Gods Who Govern Exam Outcomes

Hui Ji Gong Temple, Taipei, Taiwan.

I went to Hui Ji Gong today. There, I saw another wen chang ge. There are wen chang ge in many temples but not in all. Wen chang ge is the hall in which the Gods who determine our fate in exams, any kind of exams, live. I don’t know how many Gods are overseeing this serious business. I looked it up last time. I remember it was five. But when I go to temples, I am confused, because sometimes there is only one dark-faced fellow being worshiped, other times there is a bunch. Considering  how many quizzes and tests my kids have, the Gods must be quite busy. 

Even in the smallest temples, wen chang ge is well-tended. Offerings of flowers and fruits are always there. 

The box in front of the Gods are always filled with copies of registration paper for exams. 

If you believe these Gods determine whether you make to the favorite school or not, college or not, then master or not, Ph.D or not, and whether you can indeed pass the civil service qualification exams and earn a secure job.., then you won’t take them lightly!

With clean hands, you light incense and humbly put them here.
You bow or kneel.

There was this special oil lamp section I haven’t seen elsewhere. The yellow sign read, “Lamp Lighting Area: Ph.D., Master, Special Exam, Promotion Exam, College Exam…” I have to ask someone whether you need to do both the incense and the lamp. But I guess one shouldn’t be shy when showing despair. Don’t we all want to pass the exams badly?

Oil lamp table. The pink slips have the examinees' names and exam dates.

You finish your silent wish and come out of the hall. There was a giant brush hanging from the ceiling. There was a legendary one which brought luck to people who touched it. That was lost. Now this replacement was hung very high and standing underneath one breathes in some of the luck it has absorbed over the years, hanging so closely to the Gods.

You need to remember the Gods after the exams. After all, how much you know played only a partial role in your exam.

Gratitude board where examinees returned to thank the Gods with donations from a couple of hundred Taiwan dollars to five-digit sums.

What do people do when they fail? I don’t actually know. But I will ask someone next time.


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