Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Monkeys like the Chinese Ghost Festival

The 7th Lunar Month (in 2007, that falls during the month of August) is the Chinese Ghost Festival. There is a very good overview of the festival here, but basically, during this month, the doors of heaven and hell are opened and the spirits of the deceased are free to roam. The Chinese (mostly Buddhist) make offerings of fruit, cakes and other treats to appease the tormented. They also burn incense and hell money to pay homage to their roaming ancestors. We have seen these altars all month throughout the City.

Last night, someone must have made an offering just outside our building because as I was sitting here at the computer this morning, I saw several of the trees on the hill behind our flat shaking violently. No. . . it wasn't the ghosts shaking the trees. It was monkeys. A lot of monkeys. Though I am certain that Satan and his devilish horde have been enjoying all this ritualistic idolatry, the beneficiaries of last night's offering was none other than the mischievous little gang of miniature primates.

There were at least 10, maybe closer to 15 monkeys swinging from the trees, chasing each other with fistfuls of fruit and cake. Every now and then, when their supplies ran low (and when the coast was clear) they would scamper down to the sidewalk and snatch up a few more treasures.

The sight of these playful, mischievous monkeys made me laugh. However, despite the antics of the wild monkeys, this month is a somber month. It is a constant reminder of the spiritual slavery in which many Singaporeans live. Pray that the Chinese here in Singapore would encounter the only Ghost worthy of worship, the Holy Ghost!


Caleb's Gram said...

Awesome picture and explanation. We will remember to pray for you as you encounter people that believe those godless and entrapping fables.

It was fun talking to you and Caleb on skype, and seeing the monkeys with our own eyes scampering around!

Christianne said...

I, too, love the way you carved out this story. I especially loved the part about their "fistfuls of fruit"!

It was good, too, to read your reflection at the end. I was wondering how it must have been feeling for you to be among all of this activity this month as I continued to read the post.

COEXIST said...

Your posts are very interesting. I will pray that you are able to learn from your host country's tolerance towards *you* and reflect the same tolerance towards their religion.
Really, it's 2007, and yet your remarks about "godless heathens" takes me back to a medieval mindset. Be careful that your title doesn't become "every day life for a bigoted,ugly American in Singapore."

Rebecca said...

Dear Coexist,

Thank you for your comments.

I believe that you have confused tolerance with acceptance. I am very respectful and tolerant toward the personal beliefs of others, even though I disagree with those beliefs. I have many friends who embrace different religions or no religion at all. I treat each of them with respect, though they know I disagree. I believe they would agree that I am not a "bigoted, ugly American."

Because I love and care about the eternal destiny of others, I long to see others who hold to false religions come to the place where they embrace Christ. It is not disrespectful to expose falsehood and point toward truth.

I hope that you visit again.


Four Buttons said...

Hey Rebecca :) Nate and I joked around quite a bit during the ghost fest time and also reflected on how sad we felt for locals and the beliefs they cling to. So much work when it's already been done for them if only they'd believe. Good reminder to continually be praying. Can't believe i'm just now getting into the whole blog thing, i'll be following yours from now on! yet another way for us to remain connected, woohoo!!!