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Lunar New Year

How a Hong Kong temple is using technology and social media to connect with worshippers

Wong Tai Sin Temple ushers in the Lunar New Year with machines that can print out your fortune, as well as Facebook and Instagram promotions

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 10:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 12:05pm

One of the city’s busiest temples has taken to social media and technology to connect with young worshippers with large crowds expected during the Lunar New Year.

In a soft launch on Thursday, automatic fortune-telling booths will be rolled out at Wong Tai Sin Temple, allowing visitors to find out how they will fare in the Year of the Rooster.

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In the past, worshippers with a Kau Chim divination stick, acquired by shaking it out of a cylinder of 100 similar flat wooden rods, had to pay for a printout of the corresponding oracle from nearby vendors.

With the temple’s latest gadget, visitors can simply swipe the stick – each embedded with a radio-frequency identification tag – at an electronic scanner, and their fortunes will be printed.

Alternatively, users can download the temple’s mobile app and scan the QR code on the screen to retrieve the paperless information on their smartphones.

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Three booths with the free service will be situated at the temple in an initial trial phase.

But Or Wai-shun, director of Sik Sik Yuen – the Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian charity that manages the temple – said the service is only available in Chinese at the moment due to design.

Foreign visitors can still find their oracle interpretation in ­English if they log on to the ­temple’s website, he added.

Meanwhile Abbot Lee Yiu-fai, who is part of the management body, also revealed that special events will be held Friday night to usher in the new year.

From 9pm to 3am the next morning, the statue of Yue Lao, a Taoist mythological legend and god of marriage and love, will be opened to worshippers.

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Limited handicraft knots symbolising prosperity and good luck will be given to those who post a photo on the temple’s Facebook page or Instagram account, Sik Sik Yuen vice-chairman Leung Yu-wah said.

“Worshipping Yue Lao should not be limited to single people looking for partners – anyone wishing to have peace and prosperity is just as welcome,” he added.

Chairman Chan Tung reminded worshippers intending to present offerings at the stroke of midnight on Saturday – a popular tradition – may face a wait of 30 to 60 minutes to enter the temple. Doors will open at 9pm Friday.