City Trips, Stories, Travels

Angry grannies and crazy birds


o we run into some funny and crazy things? But of course!! For instance, the angry grannies of Hong Kong and the crazy birds of Singapore.

Once in a while you might feel like “you f***ing @$$hole” about somebody, a “curse the day you were born” kind of thing. We of course don’t have that, we are way too mild mannered … of course. But if you would really like to damn somebody, Hong Kong caters for your needs. Under a bridge on Canal Road you have a handful of grannies that can assist you with finetuning your curses. They have managed to gather a whole lifetime’s worth of bile, especially to help you out! Ain’t they the sweetest!

So what happens underneath that bridge? These grannies curse a person of your choosing, for a price of course. They don’t do this for fun, or what were you thinking? You can put all your anger on a piece of paper by naming the person you really want to damn out of this world and then apparently you get 3 options (at least that we witnessed): the shoe, fire, or if you are really pissed off, both. And then “grannies to the rescue”. If you pick the shoe, the grannies will strike damnation into your piece of curse paper with the soles of their shoes. And boy, can they strike a sole/soul.  If you choose for damnation by fire, they acrobatically move your piece of paper around and burn it to a crisp. If you choose both they first apply the sole and then fire it up. Success guaranteed!!! And if it didn’t work, at least those little grannies have gotten all that anger out of their system by the time they get home and are all the more harmless for it. You never know, all this pent up rage in a little old granny can’t be healthy.

So, this proves that some people really can make a profession out of being an old crank.

In Singapore we encountered something a little nicer, and a little more people-friendly. In Waterloo Street you can have your fortune told in varied ways. You might think, what is so special about that? The trick is finding the most fun option of having your fortune being told, we have found it to be the prophetic parrot.

A (usually Indian) old and often excessively hairy granny is waiting for you with 30-something little envelopes with fortunes to be told and one bright green parrot (we said more people-friendly not animal-friendly…). The moment you hand over your hard-earned cash, the soothsaying bird gets the get go and walks out of his little cage and takes one of the envelopes in his little beak and gives it to your favourite old crone. She then starts to elaborate in full technicolour what these vague utterances on the slip of paper from the feathery messenger mean for you.

But no worries if it is something excessively negative, this little granny will sort this out for you as well. Grannies never let you down, don’t they? She rummages through the bends and spirals of her experienced brain for a magical solution, for a price of course. Some bad omens have to be incensed away, some require a sprinkling of flower petals, some incantations, etc…. Only the most trustworthy and effective remedies of course. What did you think, that these grannies don’t have your best interest in mind? And furthermore who doesn’t believe something a sweet bird tells you? The effectiveness of these remedies is further demonstrated by the long snaking line of superstitious locals (mostly Chinese) waiting to have their fortune told by a … parrot.

But nonetheless, the bird thing had to be done. We tried it out especially for you, because we do mean well and have your best interest at heart. We were foretold loads of good luck and of course it was all wonderfully appropriate and applicable to our situation and very credible indeed. A bit like a horoscope in the Cosmopolitan… they are totally right, at least for somebody, somewhere in some way, once….

Anyways, the conclusion is grannies in Asia don’t seem to get much in terms of retirement benefits, or grannies in Asia have special powers. Take your pick.