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!