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Koh Chong Hock and the kicking leg March 26, 2007

Posted by firet in Columnist.
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Kok Chong Hock was born in the Tang Dynasty at Hokkien Province Nan Ann Perfecture, Shi Shan Village, around 923 AD Lunar 2.22 into a poor farmer family.

His father was Kok Liang and was born in 899 AD 2.9.  In 922, he married LIm Siok Niang, and who later give birth to Koh Chong Hock.   Kok Liang died in 929 AD, when he was just 31.

Lim Siok Niang was born in 904 AD,  and got married to Kok Liang at the age of 18.  She died at an old age of 72 on AD 976.

When Chock Hock was young,  in order to find more food for the family, the Kok family went to nearby Anxi Perfecture Kim Ku Village to work as a manual worker for a certain Yeo Chang Jer

When Kok Liang died,  Chong Hock could not find enough money to bury him. So he burnt the corpse into ashes and put into a can and kept inside his hut.

In the meantime he sold himself for 3 years to work in Yeo Chang Jer family, to shepherd the sheep.  But as he received very low wages, the money was still not enough to conduct a decent burial for his father.  Because of this, Chong Hock used to cry silently.


Kok sold himself as a shepherd for 3 years to bury his father

At that time Yeo Chang Jer was the village most wealthy man, and he has a private teacher to teach his children.  Whenever Chong Hock passed by the window, he would listened and digested the words he hear, and he could recite them later.  The teacher was surprised at Chong Hock’s intelligence and willingness to learn, and treated him as a special child.

Whenever Chong Hock was free of his shepherding duties, he would serve tea and food to the teacher and attended to him.  The teacher was touched and taught Chong Hock how to read and write.

Incidentally, the teacher was also an expert in fengshui, and was also engaged by Yeo Chang Jer to find a good burial spot for Yeo.

The teacher has studied the Dragon Chi, and based on his analysis, the Dragon Chi flow from Yong Chun to Anxi into a centipede like area. The teeth of the centipede area was a perfect  burial spot, and the descendents of the person buried there would either become successful in business or become enlightened.  And surprisingly the so call teeth of the centipede area was actually in the enclosure of the shepherd area of Chong Hock.


Centipede like Dragon Chi

However the teacher felt that Yeo Chang Jer was not suitable for the area as he did not have the “Hock”, and his wife was too stinky, and the only person he felt with the “Hock Qi” was Chong Hock as he wa filial and loyal.  He felt that if Chong Hock asked Yeo directly for the shepherd ground for burial, Yeo would not agree.

So the teacher taught Chong Hock to cry with all his heart in front of Yeo and ask for the shepherd enclosure to bury his father in order to fulfil his fililal duties as a son.  Yeo was indeed touched by Chong Hock’s filial piety, and consented to his request.  So Chong Hock could now took the can of ashes, and following the instructions of the teacher, mixed the ashes with waster, poured it an area of the shepherd enclosure,

let the water + ashes soaked in and then used the earth to made a small mount. 

This is the now famous Kok’s Ancestral Grave.

After Kok managed to bury his father, he took leave from Yeo, and brought his mother back to their native village. (Because of Yeo’s kindness in donating the land for burial, Yeo was buried next to the parents of Kok in the shepherd area.  All those who came to pay respects to Kok’s Ancestral Grave should pay respect to the grave of Yeo Chang Jer first.

Back to his native village, Kok and his mother continued to live a hard wife working as manual workers and shepherding.  Sometimes the boss would give Kok some food, but Kok would also bring home the food to share with his mother.  Every day he would rush home after work to look after his mother.  As a result, everyone throughout the village heard of his filial piety.

One day on 8.22, on the year 938, when Chong Hock was 16 years old, he went with a group of children to a hill to collect firewood.  Suddenly he saw a very tall tree with many bare branches. Chong Hock told his friends,  “I am going to climb the tree to break the branches.    His friends saw the tree was very tall and there was no Y structure for support to climb, and so told Chong Hock, “If you can really climb up the tree, what firewood we collect today, we will pass all to your family.  Chong Hock took the challenge and in no time, climbed up on top of the tree. In the middle, there was a thick vine creeper,  coiling around the tree branch like a seat, so Chong Hock sat there to  rest.  And the time came ……

“Go, my friends.  Go, pick up the wood, and carry to my house.  Tell my mother to hurry, and bring a gourd and a book quick.”

Chong Hock’s friends immediately ran to inform his mother.  However, they did not understand his request, so they informed his mother that he want his mother to bring a pig and a cow to the big tree at the hill.

Chong Hock’s mother knew her son never ask for anything that he doesn’t need, and it must be for some special request. So she took a cow and a pig and dragged them to the hill.  The cow was obedient, but the pig ran here and there, and it took her quite some time to reach the tree.

There, she saw her son face was red, the eyes was expressionless, and was sitting  on the creeper vine at the top of the tree. When she saw this, she started to cry.

She went closer and saw his head inclining down and sitting cross legged.  She pull his left land down, straighten his head, and say,”  You have big mouth to eat everywhere, and please look with big eyes as far as possible.”.


Kok’s mother pulled his leg down

Chong Hock was a filial son, and he remembered.  That is why in today’s statue of Kok Chong Hock,  his big round eyes would stare in front, with a big mouth and his left leg hanging down, just like the position he sat more than 1000 years ago on that tree.


Guang Ze Zhuan Wang’s Statue

The villagers were sadden by Chong Hock’s  death, and touched by his filiality in the past, so they built a shrine on the spot that Chong Hock sat down and died, and called it Kok Hill Temple. The Hill was also named Kok Hill.  Kok Hill was later named as Feng Shan (meaning Feng Hill) and the temple renamed as Fengshan Temple

When Chong Hock’s mother died later, they moved her body next to her husband in Anxi perfecture.


There were many miracles attributed to Chong Hock in the later years, and he was awarded many titles by later emperors, including the title Guang Ze Zhuan Wang.

In particular, it was said that those who prayed to Guang Ze Zhuan Wang for their parents would get their wishes fulfilled more easily.

However I would like to reference one poem in particular, found at a small temple near the Kok ancestral grave, written by a Ching Dynasty Scholar Tan  Poh Chan in 1855:

In Chinese :


Which can be translated thus:

Kok Shen Ong was but an innocent child,

He once sat on a vine creeper and realized his fate

His mother came and pulled down one leg

For generations kicking all the disobedient unfilial people

This I think is Guang Ze Zhuan Wang’s main message for us.



Main sources:

Kok Chong Hock – Published by Singaopre Nan Ann Assocation Fengshan Temple

Pictures from : Nan Ann Feng Shan Tours http://www.nafs-tour.com/fhtml/about.htm