Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jiang Shi Vampire Fans

Last of the pre-made holiday posts.

We fly back tomorrow. We usually do a last day shop run looking for stuff we can't get back home.  Last time we picked up these two hand held fans.  A European and a Chinese vampire.

No they don't take off if you put the batteries in the wrong way.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dragon Thongs

Yet another preplanned blog post.
By now we've probably found some stuff we want to buy. Last visit we found some gold and silver dragon thongs for RM1 (about 35 cents).

The kind of thongs you wear on your feet, not the other kind. Although in my own opinion, I think I would look spectacular in a dragon g-string.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santas Evil Helpers

According to myths dating from the 18th century, Saint Nicholas often operated in the companionship of a devil. Having triumphed over evil, it was said that on Saint Nicholas Eve, the devil was shackled and made his slave.   In the 1840s, a Nordic folklore elf called Tomte or Nisse started to deliver the Christmas presents in Denmark.  The Tomte was portrayed as a short, bearded man dressed in grey clothes and a red hat.  The original folklore of Saint Nicolas has many parallels with the Germanic myths of Odin.  These include the beard, hat and spear (nowadays a staff) and the cloth bag held by the servants to capture naughty children.  There are various explanations of the origins of Santas helpers, many involve an enslaved devil.  In some interpretations the helper represents the devil, in others it represents Nörwi, the black father of the night, who defeated the devil and accompanies Odin.

Another, story is of Zwarte Piet (meaning Black Pete) originally was an enslaved devil forced to assist his captor.  Zwarte Piet is usually depicted with the same staff of birch as Odins helper Nörwi.  Piet often dealt harsh punishment to children who were bad.  In the 19th century Black Pete became to be depicted as a Moor in the colourful pantaloons and feathered cap of a Renaissance page.  Coinciding with a story that Saint Nicolas liberated an Ethiopian slave boy called 'Piter' (from Saint Peter), and the boy was so grateful he decided to stay with St Nicolas as a helper.  Because of the post modern trend of political correctness, Zwarte Piet has become a modern servant whose face is blackened by soot from climbing through chimneys.

In German folklore, Knecht Ruprecht (translates as Farmhand Rupert or Servant Rupert) is a companion of Saint Nicholas and is sometimes associated with Saint Rupert.  He appeared in homes on Christmas Eve, as a man with a long beard wearing fur or pea-straw, sometimes carrying a long staff and a bag of ashes, and wore little bells on his clothes (like the modern elves).  Knecht Ruprecht asks children if they can pray. If they can, they receive apples, nuts, and gingerbread.  If they cannot, he beats the children with his bag of ashes.  Ruprecht was a common name for the Devil in Germany.  He was also known as Hans Ruprecht, Rumpknecht, and Rû Clås (Rough Nicholas).

A French character who accompanies St. Nicholas in his rounds during St. Nicholas' Day (6 December) is Le Père Fouettard (translates as The whipping Father).  The Whipping Father dispenses lumps of coal and floggings to naughty children, while St. Nicholas gives gifts to the well behaved.  The most common depiction of Le Père Fouettard is a man with a sinister face dressed in dark robes with scraggly unkempt hair and a long beard. He is armed with either a whip, a large stick.  Some incarnations of the character have him wearing a wicker back pack in which children can be placed and carried away.  Often, his face is darkened to varying degrees and is sometimes depicted identically to Black Pete.

Then there's the Icelandic Yule Lads (no they're not the latest boy band from Iceland) these guys are more like the modern day depiction of Santas elves only evil.  Their number and description varied greatly depending on location, with each Lad ranging from mere pranksters to homicidal monsters who eat children.  Modern consensus is that there are 13 of them.  The Yule Lads are traditionally said to be the sons of mountain-dwelling trolls.  They are often depicted with the Yuletide Cat, a beast that eats children who don't receive new clothes in time for Christmas.  The Yule Lads come to town over the last 13 nights before Christmas, each staying for two weeks before departing.  The English translations of their Icelandic names are: Sheep-Cote Clod, Gully Gawk, Stubby, Spoon-Licker, Pot-Scraper, Bowl-Licker, Door-Slammer, Skyr-Gobbler, Sausage-Swiper, Window-Peeper, Door-Sniffer, Meat-Hook & Candle-Beggar.

Traditions in the alpine regions have characters that are more bestial and range from a goat to an actual demon or devil.  The most popular of these characters is Krampus.  Krampus is prevalent in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and northern Italy.  Krampus is represented by an demon-like creature usually with a basket on his back to carry away bad children and dump them into the pits of Hell.  In some rural areas the tradition also includes birching (corporal punishment with a birch rod) by Krampus, especially of young girls.  Switzerland has Schmutzli he enjoys beating naughty children, sometimes kidnapping and often eating them.  Other companions of  St Nicholas through Europe include Klaubauf, Bartel, Bellzebub, and Cert (The Devil).  Regardless of the name he goes by, he seems to enjoy dishing out corpral punnishment and takes a hard line, zero tollerance towards naughty children.

In some traditions, the bringer of gifts and the bringer of punishment are fused into one.  In Nordic countries the original bringer of gifts at Christmas time was the Yule Goat, a sometimes bipedal fawn like figure with horns.  Giving Santa himself the appearance of his demonic servant.  Rumpelklas, Pelzebock, Pelznickel, Belzeniggl, and Belsnickel are other names for this demonic Santa around the place.  The idea of Santa being a devil go a long way toward explaining a lot of things.  More so it is evident that Santa Clause is in fact Satan himself!  They are two sides to the one coin, the evidence in irrefutable.  On top of the generations of historical stories mentioned above, stories as concrete as Santa is, there is also the following evidence:

Santa is an anagram for Satan.   St Nicholas day falls on the 6th, 6 is believed to be the devils number.  In medieval plays the devil’s most common line as he entered the stage was “Ho, ho, ho!”.  Santa is sometimes called St Nick, Satan is sometimes referred to as Old Nick.  Both Santa and Satan are associated with hoof prints in the snow.  Both Santa and Satan are well know for their beards and are both frequently depicted wearing red suits.  Not to mention that they both heavily associated with the Christian religion.  Neither have any concerns about jumping into fires or hot embers.  But most condemningly the modern Santa and Satan are never seen in the same room at the same time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bowl of Sea Cucumbers

Here's another post I prepared earlier.

By now I'm sure I've been offered something that makes me uneasy at the thought of eating, like this bowl of sea cucumbers I found in the kitchen last time we were here.

In my opinion the chicken satay sticks over here are the best anywhere, they sell them on street corners at night.  I remember a few years ago my father in-law offered to take me to a couple of stalls where they sold dog and cat satay sticks. I declined the experience mostly because I was worried the vendors may source their meat from the mangy street animals.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

White Christmas

This White Christmas LP somehow seemed appropriate considering where I’m spending the festive season this year.

I can't tell if it's laughter or horror.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Temple Sign

Another pre-made post.

We should be at a resort by now and doing a bit of both day and night sight seeing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Astro TV

A second pre-planned post.

By this stage I'm probably kicking back watching one of my mother in-laws favourite soaps.  I forget it's name, it's like Days of Our Lives but with kung fu and sorcery!  Astro is the local pay TV provider im Malaysia. Television is awesome over here.

One of my favourites is the Super Trio Show which is a show from Hong Kong where celebrities are made to do challenges no one expects them to win at and then get tormented in some way when they lose.  I’ve seen similar shows in Australia but they seem to lack the crazy energy of some of the Chinese celebrities.

SBS should syndicate some of these shows back home.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


On holidays in Malaysia at the moment, so I'm probably not doing any new posts on this blog.  But here's one I prepared earlier and set on a timer.

On of the first things I check the in-laws fridge for when we visit is one of my favourite soft drinks, Kickapoo, Joy Juice.

I'd describe it as tasting somewhere between mountain dew and creaming soda. Yum. 

Friday, December 03, 2010

Eureka Stockade

It's the anniversary of Australians unsuccessful battle of independence.  For anyone that's not clear on the subject, Australians battle for independence was triggered by unrest over gold mining taxes.  The war was unsuccessful because the British got up early and the revolutionaries had been up late drinking the night before.

On the 11 November 1854 miners objecting to the expense of a Miner's Licence, taxation and lack of representation, formed a union several thousand strong.  In the rising tide of anger and resentment over the next couple of weeks, a militant leader was elected.  In swift fashion, a military stockade was built, brigades were formed, and captains were appointed.  Licenses were burned, the rebel Eureka Flag was flown, and an oath of allegiance was sworn.

During the 2nd of December, some 1500 men were training in and around the stockade. That night many of the miners went back to their own tents after the traditional Saturday night carousing.  At 3:00am Sunday, 3rd of December 1854 the British approached the stockade.  Official records show that the war raged on until approximately 3:10am the same morning when the army of miners was routed and decided they should go home.  22 miners and 6 soldiers were killed.

The battle of Eureka Stockade.  A truly Australian story.