Category: Fables, Myths, Legends & Folklores

Curing Cramps a la Korean

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Curing Cramps a la Korean

I have been watching quite a few Korean dramas lately and I often see something rather strange practised time and again by some of the drama characters.

I am talking about touching their tongue with their index finger and then their nose, they do this a few times.

Currently I am watching Reply 1997, a very good coming of age drama which I can highly recommend.

One of the boys had a girl sleeping soundly with her head on his legs.  Instead of waking her up,he started licking his index finger and then touching the tip of his nose several times.

I google about this strange thing and came up with how to cure a cramp a la Korean.  It figures then that the boy had a cramp from the weight of the girl’s head across his legs.

I will try it if it works the next time I get a leg cramp! 😉

 

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Fire Rooster, Photo by PH Morton

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

To everyone, let us wish you a Happy Chinese New Year.

Kung Hei Fat Choi

2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster.

The fire rooster symbolises fidelity and punctuality.  I can understand the latter one as rooster will cock-o-doodle-do at the crack of dawn serving as an alarm clock to early risers especially farmers and field workers.

We used to keep roosters and chicken in our farm in Marag.  As peacocks, they are really stunning lookers compared to the hens.

Who are the roosters?

They are those born in 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2015, 2029 (Year of the Rooster comes every 12 years)

Have a piri-piri chicken. We hope this New Year is full of trips to KFC, Jollibee and McDo and have a lovely chickenjoy! 🙂 🙂 😉

Happy New Year!

Commonplace Book

Commonplace Book

As our dear visitors can see in the title heading of our blog, we describe it as being a Commonplace Book.

What is a commonplace book?!!!

It has a very long history; the first commonplace books are believed to have been compiled from the 14th century and continued to be popular onto the19th century.

They can be regarded as a kind of scrap book where the compiler noted and collected scraps of information, etc. Entries are made only in handwriting and if needed illustrated by hand too. These were what differed a commonplace book from a scrap book –  no cutting and pasting bits of paper!.

commonplacebook

commonplace book

The  subjects of interest can be diverse; such as poems, prose, short essays, tracts, critique, prayers, observations,academic, thoughts/ideas on subjects, drawings/illustrations, myths, folklore, quotes, news, lists, recipes, facts on various subjects, etc.

Collecting items like this to record in a book was called  commonplacing.

Commonplace books were first known in fourteenth century Italy. They were known as zibaldone.   The books were referred by Italians as “salads of many herbs.”

They often included sketches and cursive written scripts. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio kept such books.

17th-century-commonplace book

17th century commonplace book

Later among others, Thomas Hardy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Francis Bacon,Mark Twain  and John Milton all kept commonplace books.

A Commonplace book is not a diary or a journal,

Commonplace books contained notes and sometimes drawings on subjects, which were of particular interest to the collector and compiler. The collector may have copied/sketched or made notes of articles, tracts etc., from rare and not generally available books. Public access to libraries were rare too in those days.

These compilers may even had contributed to the social media of their age when showing or lending out their books to others.

We think  today’s 21st Century internet blogs serve as a type of commonplace book.

The blogger collects items of interest to themselves from various sources the internet, newspapers, reference books (as we do) etc., and which they think might interesting to others by sharing on line.

Humans have an insatiable thirst for the varied and diverse topics that make up our modern lives.

Welcome to our commonplace book, welcome to globalgranary.org.

 

An Enlightened Buddha Day to All

Whoever sees me sees the teaching.
– Buddha

buddha

Snails on Buddha’s head, Photo by PH Morton

Buddhists celebrate their most important festival of Vesak, known as Buddha Day, today. Many Buddhists will be giving gifts to the needy and doing charity work. From donating blood at hospitals to visiting orphanages and care-homes, they’ll make a special effort to bring happiness to those most in need.

Buddha Day is celebrated annually on the full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha, which usually falls in May or June. The day commemorates the birth of the Buddha-to-be, his enlightenment and his final “passing” into nirvana; marking the end of the reincarnation cycle. This is the point at which a person sees and understands the true nature of things and where their desires end.

An Enlightened Buddha Day to All

ivory-happy-buddha_39Some Buddhists will visit the temple to meditate, reflect on their life and make offerings to monks; many taking time out to chant and listen to sermons. The day usually involves bringing food to offer and share, as well as supplies for the temple and symbolic offerings for the shrine. The traditional Bathing the Buddha also takes place which involves pouring water over the shoulders of statues of the Buddha to purify the mind from greed and hatred.
While celebrations vary from house to house, it’s common to release caged birds as a symbolic act of freedom, construct wooden lanterns for processions, and dress in pure white. A traditional sweet porridge dish called kheer is often eaten as well.
GlobalGranary wishes you a HAPPY BUDDHA DAY!
……………………………………………………………………
16 August 2015
Legend of the Snails on Buddha’s head
Nathan, my 6 years old grandson said to me that those swirly bits on top of the head of the Buddha (see above photo) were snails.   He further clarified that the snails were there to keep the Buddha cool whilst meditating.  I must admit I have never heard of that before so I googled it and found that Nathan was right.
The legend has it that the Buddha was so deep in meditation that he was unaware of the bright sun.  A snail realised what would happen so he slowly climbed on the robe of the Buddha and up his head.  He was followed by another 107 other snails, which covered the Buddha’s head in rather symmetrically aesthetic way.  When the Buddha came out of his trance, he noticed what had happened and became eternally grateful for the selflessness of the snails, who gave their lives so the Buddha did not get sunburn, thus, many of Buddha’s statues show the honoured snail martyrs.

Legend of Tabaco City

tabac

Tabac, photo by JMorton for GlobalGranary.org

Tabac, photo by JMorton for GlobalGranary.org

Tabac, photo by JMorton for GlobalGranary.org

Tabac, photo by JMorton for GlobalGranary.org

Whilst in the Philippines in February 2016, we travelled a great deal; during our search for the Mayon Volcano, which proved rather elusive at first, took us to various parts of the Bicol region.

Our driver/tour guide kindly gave us a running commentary of the places of interest we passed. One of which was the city of Tabaco. We took a photo of a monument with a sculpture of steel knives and bolos. I briefly imagined that was rather pugnacious but thought nothing more of it. We just assumed that they like their bolos!  We also thought that the city was called Tabaco because tobacco must be the area’s prime product.

Anyway as we climbed to the summit of the viewing centre for the Mayon Volcano, our guide reminded us of the Tabaco City as he pointed to an arsenal of knives and bolos in varying shapes and sizes arranged neatly on the ground, for sale.

Imagine what fun we would have had at Legaspi Airport, had we purchased a few of the bolos and carried them as hand luggage. LOL hahaha 🙂

Our guide said that Tabaco City was named after the bolos, which are called tabak in Bicolano.

The legend goes that  during the time the Spaniards came-a-conquering, a local man from the yet unnamed Tabaco city had a beautiful daughter, which was the muse of the area.  She was revered by the people for her stunning good looks.  Her father became rather neurotic about it, very over-protective. She can be seen from afar but definitely no touching or speaking to her!

One day, he went fishing, but before he sailed farther to the sea, he spied another vessel coming to land.  He immediately thought they might be slave traders and after his beautiful daughter for sure, so without further ado he turned his boat back and started waving, shouting and screaming to his wife, who was watching him sail to sea.

The man shouted excitedly “Tabak ko, tabak ko” (my bolo, my bolo) as he looked from his wife to the coming ‘invaders’, who happened to be Spanish missionaries.

The Spanish named the new conquered land Tabaco as inspired by the raving man from the sea.

Rather a charming piece of hokum that it was adopted officially by Tabaco City council  through Municipal Council Resolution No. 29 on February 23, 1966 as a true legend.

But apparently in truth the Spanish did indeed name the place after the tobacco plant which was a primary product.  We were right after all. 🙂

What happened to the beautiful daughter?  We don’t know!

Money Plant

Money Plant

Money Plant, Photo by JMorton

Peter and I got these money plants at Ikea in Wembley late last year.  I have had money plants in the past but they tend to die after a while. Perhaps because If I don’t forget to water them, I used to over-water them thinking it would save me watering them again for a couple of months!  🙁 🙁  What can I say? I was busy then, I worked full time and run a house but now that I am retired, I have all the time in the world.

And hopefully, the money plants become true to its name and bring me, or rather us, a lot of money. Why is it called a money plant? To hazard a guess, I think it has something to do with the shape of the leaves. Circular like coins. Chinese Fung Shui seems to advice that round and circular things attract wealth. Well true or not, these money plants are so pretty in our window sill.

Money plant is also known as a jade plant but its scientific name is crassula ovata.  It belongs to the succulent family and makes a perfect houseplant.  Apparently with proper care, the money plant can have a very longevity.  I saw a mature money plants whilst in the Philippines a couple of months ago.  The plant was really pretty, with thickened branches and jade green fat leaves.  It reminded me of a bonsai,  very structured.

 

Tuba-Tuba Plant (Jatropha curcas)

Tuba-Tuba Plant (Jatropha curcas)

Tuba tuba, photo by PH Morton

Tuba tuba, photo by PH Morton

Tuba-Tuba Plant (Jatropha curcas)

Our holiday in the Philippines was one of hectic activity after another. We walked for miles, we climbed and climbed. There were some death-defying moments.  We also swam, we travelled by water, we travelled by air, we travelled by land and the most trying of all, we trek on foot. We did everything almost humanly possible. 🙂 🙁

It was no wonder some of us came off worse for wear. We had pains in our feet, we had pains on our knees.  We had pains in our head, and we had pains in our stomach.  My mother felt pain in her armpit, she needed a hilot (massage).

Our kindly sister-in-law, Alma, who is a bit of a herbalist (albulario or is it albularia?) advised applying tuba-tuba in the affected area. Without much ado, she went to Quiapo, where you can buy all sorts of herbs and more.

Armed with a bunch of tuba-tuba and a lit candle, Alma started to do her magic. One by one, we let her apply leaves of tuba tuba, warmed in the light of the candle. Bert went first, with his swollen foot, followed by Marilou with both her aching knees and then me with my fat painful knee as well.

We were supposed to leave the tuba-tuba taped into our skin overnight for it to do its work properly. The leaves apparently draw out the aches and pains.

I have to admit, after just an hour my aching knee felt decidedly better. Tuba-tuba works.

The following morning Bert reported that the swelling on his foot had marginally subsided. Marilou, as well, said that she felt better.

Apparently, tuba-tuba is a proven wonder herb, so much so that the Philippines’ Department of Health has recognised its medicinal merit.

The benefit of tuba-tuba does not stop there. The barks and seeds have been found to be a good source for biodiesel.

Tuba-tuba is a low maintenance plant. It can grow anywhere and in any type of soil. It can grow up to 3 to 8 metres in height, a good hedge plant around the garden.

Legend of Mimosa (Alamat ng Makahiya)

Legend of Mimosa (Alamat ng Makahiya)

mimosa-pudica, makahiya

mimosa-pudica, makahiya

When we were young, my sister and brothers would touch the mimosa plants, which grew profusely in our farm, gently to see if they would not close off.  Of course, they always did.  By the way, makahiya is called Bain-Bain in Ilocano. Bain bain may be shy plants but they can protect themselves with their thorns. 🙂

Legend of Mimosa (Alamat ng Makahiya)

The legend of the mimosa or makahiya would touch many a heart.  It is actually a parent’s concern for their children.

Anyway, legend has that once upon a time, there lived a gregarious husband and wife.   They were Andres and Lucia.  This couple was so friendly, they were very social.  They liked nothing better than throw a party or be in a social gathering.

As the years passed, they were blessed with a child.  The child was a real beauty, who they called Marikit.

Marikit grew up a very sweet-natured girl, but very introverted, very timid.   She was the opposite of her parents.  She wanted to be alone all the time. She was wary of people.  She refused to go out or play with other children.  She did not have any friends. She shied away from parties, from going out, from mingling with people.  She would not say boo to a goose.

Her bedroom was her haven. Her own company was enough, more than enough.

She had not outgrown her shyness as she grew up. It only became worse, it was pathological.

Her parents started to worry about her.  They were concerned that their beloved daughter would be all alone in life when they were gone.

One day their village was wracked with fear; there were news of escaped prisoners heading towards their village.

As luck would have it, it was Andres and Lucia’s house that the prisoners chose to hide in.

The criminals bundled the couple in a corner and tied and gag them.  Andres and Lucia were not so much in fear of their lives but more of their daughter’s safety.  They prayed as they have never prayed before.

Not long after, the deafening sirens from police cars can be heard which startled the convicts so much that they panic.  The couple was rescued and all the prisoners were caught.

Andres and Lucia were so relieved knowing that their daughter came to no harm from the very recent upheaval.

They knocked on her bedroom door but she did not answer, not a peep.  They went into her room and found her gone.  They searched for her but she couldn’t be found.

After a week, while the couple were outside their house, they noticed a plant that they have not seen before.  As they touch it, the leaves closed in as if shy of a human touch.

The couple realised that this might be their daughter, Marikit.

In their grief and wonder, they named the plant Makahiya which means shy after their  daughter, Mariki.

The Blind Beggar Pub

The Blind Beggar Pub

 

he Blind Beggar Pub Whitechapel London E1

The Blind Beggar Pub Whitechapel London E1

The Blind Beggar Pub is a famous East End Pub in Whitechapel, East London. Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer tp buy cheaper

Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer to buy cheaper alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and cut-price shops to drink at home. These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that  houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs each over 100 years old to such in the last few years.

These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that  houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs, each over 100 years old, to such in the last few years.

Numerous history and convivial social meeting places are now disappearing from the London landscape and culture.

The Blind Beggar was built in 1894 on the site of an Inn dating from 1654.

Notable events in its history include where William Booth preached his first open air  sermon then forming a Mission that led to the founding of The Salvation Army.

The first modern Brown Ale ( my first beer when a teenager) was brewed and sold in the pub which was then part of Manns brewery.

The pub’s name is linked to a popular legend concerning a local connection with a knight, who was the son of the famous Simon de Montfort , an Earl, who rebelled against King Henry III in the 13th century.

His son Henry de Montfort,  lived in a grand manor house in the area. One story  of the legend  is that de Montfort was wounded and blinded at the Battle of Evesham and was left wandering and with no memory.  He became  a beggar. He was found by a nobleman’s daughter, who married him. Their child, Besse, could not find a husband as her father had no status, as he was the blind beggar of Bethnal Green. At that time, a woman needed a sizeable dowry to be able to marry a suitable husband.  Marriage was a way of bringing wealth and prestige to a union of families.high-classNoblemen,

Noblemen, merchants, and  knights courted her but when they found out that there was no dowry they all left, except for a lone Knight, who was not concerned about a dowry and loved Besse as she was; as herself.

This union was blessed when Besse’s father revealed that far from being the poor beggar, he was a rich nobleman and so rewarded the Knight.  As Shakespeare would have said: “All’s well that ends well” 🙂

Now, what captured my imagination to the Blind Beggar many years ago, is my interest in major historical crime cases of London.

In March 1966, a murder took place in the Blind Beggar, which later became part of London crime legend.

Ronnie Kray, the twin brother of Reggie, the notorious, infamous and any other ..’ous’!  Kray Twins  walked into the pub and calmly took out a pistol and shot and killed another criminal, George Cornell, in front of a few witnesses.

The Kray Twins

The Kray Twins (Reggie & Ronnie (front)

Ronnie Kray had a long-standing score to settle with Cornell, who was apparently as ruthless as the Krays, but who was nowhere in their league.

Such was Krays power & influence in the 1960s London’s criminal underworld, many involved  kept quiet about the Twins activities for years before they were arrested and sentenced to 25-30 years in prison.

There have been many books about the Krays & by the Krays too, which are interesting to read, if one is interested in major crimes.

Two movies have been made about the Krays too.

They are truly legends in the criminal history of London.

It appears from current on-line reviews  that the Blind Beggar today is a shadow of its former standing as a popular east end pub.

I hope the pub remains as a pub for many years to come as London cannot keep affording to lose such culturally important pubs.

2016, Year of the Monkey

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2016, Year of the Monkey

Today is the start of the year of the Monkey.  For some reason, this very Chinese cultural tradition has been adopted in the Philippines that it has become a national holiday.  It never used to during my time in the Philippines.

I supposed it was proposed and ratified by the government of the Aquinos because of their close tie to the large Chinese community in the Philippines.  And yes the first Chinatown outside of China 🙂 can be found here in the Philippines.  It is located in exotic  Binondo.

Anyway the start of the Chinese new year is celebrated in a big way.  It is the time to best attract prosperity and wealth.

Chinese household usually clean their homes inside and out  just before the new year.  They prepare their lucky money envelopes and display fruits and round circular objects, candies and goodies on their dining table.

They also serve lots of sweet cakes, which my particular favourite is the tikoy.  Simply delicious.

The superstitious beliefs in connection with the start of the new year do not stop here.  They have more things to consider that can put your head and mind in a whirl.

Apparently, people born in the year of the monkey are quick-witted, sociable, enthusiastic, innovative and self-assured.  The downside, I am afraid, is that they can be jealous, suspicious, cunning, arrogant and selfish.

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