Paper trail: Men caught scattering joss paper in East Coast Park canal during 7th month

PHOTO: Screengrab from Facebook/Lee Zhi Jian

During the seventh lunar month, the burning of joss paper and other paper offerings is a common sight at roadsides and walkways.

But passers-by were puzzled by the sight of three men emptying boxes of joss paper into a canal at East Coast Park early Sunday (Aug 22) morning. The bizarre act was filmed and shared on Facebook by Lee Zhi Jian.

Undeterred by the loud protest from a passer-by, a man dressed in black dumped a box full of joss paper into the water while his companions scattered the paper offerings.

The water currents would have swept the joss paper from the canal at carpark D1 out to the sea, reported Lianhe Zaobao. 

In another clip, Lee could be heard questioning why the men were carrying out their deed in open daylight (though it was 4am at the time), when their actions would have been more discreet out at sea instead. 

Lee's Facebook post was shared over 5,500 times and was later shared on the Complaint Singapore Facebook group.

In the comments section, netizens voiced their anger at the act of littering. 

Screengrab from Facebook/ Complaint Singapore
Screengrab from Facebook/ Complaint Singapore
Screengrab from Facebook/ Complaint Singapore

While the reason behind their actions remains unclear, some netizens speculated that the men were appeasing the wandering spirits who had drowned in their past lives.

Screengrab from Reddit/ Singapore

AsiaOne has reached out to the Public Utilities Board and National Environment Agency for comment.

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chingshijie@asiaone.com