Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tai Sui

Some days ago, I have blogged about ‘Fan Tai Sui’ in my post . I belonged to one of the animal signs to offend (‘fan’) Tai Sui, as such, I dutifully went to ‘bai’ (pray to ) Tai Sui yesterday afternoon to seek blessing and forgiveness for the year ahead.

I visited a temple off Joo Chiat road and by the time I arrived at the temple, there were already three long queues of worshippers waiting for their turn to ‘bai tai sui’. This was my first time to ‘bai tai sui’ myself as previously I came with my parents, however this year, our schedules could not match, and hence I went ahead alone to pray.

I asked a man who seemed to be the one of the ‘in-charge’ how I could proceed with the prayer. I went to the reception counter as instructed by him and told the receptionist what I was there for. The receptionist immediately produced a slip of paper and instructed me to write my Chinese name on the paper. She then asked for the date and time of my birth as well as my horoscope. Within minutes, she completed writing the details of the slip, handed me a tax invoice after I have paid her $10. There was also another service on offer: if you would want to have your whole family blessed on behalf of you, you could also write their names on the slip of paper for an additional $5 to be blessed too. However, I did not know how doing so would affect those family members not of the 4 animal signs offending ‘Tai Sui’ hence I proceeded with praying for myself only.

The sight was interesting. 3 long queues, however, one of them was longer than the two others. Despite the same old man asking the worshippers to join the two shorter queues, they refused to oblige. It turned out that the old lady assisting in the chanting for the worshippers in the longest queue was the most experienced. Hence I believed more worshippers would prefer to wait in the longer queue so as to ensure more ‘comprehensive’ and ‘value-for-money’ package.

Like the others, when my turn was up, I was treated to a segment of the mandarin oranges which have been peeled by another lady and put into a large basket. Next came the actual prayer. It was simple ceremony: I knelted down on a small stool, prayed to the ‘Tai Sui’ statue while the old lady began chanting for blessings for me. At the end of the ceremony, the old lady dished out a red packet from her pocket and put it in a container in front of the ‘Tai Sui’ statue and as usual, ‘chopped’ a red stamp on my neck as a mark of ‘Pass’ (I suppose). After leaving, I was also given a small hamper consisting of small snacks for my family and I to eat for health and prosperity.

To conclude, aforementioned was my session of ‘bai tai sui’: a simple but important ceremony!

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