Today is Hari Merdeka or Merdeka Day (Independence Day). And today also marks the soft opening of Merdeka Mall in Miri. After much delay, the new mall situated opposite Morsjaya Commercial Centre along Miri Airport Road finally opened its door to the public.

Merdeka Mall as seen from Morsjaya Commercial Center on the opposite side of the road

Signboard of Merdeka Mall

And what a letdown!

MERDEKA MALL MIRI has been touted as incorporating a new modern shopping design to provide shoppers with new shopping experience with fully air-con interior, retail shops, specialty stores, fashion outlets, food and restaurants, entertainment, supermarket, departmental store, education centre and space for exhibition and function. Its total build-up area is about 500, 000 sq.ft. It has over 500 car-parking bays located on lower ground floor, level 1 (ground floor) and level 4.

A view inside the mall

Another view inside the mall

Car parks on the top floor of the mall

The soft opening today was truly a major letdown. Only a few stores are open for business. Even the anchor tenant Ta Kiong Supermarket did not open for business today.

The whole mall looks deserted with so few stores open

As you can see, only a few stores are open for business.

The crowds were visibly disappointed. After waiting for so long for the mall to open, it is so disheartening to see the mediocre standard of the mall.

The only big store that opens for business today is the APEX Department Store. A walk through this store soon reveals that it is far inferior to Parkson at Bintang Megamall. The design and layout of the store and the quality of the items sold leave a lot to be desired.

The APEX Department Store

Ladies' clothing section of APEX Department Store

Ladies' clothing section of APEX Department Store

As today is the soft opening, there was huge traffic jams in the vicinity of the mall with cars queuing up on the Miri Airport road for their turns to enter the mall’s parking area. But I have an inkling that this mall may turn out to be a massive failure unless Ta Kiong Supermarket can help pull in the crowds when it opens.

See the traffic jams on the top left hand corner of the photo as cars waited for their turns to enter the mall's parking area.

I hope the two other shopping malls in the pipeline will be of a much higher standard than Merdeka Mall.  Miri deserves some classy shopping malls!

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Today is Hari Kebangsaan or Hari Merdeka (Independence Day). It is the national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule. In a wider context, it is to celebrate the formation of Malaysia.

Hari Merdekaan 2010

The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, who led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in negotiations with the British in London for Merdeka, or independence along with the first president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V.T. Sambanthan. Once it became increasingly clear that the Communist threat posed during the Malayan Emergency was petering out, agreement was reached on February 8, 1956, for Malaya to gain independence from the British Empire. However, for a number of logistical and administrative reasons, it was decided that the official proclamation of independence would only be made the next year, on August 31, 1957, at Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), in Kuala Lumpur.

This YouTube video is the proclamation of independence by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first prime minister of Malaysia.

The Federation of Malaysia, comprising the States of Malaya, North Borneo (later renamed Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore was to be officially declared on the date August 31, 1963, on the 6th anniversary of Malayan independence. However, it was postponed to September 16, 1963, mainly due to Indonesian and the Philippines’ opposition to the formation of Malaysia. Nevertheless, North Borneo and Singapore declared sovereignty on August 31, 1963. Indonesian opposition later escalated to a military conflict. Indonesia considered Malaysia as a new form of colonization on the provinces of Sarawak and Sabah in the island of Borneo (bordering Kalimantan, Indonesia), which they laid claim on. To assure Indonesia that Malaysia was not a form of neo-colonialism, a referendum, organized by the United Nations, and the Cobbold Commission, led by Lord Cobbold, were formed to determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak wished to join Malaysia. Their eventual findings which indicated substantial support for Malaysia among the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, cleared the way for the final proclamation of Malaysia.

The formation of the Federation of Malaysia was then announced on September 16, 1963 as Malaysia Day. The nationwide Independence Day celebration is still held on August 31, the original independence date of Malaya, while Malaysia Day is a public holiday only in East Malaysia. However, this has caused some minor discontent among East Malaysians in particular since it has been argued that celebrating the national day on August 31 is too Malaya-centric. It is decided that starting this year, Malaysia Day will be a nationwide public holiday in addition to Hari Merdeka on August 31.

The above is from Wikipedia.

To all Malaysians, I wish you a very happy Hari Kebangsaan. May  Malaysia be blessed with peace, racial harmony, religious tolerance, prosperity and unity! God bless Malaysia!

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Paris Hilton is at it again. She got arrested on the Las Vegas strip a little before midnight on Friday night for possession of cocaine found in her purse. And her boyfriend Cy Waits was booked on charges on DUI.

Paris Hilton & Cy Waits

Paris was released on her own recognizance shortly after her arrest and has insisted that the purse was not hers. She hired powerful Vegas lawyer David Chesnoff to handle the case … and he already got her sprung without posting bail.

Hilton was arrested this summer after the Brazil-Netherlands World Cup match in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on suspicion of possession of marijuana. Paris used the “the-drugs-weren’t-mine” defense and no charges were filed against her, with the case dropped at a midnight court hearing.

It was smoke wafting from a Cadillac Escalade on the Las Vegas Strip that set off Paris Hilton’s latest legal troubles when a motorcycle officer , suspecting that the smell was marijuana, stopped the vehicle.  As more police arrived and a crowd started to gather on the busy neon-lit strip, Hilton asked  to go into the Wynn resort for privacy. As the 29-year-old socialite was pulling out a tube of lip balm, a bindle of cocaine in a plastic bag dropped out of her purse in plain view of police in the room. This time, the hotel heiress was with her boyfriend, Las Vegas nightclub mogul Cy Waits, who manages a club inside the Wynn Las Vegas and was driving the black SUV that the officer stopped nearby at 11:22 p.m. Friday.

The cocaine was a “small amount,” or a package of the size usually associated with personal use. Police would not specify the weight of the cocaine or whether any marijuana was confiscated.

Hilton was arrested on suspicion of felony cocaine possession. If convicted of the low-grade felony, she would get probation, but any violation of that probation would be punishable by up to one to four years in Nevada state prison.

Paris Hilton arrested for cocaine possession - Photo from TMZ.com

Waits, 34, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in county jail. Police said he owned the 2009 Cadillac.

Hilton and Waits were booked into the Clark County jail, where Hilton was kept handcuffed on a booking room bench, fingerprinted, photographed and released without bail about 2:45 a.m. Saturday.

Waits’ lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, said Waits posted $2,000 bail Saturday. Waits was released Saturday afternoon.

Hilton’s attorney, David Chesnoff, told The Associated Press on Saturday morning that he was still gathering facts about the arrest.

“This matter will be dealt with in the courts not in the media and I encourage people not to rush to judgment until all of the facts have been dealt with in a court of law,” Chesnoff said later in a statement. “There will be no interviews and no more comments at this time.”

Court dates for Hilton and Waits were not immediately available. Clark County District Attorney David Roger declined to comment Saturday about the case.

Cy Waits and his twin brother Jesse are fixtures in the Vegas night life scene. The brothers are managing partners of the Tryst Nightclub inside the Las Vegas Wynn, Drai’s at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, and XS The Nightclub at Wynn Encore Resort. Cy and the clubs have received numerous awards and accolades, one might call him a night club mogul! Clearly Waits has a eye for business and the night life party scene, no wonder Paris was attracted to him. Cy is a California born and raised guy who has worked hard to earn the amazing reputation that he has in the ritzy night club industry.

Tryst Nightclub

Drai's Hollywood's The Private Lounge

XS Nightclub at Wynn Encore Resort

It certainly doesn’t seem like Cy Waits, Paris Hilton’s boyfriend, is using her to gain fame. Nope this guy has his own claim to fame and famous people if you will. What is such a clearly smart man is doing with the likes of Paris Hilton.

Earlier this week, Hilton was in the news when 31-year-old Nathan Lee Parada allegedly tried to break into her Los Angeles home.  It was Cy Waits who got knife wielding intruder Nathan Lee Parada to drop the two knives during the awful incident at Paris’s house. According to the NY Daily News and multiple other sources, Waits pulled a gun on Parada and got him to drop the knives. Nathan Lee Parada faces a felony burglary charge.

Hilton pleaded no contest in 2007 to alcohol-related reckless driving and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. After spending about 23 days in jail, Hilton told CNN host Larry King that the experience caused her to re-evaluate the role partying played in her life. She said she wanted “to help raise money for kids and for breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.”

What happened to her self-evaluation?

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Yuto Miyazawa is a 10 year old Japanese child prodigy who has shaken rock and metal music lovers around the world.  He was born on February 21, 2000 in Tokyo, Japan and currently lives there with his parents. In August 2008, he was named “The Youngest Professional Guitarist” by Guinness Book of World Records.

Child prodigy Yuto Miyazawa

Yuto Miyazawa has been playing guitar since the very tender age of three. Although he has had a few guitar lessons, the bulk of his expertise comes from truly wanting to play…all the time. Commonly, if he is’nt in school, he has a guitar in his hands. That love of guitar is quickly making Yuto the internet’s latest sensation, as his videos rack up views on YouTube and Vimeo, and his name is scattered across hundreds of forums and blogs. Yuto’s influences are  apparent, as he is often seen playing his official Randy Rhoads edition polka-dot Gibson Flying V guitar, which dwarfs him. Along with Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads, Yuto is influenced by Eric Clapton, KISS and Metallica. His extraordinary talent started him on the road to fame in Japan a couple of years ago.  But it was his appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show  in May 2009 that catapulted him to international fame. He stunned the audience with his performance of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” After the show, Ozzy Osbourne came on stage to give words of encouragement and awarded him a plaque framed in gold.

Since his discovery, Miyazawa has performed with numerous music legends over the past year including Ozzy Osbourne, G.E. Smith, Galactic, Les Paul and Deep Banana Blackout. He has appeared at Madison Square Garden, the famous B. B. King’s, Chris Noth and Steve Walter’s The Cutting Room, and Rodeo Bar in New York City. Yuto appeared on stage at Live BlizzCon 2009 with Ozzy Osbourne to play “Crazy Train” as the first encore performance.

In 2010, Yuto came back on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and played “ Paranoid.”

An amazing kid!

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The internet is inundated with claims that that there will be “two moons” in the sky tonight as Mars will grow to the size of the Full Moon. Is there any truth to such claims?

In a hoax dating to 2003 and the great Mars opposition of that year when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in about 60,000 years in August, the claim wasn’t true then and sure isn’t true now. Yes, while Mars got brighter that year, it didn’t even get as bright as Venus.

Don't be duped by the 2 moons rumor.

The Mars/Moon hoax came back into the forefront when Mars came to a far less spectacular opposition this January and, now that it’s August, it is resurfacing again.

The August 27 2010 two moons is a rumor spread through emails. The story behind the rumor is that in August 2003 Mars came so close to our earth that it appeared on the sky like another moon. Since then these emails are spread by the people in every August. The event that took place seven years ago shall not take place this year so there would not be two moons 2010.

Don’t be duped, ok?

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Well I’ll be damned! And Adolf Hitler is probably turning over in his grave with the latest revelation that DNA tests have proven that Hitler had African and Jewish ancestors. Hitler was responsible for the slaughter of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.

Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s heritage has been called into question before, with some suggesting his grandfather was Jewish. But this is the first claim with any scientific data to support it.

The tests were conducted by Jean-Paul Mulders, a Belgian journalist, and Marc Vermeeren, a historian. The pair tracked down 39 of Hitler’s living relatives throughout Europe and America to obtain saliva samples which ultimately suggest African and Jewish ancestry. The relatives included an Austrian farmer, identified only as a cousin named “Norbert H.”

A chromosome called “Haplogroup E1b1b” or Y-DNA was discovered in his relatives’ saliva samples, which is very rare in Germany, but it is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of Ashkenazi and 8.6 per cent to 30 per cent of Sephardic Y-chromosomes, appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population.

Russia possesses artifacts from Hitler that would contain his DNA, and that researchers could end the speculation if they were allowed to test those items.

Many victims of Hitler’s Holocaust, like Anne Frank, were Ashkenazi.  Anne Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She gained international fame posthumously following the publication of her diary “The Diary of A Young Girl” which documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. Her diary has sold over 31 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages, making it one of the most popular books ever.

Anne Frank

Diary of Anne Frank

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The enigmatic “U Smile 800% Slower” has become a sensation on the web. “U Smile,” the second single from Justin Bieber’s new album, was slowed down 800 percent and uploaded to the web by Nick Pittsinger, a 20-year-old aspiring music producer in Florida. The song’s trippy atmospherics have attracted more than 1.7 million plays online. You can listen to the 35-minute “U Smile 800% Slower” here.

Justin Bieber

“U Smile 800% Slower” is eight times as long as the original four-minute pop song , turning the high-pitched bleats of the pubescent signer into primal howls and cries that seem to linger forever.  The song is reminiscent of late ’90s work from Icelandic singer Bjork, with Biebert’s voice heavily deconstructed and eerily intimate. This YouTube video is a watered-down version of the “U Smile 800% Slower”.


Compare this with the original “U Smile” which sounds much less memorable.

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Most people may not be familiar with the name Shazrina Azman. Shazrina is the daughter of Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim, ranked the 11th richest person in Malaysia with an estimated net worth of US$600 million according to Forbes.

Azman Hashim....one of the richest Malaysians

But mention ‘Mizz Nina’ and recognition is instantaneous. Mizz Nina is the only female member of Teh Tarik Crew, one of the pioneer groups of hip-hop music in Malaysia.  Her sultry and gorgeous looks constantly turn heads and command attention wherever she goes.

Mizz Nina

Starting at the tender age of only eight, and with the support of her family which appreciate artistic expression, Mizz Nina ventured into the world of hip hop music and has never looked back.

Gaining tutelage under vocal teacher Mark M. Echivarre from The Singing Shop in PJ, she quickly learned the ropes and moved onto underground hip hop gigs and college shows in 1996. In 1997 she formed First Born Troopz with Fiquetional, with whom she would later co-found the Malaysian hip hop group, the Teh Tarik Crew (TTC) in 1999. It was with TTC that her musical career truly took off, with two AIM nominations in 2002 for the group’s full-length album “How’s The Level?” and her own WOW FM radio show “WowVibe.”

Critical and popular acclaim poured in, with TTC being ranked as one of KLue Magazine’s best local groups. An advertising campaign for Ribena exposed Mizz Nina’s image and music to the public on an unprecedented level. By 2004, Mizz Nina had under her belt a modeling career, more radio shows (Spin and Urbanitez, on RedFM), and two more AIM nominations for Teh Tarik Crew’s “What’s Next?” album.

She went on a national Hotlink tour, and performed at such notable events as Rock The World and the Asian X-Games. Mizz Nina also expanded her repertoire to hosting, racking up engagements for Salem, Nike, KLue and Johnson & Johnson, culminating in a solo ad campaign for Johnson & Johnson and TV hosting gigs on 8TV’s Flava and Channel V.

Since then, Mizz Nina has become a force to be reckoned with in the local entertainment industry. Now also an alumni DJ at FlyFM, she has attained the post of Managing Director of The Singing Shop PJ, where her musical education began, as well as running her own recording studio. She’s also collaborated with many of Malaysia’s musical leading voices, such as Reshmonu and Vandal, lending her unique take on hip hop artistry.

On July 17 2010, Mizz Nina launched her debut solo album “What You Waiting For?” hot off the release of the single of the same title, featuring collaboration with American pop/R&B singer-song writer and producer Colby O’Donis. Recorded in both Malaysia and Los Angeles, the album has been one year in the making. Working with producers, arrangers and composer from California, the Netherlands, Singapore and Malaysia, Mizz Nina co-wrote most of the songs and self penned the track “Never Leave You Behind” on the album.  Besides working with Colby O’Donis, vocal collaborators on the album include MC Dandee from Bangkok’s Thaitanium Entertainment, Noh from Hujan, Mawar Berduri from Ahli Fiqir, Teeflii and Grammy nominee Planet Asia. The album features 14 tracks, 5 of which are in the Malay language.

Mizz Nina's "What You Waiting For?" album

Colby, the Akon protégé rode the charts with his hit “What You Got’ featuring Akon and is a sought after collaborator featuring on Akon’s “Beautiful” and Lady Gaga’s “Just dance” which was a nominee for best dance recording at the 50th Grammy Awards.

Mizz Nina’s video for ‘What You Waiting For?’ which was directed by Scott McCullough and shot in Los Angeles, has already garnered almost 500,000 views on YouTube.

These days, you can’t seem to go a day without hearing ‘What You Waiting For?’ on the radio; the song’s infectious melody and beats–and guest appearance by Colby O’Donis–make it impossible to resist singing along. A slickly produced pop album mixed with a dope twist of hip hop, Mizz Nina’s long-awaited solo debut like a coming-out party that shows her true vocal flexibility in both English and Malay. There’s a great assimilation of genres too with hard-hitting rap on ‘Sri Kandi’ (with Ahli Fiqir’s Mawar Berduri), floetic rhymin’ on ‘Never Leave You Behind’, chilled out love on ‘Kurnia’ (with other half Noh from Hujan), cheeky boy-girl interaction on ‘Sometime’ (with Dandee from Bangkok’s Thaitainium) and bright-eyed soul on ‘Ping Pong’ (with Mode of Ruffedge).

She might not quite have the pipes of Mary J Blige, but her sexy Kelis-like, raspy voice is pleasant enough and easy on the ears. Something of a little Lauryn Hill, Mizz Nina has certainly proven herself with an album of brilliant recordings. It is a polished debut that will put her on the pedestal as Malaysia’s latest pop princess.

That’s Mizz Nina to you – make way. What you waiting for?

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The Bilderberg Group has come under fresh and timely attention after Fidel Castro released an article warning the world about the power and influence that the group now has. It is alleged that the group has become a kind of global government, controlling not only international politics and economics, but even culture. It is rumored that a number of famous individuals including the Clintons are a part of the group.

Castro quoted almost verbatim what Daniel Estulin said in his 2006 book, “The Secrets of the Bilderberg Club.” Castro drew attention to Bilderberg’s plan to “install a world government that knows no borders and is not accountable to anyone but its own self”. Castro’s decision to put the spotlight on Bilderberg, knowing that the international media would take the bait, produced a familiar outcome, with the corporate press repeating Bilderberg’s talking point that it represents nothing more than a casual get-together and has no power to set policy. It has sparked a fresh round of international media coverage some four months after the Bilderbergers last met in Spain.

The Secrets of the Bilderberg Club by Daniel Estulin

The ultra-secret Bilderberg Group is a meeting of a hundred or so of the world’s most powerful people, including heads of state, prime ministers and even royalty. Incredibly, the fate of the world is decided at these annual meetings that are strictly off-limits to all the rest of us. However, there is one big thorn in their side – Daniel Estulin. He has been infiltrating their mysterious meetings for a number of years and uncovering their plans. For instance, in 2005 he predicted that oil would hit $150 a barrel – it hit $147. In 2006 he predicted the crash of the US economy, a truth that we all know so well. In 2008 he announced that the Bilderbergs had decided that Obama would win the race for president.

According to some sources, the group decides on a set of standards or morals that they will govern with, and then each member is responsible for keeping those morals alive in the areas that they have control over. Alex Jones has been leading the resistance against the Bilderberg group, but the fact of the matter is not everyone is even aware that the group exists. It is scary that a group that could potentially have so much power is so unknown to most people.

Crusading filmmaker Alex Jones

This is part of a global awakening to the new world order in which millions of people around the globe are finally discovering where the true power lies and why the world is being driven headlong towards serfdom and dictatorship,

In reality, Bilderberg attendees are mandated to implement decisions that are formulated during the annual conference of power brokers. As Willy Claes, former Secretary General of NATO revealed during a Belgian radio interview, members are required by Bilderberg to set the agreed upon policy within the environments they have influence over. This is why when a consensus is reached on certain issues at Bilderberg, such as the Euro single currency, the invasion of Iraq, and which politicians will run for major offices, it routinely then plays out in the real world.

Bilderberg is now an open conspiracy, with the agenda for world government an undeniable reality and no longer the fodder for sophomoric jibes about conspiracy theories.

Two key Bilderberg films that contributed to this unraveling of Bilderberg’s cloak of secrecy were crusading filmmakerAlex Jones’ Endgame and The Obama Deception. In Endgame, Alex Jones draws attention to the 2006 Bilderberg meeting in Ottawa Canada, garnering front page coverage in major newspapers as for the first time Bilderberg’s efforts to preserve their low profile agenda were blown wide open. For the New World Order, a world government is just the beginning. Once in place they can engage their plan to exterminate 80% of the world’s population, while enabling the “elites” to live forever with the aid of advanced technology. For the first time, Endgame reveals their secret plan for humanity’s extermination. Jones tracks the history of the global elite’s bloody rise to power and exposes how they have funded dictators and financed the bloodiest wars—creating order out of chaos to pave the way for the first true world empire. Watch as Jones and his team track the elusive Bilderberg Group to Ottawa and Istanbul to document their secret summits, allowing you to witness global kingpins setting the world’s agenda and instigating World War III. Learn about the formation of the North America transportation control grid, which will end U.S. sovereignty forever.

Watch Endgame in full below.

With the majority of Americans under the notion that Obama was a populist man of the people who would enact real change, Alex Jones in his movie The Obama Deception exposes how Obama was personally chosen over Hillary Clinton at the 2008 Bilderberg meeting by Bilderberg luminaries and how Obama is in actual fact a compliant servant for the Bilderberg globalists who he answers to, people like Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Watch The Obama Deception in full below.

Now that you have watched the two videos, it is up to you to decide whether these videos are just some amateur conspiracy videos found on YouTube or is Alex Jones really on to something so huge that it is mind-blowing? A lot of people are now convinced that the latter is the case and that these two movies have truly exposed the Bilderberg conspiracy. If that is the truth, it’s scary!

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It is the time of the year when superstitions reign supreme for a lot of Chinese people. We are right now in the midst of the Hungry Ghost Month which runs from August 10 to September 7 this year, with the Hungry Ghost Festival  or zh?ng yuán jié falling on August 24.

The fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Festival and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the netherworld, wandering in search for food. On Ghost Day, the deceased are believed to visit the living.

On Ghost Day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is ancestor worship, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths. Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mache form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals (often vegetarian meals) would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living. Ancestor worship is what distinguishes Qingming Festival from Ghost Festival because the latter includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations, while the former only includes older generations. Other festivities may include releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities.

Chinese celebrate this festival in order to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. They also feel that offering food to the deceased appeases them and wards off bad luck. It’s important to give them a sumptuous feast, to please them and to bring luck to the family. Taoists and Buddhists perform ceremonies on this day to ease the sufferings of the deceased. Chinese perform these rituals due to fear that the revengeful spirit may come back to take revenge. Some even think that the ghosts would seek revenge on those who had wronged them in their lives.

Offerings during a Hungry Ghost Festival

There is also the belief that some entertainment be provided to please those wandering ghosts. The Ghost Festival in Singapore and Malaysia is modernized by the ‘concert-like’ live night performances on outdoor stages in some neighborhood. The live show is popularly known as “ge-tai”, performed by a group of singers, dancers and entertainers.  Nowadays performances by young girls wearing trendy revealing attire have become very popular. The festival is funded by the residents of each individual residential districts. Karaoke too can be heard and funny Mandarin or Hokkien pantomime is played to the delights of the older generations. Many chairs are lay in front of the stage where the first rows are reserved for the souls of the dead.

Audience at a Hungry Ghost Festival getai show..the first row of seats are reserved for visitors from the netherworld

A scantily-dressed performer at a Hungry Ghost Festival show in Malaysia

The Chinese also do a lot of offerings to the deceased. These offerings are made by burning fake money notes, known as hell money, and even paper television sets, houses and cars to give to their dead relatives. The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the ghosts and help them live comfortably in their world.  Some Chinese even burn paper hand phones, computers and other modern gadgets but there are some Chinese who shy away from burning such modern gadgets as they fear that their dead ancestors may not know how to use these gadgets and would therefore “drag” them to the other world so that they can teach their dead ancestors how to use the gadgets.

Almost as important as honoring your ancestors, offerings to ghosts without families must be made, so that they will not cause you any harm. Ghost month is the most dangerous time of the year, and malevolent spirits are on the look out to capture souls.

Going swimming during the Ghost Month is considered bad as an evil ghost may cause you to drown.This makes ghost month a bad time to do activities such as evening strolls, traveling, picnics, moving house, or starting a new business. No late night are tolerated during the seventh month. Most mums or grandmothers nag for all to be home before midnight. In addition to this, children are also advised to return home early and not to wander around alone at night. This belief is due to the reason that the wandering ghosts might possess children. And during the seventh month, if any death is reported it will be pointed out that, it is due to disobedience. Do not step on the burnt incense papers, you could be possessed. Weddings and business launches are not held as it may bring bad luck. Whistling should be avoided as it may draw souls to one’s home.

The last day of the Ghost Month is when the Gates of Hell are closed up again. The chants of Taoist priests inform the spirits that it’s time to return, and as they are confined once again to the underworld, they let out an unearthly wail of lament.  To make sure all the hungry ghosts find their way back to hell, people flow water lanterns and set them outside their houses. These lanterns are made by setting a lotus flower-shaped lantern on a paper boat. The lanterns are used to direct the ghosts back to the underworld, and when they go out, it symbolizes that they have found their way back.

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