Lunch on the hills near Tai Po

One main goal of the new land reclamation initiative in Hong Kong was to fill part of Tai Po Harbor with dirt from the nearby hills, so our work took us to the undeveloped hills behind Tai Po Harbor.

There being no good places to buy lunch nearby, we carried our lunches with us.   The hills had tombs where the recently dead would be placed.  These tombs always had ‘Ho Fung Shway’ (a pleasant aspect for the dead person to enjoy), so we’d look for one nearby, where we’d eat our lunch.  Typically they had benches where visitors could sit.  Often, as we climbed the hillside to a tomb, we could see nothing but hills and brush around us, but at the tomb we would have a great view of Tai Po Harbor.  Tombs were fine places to eat lunch.

Once, while approaching a tomb, I found a small rock with some paper under it.  Curious, I looked at one of the small papers.  It looked like a bank note.  It had a large number on it, something like 100,000 and the words, “Hell Banknote”.  One of the workers told me that it was ‘Hell money’, left by relatives and friends so the departed had some money to buy things in Hell.

The non-Christian Chinese apparently had no illusion about where they were going when they died.

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