Saturday, April 05, 2008

Fire at Tsing Ming

On Tsing Ming, many people send gifts to their deceased relatives by burning the gifts. These can be shirts, cigarettes, money, gold and silver ingots, mobile phones, sneakers, ..., mostly made with paper.

Fire is fascinating. Some feel it is evil - perhaps influenced with practices such as burning things for the dead. Or because it is so dangerous.

It fascinates me perhaps because of its ethereal beauty. It is constantly changing, yet retains a certain form. It has no body, yet looks real enough. It generates extreme heat, yet can be extinguished in an instant. It can hurt you badly, yet you cannot really touch it. It can lap you just for a short while, yet scar you for life. It needs fuel to burn, yet consumes everything in its path. It can kill terribly, yet the ash that it leaves behind promotes growth. It can appear to be dead, yet suddenly bursts into life again.

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