Wednesday, June 15, 2005

...And Demons, Too!

Hey-hey, it's Wednesday again.

Let's not mince words, shall we? Wednesday has become a regular ritual as of late:

Yes, it's the obligatory suman latik post once again - a testament to the power of making vaguely readable posts out of the most mundane topics.

The Suman Latik webring appears to have grown significantly since Clair and Kel's original joke. At the moment, there are now at least a dozen individuals committed to making suman latik palatable for their readers.

However, writing about suman latik in the face of a dozen other bloggers isn't easy. With numbers like that, the odds are high that any two writers will coincidentially come up with the same concept and execution. And believe me, there's nothing more irritating to a writer than having one's readership diluted by a totally independent yet remarkably similar work.

I suppose that the Suman Latik writers shouldn't really be blamed if they have to reach far for ideas. I mean, I've incorporated suman latik into treatises on webcomics, literary villains, and those funny little slogans printed on t-shirts. Fact was, prior to this little piece of writing, I was considering a short discussion on the link between suman latik and Chinese superstition.

Yes, there's a clear, although unsteady, link there. You see, a lot of superstitious practices in Chinese culture involve the process of driving evil spirits away. That's why the Chinese ascribe pseudo-religious traditions to things like fireworks, wind chimes and cremation, after all.

The Chinese do worry about supernatural forces beyond mere evil spirits, though. You still had to contend with strange Chinese demons of all shapes and sizes, although fortunately, their habits were about as strange as the evil spirits'.

So what do Chinese demons have to do with suman latik? Well, Chinese demons were feared along the level of vampires and werewolves in Western superstition, and in a similar vein, there were certain items or measures that were anathema to each. Vampires had sunlight and the stake-in-the-heart routine. Werewolves had silver bullets.

Chinese demons, on the other hand, had rice. Not that they didn't like rice, mind you. Chinese demons liked rice about as much as the average Chinese. The distinction, however, lay in the fact that demons were very meticulous creatures who couldn't stand to waste a single grain.

This led to the practice of medieval Chinese peasants carrying around a small amount of rice in their pockets whenever they went out alone in the evening. In the event that they suddenly found themselves being chased by a demon, they would just have to pull out the rice and scatter it along the side of the path. The Chinese demon, finicky as he was, would be forced to stop and count each and every lost grain, allowing the fortunate peasant to reach home safely.

Suman latik enters into the picture once you realize that it's a dish made out of boiled rice grains. What, then, would theoretically happen if you threw away a piece of suman instead of the handful of rice grains the demon had to count? Would the demon end up taking the little piece of suman apart, grain by grain? Would it pop the sticky food into its mouth for a taste? Would it simply count "one", and then proceed to eat you?

As you can see, those suman latik topics can't all be gems. But that should really stand as an example of how far we suman latik writers can reach.

I know that I've got a lot more of these ideas in my rejected pile: Suman latik and green cheese. Suman latik and the 1995 Salvatore Ferragamo collection. Suman latik and the Book of Revelations in the Bible. I'm personally thankful that I haven't found these things interesting enough to post. They're non-self-sufficient ideas and nothing more.

Now, writing about writing about suman latik... that's a topic that could go on for about six hundred words or so.

Amazing how far a single joke can get. I could almost swear that the joke's now on us.

Speaking of which, what happens if the piece of suman you throw to a Chinese demon is still encased in its banana-leaf wrapper? Would the demon stop to unwrap it? Would it scrabble at it, counting each and every fold of the leaf before proceeding to disassemble the rice grains within? Would it simply count "one", and then proceed to eat you?

Personally, I get the funny feeling that it's the latter. Chinese demons are notoriously good at math, I hear.

Not Jonas
Not Clair
Not Iris
Not the Captain
Not Dean
Not Elias
Not Dominique
Not Kel
Not Banzai Cat
Not Jac
Not Sky
Not the Geekette
Not Anton
Not Kat


kat said...

This is my first time to write for the webring and already, I can see your point. The lot of you are more interesting writers than I am (my opinion), so it's frustrating for me to come up with a good topic & write about it. Maybe we can make it a bi-weekly thing instead? Or rotate it among the members?

Sean said...

I don't know, really. I think the creative outlet is still there, and the "competitive" presence of other writers gives the challenge a lot more punch as it stands right now. That would probably be the purpose of this being a webring, rather than a simple personal exercise.

Everything being equal, though, I'd like to spend my Wednesdays thinking about topics other than suman latik. Maybe one more post for me before I move on to other ideas.

eClair said...

Well, Wednesdays are something that I look forward to. Not just because of the exercise but also because I am curious as to what people write or create.

Yep. It does mean competition. Thing is, I have a lot of ideas running in my head. The question is HOW to bring them out *laugh*

I guess that is the challenge for everyone. I dunno about making it bi-weekly but I rather like the weekly challenge ^_^