April 12, 2012

Qingming Festival

When was it again? Oh, right, last Saturday? Surprisingly felt like a long time ago.

It was drizzling that morning, which was EXTREMELY cliché.
A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;) source:wiki
Never really had an issue with this tradition, furthermore I wouldn't be around to pay my respects to my ancestors for the next few years, which makes it even more important to be there this time.

Standing in front of my grandmother's urn compartment (I have absolutely no idea what is it called. Googled and stumbled upon that term ... which I hope is accurate) has made me think about life. To think that my grandmother went through all that suffering to raise 5 kids by her own, then leaving them to go live their own lives ... and finally leave this earth in sickness ...

This reminds me of Petaling Street Warriors, not the funny bits, but the whole era of our ancestors coming all the way from China to find a living here. To think that the sole purpose of life at that point of time was survival, really baffles me. Compared with our current generation, where everyone strives to be rich to be able to live a luxurious life, I really find it hard to find the motivation to live on if I were placed back in that era. Most people now don't even want to have kids, as it is a huge burden and it hinders them from living life to their fullest. People of the past seem so selfless compared to those of now ... I never really felt that grateful for what our ancestors did until I watched that movie.

My dad will always tell me stories of how poor his family used to be, how tough life was for them ... I cannot imagine walking in his shoes, being the spoiled brat that I am (not that I'm particularly spoiled, but I like having meat every meal and not during huge celebrations only). This explains why people of previous generations have different mindsets than the current ones.

Back to the ceremony of food-offering and burnt offerings ...

While holding a few joss sticks, saying stuff that I would say to my grandmother, I remember how people at church forbid the usage of joss sticks. Thinking about it, I find it absurd. It wasn't as if I were praying to another God, I'm merely showing my respect for my grandmother. If God ain't happy about such a trivial matter, then so be it.

Prayers were the usual: for my parents' health, for my studies, yadda yadda yadda.

It occurred to me that there are 2 possibilities: 1. Somehow, somewhere, my grandma is watching. 2. Life ends. There's nothing after that. All these ceremonies are nothing but remembrances of the living for the dead. Even if the latter possibility is the reality, I really have no issues with it. Why not spend a day doing something together with your family to reflect and be grateful of what you already have?

To think that in a few more months, I'll be going to a foreign land, leaving my parents that I've been living with for the past 19 years ...

But I guess that's part of life. Everyone will eventually leave their parents, like a bird that has learned to fly ...

To think that it's part of daily life to see their faces ... and suddenly you can only see them through a computer screen for several years ...

All I could wish for is that my parents will stay healthy and safe till I come back.

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