Monday, September 27, 2010

Fear the living, not the dead

A HARDCORE "number worshipper" asked if I could direct him to the Bukit Ampang Forest Reserve after he read about the herd of wild boars said to be able to give winning numbers to punters.
He was unable to locate the forest reserve's location on his GPS reader.

The chap said he would be grateful if I could find out exactly where the location is from my colleague who wrote the story.

He wanted to bring the wild boars, named Bobo, Ah Pai and Ah Choi, some food and, hopefully, obtain a lucky number for the next Toto draw.

If he strikes the jackpot, which is now over RM43 million, he says, he will consider taking the wild boars home and feed them for the rest of their lives.

I said I would try to get the directions to the city punters' best-kept secret but warned that people like him could spell the end of the wild boars. This is because their population could grow too big from the pampering from superstitious city folk.

After all, an expert has warned that culling might be necessary if there were too many of them. I suggested to the "number worshipper" that if he was so desperate, he could visit the zoo instead.

I do not know if the wild boars there also inspire visitors to see lucky numbers like their Bukit Ampang cousins, but I am sure the zoo authorities will appreciate the additional ticket sales at the gates.

I know they can do with more funds to run the place better.

I am not going to laugh at those who rubbed the bodies of the wild boars or fed them at Bukit Ampang in exchange for lucky numbers. They could be laughing all the way to the bank if the boars brought them luck as did Paul the Octopus to the supporters of Spain in this year's World Cup.

Superstition is not a laughing matter.

Some decades ago, there was a story about a new shopping complex that was looking for tenants and someone applied to sell antique furniture there.

Without finding out exactly what the merchandise was, a contract was signed and the terms of compensation inked.

When the complex opened, the floor supervisor was shocked to discover that the "antique furniture" sold by the new tenant turned out to be Chinese coffins.

According to the story, which later became urban legend, the complex could not wait to get rid of the coffins but not before paying a hefty compensation to the operator for breach of contract.

It was no laughing matter, of course. The complex probably would have lost more in goodwill and clientele if it had allowed the coffin shop to continue.

If you have been reading this newspaper, you will now appreciate the protests by some Kepong residents against having a coffin shop in their neighbourhood.

The residents were not amused when the authorities approved the operator's "furniture" business licence. Understandably, the residents are afraid of the bad vibes the shop would bring.

Whether or not their fears are unfounded, who knows?

But ask those who are working in mortuaries or funeral parlours and they will probably tell you that there is nothing sinister about coffins or dead bodies.

They will probably laugh at you for fearing the dead when it is the living that you should be worried about

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