Guan Gong

As I worked, editing MikeW’s memoirs this afternoon, I ran across these paragraphs.

“We also went to the Nghia An Guildhall, known for its beautiful wood carvings, which was dedicated to Guan Gong, also known as Guan Yu, the God of War.  Personally, I was more comfortable here than I was at the Thien Hau Temple. But then, that was just me.

“Guan Gong is the patron deity of policemen and prostitutes.  There were shrines dedicated to him in police stations and houses of ill-repute all over Hong Kong prior to the former British Crown Colony being returned to the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1997.   I do not know what it says about me, if, in fact, it says anything at all, but I have a statue of Guan Gong in my homes, in both Australia and Thailand, and I had one, for many years, standing at the center of a small shrine, on a shelf overlooking my desk at work.”

And I turned to look at the statue of Guan Gong overlooking my desk here at the White Wolf Mine (above). I thought to myself, of course, who doesn’t have a statue of Guan Gong?  My men gave this one to me years ago as a gift. It’s not a shrine. There are no joss sticks burning, there is no rice offering. And as I thought more on the subject, I like Mike, had statues of Guan Gong in my office at work, and at home. Nothing could be more natural.

My second daughter, Heather, took a photo of me for an art class at university. She has it framed in her office at home.  She calls it her Guan Gong.

MikeW and I have a lot in common.  We grew up in rural settings – MikeW in the Australian Outback and me in the American West. He was an officer in the Royal Australian Army and I was an officer in the US Navy. Both of us served in irregular warfare roles in our youth. Both of us lived intense lives in strange locations that became home to us in a way that can’t be completely defined.  We both gravitated to law enforcement occupations and dealt with issues in Asia.

Mike lives in semi-rural Thailand and I live in very rural Arizona. But the planet is very small. Is this an intersection of past lives that will intersect again? I take no position on the matter. What is, is.

And, we have shrines to Guan Gong in the way of police officers and whores.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Rural is good. Twenty years ago we traded big city for small town. Just in time, you might say, although we had *no idea* what was coming – of course. Now we’re settled in, and I never want to leave. Small trips, sure. Drive across the country, fine. Fly again… maybe not. Do I really need to renew my passport? I suppose I will, but see NO urgent need.

    Thanks for another thoughtful year Larry. God bless you and your family. And our country. We surely need Him.

  2. I like that black and white photo a lot. The candle being put out says it all. I can’t quite make out the dagger is it someone’s version of a Sykes Faibairn and if so I can’t help but think the Python should be a BHP instead.
    Bucket list for me for most would be strange I guess…finally getting the last parts to finish restoring my Bultaco Frontera370 while I’m still capable of bouncing it off of trees in the woods. Getting to shoot Sporting clays on a squad with legendary George Digweed and somehow making it to Fiji before I die.

  3. You two white boys with a Chinese god on or over your desks. Heh. I’m sitting here in my office (failing to work on a heart failure study that I’m behind on) and on this Chinaman’s desk is a handmade mug with the Finnish hannunvaakuna (St John’s Arms) on one side, and the word “Sisu” on the other. The other mug has a picture of Odin on it.

    It’s a funny world, innit?

    • The Chinese God is important but the office resembles the Imperial War Museum even with most of the good stuff stowed. I also have the Kukri from Nepal on the desk.

  4. Interesting God of War commonality. I don’t have one, oddly, but I do have a shrine of sorts on my office (kitchen) desk (countertop). Viz. A crucifix, American flag and an Our Lady of Walsingham prayer card. Sometimes pistols and knives have been known to find themselves on the desk. Hmmmm.

    Always liked the black and white pistol shot.

    • If you want a statue of Guan Gong, I’m sure that I can rustle one up. I don’t worship it any more than the statue of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Both are war trophies of a sort. There are war trophies all over the place, keepsakes from a bygone era.

  5. I really like the picture as well. It conveys volumes.
    I don’t have a desk, so my tools are on my belt and in my pockets.
    Blessed and happy new year to our host and all who visit here.
    Psalm 149:6-9 appears more relevant every day

  6. No statues, just pictures of steam locomotives in action I’ve taken over the years and a D&RG 2-8-8-2 Mallett dated 9/1952. Age 8, I got to ride in the cab of one from Tabernash to West Portal (Winter Park) and back.

    Desk drawer to my immediate right holds a K-Bar.

      • It seems that no matter where you go, you can find decent people, flaming idiots, and jerks. Who you hang out with should tell you a lot about what you look for, and what type of person you are. In some ways, you create the world you live in.

        • Nature, or nurture? I think both. But different kinds of people tend to gravitate toward each other. I like to think while you’re busy creating that world in which you live, others are busy helping you build it. I find that oddly comforting sometimes.

          • Tried telling my sons, when they were young, that people who only look out for #1 will try to take advantage of others, so you end up with a war of all against all. In a group where everyone looks out for each other, you have all the others around you helping you out as needed. Which sounds better: having everyone around you trying to rip you off, or having everyone around you helping you out/building you up.
            You never know how much a lesson sticks until later in life.

  7. Patron saint of policemen and prostitutes? Can’t wrap my head around the logic of it, but then again it’s the oriental way I guess. Happy New Year to all and to all a good night.

  8. 2023…never figured going into this year many things ‘out there’ would be so uncertain, save for God Himself. Living “out” as we do affords a modicum of buffer from the insanity, and it was intentional 22 years ago. 38 years ago I left a very nice area in Pennsylvania steeped in Colonial history to pursue the dream of living as we are now. I wanted to be HERE. MrsPaulM and I have carved out a life we love in a place we hope to never have to leave, simply making it happen…which is no different than most who love where they reside. In that, we are praying for God’s Providence over our seriously faltering Nation at the hands of people who think we work for them, and that He will be pursued by all those who fell into fear and loathing as a way of life. Sanity must return, otherwise…who knows. Maybe I need warrior statue on my desk…as a reminder to stay the course.

    Have a Happy New Years celebration everyone…and let’s plan for the best for our respective tribes in the coming year.

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