Sunday, January 01, 2006

terrified of whistling What sound sends shivers down your back, makes your heart beat faster, and speeds your breathing? Is there a sound that strikes fear in your heart of hearts? Is it the sound of a sliver in the grass when you are gardening? Is it the screeching of the brakes of the car right behind you? Is it the scream of one of your children when they are in pain? Is the sound of footsteps behind you in a dark parking garage late at night? What about a praise song being whistled at dusk? Would that sound strike terror in your whole being? Would it give you goosebumps and make you fearful for the rest of the night? If you are American, you are probably thinking right now that I am a little crazy saying that. But, if you are Taiwanese, you know exactly what I mean. The sound of whistling after the sun sets is terrifying to the Taiwanese people who are lost. They believe that hungry ghosts follow the sound of whistling much like a dog trails a scent in the woods. Hungry ghosts are terrible, scary things in Taiwanese culture. They bring curses and evils to people; they hunt for people to prey upon. Thus, there is no whistling at night in Taiwan. However, I often sing and hum when I am on my moped (those things don't come with radios--go figure). When I dismount and walk in the underground parking garage towards the stairwell to my apartment, I tend to continue whatever I had been humming or singing by whistling--often enjoying the echo of the underground cement box and the sound of my voice. If it is night, as soon as I do, I recall that whistling scares my neighbors. Most of the time, I stop whistling and pray for my neighbors the rest of the way to my apartment. Sometimes, I just change to singing and proclaim aloud the praise of the true God. And, at other times, like tonight, I whistle louder, a proclamation that I do not fear the evil of this world. The next time you catch yourself whistling at night, would you please remember the Taiwanese people and pray for their salvation?

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