Sunday, December 17, 2006

Night approaches

(Hainan 2006)

Night approaches. On the night of 10 Nov 2006, I sat in the living room area listening to the adults chat away. My uncle has an interest in learning about geomancy and fortune telling so he shared with us about the subject of destiny.

According to what I best make out from his sharings, it is believed that a person's destiny is predetermined by the date and the time of his birth. However, my uncle claimed that in the Chinese culture, it was acceptable for the women to amend her date and time of birth so as to change her destiny. On the other hand, a male person is not allowed to make such amendments. I have no clue if what my uncle had shared is all true, but it was quite interesting hearing him narrate on the subject. He also used the example of my dad and one of my aunts to help illustrate how one's destiny has been predetermined.

That night, my uncle tried to interpret the destiny of my two younger brothers based on their date and time of birth. He however insisted that I need not have to hear about my destiny because he claimed that the predictions for females are often inaccurate because females are allowed to make amendments to their date and time of birth.

While I find it fascinating to hear about how some of the predictions of my dad's and aunt's lives had came true, I would still like to believe that there is still certain part of our lives that we have a control over.

One thing I would miss about the Hainan village is the peace that it has to offer. If the television in the house is not being switched on, the village is a fairly peace and tranquil place to be in.

Thanks to my aunts (especially my third aunt) who have cleaned up the place, I had a bed with mosquito netting to share with my mother while I was at the village.

However, while the bed was effective in preventing mosquitoes to bite me while I was sleeping, the mosquitoes still managed to sting me at other times of the day. Hence, you got to read about my misadventures with Hainan's mosquitoes in the following posts: The traveller's back home, Tired and itchy, Itching and scratching, One bite gets multiplied, Clothes to cover.

The bed that I slept on while I was in the village.

I have my aunts to thank. At night and in the wee hours of the morning when I needed the washroom, they were the ones who accompanied me to the squatting toilet that was about 5 minutes walk away from the house.

There was a cubicle last than 10 steps away from the main living area of the house, but the cubicle is a toilet that operates on the bucket system. Instead of using a toilet that has a flash-system, one would squat over a bucket that is emptied on a fairly regular basis.

The cubicle just a few steps from the house. Notice the bucket

The view of the cubicle using the bucket system.

Please pardon the city-dweller mentality in me, I could hardly get used to the idea of moving my bowels over a bucket. Maybe I am not quite adaptable to living in a village? As such, I had to request to use the squatting toilet that was a distance away. I heard that the squatting toilet was built just a few years ago for the convenience of another of my relatives who was visiting the village.

Going to the toilet in the late hours was a bit of a hassle. As the main gate was locked in the night, my aunt had to unlock the main gate. Afterwhich, with the help of a bright electrical lamp, she would lead me to the toilet. Except for the light from the lamp, it was almost pitched black on the way to the toilet. Then, there was no light in the toilet. As such, my aunt had to place the lamp on the top of one of the walls, and stand guard for me (outside the toilet) while I use the toilet. So for the two nights that I was in the village, I felt so grateful to the thoughtfulness and hospitality of my aunts.

In this photo, you would see the path that I would have to take to visit the squatting toilet that you would see in the background. Of course, I would not walk in the direction of the hammocks and risk falling over them.

The squatting toilet about 5 minutes away.

Returning to the house from the toilet also took some time because my aunt had to lock the main gate and door if it was night time. I remember that on the way back, I would get to hear the cocks shouting "cuckadoo" to tell time. I still could not figure out how these chickens tell the time. Anyway, they weren't as loud as I had thought.

I think if there's anything I would miss about night-time in Hainan, it would be the peace and tranquility.

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