WELLNESS; Kau Chim and Jiaobei Blocks

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Chin Temple in Kowloon, Sha Tin is famed for it's many answered prayers. There is an Oblation Arcade along with an area where Taoist worshipers leave offerings and perform Kau Chim.

Kau Chim is the practice of fortune telling through Lottery Poem sticks or Jiaobei. A worshiper will seek solutions to questions or prayers before an altar at a Taoist Temple.

The prediction begins with the chim bucket containing the flat sticks. After someone has finished their devotions, they purify the cylinder by rotating it around an incense burner three times. They kneel in prayer, asking their question to the deity, either aloud or by whispering. Shaking the cylinder, which is usually tipped slightly downward, results in at least one stick leaving the cylinder and falling to the floor. In most cases, if multiple sticks leave the cylinder, those fortunes do not count and must be shaken again. Each stick, with its designated number, represents one answer.

When a single stick falls out, the number will correspond to one of the hundred written oracles with an answer on it. In most cases, to confirm the validity of the answer given by the deity, the person will pick up and toss two Jiaobei blocks.

Each block is round on one side and flat on the other. A successful answer requires one flat and one round side to be facing up. Much emphasis is placed on denial when both sides flat are tossed; some legends say when this happens, the deities are laughing at the worshipper. They have the option to ask for a fortune again until a successful answer can be made.

Following a successful fortune, further interpretation may still be needed. Answers can be interpreted by a temple priest or volunteers or can be self-interpreted by the worshipper. In many cases, an offering is made before the question is asked in order to carry good favour from the higher powers. These offerings typically consist of incense, fresh fruits, cakes, or monetary donations.

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Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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As we are all not traveling much, now would be a great time to share favourite travel, wellness, and food stories. We would love to include your best tales on this blog. If you would like to collaborate, please email us here at oldbagonaplane@gmail.com

Around this time each year, we would create a recap of all our best adventures from the year just passed. As this is 2021, and there were no adventures in 2020, here is a short video montage of all the things we did while we were not doing anything at all.