, rich and poor can participate in the festivals.

3.       Water convolvulus is empty inside the stems, and it has the meaning of ‘empty heart’. Indirectly telling whatever spirits that ‘I have no heart to retain you so please leave after eat’.

Just a final word, different thing means different meaning in different places too. So, please pay attention to the local customs or you will find yourself a lot of problems if things are not going well right after the food offering ceremonies… And, the above is just a short list amongst many others!