Our theme this month is in line with 七月(Hungry Ghost Festival)!
All our storytelling topics are open to interpretation, but this time we have gotten feedback that the word “cursed” seems scary, negative, and a difficult topic to share. Some of our friends also mentioned that they have been too lucky in life to be cursed. (hahaha!)
We will try to come up with easier topics in future!
It is really great to see how some of us choose to focus on the positive things in life. And if there’s something negative, there’s always a choice to see it positively as a learning experience.
A big thank you to our authors below for making time to share a story with us.
Enjoy the read and have a lovely night. ☾
by Elizabeth S , Japan
I have neither been cursed (I think?) or felt cursed, but I always remembered what my Mom said to me growing up. "You can never take your words back" is what she would always remind me when I'm feeling angry, or have any unkind emotions swirling in the pits on my mind. "Be careful with what you say", she would always always caution. Fast forward 10 years later, a little more grown up I think I understood this more. When we speak, our words; good or bad, carry intent, meaning. The words we say will always affect the people around us whether we like it or not. Speaking a thought out loud is in reality, actualizing and idea or emotion. We have to power to hurt, heal, connect with others through our words. Not wanting to be cursed ourselves, we shouldn't use our words as blades to hurt but and shields to heal.
by Marcel Tee , Malaysia
My mother gave birth to me when she was 21 years old. Considering that she just hit her peak of her adulthood, she was feeling suffocated having to take care of a newborn. The endless crying from me, and the mountainous house chores she had to deal with as a young mother, finally broke her, when I was just 6 months old.
She ran away from home, leaving me behind with my father. She said she wanted to enjoy her youth, and she cannot see that happening with a kid. She revisits every year on my birthday to celebrate my birthday with me, but that was all she did.
The last birthday she celebrated with me was when I was 3 years old. Shortly after, as told by my father, she committed suicide in her own house. According to my maternal grandmother, this was what happened:
A few weeks before my mother’s death, my mother began heading out almost every night to pubs and nightclubs, returning only at dawn. My grandmother questioned my mother’s lifestyle, but got brushed off. To my grandmother, she expected her 24 years old daughter to know how to take care of herself, so she did not pursue the matter further.
Shortly, she started to notice my mother exhibiting strange behaviours. She would lock herself in her room for hours. She would not eat her meals. She would not make conversations to anyone. She just looked exhausted all the time.
One day, after realising that my mother has not come out of her room for about 2 days, and not answering any of her calls, she forcefully opened my mother’s room door. What she witnessed shocked her. My mother was using a pair of pliers, and slowly pulling out her fingernails. Several nails were already removed, but my mother simply had a blank expression on her face.
I was not sure what happening in between (because my father did not tell me), but that fingernail incident was a few days before my grandmother walked in on my mother, on a noose, dead. The suicide made headlines in local newspapers.
Before my mother committed suicide, my grandmother invited a priest to examine my mother’s condition. He told her, that my mother was put under a curse by a bomoh, which is why she was behaving weirdly. He said the pubs and nightclubs are “dirty” places, and young females like my mother are often easy preys when they are intoxicated. Apparently, such curses are common, where someone can offer young women’s hair to the bomoh, in exchange for a wish. In turn, the bomoh will cast a curse (or black magic) on the “sacrifice”, and the severity of their suffering on the young woman depends on the wish.
Everything was conveyed to me by my father when I was 8 years old, after I started asking him about why I do not have a mother (you know, with other classmates constantly bragging about what their mothers cooked, did for them etc.).
by Anonymous , Singapore
I was a rebellious kid during my early teenage years. After school hours were spent hanging out with my friends and at that time far east plaza was our favourite shopping heaven. If not loitering around town or taking neoprints, we would be playing basketball till having to catch the last bus almost every other day of the week.
Those were simpler times for me but not for my mom. She would be calling to check on me during office hours asking what time I will be going home. It must be hell for her when she’s already so tired from work and wanting to sleep but her daughter’s still out playing with her friends.
I remembered once while walking down orchard road with my school mate, my mom called and started to nag. I got so irritated and actually said ‘去死啦!’ (go and die!) and hung up on her. I definitely don’t mean it, but it must have broken her heart into pieces. I apologized that night.
Now I’d laugh with guilt at how horrible I was back then.
Lesson is, I should not say it if it’s not a pain I’m willing to bear.
by James , Singapore
Saw this person on the road and he attempted to cut into my lane without any signalling. His car drew closer I gradually allowed him to come into my lane. I expected a gesture to say thank you but he didn’t. I was thinking in my heart that he should be be more gracious. I cursed and sweared literally in my heart. What i had learned from this is that a person should have a magnanimous heart and give way. There is no point in ranting and swearing.
by Anonymous , Singapore
Cursing can be interpreted in a few ways - as a vulgar language, in wishing the worst for someone and in the form of a spell.
Starting with the last - the spell, it is a very serious topic... something, I hope, that only happens in myths and stories.
For the second type, I may have such "evil thoughts" when I was young, when I was unhappy with someone or a situation caused by someone. But now, I believe there's karma. And that someone who doesn't wish well on another person and "curses" the person, may also have retribution. So it shouldn't be done at all.
The most often use of cursing in everyday life is vulgar language. My parents have always brought me up to not use these languages as its uncouth and improper. Thus, I refrain from using it as much as I can. However, there are times when one just need to let out the anger and vent the frustration by..... @#%&$.... just "cursing". It's a matter of expression and a way to let out steam. But fret not, I've not said it to anyone, but merely just using it when sharing with/ complaining to friends. After letting that out and talking about it, it usually helps in me accepting the facts better. Since it's not saying to the person, it cannot be considered as cursing someone, can it?
by Megan , Singapore
My parents were from the local music scene back in the 80s and it was quite competitive then, the scene was more vibrant in terms of live music and you could make quite a decent amount. My parents were in the same band, that's how they met. They would come across some not so pleasant people to work with, and for some reason many of them were into seeing bomohs( not sure how to spell) then they would curse here and curse there. One day someone put a curse on the band and they found out so they got another guy to curse back, but apparently the initial person who cursed first got pretty pissed abt it.. And the daughter of the person(old man) who cursed back got very sick cause of that. So he was kinda lying on his death bed. They had to find the person to undo the curse and talk things out.. I think there was once it also revolved around stealing money from the band. And they needed to find out who.. Then the bomoh poured water into a pail and looked inside and described the person who took the money.. When they confronted the guy It was really him. And found out his wife was also a bomoh, so she had probably been the one cursing ppl in the band.
by J , Singapore
Recently, I have been cursed by a student of mine who is on the autistic spectrum. She stated in the emails that she will complain to god of justice, wishing I would receive sooner retribution, and that I should die for lying about her results.
I was both laughing and crying inside. It did hurt. Not exactly the kind of thing that boosts a teacher’s confidence, but I also learnt that it wasn’t about me.
At times, curses are not meant to be taken personally. It’s less about us, but a reflection of the pain felt by the person saying it. Letting go of his/her own dignity just to make you feel horrible does not make them feel any better.
They need and want to know things will be okay, and it is also okay if we be the one to tell them so.
by Tze Ling , Singapore
I think the year of 2020 is cursed. Hahahaha.
Sending love to everyone who is going through a rough time ♡