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Singapore – A group of people has been going around collecting hundreds of fruit offered during the Seventh Month so that they do not go to waste.
One of them, 41-year-old Daniel Tay, said on his Facebook page that he enlisted the help of friends to gather fruit offered in areas of Bishan and Ang Mo Kio.
The group of freegans, or people who oppose consumerism in order to reduce waste and help the environment, feel that one great way to achieve their aim is by finding items that can still be used or eaten.
In his Facebook post, Mr Tay shared: “We yielded 122 oranges, 2 pineapples, 2 apples, and a bunch of bananas tonight. This is about 50% more than the previous night, and with only 2 persons. I estimate that we covered about 1/3 of Ang Mo Kio before stopping for supper.”
Normally, after these food sacrifices are made, they are just thrown away by morning.
The Seventh Month, otherwise known as the Chinese Ghost Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival or Ghost Month, is being celebrated from Aug 19 to Sept 16 this year. This tradition is practised by Taoists and Buddhists, and for the Chinese, they offer food sacrifices to mollify the spirits and to pray for all souls to be delivered.
Of course before Mr Tay started collecting all the offerings from the footpaths, he consulted a Taoist priest to make sure that it was okay.
He even goes on to explain around 20 different points on what he learned about the Hungry Ghost Month tradition. He wrote that “offerings can be removed after the lighted incense is sent off. Say a word of thanks and accord a bow of respect. Don’t take them while the incense is still burning. It’s very rude to take food away from those who are still eating it”.
He also shared: “Hungry ghosts are very pitiful. They are always hungry because whatever food they touch turns into something inedible. When Mu Lian saw his mother as a hungry ghost, he wanted to help her by giving her a bowl of rice, but when she touched it, it became a piece of burning coal, so she cannot eat it.”
He added: “The same is true for food offerings. After the candles and incense have finished burning, whatever is left is unwanted by ghosts. So as a true freegan, we collect whatever is unwanted by others. We say thank you, and proceed to use it for our own needs and wants.”
A number of people were curious about what Mr Tay and his group did with all the food. He said they shared it with friends and family.
However, others were not so convinced that all the fruit would be eaten.
In an interview with 8World, Mr Tay said: “We collected these fruits not because we’re cheapskates. We want to salvage these fruits which would otherwise be thrown away and contribute to food waste in Singapore.”
See his Facebook post here. / TISG