of rituals & taboos

pic by stevie chan

These last 3 years, we have been happy camping at my mom’s and Agnes’s place. So when you “tumpang” you live life in moderation and full of courtesies. From now onwards, Stevie and I actually gonna experience living by ourselves.

I know, many people say that it’s easier to be playmates than house mates. It’s inevitable though, when you are married you got to try.

pic by Stevie Chan

I come from a family that practices a lot of Taoist rituals. Being the only girl in the family, I have been brought up, learning to assist my mom with everything that involves prayers, festivals and the altar.

All’s well. I am a very lazy Buddhist. I do not go far to pray as I have my altar in the heart. I see all religions as wanting to teach us to do good. To me, I adopt Buddhism merely as a philosophical guide to life. I am a strong believer of karma and reincarnations though.

Went to a Christian primary school, mixed with many Malay and Indian classmates throughout my elementary, secondary and university life. Heard enough of pantang-larangs throughout my life.

Our first encounter of “tolak-ansur” or “give and take” was on the house cleansing, a typical must do for most people before they officially habitat a new space. Be it an old house or newly built one. Most believe that there may be over-staying spirits that we must “invite out” before we can “move in”. Stevie’s fine with customary stuff as long as I don’t have to impose his participation. I am free to observe whatever I believe in.

Traditionally, mom would have insisted the “rice, salt and tea leaves” cleansing ritual. Equal parts of each, mixed together and being thrown to all corners of the house to rid bad chi. Knowing that it would be messy, mom suggested me to accord the vibrated coconuts practised by the disciples of Sahaja Yoga.

She checked the Chinese calendar, firstly, warned us against moving during the 7th Month or the Ghost Festival Month. It was a fair request. Secondly, we cannot simply choose any day to move on the auspicious 8th Month. I was advised to move on the 12th of September, the 13th day of the 8th Month of the Chinese calendar.


pic by Stevie Chan

A week before the official moving date, yours truly bought 6 healthy coconuts. Meaning not those old ones that are dry or sprouting with shoots. The important thing here is to find the 3 “eyes”, 2 in front and the 3rd eye at the back. Carefully shaved them till you have quite a smooth surface to ease the drawing of a swastika with kumkum powder. I did the swastika clockwise to signify evolution. Finally, to go over the 3 “eyes” with kumkum as well.

I have placed these coconuts at the 4 corners of the living hall, and one each for the 2 bedrooms in our apartment. Through this puja session, we believe that these coconuts will help absorb all negative energies and protect us from any bad omen.

Been checking anxiously every morning when I wake up. To date, exactly a week after, none of these coconuts cracked.

A good sign that the house is pretty clean.

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One thought on “of rituals & taboos

  1. Andy Ushijima

    Hi Hakkachan and Stevie, please write to my gmail address. Beautiful website. How it going for all of you? My dear friend from Ipoh (you were very kind to take me to his sons) decided to return home. His name is Wayne Leong, Stevie hooked me up in the Lower East Side, NYC. Please give my best! Andy

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