Spot of luck for local with big heart

City Talk | 28 Jun 2016

Tsang Tai Uk, or Big House of the Tsangs, is one of the best preserved Hakka walled villages in Hong Kong.

The Sha Tin village is near Lion Rock Tunnel Road. Wealthy granite merchant, Tsang Koon-man began its construction in 1847, and it took nearly 20 years and a huge amount of money to complete the gigantic project.

Tsang and his siblings arrived from Wuhua, Guangdong, near the end of the Qing dynasty.

He worked as a stonemason in Shau Kei Wan before, a few years later, opening his own stone factory.

During his time in Shau Kei Wan, he often wandered around the hills and one day a shining light appeared at a spot that he later discovered was a "meridian spot" (concentration of earth energy), which is suitable for a graveyard.

He intended to keep it for himself and ordered his family to bury him there when his time came, for such a site is, in feng shui thinking, conducive to prosperity for the family.

One day, following an explosion near the stone factory, Tsang discovered a set of human bones nearby.

Being humane and knowing that Chinese customs mandate that such bones must not be scattered, he buried the bones in the meridian spot that he had reserved for himself. This unselfish act rewarded him handsomely.

On one occasion, a salted-fish seller appeared at his door.

Tsang bought all the barrels of salted fish, thinking the seller could not sell all of them in a sparsely populated place of less than 100 people.

He later discovered that underneath the salted fish was silver and gold. He wanted to return it but the seller were nowhere to be found.

With that money, he opened the granite factory. To his surprise, when the British took over Hong Kong, almost all demand for granite needed for construction in the colony was supplied by Tsang. This is how construction on Tsang Tai Uk was funded.

Every year during the Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals, Tsang ordered his offsprings and relatives to pray for this nameless person that he buried, before praying for their own ancestors.

This was to show respect not only to their ancestors but also gratitude and appreciation for Tsang's wellbeing.

This is something for us to ponder over: benevolence is more than its own reward, or was kind feng shui was at work here? Think about it.

Kerby Kuek has published 15 books on feng shui, inner alchemy, Taoism and metaphysics. He can be contacted at

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