Saturday, September 1, 2018

Tangki And Angel (乩童与天使)

I am pretty sure no one has done this type of experiment that I am going to tell you. This is something pretty new and only crazy people will do it...

Whenever I am free, I will visit those small Taoist shrines just to watch 'tangki' (Taoist spirit mediums) in action. I have nothing against mediums but I surely will not try to be one.

My friend, Ah Pek is a tangki for the 'third prince of dragon king' (龙王三太子) and his shrine is located near my old house in Taiping. If I am not too busy or when Ah Pek is not preparing for any functions; I will just drop by to chat and have a cup of tea in his shrine.

Ah Pek's shrine has at least 40-50 idols with various facial expressions. In addition, Ah Pek is also particularly proud of his 5-legionnaire armies (五营兵) too.

One night, as usual I visited Ah Pek's shrine and he was busy serving his visitors. On one busy night, there can be up to 30 people or so seeking Ah Pek's help. His services are all encompassing: from Feng Shui to exorcism to lucky number prediction.

It was around 11pm when the last visitor left. I helped Ah Pek to clean up his place and after that we sat on stools to take a rest and enjoying a cup of hot tea.

"Who is more powerful? Taoist deities or the 'Ang Moh' (foreigner) angels?" Ah Pek suddenly asked out of the blue.

I scratched my head and reluctantly said: "God knows? No one has tried such comparison before..."

Ah Pek pursued: "Must be our Taoist deities... Look! I have so many deities with me, the armies and the third prince can even possess me to give me invulnerability... I know you know some Ang Moh magic. Care to let me have a look?"

Frankly, Ah Pek has put me in a very embarrassed situation because if I showed my submissiveness to Ah Pek, I would be compromising the oaths that I took under Master Ishab: there is no god but one God. I just don't want to offend any side.

So I tactfully said: "It is not fair for me to judge Ah Pek as I am only half-cooked! But we can do some experiments..."

Ah Pek is a straightforward old man, he foolhardily challenged me to show an angel in front of him. He thought summoning an angel is as simple as calling the third prince.

After some challenges, I finally said: "Well, Ah Pek, I can try but I am not the boss. I can only pray..."

I looked around and asked for 3 pieces of white candles, some benzoin resins replacing frankincense and some charcoal from Ah Pek. When all set, I started a bonfire knelt down and prayed to God to send an angel for Ah Pek.

After praying for 10 minutes or so nothing happened still. So, I decided to end the prayer session and thanked God.

Ah Pek laughed sarcastically: "Not even a breeze... I think you better learn our Chinese's way of how to be a tangki from me. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

I stood up and shrugged. Since it was already 1am, I decided to leave. Before I was able to step out of Ah Pek's shrine, strong wind started to blow and rain begun to fall as well. Suddenly a gust of strong wind lifted the zinc roof of the shrine to sky high and it landed about 10 meters away. Almost instantly the shrine became soaking wet.

There was nothing we could do but to run to the nearest shop lots to seek shelter.

The rain continued to pour, and I suggested to send Ah Pek back and only to return next morning for damage assessment. He agreed and we returned home.

We returned to the shrine early next morning, Ah Pek's shrine was 80% destroyed. The deity statues were scattered on the floor.

It took local community 3 months to collect donations to repair Ah Pek's shrine. 

I visited Ah Pek many times after the new shrine was officiated. Every time Ah Pek would complaint that his patron god, the third prince has not been very responsive since the destruction of his shrine. Many times he even has to pretend that he was possessed by gods because he didn't want to disappoint the visitors.

Once Ah Pek pulled me aside and asked: "Has his problems anything to do with your ritual that day?"

I could only jokingly said: "God? Are you serious? All are just coincidence!"

I have to put a stop here as Ah Pek's problems continued until much later time... Was that the work of God or coincidence. I let you be the judge. After all, no one sees anything unusual that night.


  1. Mr. Liew,

    By this experience and statement, one question brings into mind, does this means that the 'Ang Moh' (Western Abrahamic) angels and the magic/magick that corresponds to them are more powerful than Taoist magic?

    Another question to bring up is since the Supreme Deity God is worshiped acrossed all cultures, but goes by different names, like wise the Almighty God Jade Emperor or called Tian (Heaven), Shang-Di (Highest Deity), and his primordial emanations The Three Pure Ones (San-Qing) in the Taoist Tradition, and the correlations to the Abrahamic God who is called Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Jesus, etc... . I thought that there is no discriminatory or religious barriers. In light of this, I believed that the Jade Emperor and the Abrahamic God are the same God, but different names due to cultures, traditions, and beliefs of those different areas. Please clarify Mr. Liew.

    Much appreciation,


    1. Denny,

      It is through experience that the Western Abrahamic magic is more powerful than the Taoist magic.

      To understand this comparison, we need to look into the root of each tradition.

      The supreme deity is each system of belief is different unfortunately:

      Almighty God - Is the God in Bible and the Quran. He is the master of all being and He has no form.

      Jade Emperor - A Taoist deity but said to be a star in constellation.

      3 pure ones - 3 Taoist masters only one is said to be Loozi 老子, the other 2 are fable characters.

      Jesus - Should not be treated as God. This is the difference between Christian and Islam. In Islam, Jesus is only a prophet and it is forbidden to treat him as God.

      Since most of Taoist supreme deities are fables, some are taken from Buddhism and Hinduism, and most spirits are from ancestral worships; it is fair to say that Taoists spirits are mostly ghosts.