A man surnamed Wang, who was carrying Matsu — goddess of the sea — on a pious nine-day pilgrimage, grew fatigued and his feet were hurting, so he decided to steal a bicycle instead of continuing on foot. He placed the goddess in the bike’s basket and continued the procession, but Matsu, riding a stolen bike, may have decided not to bless Wang, who was arrested 6 hours after the bike was stolen.
The 47-year-old Wang has been convalescing at home for several years due to declining health, which has kept him from working as a mechanic at a body shop, so he was in charge of the household affairs and taking care of the kids, while his wife worked to put food on the table. Wang’s father had procured a Matsu goddess from a local temple, which was used for worship at home. Wang himself is also a devout Matsu follower.
Wang believes that if Matsu blesses him it will alleviate his ailments and return him to good health, so that is why he always goes on the Matsu pilgrimage. Every year he carries a pillow and blanket, with Matsu and her banner on his back, following the procession from Singang Township’s Fengtien Temple to visit temples along the way. For four years now, Wang has participated in every one of the Singang pilgrimages around Chiayi.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)