Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho it's off to work I go ...
My route to work is basic and occasionally basically dangerous involving some high speed traffic dodging by foot, though largely via motorbike taxi, usually piloted by an elderly guy who seems to have lost most of his sight several decades ago.

Nonetheless, there's one sight that never fails to amuse, intrigue and baffle me at least once a week, usually on a Monday. It's common in both Hong Kong and throughout Thailand to see small offerings - usually food, beverages, fruit - outside businesses and in residential spirit houses to honor ancestors, invoke good fortune, more customers, a wider profit margin, etc. In Hong Kong paper offerings - fake money, cigarettes, cars - are also burned outside the businesses - notably many girlie bars in the Wanchai district - in lieu of the real deal.

About a block or two before I turn into the soi that leads to Asia Times Online there is a small western-style bakery (great rye and sourdough!) that has a tiny portable fountain on the sidewalk ringed by small, foot-high or so statues of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. Nothing special except for a tray of offerings (most recently a whole chicken, glass of beer, small meat or vegetable pie, flowers), burning incense and the sight of one of the store owners or employees - a thin, graceful woman in her 20s - supplicating herself and praying in front of Snow White, Sleepy, Grumpy, Happy, Dopey, Bashful, Sneezy and Doc.

I can't imagine who they represent to her. I thought of some Chinese mythological characters called the "8 Immortals", but nah, probably not. Maybe ancestors? Meanwhile, I'm thinking of trying to slip a lawn jockey in the mix if I can find one...

4 comments:

Ben said...

I'm trying to wrap my mind around what an offering outside a girlie-bar would represent....repentance?..thanksgiving?...

Thanks again, Justin, for a picture of life outside the confines of our (my) so-northamerican existence.

Don said...

A lawn jockey? Justin the NAACP eliminated all of those years ago along with Sambo.

God it is good to read your writings again. I lost track in the transition and just found you again. Had to read everything to catch up.

Gonzo is back

SCH said...

Justin, was I mislead to believe you are the former Ed Anger? This is how I came across your blog.

Nonetheless, I dig the blog. I was in Hua Hin about two years ago...ugly story there. Say hi to the ladies at the Celtic Bar.

Justin said...

Sch,
Yes, I confess I was Ed Anger once. EdIIII or maybe IV. And now Ed's kickin' commie butt in Thailand...
Thanks for reading, guy.
Justin