'Kwan Tai' Buddhist deity worshipped in HK by police, gangsters and businesspeople
In Hong Kong (HK), as well as many Chinese and overseas Chinese societies, the police, 'triads' (Chinese gangsters) and businesspeople worship the same Buddhist deity Kwan Tai (Guan Yu) 關羽 .
Perhaps to some people the link between these three seemingly 'opposing' parties to the same deity may be questionable? After all the police and triads are supposed to be on opposite sides of the rule OF law.
No doubt some of our readers, like me, will observe that the HK Police, and HK triad members and businesspeople are not alone in their worship of money!
There is a small difference between the Kwan Tai that the police worship: the Police worship Kwan Tai dressed in green clothes, considered to be a moral and just deity.
In HK some Police, gangsters and businesspeople have inside their premises this deity and there are dedicated Buddhist temples they can visit and pray.
Wikipedia list of Kwan Tai temples in Hong Kong.
Kwan Tai, the Cantonese version of Guan Yu, is one of East Asia's most popular paradigms of loyalty and righteousness.
To businesspeople Kwan Tai is the deity of wealth!
Arguably the issue here is also loyalty to power - without power neither side has any status; the more powerful each side is the more powerful the other side must be.
Is righteousness playing second fiddle to power?
Oriental religions or belief systems are often open to the idea that there are multiple Gods and multiple ways to God. In spite of everything, it is a societal custom in the Orient to ackowledge and give thanks to deities.
Occidental religions are generally 'monotheistic' - believing in only one God - and deities can be a part of one God, but generally are ignored. Perhaps this makes the acceptance that there is only the rule OF law (the law is King) easier for Westerners to live by?
It is not our intention here to say which is right or wrong - we are just saying there are different ways, such is our own collective and individual custom and heritage.
We the people of HK agree with the United Nations - we believe that we need the internationally accepted rule OF law which is to be upheld in HK until 2047 in HK's Joint Declaration. The majority of people in HK do not accept the arbitrary rule BY law that is used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Most Chinese societies today, including China under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Hong Kong (HK), are 'feudal Chinese plutocracies'. In China is it the 'power' of Chinese customs and heritage that is overriding the international rule OF law?
India - Asian, like China, with almost 1.4 billion people - seems not to have a major problem as a democracy! Yet China has a problem of dropping its feudal plutocracy system and embracing international norms and law including democracy, human rights and civil liberties.
Guan Yu died January or February 220, courtesy name Yunchang, was a military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Along with Zhang Fei, he shared a brotherly relationship with Liu Bei and accompanied him on most of his early exploits.
After Liu Bei gained control of Yi Province in 214, Guan Yu remained in Jing Province to govern and defend the area for about seven years. In 219, while he was away fighting Cao Cao's forces at the Battle of Fancheng, Liu Bei's ally Sun Quan broke the Sun–Liu alliance and sent his general Lü Meng to conquer Liu Bei's territories in Jing Province.
By the time Guan Yu found out about the loss of Jing Province after his defeat at Fancheng, it was too late. He was subsequently captured in an ambush by Sun Quan's forces and executed.
Guan Yu's life was lionised and his achievements glorified to such an extent after his death that he was deified during the Sui dynasty. Through generations of story telling, culminating in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, his deeds and moral qualities have been given immense emphasis, making Guan Yu one of East Asia's most popular paradigms of loyalty and righteousness.
He is still worshipped by many Chinese people today. In religious devotion he is reverentially called the "Divus Guan" (Guān Dì) or "Lord Guan" (Guān Gōng). He is a deity worshipped in Chinese folk religion, popular Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and small shrines to him are almost ubiquitous in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants. His hometown Yuncheng has also named its airport after him.