In keeping with the fine tradition of the month-long Hungry Ghosts Festival, the filial believers would send the latest gadgets to relatives residing in the netherworld.
This year they were seen burning paper versions of the new Astro B.Yond HD decoder and iPhone 4. For those of you unfamiliar with the tradition, the Chinese believe they can send gifts to their relatives in hell by burning paper replicas of consumer electronics, home appliances, clothes, cars, houses and other material possessions.
Originally, life was simpler up here and below. The living just send Hell Bank Notes currency (Bank Neraka Legal Tender) and the dead will go shopping themselves. See my photo essay on the Chinese Ghost Month of 2007.
At the ‘Por Tor’ festival in Jalan Pahang the other night, a 1Malaysia effigy and Paul the Octopus were the star attraction. I was told the oracle octopus will be helping the dead relatives predict the outcome of future Premier League games. Sports betting is legal down there.
I didn’t stay long enough but I heard the organisers were planning to roast the octopus and toss the 1Malaysia effigy into the bonfire send-off later. Let us all hope there be racial unity in hell now that the concept is being promoted there too
Moving on, there was a really creative display. Instead of outlandish lifestyle products and the usual meat sacrifices, this family put up a beautiful undersea spread, made entirely from fruits and vegetables. I hope this trend catches on…