Follow Me Back Friday: to Wong Tai Sin, Hong Kong

October 2, 2015


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It was a few days after the Lunar New Year. Wong Tai Sin was bustling with people of all ages purchasing offerings and charms. On the right side of the temple was a woman delicately fanning herself from the incense. There were cans lined with wooden sticks, ready for anyone to have their fortune told. I had always wanted to try at the temple in New York, but I was intimidated. My parents never did, and I instead inferred from Chinese dramas.

Grabbing one of the cans, I ventured to the back of the chaotic prayer area. People were on their knees, facing the statues. Some were bowing until their foreheads hit the cement, all while chanting methodically.  Dressed in a skirt that garnered me many questionable looks because it was winter in Hong Kong, I pulled it down and kneeled onto the ground. My scar from Stockholm was aggravated by the raw cement floor. I asked three questions that day: about a current love, a forthcoming relationship, and my desire to leave. My friends watched over me as I carefully shook the can until the last stick finally fell loose. I had taken at least five minutes more than them.

Anxious to have life’s answers, I rushed to an empty stall with a sign reading “ENGLISH SPEAKING”. A woman with tattooed eyebrows, pale porcelain skin, and thick jade bangles motioned me forward. “You, you’re a stubborn one. I can tell,” she said with a sly smile.

Wong Tai Sin skb
Never present four incense sticks, we told ourselves. Never.

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