Friday, August 05, 2005

Jilong Gothic

Today is a typhoon day, so we don't have classes today. This morning Shuqin invited me upstairs to eat breakfast and afterwards we ended up getting into a conversation about religion. I asked her if she had been Christian as a child when she mentioned that her mother was "baibai" I don't know what that means, I'm guessing a believer of spirits of some sort. Anyway, she mentioned that her older brother had been very sick for unexplained reasons and that a fortune teller told her mother that it was because a bunch of ghosts wanted him to come live with them. So she talked to Jeremiah (her husband's brother) who suggested taking him to church to see if that would make him better, which apparently it did. She said that after that, she and Vincent started going to church. Although she said that according to her brother's personality he does not go to church. She also said that her parents are fairly tolerant of her Christianity although other people don't want their children to be Christian because it is a foreigner's religion.

She also mentioned that for three days she was not herself, she would talk to people that she knew and she didn't recognize them, she wouldn't eat or drink anything. She says that she doesn't remember anything about that time. My roommate mentioned that he had heard another teacher who lived there at the time say that there was an exorcism of some kind when he lived there. Apparently her father wanted her to see a doctor but instead she was cured through the power of Christianity. I'm not entirely sure exactly how. But she said that after seeing and experiencing these things herself she became a Christian.

She asked me whether in America I had heard of things like that. And I explained about some of my grandparents' religious or mystical experiences and also mentioned a story my mother told me about my great-grandfather who while fishing out by the volcano in Hawaii saw a woman walking over the lava fields all dressed in white, and when he looked back she had disappeared. He thought he had seen Pele the goddess of the volcano.

She asked me if I believed in this type of things. And I'm not really sure. Certainly an experience like hers which was witnessed by other members of the family and other people can't be denied as something unusual and alarming. I certainly can't explain it myself.

Speaking of ghosts, the Ghost month is in the process of going on right now. I guess the Gates of the Underworld will open pretty soon. Actually they have something sort of similar in Japan when the ghosts come back to visit the living. In the Japanese American community though it only lasts one day and it's called Bon Odori or Obon. There's lots of dancing and candle lighting types of things that I remember. I bet this is totally different than what they do in Japan now.

1 comment:

disreputable bird said...

Gates of the Underworld. Sounds a bit hell mouthish, but it's actually like obon? Well, watch your back anyway...