19 April 2011
The Rainbow Taboo
I was driving home with the kids two days ago when they spotted a beautiful rainbow and started yelling excitedly. It was no ordinary rainbow; big, bright and disconnected, or so it looked. A large part of it was totally hidden in the clouds. The contrasts of blue, colourful and white were just too beautiful to ignore. In their excitement, they pointed their fingers to the rainbow and without realizing it, I shrieked "DON'T".
I was as surprised as them with my reaction. "Why are you acting weird, Mom?", the eldest asked. "I...ah... it was just an old habit that dies hard", I ended up saying that. And very true indeed, when one grew up having been fed with a lot of taboos, one just stored them all inside, and when the occasion calls for it, the taboo-reaction just came out.
"It was the rainbow taboo", I told them. My late grandmother was a strong believer in it. She said if you point your finger to the rainbow, you're going to lose it. "Obuntung" (the meaning of which, till now I haven't discovered). Of course I never believed in that, but it is a taboo and it is one you should practice, shouldn't it? The kids rolled their eyes, but decided not to point their fingers at the rainbow anyway. And so I've passed down another taboo to the young ones...