In a village in Sai Kung this year, the death of a stray dog during the Lunar New Year celebrations briefly revealed the gulf that has arisen between traditional village values and modern urban sensibilities. When Bogi, a three-year-old mongrel, wandered into a narrow gap between two ancestral halls, she got stuck there for four days and eventually died, despite cries from urban animal lovers to save her. For fung shui reasons, the gap was A-shaped - 23cm wide where Bogi entered and 13cm wide at the exit - and the dog ended up trapped 3 metres from the exit. Volunteers and members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) spent four days trying to reach the dog, but to no avail. On the fourth day, a veterinarian fired a tranquiliser dart into Bogi and firemen pulled her out. She was sent to the SPCA for a checkup but was declared dead upon arrival. Bogi's death angered many. During the four-day ordeal, a lot of people had asked the villagers to knock down the halls or part of the walls to set the dog free. Their requests were met by firm refusals from the villagers. Echoing the sentiments of many urbanites and animal lovers, university student Mikko Wong Wan-ting, 22, says: 'It's a life, and the ancestral halls are just objects. I'm not saying we had to knock them down, but they could have done something instead of just stand there and watch a life suffer so much.' However, according to one villager, it was futile for outsiders to expect superstitious villagers to start knocking down ancestral walls or knocking holes in them in order to save a dog. Chu Tai-wa, a resident in Sai Kung and a former village resident, explains that ancestral halls are second only to human lives in villagers' eyes. 'Knocking or cracking down the ancestral halls are almost equivalent to destroying their ancestors' graves,' he says. 'Even trees and rocks in the village are not to be removed or destroyed,' he said, so as not to affect the fung shui of the area. Furthermore, despite the traditional Chinese belief that any death during Lunar New Year is bad luck, Mr Chu says that, for the villagers, Bogi's death was an animal sacrifice. 'They won't see this as a sign of bad luck. They are more likely to thank the gods that the animal was sacrificed to protect them from bad luck,' he says. Another difference between urban and rural Hong Kong mindsets is that in the villages, says Mr Chu, dogs are seen much as poultry and not as pets. Most dogs are bred and raised to be eaten, like chicken, he says. 'A lot of the villagers just let the dogs breed freely, as they do with chickens. They eat the dogs in the end to keep the numbers down ... instead of what urban people do [de-sexing the animal] ... So, to the villagers, the death of a dog during the Lunar New Year is like losing a chicken.' Denny Ho Kwok-leung, an associate professor of applied social sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, points out that maintaining the ancestral halls in good condition is about more than simply maintaining good village fung shui. 'If nothing happens to the ancestral halls, and they're in good shape, no one will complain or have anything to say, but if a hole is bored in the ancestral halls and anything unlucky or bad happens in the village during the year, the person responsible will be blamed and it will cause all sorts of conflict. 'Ancestral halls are not only places where ancestors are worshipped. They represent the village's pride, and villages keep an eye on each other's ancestral halls,' he says. 'If anything happens to the halls, they feel like they're losing face.' No one, Dr Ho says, would dare take responsibility for moving anything in the ancestral halls. Not even for a suffering little dog.