Johnson CHAN Man Long

“Once upon a time, before the invasion of the allies, before the ruling of the Qing emperors, or the Mongolian invaders, there was a beautiful Princess, who was the dearest sister of the Emperor.

“The Emperor was touring the South with his sister when suddenly they were attacked by local bandits. In the chaos, the Emperor, who was fleeing with his guards back to the north, lost contact with his sister. Months after the Emperor returned to the safety of the imperial palace, he still was not able to find out the whereabouts of his beloved sister.

“After more than ten years, the search was futile. As the grief-stricken Emperor was about to declare his beloved sister dead, a soldier reported that the Princess was safely living in a southern village. The village was small, but it was right at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, near Shenzhen River. The Emperor was overjoyed. He sent his men to fetch his sister back.

“But his men found out that the Princess had actually married a local peasant named Tang. The Princess wished to thank Tang for saving her life during the chaos, so she married him and gave birth to six sons. The Princess did not wish to return to the imperial palace, leaving her husband and children behind.

“The Emperor respected his sister’s wish and wanted her to have a good life. So he sent a minister with a royal decree: the Princess shall be entitled to whatever land she needed for the prosperity of her sons. When the local officials saw the decree, they were confused by the instructions: what does it mean to have land for the prosperity of her sons? How can they determine how much land is needed for ‘prosperity’?

“At the Tang village, a local elder believed that the prosperity was determined by the sacred animal, the Swan. The Swan was special because it was bigger, stronger and more beautiful than all other poultry. It was then decided that a Swan would be released from the village’s port at Pearl River Delta. Then the Swan would swim, until it landed at another spot. The land in between the Swan’s starting location and the landing spot would then be allotted to the Tang family.

“The Swan started from modern day Yuen Long. As it swam, a team of officials followed quietly behind. After a few hours of swimming, the Swan landed on today’s Sham Tseng. It was then declared that the land in between Yuen Long to Sham Tseng belonged to the Tang family, equally divided amongst the six sons.

“This is why even today, the Tang Clan is such an influential family in Hong Kong. At one point, almost all of northwest New Territories was in the hands of the Tang Clan! Okay, so, any questions?”

“Is that even true?”

“How could a swan swim for hours?”

“Did the swan feel like it was being chased by the officials, so it swam more than it would have?”

“How could the Emperor lose his own sister for ten years?”

“What happened to the people who owned the land before it was allotted to the Tang Clan?”

“Did the Princess give birth to any daughters? How could she be so lucky and have six sons in a row?”

“Did they really have swans back then? Could it be a goose? We don’t have swans in Yuen Long today!”

“Are you brainwashing us with your nationalistic education?”

Uncle Liu wiped the sweat off his forehead with his handkerchief. He always hated the Q&A section of his tour.


Published on: November 29, 2016 < Back >