22 May Mr Wong Wing-Pong’s A Sky Full of Gods and Buddhas
There are various spots in Hong Kong where you will encounter clusters of battered, bruised and once loved, but then discarded religious statues. If you would like to see one, we recommend that you visit A Sky Full of Gods and Buddhas. It is the most famous and well populated cache in Hong Kong. We visited because we wanted to get the lowdown on what we have subtitled Wong Wing-Pong’s Quirky Retirement Home for Abandoned Deities. We investigated the who, what, why, where and when on your behalf. Read on to find out more about this intriguing spot.
Where to Find It
You must head to Wah Fu Estate’s Waterfall Bay. You won’t be able to see much of the waterfall. It’s much diminished since the days when passing trade ships and pirates stopped there for water supplies in bygone years. Nevertheless, here, tucked away, you will find the quirky A Sky Full of Gods and Buddhas.
Look at a map of Hong Kong Island. Find the West side of the Island and locate Pokfulam and Aberdeen. You will see that A Sky Full of Gods and Buddhas and Waterfall Bay are somewhere in between.
What to Expect
You’ll encounter what could easily border on the kitsch, but is in fact quite a magical spectacle. You’ll meet a colourful and rather jolly gathering of Gods and Buddhas. We are pleased to report that all denominations are welcome. You might notice that the small statues are cemented to the rocks and look out to sea.
Why Does it Exist
Traditionally in Hong Kong, we believe that any sort of religious figurine should never be thrown away. We consider it bad luck. Instead if we damage or break them, we often abandon them by the side of the road. Over time one abandoned figurine may be joined by others creating small impromptu places of worship. You never quite know where you will see them.
Who and How?
According to urban legend, a gentleman name Mr Wong Wing-Pong started to collect any statues he came across. If he could he would fix them up. He added them to what was a modest pre-existing cache of figurines.
Over time the number of statues has grown. Mr Wong Wing-Pong started to tend the site keeping it neat and burning incense. It continues to grow and now people bring unneeded and unwanted statues here directly. Correspondingly, more and more people are coming to visit. Maybe you have a damaged statue you’d like to add to the collection?
Based on second hand information, we believe that Mr Wong Wing-Pong was still maintaining the site in 2016. If he is still active, he will now be in his late 80’s. It’s unclear to us who currently maintains the site. Regardless, we are thrilled that this unusual, rather charming and Instagram friendly legacy continues for you to enjoy. Please let us know if you happen to meet Mr Wong Wing-Pong or the current curators and we can update our information.