In Chinese, we have an expression – “xiao ren”; it’s the same in Malay – “orang kecil”. What this translates to is “small person”, referring to the negative people in one’s life who tend to be around just to cause trouble (i.e., Haters). We have all been there right? The bitchy coworker who is particularly gossipy about you for no reason, the classic mean girls at school who live to make your life miserable, the jealous sibling of a significant other who hates that (s)he isn’t the center of attention anymore, or what have you…the list goes on.
People like these are inevitable, it seems that no matter what we do, we always run into at least one or two of them and they delight in making our lives just that much more complicated for their own sick pleasure. I suppose it adds a bit of spice to life to have some drama, but if you ask me, pfft…I ain’t got time for that. In Singapore, we have a ritual to banish people like these, it’s called “da xiao ren”, or beating of the small people. One makes burnt offerings and prayers to the gods, creates an inanimate likeness of the person, then proceeds to literally beat the shit out of it while cussing it out. I’m sure it’s nothing more than a means for catharsis and psychological release, but it’s often made out to be a form of spiritual vengeance. Basically, the idea is to prevent the small person from causing you further turmoil, and serve them their karmic just desserts.
I have never attempted this ritual, although I was mighty tempted to recently, having had my own bout of xiao ren problems. But I didn’t, as I am one of those people who straddle the line between investing in the scientific and the spiritual. Perhaps this is due to growing up in Singapore, where a strong belief in the supernatural exists in daily life as a cultural norm. Every child grows up knowing local taboos such as not stepping on the offerings to the spirits during the Hungry Ghost Festival, or not letting cats near a funeral, not relieving oneself behind a tree unless they have asked for permission from the spirits, and never to respond to someone calling your name in a deserted place. These may sound ridiculous and superstitious to those who live in more westernized cultures, but I assure you, people take these things pretty seriously in Asia.
What my point boils down to is that if you are experiencing people like these in your life, you are not alone. There are entire rituals dedicated to exorcising human trash from your happy technicolor existence. Whether you believe in “da xiao ren”, voodoo dolls, journaling, ranting to your friends, confiding in your therapist, or just plain old fashioned letting karma do it’s thing, you don’t have to suffer through it alone. A good friend once told me that the best thing to do is just to ignore these people, as they have put so much effort into making you miserable, the most annoying thing to them would be for you to not be affected. I think this is very sage advice. Heck, take it as a compliment that you have your very own troll! It takes a lot of time and energy for someone to be that much of a dick to you, so just enjoy your fabulousness and let them gag on it.
As George Herbert says, living well is the best revenge.