Thursday, December 29, 2022

God of Gamblers - Er Ger Fong Temple (二哥豐廟) @ Bangkok Chinatown in Thailand

Any foreigners would avoid visiting a police station when they are overseas as it either means they have broken the law, lost something or gotten into a fight. My visit to this particular police station in
Bangkok is not for any of the aforementioned reasons; in actual fact, it's for a religious purpose. 

To pray at Er Ger Fong Temple; while of Chinese ethnicity, the patron deity, Er Ger Fong (real name, Zheng Yi Fong) was borne in Samut Prakan near Bangkok and influential amongst the triads and government. The first person to be granted a gambling license in Thailand, Er Ger Fong also gained reputation as the Southeast Asia's god of gamblers; hence attracting devotees who are keen to gain wealth and fortune. 

Since it was my first time, I stupidly walked to the reception of the police station and requested for directions. The policeman on duty was well aware of such requests and directed me to the back door that led to the carpark and then up a flight of stairs.

That eventually brought us to the lift lobby. There's another route that would not disturb the busy police man / woman and I would share with you at the end of this post.

Lift buttons' condition was appalling! If I have such buttons at my workplace, I could imagine the amount of feedback I would have received in my mailbox. Anyway, I thought Thais usually avoid the number 13 due to superstition? 

Chinese avoids the number 4.
And here we are, the 4th floor.

Destination; 二哥豐廟. This strangely located temple was said to be well known amongst Malaysians and Singaporeans. I first heard about it from the Great Kon and the saying is that anyone who prays there, sincerely, would win lotteries like 4D. 

For a temple to have such regional outreach, I would have expected something of a grander scale. The reality is that the temple proper only took up a corner on what appeared to be the mid level roof of the police station.

At the entrance near the lift lobby would be a few tables decked out with amulets and trays of offerings you can purchase to honor the legendary man said to pass away in 1935.

Thais are quite obsessed with amulets; to the extent that there's a thriving amulet market right here in Thailand's capital! On Carousell Singapore, a er ger fong amulet was priced at almost S$300! 

Even though I enjoy visiting temples, you hardly see me buying the incense and offerings. However, my luck has been terrible in the year of tiger and I think I would make do with the 120 baht offering; not exactly sure the difference with the 160 baht one. 

Not sure what to do with the offerings? Just follow this guide who would collect the money for the offerings and teach you how to pray, where to put the offerings and what to do.

Let's start by praying at the main temple!

Light up the candles, which was difficult as there was an unusual strong wind that day and although I managed to light both candles, the fire didn't sustain much longer under the weather.

That whole bunch of incense sticks would need to be lighted up too and the first five sticks would go to this small altar that translated into "parents of heaven and earth" which sounded strange as it would have appeared to honor nature like Mother Gaia. 

Nine sticks for the main incense urn right in front the temple.

One stick for this incense urn flanking the main entrance of the temple.

Three sticks for the Buddha statue on the side.

Five sticks for the spirit house.

And the last give sticks of incense at another spirit house next door that was bigger and flanked by two elephant statues. There wasn't any explanation for me to understand what I was praying to.

Apartments that continued after level four. Given the close proximity, I wondered if residents would complain about the noise from devotees, especially those who are so obsessed over gambling; I bet the shouts for "huat ah" would be constantly heard. 

Now back to the temple again; we were only done with the bunch incense sticks. Remember there would still be the remaining tray of offerings?

Remaining items; cigarettes, betel nuts (I think), bottle of  altar oil, garland of flowers, and two cups containing coffee and tea. 

Stepping into the compound with the main altar, where the god of gamblers was immortalized with a life-sized golden statue flanked with ivory.  

Placing the flowers over the golden hands of Er Ger Fong.
Rubbed the hand for extra luck. 

Lighting up the old school cigarettes and placed them on a mini pedestal on the altar. As a former smoker, I wonder how this kind of cigarettes would taste like.

Using this worn out, ancient wooden cane, hit the bell and drum! Frankly, I don't understand the rituals but it's hard to ask with the language barrier. 

What to do with the bottle of altar oil?

Empty it into the oil lamps! 
Be mindful not to extinguish the fire.

From the ecological point of view, it's a waste to throw away the candles that still appeared pretty unburnt. I don't get incense sticks too sometimes; once there were too many, the temple workers would usually just throw them away, as with the case at Singapore's most famous Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. 

Coffee and tea can be left on the stone table in front of the main temple.

This panel, written mainly in Chinese, teaches devotees on the chant to request wealth from Er Ger Fong; it included some Buddhist references, like referring to Er Ger Fong as a Bodhisattva. Frankly, I am not requesting for wealth; I am just asking for happiness as it has been a depressing year for me.

Pictures showing the temple designs; including the use of colorful tiles delicately cemented to form into beautiful dragons and flowers.

Photograph of the patron deity, Mr Er Ger Fong, also known as the god of gamblers. Why was his temple located within a police station? Reason being it was built with his donations and it was said that every policeman/woman assigned to the police station, regardless of religion, must make an offering at this temple within three months. 

Despite his contributions in Thailand, he wasn't buried in the City of Angels. His body was sent back to China for burial, as was the case for most Chinese back then, given the strong affinity and bond they have with their homeland. You may read more about Er Ger Feng here

Last look of the apartments before we took our leave. For those who are asking if I win any lottery, I don't actively buy upon my return to Singapore but my aim then was to pray for wellbeing, rather than wealth. A few friends supposedly win lottery every time they pray at 
Er Ger Feng though. 


447 Phlap Phla Chai Rd, Pom Prap, 
Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand

As above. 

How To Find The Temple
Nearest MRT station is Wat Mangkon which was just about 250 meters walk away. And once you reach the Phlapphla Chai 2 Metropolitan Police Station, go further down and go in via the carpark entrance.

Turn right after you got into the carpark and eventually you would come to this staircase in the middle, in between the washrooms.

Walk up and you would reach the lift landing.
Take the lift to level 4. 

Additional Information
I exited from the carpark and decided to walk further north in search of some food; going south would mean going back to Wat Mangkon MRT station

A line of stalls selling offerings specifically for Er Ger Fong Temple (二哥豐廟)! I thought the location was a bit strange as I would have totally missed out the stalls, thinking they were selling offerings for another temple (quite a few in the vicinity).

Compared to the offerings on sale at the temple, you get a lot more variety here, including gigantic candles, and portraits of the god of gamblers. 

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