Whatever can be paid by cash will ultimately be paid via mobile phones, including some unimaginable areas. Consider Wong Tai Sin Temple, the place where people in Hong Kong go to make a wish, lining up to light incense sticks in the first hour of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Although the Great Immortal Wong is famous for saying “what you get is what you request”, many believe he will also make wishes come faster if he sees more donations (which literally means adding incense and oil money).
And that explains why Wong Tai Sin received HK$360 million (US$46 million) in cash donations in its latest financial year, making it a very profitable enterprise that could be compared to a mid-sized listed company in Hong Kong.
On top of this comes the magic of Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma and CK Hutchison’s Li Ka-shing. Alipay Hong Kong, a joint venture between the two richest men in China and Hong Kong, yesterday launched a new feature for donations via mobile phones.
Now Taoism believers or anyone who wants to have their wishes come true can scan a QR code and make a cash payment to the temple of their mighty God.
Mobile users can pay just as if they were in McDonald’s or a convenient store. Will it make their dreams come faster? You be the judge.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment is not something new. Alipay is the first payment operator to come up with the idea of relaying electronic red packets over Chinese New Year, although WeChat by Tencent is probably credited for making it even more popular.
And Wong Tai Sin is one of the most innovative sacred places. The most popular temple in Hong Kong has gone online and offers services for online blessings, drawing divination and worship.
Now, let me scan the QR code – and pray that everyone’s wishes come true – on top of a healthy and happy Year of the Dog.
Read: Pro-China professor under fire for mobile payment remarks
Deep-rooted mass superstition in a supposedly well-developed, advanced modern city.
Another 5000 years?
I detect per chance a hint of sarcastic cynical diatribe. Imagine an ancient tribe, yes you noted the 5000 years, like the Native American Indians ruling their own land and modern to the hilt, I suspect they will still be doing their rain dance and praying to the spirits of the prairies. Right!
We Chinese might be animists and atheists and believe in ‘spirits’, whether ancestral or preternatural deities, but if it works why change our habits and rituals because the white man see us a superstitious pagans.
Why should that worry or concern or upset you! Because you cannot annihilate the Chinese like you did their kindred brethren the Native American Indians?
You should thank your God that we do not believe in your God or we will ask your God to punish you lot.
But we believe in the immutable law of karma – you know bad begets bad and what goes around comes around. Next time misfortune and disaster etc befall the U.S. remember what you said about our pagan practice. Maybe it does work!
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