Monday, 18 May 2015

Religious experiences

It's a question asking kind of time.

First, the five year old is having a spiritual and scientific crisis. We've been reassuring (and talking completely out of our backsides) curious Oscar that Santa can defy the laws of physics. "Why?" Well, Santa was made special. "I am special too," he declares and tries to walk through a wall. Head bruises and confusion later, there are more questions. "Is the tooth fairy a winged princess or a tiny man elf?" "Why can you not cut water?" If he tries very hard can he "take a nap in fire?" If he jumps with his eyes closed, "will the landing not hurt?"

Possibly from the walking-through-wall attempts, he appears to share my middle-memory loss and cannot recall the word Bible. "Let's read one more story in that book...what's that know that one book with all the stories...the book about that one guy Jesus and that other guy the Good Samurai?" Yes, I do happen to know that book.  And I think it's The Good Samaritan. Almost nightly, I hold up his children's version and ask if that's the one he's talking about, and he's always totally incredulous, "Yes! How did you know?"

I've been asking my own incredulous questions at a mystical place in Singapore: Haw Par Villa. It was started by the Tiger Balm brothers, Aw Boon HAW and Aw Boon PAR (imagine that), and it is a wonder devoted to Chinese folklore, mythology, and Confucianism. My comrades in tourist crime and I had quite the time marveling at things like this:

And this:

All I have to say about every photo I have is, "what the heck is happening here?" Of course, you might ask yourself that about this quiet moment I took pondering the magic with an alarmingly unwooly ram:

As one of the exhibits is titled the "Ten Tortures of Hell", I cannot with good sense post the rest of the photos, but you might do some Google Imaging and then make some time for a surreal walk-through. (leave the children at home)

Thus, this morning, post-Haw Par Villa-ing with questions, spirituality, and sightseeing on my mind, I listened to soul-filling inspiration and doodled a beloved site that is equally boggling but far more comforting. It sounds very expat posh/stupid/nauseating/embarrassing to say, "Angkor Wat is just one of our most favorite places!" But the truth is, it is. I'm cringing too, but we have big hearts for Siem Reap and for the clarity and serenity we've found temple touring and teaching there. So, I'm drawing a tremendous place and people love letters:

And then I'll gear up for what will be asked later about leprechauns, the Easter Bunny, and elves.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. I wish I could have visited Haw Par with you. It truly is part "what the heck" and "oh yes, that is a demon."Crazy, kooky, weird stuff.
    And yes. Siem Reap. Dreamy, blissful, wonderful Siem Reap.