LEI-TAI TO SETTLE GRUDGES
Wu Wei Thien was pensive. He had beaten many cloth-making workers, but yet he had not hurt even a hair of Chiew Thien, his arch enemy. Hence, he could not say he had taken his revenge. He wanted to make more trouble so that the cloth-making workers would not recover at all.
Just then the Venerable Sam Tuck entered his room, and Wu Wei Thien told Sam Tuck his thoughts. Sam Tuck had more experience of life, and advised Wu Wei Thien not to press his enemy too much, or else the enemy might be like “a dog forced to jump over a wall” (which means ‘the enemy having no way to escape would go to the extreme). Then, grudges after grudges, there would be no end.
Wu Wei Thien was young. Hearing this, he accused Sam Tuck as being scared of big things, and said that he had made up his mind, and asked Sam Tuck not to glorify others’ ambitions and erase his own valour and courage.
Seeing that Wu Wei Thien was stubborn, Sam Tuck knew that big trouble would come. He “lowered his face” (i.e. became serious) and said.
“It is Buddhist philosophy to be generous, humane and compassionate. You are a Shaolin disciple (who should follow the Buddhist philosophy), at one time you killed thirteen people, which is already a big crime, yet you still want to hurt more people. If you still carry on thinking of this matter, I shall ask someone to inform our sifu, the Venerable Chee Seen, requesting him to apply our Shaolin rules to clear the house.”
Hearing the four words of “The Venerable Chee Seen”, the face of Wu Wei Thien immediately changed colour, and thanked Sam Tuck for his advice, requesting him not to mind his bad behavior.
Sam Tuck thought that would neutralize evil to become good, and continued to converse with Wu Wei Thien until late at night before going to sleep.
However, the next morning what Sam Tuck expected did happen. A monk reported to him that there was a big notice outside the temple wall. Sam Tuck, Wu Wei Thien and others went out to examine the notice. It read as follows.
“We, cloth-making workers of Kam Loon Thong (which means ‘Hall of Fine Cloth” and was the association for cloth-making workers) have some severe grudges with Wu Wei Thien. He insulted us, and killed and injured many of our workers. Such grudges hurt our heart. Such matters are not fair, and are there not righteous and chivalrous people in the world?
“Today, Sifu Ngow Fa Kow, seeing the sorrowful unfairness of the dead, has decided to help us. We have set up a lei-tai (i.e. a stage for kungfu combat) at the Water and Moon Stage of Lake of Spiritual Medicine to release the energy of grudges of the dead (i.e to take revenge). If Wu Wei Thien has any ability, he is invited in seven days’ time to the lei-tai to test his skills.
(Ngow Fa Kow did not teach kungfu to the workers of Kam Loon Thong, but he was addressed as “Sifu Ngow” because “Sifu”, followed by a person’s name, was a polite term to use for any person who was good at kungfu.)
“If Wu Wei Thien does not attend, he craves for life and is afraid of death. His so-called disciple of Shaolin is just a laughing stock. Regarding life or death, it is the will of heaven. It must not be used to grow other branches (i.e. have other matters). This notice is from the whole of Kam Loon Thong.”
("Craving for life and is afraid of death" is a contemptuous term.)
After reading the notice, Wu Wei Thien was furious, but he hid his anger. He said to Sam Tuck, “Siheng (i.e. elder brother in a kungfu family), now they have come, what is siheng’s view?”
As there was an attack on Shaolin in the notice, Sam Tuck said, “In this case, I don’t want to hinder you.”
They invited Leong Zhong, Cheah Fook and Li Yuk Loon to see the notice, and then discussed how to meet the attack. They were very angry.
Leong Zong suddenly said, “Ng Fa Kow is a student of our sisook (younger brother of one’s kungfu teacher) Foong Tou Tuck. His kungfu is not bad, Foong Tou Tuck and the Venerable Chee Seen came from the same source. Talking about relationship, Ngow Fa Kow is our kungfu brother. Why does he not consider our relationship and now helps Kam Loon Thong to ask Wu Wei Thien to meet at a lei-tai? I really cannot understand.”
Sam Tuck replied, “What don’t you understand. I have met Ngow Fa Kow a few times. His character is greedy, seeing money like his life. Now he helps Kam Loon Thong. Without saying, he has received much money from them.”
Wu Wei Thien banged a table and said, “If it is like what siheng has said, who is wrong is not us but Ngow Fa Kow. Even if he is killed, I don’t think our sifu will blame us. If we do not extinguish his energy and form, it won’t be demonstrating the honour and valour of Shaolin disciples.”
After a few days, the lei-tai had been erected, and cloth-making workers in the night posted another notice on the wall of West Zen Temple.
“The lei-tai is ready. If Wu Wei Thien is able, he should attend. Otherwise, he is not a good man, like a woman.”
Wu Wei Thien just smiled mildly. He spoke to Sam Tuck and the others, “Ngow Fa Kow has no eyes for anybody, as if he were a conquering king reborn. If I don’t show him some skills, the world will not know that we Shaolin disciples cannot be looked upon lightly. My sihengs, please help me in this task.”
Wong Kiew Kit,
10th January 2018, Sungai Petani