Date
21 July 2017
Former US consul general Clifford Hart (inset) has been spotted at a Kwun Yum temple for a fourth straight year. Photos: Wikipedia, HKEJ, Facebook/GoFar
Former US consul general Clifford Hart (inset) has been spotted at a Kwun Yum temple for a fourth straight year. Photos: Wikipedia, HKEJ, Facebook/GoFar

Kwun Yum, not Paul Chan, spells prosperity

It’s that time of year again when Hong Kong people hope for a little luck and a billion dollars in their bank accounts.

That explains why hundreds of people have been lining up in different locations since midnight as if it were a Mark Six jackpot day.

Welcome to the annual Kwun Yum (or Guan Yin) treasury opening, a signature event for people who fancy themselves becoming rich with millions of virtual credits in the new year — even if only for a day.

From Tin Hau to Shau Kei Wan and Hung Hom temples, hundreds of believers queued up to draw a lucky credit from Hong Kong’s Goddess of Mercy.

The credit ranges from HK$30 million (or as big as the Mark Six jackpot tonight) to HK$1 billion which should be enough for the believers until their return next year.

Just like being buoyed by bank credits, these people — mainly small and medium-sized business owners and housewives — feel rich with the financial windfall. They could make bold bets on business or investment.

The story of Kwun Yum is similar to the biblical tale of the “five loaves and two fishes”. Before she was made a goddess, she was asked to feed 500 visiting monks. Kwun Yum decided to clear her kitchen, feeding the hungry monks with vegetarian meals and serving leftovers to the neighbors in a charitable act.

After that, the believers celebrated Thanksgiving which happens to be the 26th day in the first lunar month.

It was still mostly a local festival except that Clifford Hart, the former US consul general to Hong Kong who has joined consultancy firm Bower Group as managing director, showed up in a Kwun Yum temple late last night.

Hart, who was spotted there for a fourth consecutive year, told local media that he was very interested in the event and decided to come again.

However, he was not seen seeking blessings from Kwun Yum.

This year, the auspicious day comes on the same day as the budget speech of newly promoted Financial Secretary Paul Chan, who is expected to announce some relief measures.

He may not have a lot of sweeteners given the relatively short period since taking over from his predecessor and chief executive hopeful John Tsang.

Tsang has been criticized for being too conservative and for always hugely underestimating the government surplus.

Judging from the long lines to the temples, we suppose Kwun Yum, not Paul Chan, is someone Hong Kong people look up to when it comes to prosperity.

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BK/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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