Posted in Breaks and Jaunts, Hong Kong, Uncategorized

2019 Trip to Hong Kong: Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

“Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.” 
― Lao Tzu

After my visit in February 2018, I promised myself that when I visit Hong Kong again, I will try my best to visit places I have not been to in the past. This was around the time the trip with Jana this March was planned.

As I researched about places to see in Hong Kong, I came across a few suggestions on temples to visit. Having been to Ngong Ping in Lantau Island already to see the Tian Tan Buddha, I was hoping to find other temples to visit near Mong Kok. As I read through the articles, my attention was caught by the write up on Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple.

According to Discover Hong Kong, this temple is home to religions of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. This temple also honors Wong Tai Sin, a monk born during the 4th Century who became a deity. Known to be a place where wishes made come true, worshippers flock to this temple to pray for good luck.

Wishes would come true? Oh wow! Sign me up, please.

Unfortunately, when I visited in September of 2018, Hong Kong was only recently visited by a super typhoon, Mangkhut. My sister advised against going to the temple as fixes were surely underway at that time. Sadly, I had to put off my visit for another time. I promised myself that when I visit next, this temple will be the first destination in my itinerary.

After checking in at the Harbour Hotel in Mong Kok (read my post about it here), we immediately set out to visit Wong Tai Sin. It seemed as if going by train was the easiest way to go, so we went to the MTR Station of Mong Kok and rode the Kwun Tong line towards Wong Tai Sin MTR Station. From Mong Kok Station, it’s five train stops.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 2.10.18 AM
Screenshot obtained from http://www.mtr.com.hk/archive/en/services/routemap.pdf

Once in Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, we went out via the exit B3 – Temple Mall North. It led us right away to the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple.

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Yay! Finally, here!

For more information about the temple and its different halls and sections, you may visit the Sik Sik Yuen website here.

Another attraction of the temple is fortune telling. We noticed that people lighted incense sticks and prayed at the main altar, behind which was a section were people knelt while performing the initial steps of Kau Chim/Kau Cim (fortune-telling practice).

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Main Altar

Kau Chim involves a small bucket or cup containing fortune sticks numbered from 1 to 100.  One asks a question to the deity then starts shaking the cup until a stick falls out. In case more than one stick falls, he or she must pick up the first one that fell. The number on the stick corresponds to one of the one hundred written oracles that you can obtain from the fortune tellers at the Fortune-telling and Oblation Arcade section. 

Aside from the fortune sticks, one can also use jiaobei blocks. These are two pieces of wood carved into crescent shapes. A block is carved with one side flat and the other side rounded. One will ask a question to the deities and then drops the blocks on the ground. According to my research on the internet, there are different ways the blocks can fall on the ground and they have a corresponding meaning.

  1. One rounded side and one flat side up = Yes
  2. Both rounded sides up = No
  3. Both flat sides up = the gods are laughing. Either a “no” or the answer is so obvious there is no need to ask
  4. One or two blocks standing erect on the ground = null; repeat procedure.

To be honest, I do not understand how the fourth one can happen.

Anyway, I tried both kau chim and jiaobei. For kau chim, I got the number 14 and my question was about money. For jiaobei, my question is a little too personal to share. However, my first attempt to ask resulted to both flat sides up. The gods were laughing at me. I tried to ask differently for the same thing and my second attempt resulted to a “yes.” Maybe they took pity on me and knew how serious I was about not wanting to assume stuff.

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After Jana and I were done with kau chim and jiaobei, we proceeded to the fortune tellers’ area to have our fortune sticks interpreted.

We tried to find fortune tellers who can speak in English. The first one we found was Jenny Wong because she had a big sign board that said “ENGLISH.” She charged us HKD 40 for the reading. I think readings are normally HKD 25, so I guess a premium is charged for an English reading.

First, she asked the number written on our fortune sticks. Then, she asked what our question was; money, love, career, family, etc. She also asked us what year we were born in.

I told her I picked number 14 and that my question was about money. I proceeded to tell her that I was born in 1991. She took it as being born during the Year of the Lamb. However, I failed to mention that I was born before the Chinese New Year, technically making me born on the Year of the Horse. Oh well.

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Jenny told me that money will be better for me in 2019 unlike in 2018. However, she warned me against getting money from illicit sources like gambling or drugs. She advised me to do my best in my job or my business so that success will follow. Generally, 2019 is a good year for me.

I read up on horoscopes for the Year of the Horse online and it did say there’s also good fortune when it comes to wealth this year. Whew!

Jenny was a nice soothsayer. She was kind in her words and was not insistent when we refused to have palm or face reading. She humbly asked that we shared about her to others who might want to visit Hong Kong and the temple. I did not feel like she was telling us things that we wanted to hear in order to please us and entice us to have more readings with her.

I made a wish in Wong Tai Sin and I may have indulged a bit on the fortune telling side despite not having Taoism, Buddhism, or Confucianism as my religion. For me, we still control our choices in life, although I also still believe in fate and destiny. I believe that God will always have a plan for us and that His plan is always better than the plans we make for ourselves. It’s God’s plan that shall prevail no matter how we resist in the beginning.

I still hope that whatever I wished for in Wong Tai Sin will come true. After all, there’s no harm in wishing, right? In the meantime, I shall work on my own end to try and make that happen. You see, it’s one thing to wish and another to actually work on it. I can make a thousand wishes, but if I don’t take a step towards achieving it, what I want remains a wish.

By the way, if you want to know what’s written on the pink slips, you may want to visit this site.

If you wish to visit and experience fortune-telling, please visit Jenny’s booth. Hers is booth 114 if I interpreted her business card correctly. She’s super nice!

To read more about my travels to Hong Kong, please click here.

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