Two years ago, news of “freegans” hunting for leftover fruit offerings during the Hungry Ghost Festival went viral.
Lest you didn’t know, “freegans” refer to people who are against consumerism and aim to reduce waste brought about it.
In about eight hours, the group collected over 500 oranges and 100 apples.
There were mixed reactions, but the leader of the group said that those were taken from public places and were collected respectfully.
So what happens when they’re not collected respectfully?
A fight might break out.
3 Women Reportedly Fought Over Free Fruit Offerings at Chinatown
Yesterday (6 August), an event in the open space between Chinatown Complex and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was orangised for nearby residents to commemorate the Hungry Ghost Festival.
The event was crowdfunded by the community, and the offerings comprised fish, crabs, prawns, roasted chicken and duck and assorted fruits.
The organisers had also spent a few hundred dollars of their own money to hold the event.
Everything went well when a woman, whom we should call Eater, appeared.
According to a woman, whom we should call Protector 1, she claimed that Eater doesn’t live nearby, but would appear when there is something for grabs.
And in this case? Not the crabs or prawns, but the fruits.
Protector 1 said that yesterday, Eater appeared as expected, and grabbed two of each type of fruits that were placed as offerings.
A woman, whom we should call Protector 2, had told Eater not to take the fruits, and they started quarrelling.
Protector 1 said she then stepped in to try to mediate, but was hit on the face instead. It was so serious that she had wanted to go to the hospital but decided not to after no one offered to accompany her.
According to her, the event organiser then told Eater not to take too much.
That wasn’t the end, though.
The event had continued today, and history repeated itself.
Protector 1 saw Eater, and while there were no fruits involved, they got into an argument and a fight. Eater then called the police.
Shin Min Daily managed to speak to Eater, and the 69-year-old retiree said that someone had invited her to the event to take the fruits.
According to Eater, the argument yesterday started because Eater had requested for three mangos but was rejected by Protector 2 loudly. After a shouting match, she alleged that it was Protector 2 who started the fight by hitting her with a chair, which then led to the scuffle.
However, Protector 1 claimed that it was Eater who had used a chair and a broom as weapons instead.
As for who’s telling the truth, I guess only the mangos would know.
Okay to Take Offerings?
Usually, before the emergence of freegans, the food offerings would be cleared by the cleaners on the next day.
The cleaners would usually throw them away, though it’s unknown if any of them consumes them, especially fresh produce that is still edible.
According to one of the freegans, once the lighted incense has finished burning, one can take the food after saying a word of thanks and bowing. It’s said that the spirits are only consuming the food when the incense is still burning.
Of course, this depends on your belief.
However, one thing for certain is that we might be all wrong about the “real date” of the Hungry Ghost Festival. Watch this to the end and you’d understand:
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