Saturday, October 22, 2016
He Ate Two Oranges (他吃两粒柑)
Do you believe in the existence of souls? Well, I do.
It was during Chinese New Year and I paid my school mate Ming a visit. Ming was staying in Kuala Sepatang which is a small fishing village off Taiping town.
When I was at Ming’s house, he was about to go out with his family members to visit his neighbour who stayed just opposite his house. Since I was already there, Ming asked me to make myself at home while he would return in a jiffy. So, I found myself a chair and sat in the living room while waiting for Ming to return. You see, houses in small villages were seldom locked during daytime as everyone knows everyone and thefts were almost non-existent.
While I was waiting for Ming, I felt thirsty and I saw 5 mandarin oranges were placed on the ancestral altar. So, I took the liberty first to eat one. Then I realised with only 4 oranges left did not look too nice; so I ate another one and now only 3 left. No big deal I thought… but I will soon find out how wrong I was.
After an hour or so, Ming returned home with his parents and sister. Just as when we were greeting each other our best wishes, his sister, Siew’mei suddenly became silent and without any facial expression. She just stood there as if fallen into trance from the first look. Before long, she uttered some bizarre words: “There were 5 oranges, and he ate 2! Two of us will not have mandarin oranges for the new year…”
I was stunted and tried to figure what Siew’mei meant. If she meant there were 5 spirits being worshipped on the altar; I could only see 4 of them: grandparents, Guan’yim (Avalokitesvara) and Guan’gong (legendary hero). There were only 4! So, I asked Siew’mei which one is the 5th?
Unexpectedly, Siew’mei responded: “I am Siew’lan, the 5th!” And, Siew’mei collapsed onto the floor and Ming propped his sister to rest in an armchair. She was subsequently revived by sprinkling of cold water onto her face.
Now, I became more confused and I looked at Ming for explanation. After silent for a while, Ming said: “Siew’lan was my long deceased sister, Siew’mei’s younger sister. We thought she was already being reincarnated for good!”
For the first time, I really felt a little embarrassed to have eaten 2 mandarin oranges and caused such an embarrassed situation. Now I would just keep my hands off those oranges placed at an altar for good!