Biography of Er Ger Fong @ Zheng Yi Fong (郑义丰)
Er, Ger Fong is a legend based on events during King Rama 5. It said that wearing Er Ger Fong amulet used to bring great wealth. According to legend, he was involved in many charitable contributions to his life because he donated to the people and country. Many peoples from many places come to his joss house temple to pray for his help and blessings.
Er Ger Fong is well known and highly regarded as the Iconic Deity of Gambling in Thailand, especially in Southeast Asia. He also owned a reputation as the God of Gamblers. It is said that many people who wear the amulet of Er Ger Fong experience unexpected good fortune or personal gain, which also increases the chances of gambling.
Er Ger Fong is a given nickname that remains forever; his real name is Zheng Yi Fong, also known as Li Yu. They are Hokkienese; his ancestors came from China, Chao'an District, Teochew in Guangdong Province. In the past, his father fled from China to settle in Thailand. Er Ger Fong was born in Samut Prakan. Thailand in the year 1852, and he is the only son in the family.
When Er Ger Fong was fourteen, he went through many hardships, and finally, he could get a boat ticket to return to his hometown in Guangdong Province. After some time, Er Ger Fong's father passed away due to an overwhelming workload. One year later, his mother remarried, and Er Ger Fong followed his mother and lived with his stepfather. Unable to endure bullies, his step-father's children. He secretly runs away from home and seeks work at a pier, and he is lucky enough that the pier owner finally accepts him. The shipping routes between China to Southeast Asia are regular.
Traveling Alone Across the Lonely Sea and Sky
After two years, Er Ger Fong requests the shipowner to allow him to follow the ship to S.E. Asia. Finally, the vessel arrived safely at the pier of the Mekong River in Thailand. Suddenly Er Ger Fong has a special feeling and decides to stay there to struggle alone. The shipowner also feels sad and pitiful to leave him there. Er Ger Fong thought of a solution to remain there; he lifted his baggage, walked forward to the shipowner without saying anything, bowed down on his knees, and thanked the shipowner for retaining and hiring him then.
In the year 1867, Er Ger Fong was at the age of 16. He lived nearby the Mekong river along the pier and worked as a coolie there; he made his living by harsh labor, carrying dirt and toting heavy loads at the docks. However, at the pier, many gang members pay attention to him. Er Ger Fong is a righteous person with a strong character. He often strives to do the right to help others. So in his working area, everybody respected him for his righteous acts.
Later in the year 1869, a general strike occurred in China in the City of Teochew; many nationals of the Republic of China fled by boat, intending to start a new life in Southeast Asia, "Nanyang region." At the same time, a general official named Lu "General Lu" also fled to Bangkok. He then organized a local triad society (formerly known as Heaven and Earth Society), Tian Di Hui – (天地會) in Chinese, one of the most famous triad societies in China. He invited people to join in as their members. Later, he knows that Chinatown has a wise young guy who is brave and loyal. One day General Lu went personally to look for Er Ger Fong and granted him as his assistant.
When Er Ger Fong realized that General Lu was also from his hometown in China, he decided to join as one of his members. Initially, all members address him as (second brother) Er Ger – (二哥). After General Lu passed away, Er Ger was granted the title of (Big brother Fong) Da Ger Fong – (大哥丰). To respect his "Big Brother" General Lu, Er Ger refused to accept the title. After that, his triad members then used his real name Zheng Yi Fong by adding the final wording, "Fong," after his name of the triad Er Ger, and the name Er Ger Fong was made renowned through generations.
Triad Secret Society Change to Generosity Leads
Since after taking over the triad, Er Ger Fong does not allow the member to use violence to solve a problem. He insisted on peace instead of war and not doing anything that goes against the government. Er Ger Fong decided to change trial society into a community organization and expand its role to care for social welfare and help the needy. After ten years under King Rama 5, the country was struck by a financial and economic crisis. With the support of Er Ger Fong, a wide range of businesses were established, including shipping, pawnshop, printing company, newspaper, import & export. The business expanded to international markets and helped the government tax the revenue.
Eventually, King Rama 5 summoned the Finance Minister to consult Er Ger Fong to overturn the country's economy. Er Ger Fong is an influential person in history who has close relations with triad societies and has strong ties within the government sector. Suddenly, Er Ger Fong thinks of "gambling" as the fastest and most profitable business. As he knows, most Chinese peoples are fond of gambling. At that time, Thai people do not understand what gambling is. Er Ger Fong boldly requested the government authorize him a gambling license and promised he could make more money for the government by paying taxes from the income.
Finally, King Rama 5 approved Er Ger Fong with the gambling license. So Er Ger Fong became the first person who originated gambling in Thailand. He also owned a reputation as the God of Gamblers. Later he set up his gambling dens in different parts of the city and operated an extensive gambling network. He had over a thousand employees in all of his gambling dens. However, the government would get most of its tax revenue from his gambling income. Later on, King Rama 5 met Er Ger Fong personally and bestowed upon him a title for his effort. The King also thanks and presents a medal of honor to the family Zheng for memory.
Support the Success of the Revolution in China
Er Ger Fong donates large sums of money to support the Revolution Army. When Er Ger Fong learned that a major politician was raising funds for revolutionary activities in China, for the success of the main extreme events for the political leaders - Sun Yat-sen, at that time, he also met with Sun Yat-sen. Sun Yat-sen wrote a poem on a wooden plaque in eight Chinese characters presented to Er Ger Fong as a gift (智者不惑，勇者不懼) "zhì zhe bu huo, yong zhe bu ju" means: the wise cannot be trick, and the courageous are immune to fear. To honor the memory of Sun Yat-sen, Er Ger Fong changed his name to Zheng Zhi Yong to commemorate this event; this name is from each of the first words of the poem.
Furthermore, in 1916, Er Ger Fong built a school for poor children to learn and teach them Chinese and bring China's culture to the children. This school is to provide free education for all children in Chinatown within the qualifying age. Besides these, a significant earthquake occurred in China; Er Ger Fong contributed more than ten million grams of silver to disaster relief funds from Bangkok using large vessels carrying supplies to build roads and bridges. This dedication was so great that he was awarded "The Great Charity Achievement Awards," carved on a set of jade by the emperor at that time.
In the past, Thailand was infected with contagious diseases, and many people died. One night, Er Ger Fong dreamed of an ancient Chinese man wearing a hat with Kasava; Chinese - 袈裟; clothing, holding a wish-fulfilling ornament "Ru Yi" (如意) and gently sweeping over him. He then woke up immediately and recalled the deity from his dreams. Er Ger Fong does not know about anything, and the goddess in his dream, when he goes out to have tea and play chess with one of his elderly friends and talks about the incident.
Coincidentally, this elder friend showed him a portrait of a deity he used to bring with him in his skirt pocket. When Er Ger Fong takes a look, he immediately confirms that this is the person in his dreams. He then asks who that deity is. According to what his friend said, the portrait of that deity is "Song Dafeng," the patron deity (荣大峰祖师) that everyone in China worships to him.
Song Dafeng Charity Work Increased Spiritual Power
His friend then told Er Ger Fong the story of him. After passing his imperial examinations, Song Dafeng was born in 1039 in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and was appointed a magistrate of Shaoxing, Zhejiang. But he was disappointed with the system's corruption and inefficiency, so he quit his job and put a hand over to Charity's works, mostly in Fujian and Chaoshan. He is a holy man with spiritual power. He can heal every kind of illness and disease.
Song Dafeng Deity
Previously China has also been infected with contagious diseases occurred with the same that happened in Thailand. Song Dafeng patron only came to the scene with prayers and chants over the well and asked everyone to collect the water from the well to drink to remove all diseases. When Er Ger Fong learned about this, he was extremely excited and decided to return to China; Teochew sincerely offered prayer to Song Dafeng's patron. He then notices that Song Dafeng patron has built a charitable foundation in his hometown, Por Teck Tung “報德堂” after returning from China.
Er, Ger Fong thought of the good deeds that Song Dafeng patron had done for the people in his lifetime. He then decided to build a charities foundation to accumulate merit to help those in need, and very soon, he opened the first charities foundation called “Tai Hong Kong Shrine,” along with his committee for corpse collection and funeral arrangement of unidentified, unclaimed corpses and dead bodies of poor people residing in Bangkok. Later in the early 20th century, the committee changed its name and is now known as “Hwa Kiaw Por Teck Tung Foundation” or “Poh Teck Tung.” The committee manages the foundation at No. 326, Chao Kam Rop Road, Chinatown. Nowadays, the foundation donates more than ten thousand coffins annually. If any disasters occur, Por Teck Tung is the rescue team to arrive at the scene.
Song Dafeng patron is the primary status displayed in the offering hall of Por Teck Tung Foundation, while visitors make their prayers and offerings. On the other side of the street of Por Teck Tung Foundation is the Phlap Phla Chai Police Station. Er, Ger Fong Joss House was built on the rooftop on the fourth floor of the Police Station.
Initially, Er Ger Fong brought an old photograph of Song Dafeng to display in the foundation and some incense ashes from China. He then sets up Por Teck Tung Foundation with an incense pot, prepares a big bowl of clean water for blessing, and invites the Taoist priest to engage the spirit of Song Dafeng patron deity to participate in the grand ceremony. After the ceremony, Por Teck Tung members packaged holy water and distributed it to those with illnesses and diseases. Miracles happened; many people claimed to have been cured after drinking the sacred water. At that time, many people came to worship and prayed to Song Dafeng's patron deity to seek his blessings. Until today it has become the most popular "attraction" for donators.
Newcomer's Police Officer Must Worship Er Ger Fong
If there is any new police officer transferred to this police station, they must go to the rooftop to make an offering. Otherwise, they must be transferred to another place after not more than three months. So if one is assigned to this police station, no matter what type of religion they are, they also have to go up to make a prayer.
This police station is being built with the donations of Er Ger Fong. He made this will before his death and donated many of his lands to the Thai government. Er, Ger Fong passed away in Bangkok on the third day of the first lunar month in 1935. History will remember him as one of the greatest men who ever lived.
He passes away at the age of 84. After his death, a funerary ceremony is performed and held in Thailand. After that, his body is arranged and sent back to his hometown in China, Chao'an, for cemetery burial. Since then, a man of great achievements in human history has made him live on in our memories.
Er, Ger Fong Joss House is very popular among gamblers. At that time, people come to worship and pray to Er Ger Fong for business, gambling, fortune, and lottery strikes. If one's who have fate or luck, Er Ger Fong can move it faster to help them; if that one doesn't have, then that one has to wait for his chance to come.
There are many people paying money to buy a lottery. There are no people who do not like to win. What happens if it happens to win by chance? Will you say that it's fated, or are you lucky? Being lucky or unlucky is something that you are born to be. If there is something's that happened, there will be a reason for the things that happened.
Not everyone will get what they requested with their offering to Er Ger Fong. Otherwise, there will be no poor people left, only the rich. Everyone wants to take a shortcut to riches by using their belief and asking for numbers to buy the lottery. Some people win, and some people feel hurt and disappointed. The best thing is to do good deeds, and good luck will eventually come to you. May the blessing of Er Ger Fong be upon you.
Er Ger Fong - The King of Gamblers
According to what some say, wearing the amulets of Er Ger Fong (二哥丰) is not just lucky in gambling; it even fetches wealth. Believe it or not, many peoples have heard and experienced it, for people who looked at the amulet image will say it seems like an ancient Chinese zombie. It can say that these entire amulets were very popular in Thailand. Maybe there are still many people who believe in its divine power. So what type of amulet is this...
Er Ger Fong - The God of Gambling Amulets