Check out These 10 Superstitions From Asia!

In current times, many people avoid tradition and folklore in lieu of scientific evidence. While some superstitions may seem far-fetched or are rarely practiced, such as avoiding black cats or not rinsing your hair on exam day, these beliefs do offer insight into the history and traditions of different cultures. Check out these 10 cool superstitions from Asia, and please post any other superstitions (with country of origin) in the comment section below!

1.      The word “four” (si) in Chinese is considered unlucky, because if it is pronounced with a different tone, it means “death”  (Source: personal knowledge). The number 8 is considered a very lucky number, because its pronunciation is similar to the word for “lucky” or “fortunate”. In 2003, Sichuan airlines paid 2.3 million yuan in order to reserve the auspicious telephone number 8888-8888 (Source: Economic Times)

 

2.      In some parts of Bhutan, it is considered ill-fortune to sell needles or other sharp, pointy objects after sunset  because it will either shorten your life or cause a dispute (Bhutan Majestic Travel)

3.      If they awake from a bad dream, some Georgians will not speak to anyone until they have brushed their teeth. This is so that the badness from the dream can be cleaned away and the dream will not come true (Falkor ICY)

 

4.      Among the Sinhalese (an ethnic group that compromise about ¾ of Sri Lanka’s population) tt was once popular practice for the new born to be feed golden milk. Here, one would gently grind part of a golden object (such as jewelry) and then mix it with a mother’s breast milk. At a predetermined auspicious time, this is put on the baby’s tongue so that it will prevent disease and ensure a long life ( Folklore and Folkloristics)

5.      The name of the popular Kit Kat chocolate bar is similar to the Japanese phrase for “you will definitely succeed” ( “kitto katsu”). As such, many students will take a Kit Kat bar to a major exam for good luck, or eat one right before the exam starts. Due to its high popularity in Japan, there are over 80 flavors of Kit Kat available (source: Modern Tokyo Times)

6.      In Singapore, individuals may knock on the door of an unoccupied room before entering, so that they will not disturb any spirits that entered the room while they were gone ( Inquirer Lifestyles)

 

7.      It was once in poor taste to compliment babies in Thailand. It was believed that if you said a baby was adorable or lovable, evil spirits would harm the baby or take him away from his parents. Instead, you should remark on the baby’s poor looks and demeanor, so that the parents could keep the child and evil spirits would look elsewhere. To further ensure the baby’s safety, family members wold give children unsavory nicknames, such as “Pig” or “Fat”(Source: Chiang Mai City News)

 

8.      Some believe that if you meet a girl carrying a bucket of water or firewood on her back while you are on a journey of some kind, your mission will be successful. Some Bhutanese consider this to be a bad omen, and will immediately turn back if they encounter the girl (Bhutan: Ways of Knowing)

 

9.      For some Laotians, putting a sharp knife underneath your bed will keep away bad dreams and malevolent spirits (Southeast Asia Resource Action Center)

 

10.  Some Koreans refuse to wash their hair on the day of an important exam or presentation, as they fear it may rinse out important information and memories for the test (TOPICS Online Magazine)

Silk Scren RAGS Foundation Winners!

Two Weddings and a Funeral Wins RAGS Foundation

People’s Choice Award for Best Film

Silk Screen is proud to announce the winner of the  RAGS Foundation People’s Choice Award for the 2013 Film Festival. It is Two Weddings and Funeral ( South Korea)

The People’s Choice Award is sponsored by the RAGS Foundation, which is a non-profit organization started by Sridhar and Gunjan Tayur

 All films [except opening, closing night, and short films] were eligible to win the prize.

 

First Place Winner: Two Weddings and a Funeral

South Korea, 2012

Directed by: Kim Jho Gwang-Soo

Starring: Kim Dong Yoon-I,  Ryu Hyeon-kyeong, Jeong Ae-Yeon

Awards and Screenings: Busan International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival

Two Weddings and a  Funeral’s director, Kim Jho Gwang-soo, is one of South Korea’s few openly gay public figures, and uses his films as a platform to explore the lives of gay individuals in a society that largely frowns upon same-sex relationships. Kim uses his 2012 production to follows painfully shy, gay doctor Min Soo’s relationship with his partner, Suk, as they try to hide their relationship from family members and friends while still maintaining their love for one another. The director doesn’t just follow male same-sex relationships, but also delves into the daily life of a gay female obstetrician – Hyo Jin –  who works in the same hospital as Min-Soo. Like Min Soo, Hyo-Jin also has trouble reconciling her sexuality with Korean society, especially as she and her partner (played by Jeong) desire to adopt a son. In order to hide their sexuality and fulfill Hyo-Jin’s desire for a son, Hyo-Jin and Min-Soo marry, with plenty of antics and poignancy blended into later scenes. Close to the film’s end, a good friend of Min-soo’s is discriminated against because of his sexuality, leading Min-soo (and the audience) to wonder – does happiness and acceptance mean that you must live a lie?

A truly revolutionary film, Kim Jho Gwang-soo’s Two Weddings and a Funeral encourages not only acceptance of homosexuality in a largely disapproving global society, but offers a model from which people can learn to love themselves and others for who they are. 

 

Second Place Winner: The Thieves

South Korea, 2012

Directed by: Choi Dong-Hoon

Starring: Kim Yeon Seok, Lee Jung-jae, Kim Hae-sook, Jun Ji-hyun

Awards and Festivals: Hawaii International Film Festival, Hae-suk Kim won Best Supporting Actress at the Grand Bell Awards (Korea’s Oscars)

Coupling high comedy with elements of Ocean’s Eleven and Reservoir Dogs, Choi Dong-Hoon’s The Thieves follows an eclectic group of cat burglars and upper-echelon thieves as they attempt to steal a diamond necklace from a Macau casino. Along with the diamond heist plot, Choi interspersed the narrative with a reunion of ex-lovers and ex-partners in crime;  a mother-daughter duo who are polar opposites; and a mysterious gangster known for doing away with all who cross him. As with any good caperfilm, the players’ individual agendas and betrayals lead to a series of hilarious antics, and leave the audience wondering just who will get away with the diamond necklace.  

Honorable Mention: Foreign Letters

USA, Israel, Vietnam, 2012

Directed by: Ela Thier

Starring: Noa Rotstein, Dalena Le, Jade Gurman-Chan, Daniel Bahr

Festivals and Awards: Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival ( 2013), Utopia Jewish Center, Rosh-Pina Cinematheque, Nasville International Film Festival, Busan International Children’s Festival

Set in the United States in the 1980’s, Ela Their’s Foreign Letters is a semi-autobiographical account of two girls – Ellie, whose family fled from Israel, and Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee – whose shared backgrounds and mutual desire for friendship lead to a deep bond. Yet as the girls grow older and try to adjust to life in the United States, their friendship begins to fray – Thuy focuses more on her academic studies, and Ellie interprets this as Thuy purposefully distancing herself from Ellie. After the relationship reaches its nadir, Ellie realizes that she must find her own path in life and accept herself for who she is, allowing her to finally reconcile her friendship with Thuy.  In the film’s final scenes,  as we see Ellie writing a letter to an old friend in Israel, the audience is left with a simple yet poignant message– nothing can tear apart true friendship. Not only does the film explorses the issues faced by immigrants adjusting to a new lifestyle and culture, Ela Thier’s Foreign Letters is an innovative coming-of-age story and a testimony to human goodness and friendship.

 

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