August 16, 2010

"Gwai Cheet"

It is that time of the year again … the 7th lunar month of the Chinese calendar and just around the corner is what the Chinese called “gwai cheet” meaning ghost festival in Cantonese. And according to popular believe, during this period, the hell gates opened and all the “gwais” (ghosts & ghouls) will be out roaming everywhere. It is party time for those unearthly beings on the 14th day of the 7th lunar month.

Those who believe that the unearthly beings do exist will avoid going out and try not to stay out late if they have to leave their homes, worried that they might bump into “lar char yeh” (dirty "things”) during this period. As if these people are not already scared enough, various TV channels will be showing horror “gwai” movies to frighten them at home. Radio channels will also be telling all sorts of ghost stories. And as usual, people will add more scary tales to hype it up.

Here is one I heard just last week … a couple of my trekking buddies were trekking a popular hill in Klang Valley (I am not going to specify which hill, you can guess all you want ok?). And as they were about to cross a bridge they saw a lone woman near the bridge. She did not look spooky at all, just normal looking. She asked one of my friends … “hor em hor yee tai ngor kor kiu” (can you bring me across the bridge). At first it did not strike my friend that there is anything odd. But when they crossed the bridge, the woman, who was following behind then said “em koi sai, lei they ng sai tang ngor lah” (thank you, you guys don’t have to wait for me). It was at this precise moment it dawn upon my friend that she seems to talk in slow motion. Then it struck his mind that it is the 7th lunar month period and may be, just maybe there is something spooky. That thought sent him a chilling feeling. He dare not look back, just waved and immediately increased his speed trekking out of the forest. It was only after coming out of the forest he felt relieved. Anyway, I don’t think it is anything spooky but just because it is the 7th Chinese lunar month, our minds sometimes pulled a fast one on us.

I won’t purposely avoid anything during this period. Whether these “gwais” really exist or not, I am not going to argue about it. I believe in the saying “ping yat putt cho kuai sum see, sam karng how moon yar put keng” … loosely translated, it means if you did not harm anyone, you don’t have to worried about your doors being knocked at midnight.

Talking about the “gwai” word, I find it a bit inconsiderate that generally the Chinese in Malaysia (not sure about elsewhere) call themselves as “torng yan” in Cantonese … “torng” meaning Chinese and “yan” meaning human or people. But when calling other races, for some unknown selfish reasons, the other races are inconsiderately tagged with “gwai” instead. I am sure most Chinese will know what I am talking about. I strongly feel that this is inappropriate and those who are consciously or unconsciously doing it should stop ... we are all “yan”.


Anonymous said...

hi shiek,

i believe d fear of ghost all origin in d mind. it is d thot that attracts d image and fear. if v go to d forest w/o any ghostly thot, v will not fear n encounter as such.

i was considered lucky as in my first job, i travelled a lot to outstation n just stayed in d hostel/motel/guesthouse, yet i had never encountered such scary story. i believe it's all in d mind. if i were to hear some ghost stories just before i went, i would hv fear n imagined those scary things in my mind. having said that, i do not deny those ghost or spirits do exit, just that we dun bother but respect them as what u mention.

btw, did u receive my email about my intro?


Shiek Eng Meng said...

I am not into any beliefs... faith, religions or others and definitely not the "gwais" :)

Having said that, I am not against any of them either ... I respect whatever others want to believe.

To me, I believe everything is within us ... in our minds.

Thanks again for you comment. And no, I have not got your email intro .. please send to


Anonymous said...

hi shiek,

i hv just emailed u my details.pls check.