A practitioner of the 'beating the devil' spiritual tradition has called on the government to provide a more comfortable work environment to help people like her preserve the ritual. In response to news of a government project to compile an inventory of intangible cultural heritage to help conserve traditions and arts, Siu Fu, 80, said it was time the government considered doing something for the ancient practice. 'It is too dusty, noisy and dirty here. It will be great if the government can find a place to let us do business in a more comfortable environment,' said Madame Siu, who has worked for five years in a tiny space on Canal Road, near Times Square in Causeway Bay, famous for the ritual. 'It is always good that the government is aware about the importance of conserving Chinese tradition. But it will be better if it can help us improve our working environment.' Madame Siu said the pavements were always crowded with people praying for good luck and cursing their enemies by 'beating the devil' during the White Tiger Festival in March and the Hungry Ghost Festival in August. 'Sometimes the sounds of shouted curses and shoes banging on cement become so loud when dozens of ritual performers are beating the devil,' she said as she hammered paper effigies of her clients' enemies. The inventory is being compiled in response to the UN Convention for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was ratified by China in 2004 and came into force in April last year. Madame Siu said: 'The most important thing is to have clients keep on coming to pay us to help them pray for good luck and curse their enemies. If we do not have any business, what is the point of conserving the tradition?' Charges for the ritual range from HK$20 and HK$50, she said. 'Most of them come to curse people they hate or who have offended them. Many workers have come to me and asked me to curse their bosses who have fired them.' The practice began among rural women who worshipped the mythical White Tiger and kept paper images of it at home to keep out rats, snakes and squirrels. The tradition gradually transformed into the shoe-beating of today.