We draw nearer to the anniversary of our Lord’s crucifixion. Here is another reminder of what He has done for us. The man in the following story does exist. There are people like him in Singapore.
God bless you with His freedom.
Day 1 – At the Gate
Day 2 – At the Table
Day 3 – At the Garden
Day 4 – At the Court
Day 5 – On the Road
Day 6 – On the Cross
Day 2 – At the Table
Koh San Boi does not eat pork, mutton or any meat from four-legged animals with cloven hooves. They are not clean. He does not eat onion, garlic and leeks because these stimulate the libido and disturbs a man’s tranquillity. He wishes he could avoid instant noodles as artificial additives are frowned upon by his religion, but his wife gave up cooking for him because of his many dietary restrictions, so he often had to resort to Maggi mee.
San Boi eats bananas, but he does not like them. He is in charge of food offered by devotees to the temple. He had told them repeatedly not to offer bananas, but they forget. Maybe because bananas are cheap and rot easily, so these get pushed to the temple. The spirits hate bananas. San Boi has no choice but to bring them home for personal consumption.
His diet followed that of the Tibetan spiritual masters, but still San Boi suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is fated, he told himself.
San Boi adjusted his weight from his left knee to his right. He had been kneeling for about five hours now.
Zhou Zhang, the No 1 Medium, was still in his spirit-possessed trance. He continued ranting at the devotees. His spittle descended on them like rain. Their punishment this time was for insufficient offering of opium for the spirits to smoke.
“Don’t play play. Don’t yawn,” San Boi whispered fiercely to the di xiong kneeling beside him. He fingered the scar that ran clear round his neck. Last month, he had been riding his motorcycle to work when he rammed headlong into a power line. How could a power line be hanging at motorists’ height? It was the spirits’ work. They were displeased with his service and wanted to kill him.
He was not the only one being disciplined. Two months ago, his friend had been cleaning the engine of his prime mover truck when, inexplicably, the heavy hood had slammed down, instantly killing the man.
After two more hours of kneeling, the spirits deemed, through Zhou Zhang, that the disciples had been sufficiently disciplined. San Boi could go home. His stomach growled loudly. He stopped by a coffee-shop and was shown to an upper room.
A large group of men were sitting down to a big feast. There was roast pig, braised duck, different types of vegetables and fruits, a loaf of bread, Chinese tea and wine.
“Sorry, I didn’t know there’s a private function,” San Boi said politely, backing out.
“Don’t go. You are welcome to join us,” the waiter said.
San Boi thought that it was strange for the waiter to answer for the group. He was tearing up the bread into chunks and serving the guests.
The waiter moved towards San Boi and guided him to an empty chair.
“We’re all di xiong here. Eat, eat,” a big man with a booming voice greeted him.
San Boi surveyed the table hungrily. His eyes dismissed the pork and duck, although his nostrils were assaulted by their tantalising aroma. He pondered the xiao bai chye.
“What is this dish cooked with?” he asked politely.
“Lard,” answered the waiter, watching him.
Pig’s fat? No thanks. San Boi shook his head. His chopsticks moved away towards a plate of kang kong.
“They’re all fried with lard,” the waiter explained.
San Boi put down his chopsticks resignedly. Now to think of an excuse and go home to Maggi mee.
“Have some bread,” the waiter said kindly, serving some to San Boi.
“Take some wine with it,” he added, pouring San Boi a glass.
He moved to the head of the table and sat down. San Boi perceived now that the men were looking at the waiter with tremendous respect. An embarrassing truth occurred to him. This man was not a waiter. He is somebody important. A leader who is a servant?
“When you are with me, my son, you can eat anything,” the man said with authority to San Boi. His eyes sparked with anger. But San Boi knew, with a certainty as sure as the solid table before him, that the man’s anger was not directed at him. The servant leader was angry at all those who had told San Boi that he could not and should not.
Turning to the men around him, the servant leader picked up the bread and said, “This is my body. Take, eat.”
Picking up a glass, he said, “Drink. This is my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
After the meal, when San Boi was so full he felt that he would burst, the servant leader led him to the window. “You have no part in what follows, but I want to show you something.”
San Boi looked out the window and saw an astonishing sight. There was a riot outside! A big crowd had gathered and they were yelling, rolling their bloodshot eyes, pulling their hair and raking their faces with long nails. At first sight, they looked like people, but there was something off about them. Tongues of flames licked their bodies. Their clothes were charred from fire that seemed to come from within them. Skin and flesh hung off in strips.
The servant leader seemed to read San Boi’s mind. “These are the spirits that have intimidated and bound you for so long. But I have set a table before you in the presence of your enemies. They wail and gnash their teeth, but they will not have you, my son, as long as you are with me.”