After a brief hiatus as we had to attend to several matters over the weekends, we are back to the activity of releasing life, one that is meant to instill compassion in us, again. So last Saturday, at the behest of our able and indefatigable organizer, Sister Yu Huei, we met again at MacDonald’s along Dale Mabry Highway, our usual place of rendezvous.
This time, though, we had some new faces. Two of them are a couple who has recently moved from Utah to the Sunshine State, Steve and Claudia. Then Yu Huei brought along her former boss, Mary, and Jim, who is the son of Mary.
The queue at our usual bait shop was unusually long, so we decided to move on to a neighboring one. And bought three pails of juvenile prawns there. The destination was the east end of Gandy Bridge, a couple of hundred meters from the bait shop.
It was low tide, a beautiful morning, a quiet place by the water’ s edge, the serenity broken only by the occasional swishing action of sea gulls, which alternately strutted on the shallow shoals not far offshore, or glided gracefully in air.
As usual, the activity started with the chanting of the Great Compassion Mantra and Heart Sutra, with Steve, Mary, and Jim standing in attention, evincing piousness in heart. That was followed by pouring of water over the juvenile prawns who were about to be in communion with Nature.
Because of the shallow depth near the water’s edge, Claudia, Jim and my wife trudged further into the bay to effect the life release. However, just when we said the last prayer and were about to leave, the circling sea gulls made a beeline for the release spot. And Yu Huei had to practically jump into the water to fend off their feeding frenzy. Such is the cycle of food chain in Nature and we could only do the best we could.
At the conclusion of the activity, we drove across Gandy Bridge to enjoy the coffee and bagels at Einstein Bros Bagels. [This image of rodeo but on a bagel is shot in a room in the establishment.] It was there that Jim shared his passion for Shaolin martial arts and film directing with us. He has graduated from UCF, Orlando two years ago and is into his directing debut.
On his foray into the realm of traditional Chinese martial arts, he told us that he started in the Wah Lum Kung Fu of USA headquartered in Orlando and has also learned Lion dance, a two-men team under the cloak of a beautifully embellished replica of a lion's head and its posterior extension that mimics the movement and steps of a stalking lion to an accompanying drumbeat.
While I’m ethnic Chinese, I have not found the time nor inclination to really immerse myself in learning this aspect of Chinese culture. But my fascination with the Chinese martial arts did translate into my liking for Chinese martial arts novels and movies. This movie genre has been made popular by such martial arts exponents as the late Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. The proliferation of kung fu schools in Europe and US attests to the popularity of this mode of self-defense arts, which invariably involves training of the mind as well.
However, all is not lost as my eldest son back in Malaysia has taken up Shaolin Kung Fu and Qi Kung from the world renowned Sifu Wong Kiew Kit’s Shaolin Wahnam Institute based in Sg. Petani, Kedah, Malaysia. The picture below shows the international group training session he participated last October in Kedah, Malaysia where he is at the front center with Sifu directly behind him. Good job, son.