Friday, February 15, 2008

Oxhead & Horseface

Who are Oxhead and Horseface? They are believed to be the 2 soldiers of King Yama, in charge of bringing the spirits of the dead to Hades for judgement. Chinese call them "Guichai 鬼差", whereas the Thais call them "Yama-toot". Their tasks are somewhat similar to Black and White Wuchang, but they are of lower rank than the Wuchang duo. Legend has it that in ancient times there were a buffalo and a horse who were worked to death by their owners. When they went to Hades, King Yama took pity on these 2 poor beasts and gave them posts as his soldiers. They retained their animal heads and have been faithfully doing their jobs ever since.
On the 12th (12.2.08) there was an article in Shinmin paper where a certain 70-year old Uncle Huang related a strange tale about "Oxhead and Horseface". He didn't believe in such things, but an accident that happened 30 years ago changed his mind. At that time, Huang and his wife went to Malaysia to attend an international business conference. When it was lunchtime, the couple and their 5 colleagues proceeded to the lift lobby, intending to go to the cafeteria below for their meals. Suddenly, Huang felt 2 pairs of eyes staring at them. He turned his head to look, only to see 2 big-sized guys standing in 1 corner of the lobby. They looked quite fierce and had ghostly pale faces. Their steely stare sent shivers down the spine of the normally bold Huang. The lift arrived with a "Ding" sound. Huang and company tried to rush into the lift, but the 2 guys were much quicker, squeezing in before them. As the lift was already full with 7 people inside, Huang and wife had no choice but to let his 5 colleagues go down first. But deep in his heart he breathed a sigh of relief for not having to take the lift with the 2 scary guys.
As the lift doors were about to close Huang suddenly had a bad premonition. But when he tried to press the lift button it was already too late. Just 3 secs later there was a deafening crashing sound coming from within the lift well. The lift cables had snapped due to poor maintenance and the lift went crashing down all the way to the bottom of the well! None of his 5 colleagues survived the fall. When the police arrived to investigate, Huang told them surely that there were 7 people in the lift altogether, including the "2 fierce-looking guys". But the strange thing was the investigators only found the 5 bodies of his colleagues inside the lift. Where had the 2 guys disappeared to?
After that incident Uncle Huang started to believe that Oxhead and Horseface really exists. He believes that they are none other than those 2 guys that he saw entered the lift. He added, "Well now that my age is getting quite old, I think I'm going to meet those 2 guys again pretty soon!"
If one contemplates on this story one will see that Oxhead and Horseface have deep meaning behind them. Who are they really? Sickness and Aging. Sickness is like a stubborn ox that relentlessly pull us slowly towards death, no matter how well we take care of our own body. It may stop for a period to rest, and we get to be healthy for the time being; but soon it is going to start pulling and we will be falling sick again. Aging is like a single-minded race horse, carrying its rider towards the finishing line as fast as it could run. Nobody can stop the horse until it finishes the race, and the moment we are born we are already on it. As long as we are alive, we can't really be freed from the "steely stare" of Oxhead and Horseface. Only when we find that thing which is not born, that which has no becoming, then will they stop bothering you once and for all. Why don't you start looking for it?

1 comment:

jesse said...

That story about Uncle Huang is cool, do you know where you read/heard it?