Miu Gok Yuen Nunnery and Martyr’s Grave, Fung Kat Heung
I mentioned the 6-day war tour I did recently on this post. The culmination of the tour was supposed to be a visit to the mass grave discussed in Dr Hase’s book. The grave holds the bodies of what is believed to be at least 100 bodies of Kam Tin villagers who were killed by British troops during the so-called six-day war. Unfortunately for us – and everyone else for that matter – recent events have occurred that meant the site was inaccessible.
Miu Gok Yuen (Wonderful Enlightenment Garden) is a small estate located at 136 Fung Kat Heung on the western edge of Kai Kung Leng (a mountain that forms the northern border of Kam Tin near to Yuen Long). As a matter of fact the nunnery is a relatively recent addition to the area, built in 1936 – 37 years after the grave was built and filled with the bodies of the dead. But why such a big time gap?
Well, when the grave was first built in 1899 there were still enough relatives of the dead around to fulfill the important ancestral worship duties expected of a dutiful and respectful villager. As time wore on though fewer and fewer people remained and a decision was taken to get some more permanent help.
In a deal struck between the Kam Tin Tang Clan and some nuns, the villagers built the nunnery in return for the nuns’ services in attending to the grave and fulfilling the expected rituals.. And so it was for many many years…until just very recently.
Sadly, of the nuns at the nunnery (which also served as an old peoples’ home) they had got so old and succumbed to the inevitable march of time and only last year (2010) Dr Hase had mentioned that there was a single remaining nonagenarian nun still taking care of the grave. However, recently she was taken ill and had to be moved to a nearby hospital for care and the nunnery has been ‘temporarily’ shutdown whilst its fate is decided.
Well, given that this place has an important historical artifact on its grounds then I am quite optimistic that the area will be preserved, but this is HK so anything can happen, even graves can be moved. However, unless the place manages to get some more volunteer nuns (or anyone for that matter) I have no idea what will happen – there’s gonna be several hundred souls needing nourishment come the hungry ghost festival if something can’t be sorted out.
Sadly, this was the closest we could get.
The grave measures 15M in diameter, pretty big.
If the grave looks surprisingly well kept (it is over 100 years old after all) that’s because the local villagers became very patriotic in the run up the the 1997 handover and had the whole thing repointed and repainted in a hope of currying some sort of favour with the imminent return to the motherland. As it was no one gave a fig about it and actually this is a great shame because it’s really something that shouldn’t be forgotten.