'Opening the gates of hell': Unattended joss paper bin at HDB estate sets grass alight

A burning joss paper bin scorched grass around it, setting it alight.
PHOTO: Screengrab/Instagram/SgfollowsAll

The gates of hell may have closed with the end of the seventh lunar month, but this blazing bin has got some netizens second-guessing.

A clip shared on Instagram last night (Aug 26) showed flames engulfing an unattended joss paper bin at an HDB estate, scorching the grass beneath and around it.

"Opening the gates of hell," one netizen commented, while another said: "The ghost wants the entire [bin]!"

But others felt that this was a symptom of larger problems.

Some of them complained that the burning of paper offerings caused "air pollution" and that the "grass [was] being destroyed" because of the blaze.

Elsewhere, residents also shared how they were affected by the practice.

'The smoke is just getting unbearable'

In a Reddit post last night, a netizen complained of the smoke around their estate getting "unbearable", explaining that there were three joss paper bins and "one or two" shrines below their block.

"From the toilets, kitchen, living room to dining room, [there's] nothing but smoke," the user complained.

"It's been causing a lot of health problems and allergies that I have not experienced before started to appear, which coincidentally started with the burning."

Seeking advice on the platform, the Redditor also claimed that they are taking daily medication due to these allergies and that the smoke was affecting their whole family.

"I understand that it is 'ghost month' now and this is a religious practice and I fully respect that, but honestly the smoke is just getting unbearable."

The air pollution that comes with the burning of paper offerings isn't the only issue, however.

In a Facebook post on Complaint Singapore on the same night, a netizen uploaded multiple images of pathways along Golden Mile Complex that had offerings strewn all over the surrounding area.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Complaint Singapore

Said the Facebook user: "Last day of seventh lunar month. Sweepers' headaches at Golden Mile. Appreciate them and give them an ang pow (red packet) to show gratitude for clearing your mess!"

Safety tips during seventh lunar month

In the lead-up to the seventh lunar month, Singapore Civil Defence Force advised members of the public to "exercise caution when conducting religious activities like the burning of joss sticks and incense papers."

Some fire safety tips include:

  • Avoid placing joss sticks or candles on grass patches or fields
  • Place burners and containers on sturdy ground at a safe distance away from combustible materials and residential premises
  • Ensure smouldering embers are completely extinguished before leaving

"Remember, fire safety is our collective responsibility," they said.

ALSO READ: 'Distributing' or littering? Video of man tossing joss paper into the air sparks debate again

ALSO READ: Flying ashes from Hungry Ghost offerings drive away diners at Jalan Kayu

khooyihang@asiaone.com