Villain-beaters

Angry with your boss? Annoyed with your neighbours?

Well, you’re in luck. For only HK$40, a group of elderly ladies in Hong Kong will rid you of these ‘frustrations’ using the business end of a stiletto shoe – and they will burn the evidence afterwards!

These grey-haired old ladies ply their trade at the junction of Hennessy Road and Canal Road West. In the pedestrian area below the underpass, in the midst of roaring traffic and a continuously-moving tide of people, they sit beside their tacky, makeshift shrines and cast spells “to drive away the bad luck and evil forces that emanate from your tormentors”.

Just write your tormentor’s name on a piece of ‘magic’ paper, and give it (together with the contract sum) to one of these harmless-looking ‘villain-beaters’. She will then proceed to furiously thrash the named token to shreds with the heel of a shoe while uttering mystical-sounding words and incantations. The whole act is carried out in a swirling fog of incense-burning, with fire, chanting and theatrical waving of hands resembling (methinks) the opening scene of Macbeth.

Finally, still chanting, she will dramatically cast the shredded remains into the fire, throw a handful of rice into the air, and proclaim you free and protected.

To some people of course, the effectiveness of the villain-beater’s spells may be rather dubious, but the smiles and faraway expressions on their clients’ faces during the performances suggests satisfaction for those that believe.

So, if you have a spare five minutes, and you relish the thought of someone beating the hell out of your boss or your neighbours, take the MTR to Causeway Bay (Exit B), and pay the contract price.

After all, they can’t arrest you for dreaming … not yet, anyway.

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