Thursday, February 3, 2005

There's someone outside the door, and he means business

I don't have much affinity for Chinese New Year. I think I might go to the zoo on the first or second day to visit the animals. But there's one thing I like about the season: the funny songs one can hear in departments stores. My favourite is 'The God of Wealth Cometh', and it's quite a catchy song. The lyrics go like this.
The god of wealth cometh
The god of wealth cometh
The god of wealth is outside my huge gate

Welcome him
Receive him
Receive him into my house!

From now on, I'll be lucky
Waves of prosperity will swamp me
Whenever I set up a business,
It'll be profitable
Whenever I buy a lottery ticket,
I will win easily

I will be successful in ten thousand things!
The god of wealth cometh
The god of wealth cometh
Receive the god of wealth!
Not too bad eh? The Chinese (that's me) must be the only ethnic group in the entire world that makes making money the number one or two thing at such an important festival as the New Year. (There are a few candidates for top New Year greetings, good academic results, good health, be successful in ten thousand things, make money).

So essentially, the deity is someone who brings good fortune and wealth to the family. In this particular song, I'm reading it in a fundamentalist and literal manner. It's not a metaphor, someone is actually outside the house and he wants to come in with big bucks! But there's a slight problem. I went to look up the origins of the god of wealth, 财神. It turns out he's actually an accountant in the beginning, but with modern mythology being mixed with more ancient stories, he's evolved into some philanthropist and we should let him in our house.

But think about it, if there's an accountant outside the gates, what does it mean? (Even worse, if it's an accountant from the tax office! Woe unto you!) You'd then have to open your books for inspection. Now, I do understand accountants need to do their jobs, but really, I'd rather they stay outside the house... I don't want no tax officer looking at my accounts.

In the meantime, don't think too much, and enjoy the festivities! Optional reading for today:

Sunday update: I actually saw the god of wealth just now! (Or at least a person dressed in the costume!) He was getting into a car with others, and he wore the costume and hat... It's quite amazing. Maybe he's the guy who appeared in the newspapers. One can hire him for $350 an hour...


JulAngel said...


I think the God of Wealth is to bring you wealth.. I've never heard of anyone been scared of him..
in HK we invite him to our house.. jk jk.. God of wealth (well.. ppl pretending to be him) come knocking on ur door. .and u're suppose to give them a red packet and they will give u a red label thingy with something gd written on it... in return.. thats the God wealth in Hk
not sure abt Singaporo tho ..hehe
btw i hate TAX man!

jeffyen said...

Wow! If I really see this person outside the door, I'd freak out! LOL

Roy said...

Can we have the lyrics in chinese? Or did you hear the English version? :D

The only God of Wealth I've seen unfailingly for the last couple of years is the joker in the garish red outfit promoting Tiger beer. LOL

jeffyen said...

I heard the Chinese version, though I translated it to English... :D