Some things not easy to give away

When I went to Melbourne last November, I gathered half of my favourite earrings and other stuff to pass to TK (with whom we were staying) for her to sell at the Op-shop  (Opportunity Shop is Australians’ euphemism for thrift shop) where she volunteers.

Ditto LW, who made the visit with me.

However, while knick knacks, used but good clothes, handbags, costume jewellery, furniture, crockery, books etc are easy enough to give away, there are some other things that are not.

Of special difficulty are religious objets d’art such as figurines and statuettes of various lo-han from the Buddhist and Taoist pantheon.

Some years ago, when we moved out of our present home with the intention to downsize (we couldn’t get used to a smaller home and so returned hot foot), we sold or gave away many things, in order to fit our new place.

Among some of our “giveaways” were some religious figurines which found takers among the neighbours.

Disconcertingly, on our return, I found that two of them were kept in the cleaner’s room. So I approached the Auntie and suggested that whenever she had no more use for them, I could help her to send them to a temple.

Recently, she took up my offer but I’ve been having a difficult time finding a temple home for them.

I approached one in Race Course Road because I remember that’s where one of the figurines came from.

But the temple keeper explained nicely that they have stopped taking in figurines, statuettes etc because no one comes to adopt them, unlike days of old.

I asked another friend who volunteers at a temple in a faraway corner of Singapore. Her answer was “no”. But she suggested I try another temple in Kim Keat Road which I shall be doing.

Then it dawned on me that many of the figurines and statuettes in my home had actually come to us when friends of the same religious persuasion didn’t have enough space for their growing collection. Very few had been acquired by my family.

The moral of this: don’t load up on religious artifacts unless there is an intention to keep them for life.

This is because religious objets d’art unlike other possessions aren’t meant to be owned and then thrown out. They have to be disposed off properly and with dignity.

Now that the doors of most temples are closed, where could those I’ve been charged to find a new home for go?

An antique shop?

That’s where I did get a “yes” when I approached one near the Race Course Road temple and sounded out the shop owner on the possibility of accepting the two religious figurines as gifts.

But the cleaner auntie in my condo was hesitant when I told her of that possible new home.

“Won’t they sell the statuettes?” she asked, timidly.

“I don’t know but isn’t that better than throwing them out for people to pick up?”

“I guess so.”

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