moo_t wants me to list 5 cultural substances and elaborate a little on them. Hokay… this is really easy for me thanks to my previous job… bwahahhahahaa!!! And I am going to do this without any references, just to see how much I remember.
1. Feng Shui
Feng Shui originated from China, it was originally known as ‘kan yu’. Some emperor or minister gave it its proper name, Feng Shui, which literally means ‘wind’ and ‘water’. Translated, ‘wind’ means ‘qi’ which is basically life force, and ‘water’ means water lah 😉 It is short for ‘qi disperses with the wind and rests at the boundaries of water’.
First there was only the ‘luan tou’ method, which is now popularly known as ‘san he’. The ancient Chinese who practised this literally walked the mountains for months or even years (or their whole lives), just to locate good spots. Last time there was no Feng Shui for the living (yang), it was all for the dead peps (yin). Then some people looked up the heavens and say something along the lines of, ‘what is in the heavens is reflected on earth’ and began research on that. This became known as ‘li qi’, which you would recognise as ‘san yuan’ these days.
Basically all the good luck items you place in your house in the name of Feng Shui, are not Feng Shui. Kthx.
(yes, I got lazy typing so much).
2. The Dragon Head tortoise
… also known as the ‘lo shu’. It is a mythical critter, said to rise from the river lo bearing the ‘magic squares’ on his back. The ‘magic squares’ is in use in Yi Jing and Xuan Kong Feng Shui, a sub of ‘li qi’. It is actually a Chinese mathematical, astronomy and divinity thing, and most likely the person responsible for it created the story of a mythical critter just to add value to his work. You know how the Chinese thrive on superstitions.
Today Lillian Too makes a lot of money selling the Lo Shu figurines. She says it brings you good Feng Shui luck. Suckers.
3. How the Qing Dynasty got fucked, no thanks to Feng Shui
The Emperor Qian Long was great in many ways. He also fancied himself to be a geomancer, and he went looking for his burial spot that would have like, the greatest qi ever for the continued prosperity of the Qing Dynasty. He finally found it, and consulted his harem of geomancers to know what they thought.
If you were a geomancer living in times where you could be beheaded at the whim of the rulers, and the emperor asked you what you thought of his chosen burial spot, you would say yes, wouldn’t you? I would.
Actually the burial AREA was great, and had great qi that would have benefited the Qing Dynasty for many generations, IF ONLY Qian Long’s tomb had faced a different direction (or something).
I am not making any of this up okay.
4. CNY firecrackers
Once upon a time the Chinese were terrorised by a monster. The monster ate up shit loads of people, and finally the villagers got sick of it. So they set off firecrackers to frighten off the monster. It worked and they lived happily ever. From then on, firecrackers are set off to ward off evil spirits, basically ill fortune brought by the unknown.
Then it got banned in Malaysia and Singapore, but you can still buy it, if you know where to go lah.
5. Once Upon A Time in China
Jet Li acted as the great Chinese hero, Wong Fei Hung. The movies were massive hits and became deeply embedded in today’s Chinese culture. Then Jet Li flew to Hollywood and his career sucked for a few years. I didn’t really like him in ‘Fearless’ either, maybe because I watched the Cantonese-dubbed version, WTF WAS THAT ABOUT?!?!?!