Location: Wong Tai Sin Temple
It was my first visit to Wong Tai Sin. But in facts, I always visit Wong Tai Sin or just passed by the Lung Cheung Road. It is just located at right beside the Lung Cheung Road and in a residential society. Convenient to visitors of the temple. Not many temples are located so near the bustle and hustle road that you can hear the traffics in Hong Kong so clear. It is a characteristic of Wong Tai Sin. I stood at the middle between the main entrance of the door and the Lung Cheung Road.
It is not very common but you can always listen at some temples and especially on Chinese New year. Windmill represents bringing good luck and let the old things away. It is a kind of special for Chinese myth. When I just stood beside the windmill stalls, could hear something keeps turning and turning. Somehow is a ‘sound mark’ in our Chinese tradition.
Wong Tai Sin Temple is one of the most famous traditional temple in HK. However, the languages that can be heard most in this visit was not Chinese. English, Mandarin and even here is Japanese, would be surround me throughout the whole visit. It would be a bit ironic, the Chinese traditional temple in HK, why not local Hong Kong people could be found mostly here? I walked within ten steps, another group of tourists were in front of me straightly. This time, they are Chinese.
How many Hong Kong people have not hear the ‘real’ bamboo fortune sticks sound in a temple? Some may think that most should be heard before as they would also visit temple in some festivals. To me, no. I am already 20 but really have not been to any temple. It was the first time to try the bamboo fortune sticks. Kept the bamboo fortune sticks in the sticks holder and shake, it came out a clear and melodious sound. Until one stick dropped out from the holder, I could take this stick to another side of the temple to seek the explanation of my bamboo fortune stick.
I went to an explanation stall and paid $20. I asked for the stuff of my family. An explainer told me the explanation of the lottery poems of that stick. And also she gave me some suggestions to prevent the conflicts with my family. In fact, she was an old woman with accent. I could not hear clearly for some of her words.
To be honest, to some modern people in Hong Kong, stepping into a temple is a boring stuff as they do not believe in the ‘Chinese God’. Even the sound of the fortune sticks or people’s explanation of those sticks, to them are some sound phobia. Although these sound are valued in our Chinese tradition, to modern people, they do not have interest to have a ‘touch’ to this valued things then they are not patient at all. However, if our generation do not even treasure this kind of traditional value, I really afraid that one day, this kind of special culture of China will discover one day. All sounds that can be found within the Wong Tai Sin Temple would become a disappeared soundmark and not to be found anymore.
To local citizens in Wong Tai Sin, it is not just a spot for visiting, but carries different meanings to them. Listen, ‘dat…dat……dat…dat…dat…’ Something was hit with unequal frequencies. It was a kind of daily activity of the ‘uncle’ in the Wong Tai Sin society – playing chess. Obviously, it is a place for citizens’ leisure.
Throughout the whole visit, there was always a soundnote that almost everyone can hear everywhere in the temple. An announcement kept playing in the whole temple. I doubted that temple should a place for worshiping or making people’s own wishes, but the annoying announcement was really disturbing, at least to me. Although it was a reminder for people there would be another function on another place, I thought it was not the best way for its own promotion.
After this first visit to Wong Tai Sin, not only discovered some sound that never hear, but also got some reflection on my own. Wong Tai Sin Temple is very traditional in HK, but if it was not the visit from the course, I think I won’t go this special place on my own. I think our generation should treasure more on this kind of culture with great traditional values. Otherwise, if no one wants to care about this, I don’t know whether the further realistic development would eliminate these values. New generation should keep a touch with the tradition value.
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