Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Best Way to Get It Off Your Chest - I like this!

When it comes to dealing with a malicious co-worker, pushy family member or some other bloody prick, some of us go for confrontation. Others try to keep a philosophical distance. But for believers in the Waking of the Insects — a Chinese lunar festival in early March, observed almost exclusively in Hong Kong — there's nothing better than paying an elderly woman $6 to take her shoe and beat the pulp out of a crude paper effigy symbolizing the traducer in question. Crouched on plastic stools, Gu and other practitioners lay their effigies on bricks before furiously slapping them with slippers, shoes and, in some cases, high heels. Some chant "I am beating you, petty person! You have air, but you can't breathe! You have feet, but you can't walk!"
Given the financial climate, many of this year's customers have sought job-related vengeance. "Some got fired or laid off, some feel betrayed," says Gu. "They want to get back at people." Elaine Wong, a logistics saleswoman, says that the practitioners "can erase all of the devils around us."
For added malice, some practitioners use needles and blades on the effigies. But, says Chien Chiao, a Taiwan anthropologist and expert in the ritual extensively, "the purpose of beating the petty person isn't to kill someone. The purpose is to tell people to stop messing with you."
Feel like outsourcing your anger then Gu has a big shoe for hire or take the do it yourself approach, build your own effigy (could be a lot of fun), grab a thong and beat the bloody crap out of it! Definitely healing!


  1. Well that takes the cake. I can relate to ritualising one's feelings of aggression as a healthy way to deal with negative emotions, without actually taking it out on a real person (for which one can get locked up or even hurt) But the idea of 'outsourcing'....sounds like a way to avoid self responsibility to me.

    Good for the old lady who needs a job though!

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  3. Sure makes pillow punching look like a soft option. :)

    Like your thong idea...that could take off a big way.