Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reason #828 my sister cracks me up

Among my sister's many good traits is that she is curious/passionate about every aspect of Chinese culture, and she will try anything once.  

Including paying an old lady under a bridge in Hong Kong to "da siu yen" (literally "hit the little person").  Da siu yen is an old Chinese ritual by which, for a few dollars, you can get a skilled practitioner of Chinese mumbo jumbo (almost always a little old lady, though not always under a bridge) to heap curses on your enemies while literally beating their effigy into submission.  (Kind of like sticking pins into voodoo dolls, but much, much more satisfying.)

Image Source: I Eat Therefore I Am

As my sister is the type of person who has a long list of nemeses, she was particularly well-prepared to try out this ritual.  Pity the fool who wrongs my sister, because this is what s/he will have ahead:

The audio is terrible on the video -- in Hong Kong, construction noise dominates the audio landscape -- but the whole time the little Chinese lady is vigorously beating the piece of paper (on which is inscribed the nemesis's name) with her old, weathered shoe, she's mumbling a litany of curses, including: "I hit you and damn you to be forced to work until the day you die" and (my favorite) "I hit you until you become bald."

The ritual is much more involved than I thought, since the video goes on for more than ten minutes.  Apparently -- and I had to learn this from reading this article in the LA Times, that's how up on things Chinese I am -- after beating the effigy, the little Chinese lady will put the paper representing the effigy into a little paper tiger's mouth, feed the paper tiger a bit of pork fat to tell it to STFU, set the whole thing ablaze, and do a number of other rituals designed to purge you of the bad luck brought on by said nemesis.

Pretty good for a few bucks, right?

Somewhere, someone is cursing the day s/he wronged my sister.  And it's going to make my sister very, very happy.

I'm still working on finding a personal nemesis.  Even though I don't have one yet, I really think we should all get one.  ;-)

Do you have a personal nemesis?  And what curses would you heap upon him or her?


Cathleya February 25, 2010 at 1:02 AM  

Oh yeah, I have a nemesis. This little hobag from college that wanted to make my life miserable because her little life was miserable. I totally believe in Karma and I watched her get her comeuppance so it's no biggie now... I definitely wouldn't waste my da siu yen on her... she got hers muah ha ha. :)

I guess I'd use mine on the choad that owned our condo before we did.

Mannnn for reals you don't have a nemesis? You are probably a very nice person! :)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa February 25, 2010 at 1:09 AM  

@ Cathleya: No, I'm more naughty than nice. But a nemesis is a very significant figure in one's life; I gotta evaluate all my options and make sure I pick the right one, you know? ;-)

emileee February 25, 2010 at 4:12 AM  

That's hilarious! I've never heard of this in Taiwan but I'll have to ask around...haha.

Geek in Heels February 25, 2010 at 8:21 AM  

Haha I just showed this to my husband who is from HK and although he's never done it himself, he knows tons of people who have.

I personally can't think of any one person who I despise enough to do this...I have plenty of people I dislike, but none that HATE. I agree with you that a nemesis is a very significant figure in your life — it's tough to choose just one!

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