Biography of Er Ger Fong @ Zheng Yi Fong (鄭義豐)
Er Ger Fong is one of a legend that based on actual events which took place in between the reign of King Rama 5. According to legend, he involved a lot of charities contribution to his life. Because of the donations, he has made in his lifetime to the people and country. Many peoples from many places come to his joss house temple to pray for his help's and blessings. It said that wearing Er Ger Fong amulet used to bring great wealth.
Er Ger Fong is well known and highly regarded in the name as Iconic Deity of Gambling in Thailand, especially in Southeast Asia. He also owned a reputation as God of Gamblers. It is said that many people's wear amulet of Er Ger Fong experience unexpected good fortune or personal gain, and also increases the chances of winning in 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 down in Thailand. Er Ger Fong was born in Chinatown. Bangkok in the year 1852, and is the only son in the family.
When Er Ger Fong was fourteen, he went through many hardships, and finally, he affords to get a boat ticket to go back to his hometown in Guangdong Province. After some time, Er Ger Fong father passed away due to overwhelming workload. One year later, his mother remarried, and Er Ger Fong follow his mother and live with his step-father. Unable to endure from bullies by his step-father children's. He secretly runs away from home and seeks for work at a pier, and he was lucky enough that the pier owner finally accepted him. The shipping routes between China to Southeast Asia regularly.
Travelling 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 safety at the pier of Mekong River in Thailand. Suddenly Er Ger Fong has a special feeling and decided to stay there to struggle alone. He has to think of a solution to stay there, he lifted his baggage and walked forward to the shipowner without saying anything, and bowed down on his knees and gave thanks to the shipowner for retained and hire him at that time. The shipowner also feels sad and pity to leave him there.
In the year 1867, Er Ger Fong was at the age of 16. He lived nearby Mekong river along the pier and worked as a coolie there, he made his living by harsh labour, carrying dirt, and toting heavy loads at the docks. However, at the pier, there are many gang members to pays attention. Er Ger Fong is a righteous person, with the strong characters 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 there is 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 society in China, and inviting peoples to join in as their members. Later on, he knows that Chinatown had 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 realize 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 granted the title as (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 than used his real name Zheng Yi Fong by adding the last 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 peace instead of war, and not to do anything that goes against the government. Er Ger Fong decided to change trial society into community organizations, and expand its role to take care of social welfare and to help the needy. After ten years, under the reign of King Rama 5, the country was struck by the financial and economic crisis. With the support of Er Ger Fong with a wide range of business establish including shipping, pawnshop, printing company and newspaper, import & exporttc., and with business expanded to international markets have helped the government impose taxes from the revenue.
Eventually, King Rama 5 summoned the Finance Minister to consult Er Ger Fong for the overturn on the country economics. At a sudden Er Ger Fong think of "gambling" is the most faster and profitable business. As he knows, most Chinese peoples are fond of gambling. At that time, Thai people do not understand what gamble is. Er Ger Fong being bold to request the government to authorized him a gambling license, and promised that he could make more money to the government by paying taxes from the income. Er Ger Fong is an influential person in history who have close relations with triad societies and also having strong ties relationship within the government sector.
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 God of Gamblers. Later he set up his own gambling dens in different parts of the city and operates an extensive gambling network. He had over a thousand of the employee in all of his gambling dens. However, the government would get most of its tax revenue from the gambling income that he makes. Later on, King Rama 5 went to meet Er Ger Fong personally and bestowed upon him with a title for the effort he had made. The King also thanks and presents a medal of honour to the family of Zheng for memory.
Support Success for the Revolution in China
When Er Ger Fong learned that major politician is raising fund for the revolutionary activities in China, for their success of the main revolutionary events for the political leaders - Sun Yat-sen. Er Ger Fong donates large sums of money to support the Revolution Army. 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" its means: the wise cannot be trick, and the courageous are immune to fear. To honour 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 the year 1916, Er Ger Fong built a school for poor children to learn and to teach them Chinese and also to bring in China's culture for 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 for disaster relief fund from Bangkok using large vessels carrying supplies to building road, bridge. 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.
At some time in the past, Thailand was infected with the contagious disease throughout the country, 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 sweeps over him. He then waked up immediately and recalled the deity from his dreams. Er Ger Fong did not know about anything and which the goddess in his dream. When he goes out to have tea and play chess with one of his elderly friends and talk about the incident.
Coincidentally, this elder friend showed him a portrait of a deity which he uses to bring along 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" 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. Song Dafeng was born in the year 1039 in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and was appointed a magistrate of Shaoxing, Zhejiang after passing his imperial examinations. But he was disappointed with the corruption and inefficiency of the system, and 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 diseases.
Song Dafeng Deity
Previously China has also infected with contagious disease occurred with the same that happened in Thailand. Song Dafeng patron just 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 matter. When Er Ger Fong learned about this, he was extremely excited and decided to go back to China, Teochew sincerely to offered prayer to Song Dafeng patron. He then notices that Song Dafeng patron has built a charitable foundation in his hometown, which is called Por Teck Tung “報德堂” after coming back from China.
Er Ger Fong thought of the good deeds that Song Dafeng patron has done for the people in his lifetime. He then decided to builds a charities foundation 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” in short. The committee manages the foundation at No. 326, Chao Kam Rop Road, Chinatown. Nowadays, the foundation donated more than ten thousand coffins annually. If there are any disasters occurred, 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 displayed in the foundation, and also some incense ashes back from China. He then set up Por Teck Tung Foundation with an incense pot, and prepares a big bowl of clean water for blessing, and invites Taoist priest to engaged the spirit of Song Dafeng patron deity to participate in the grand ceremony. After the ceremony, Por Teck Tung members filled holy water is packaged and distributed to those people with illness and diseases. Miracles happened; many people have claimed to have been cured after drinking the sacred water. At that time being, many people came to worshipped and prayed to Song Dafeng patron deity to seek his blessings. Until today it has become the most popular "attraction" for donators.
Newcomer's Police Officer Must Worship to 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, not more than three months, they must be transferred to another place. 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 makes this will before his death and donated a large number of his lands to the Thai government. Er Ger Fong passes 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. By the time of his death, a funerary ceremony is performed and held in Thailand. After that his body is arranged and sends back to his hometown in China, Chao'an for cemetery buried. Since then, a man of great achievements in human history has made him lives on in our memories.
Er Ger Fong Joss House is very popular among gamblers. At that time being, people come to worshipped and prayed to Er Ger Fong for business, gambling, fortune and lottery strike. If one's who have fate or luck, Er Ger Fong can move it faster to help them, if that one who doesn't have, then that one have 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 happened to win by chance? Will you say that it's fated or you are 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, but only the rich. Everyone wants to take a shortcut to riches by using their belief and keep asking for numbers to buy 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 on 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 it divine power. So what type of amulet is this?