Hung Shing (Chinese: 洪聖), also known as Hung Shing Ye (洪聖爺) and Tai Wong (大王), was a government official in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) named Hung Hei (洪熙) serving Pun Yue in present-day Guangdong, China.
Life and memory
Hung Hei was a righteous government official who won approbation from the people. During his tenure in office, he promoted the study and application of astronomy, geography and mathematics, and established an observatory to observe the meteorological changes, thus contributing to the well being of people under his governance, especially fishermen and sea traders. Unfortunately, he died young.
After his death, an Emperor of the Tang Dynasty disseminated his virtues to the whole country and bestowed upon him the posthumous title of Nam Hoi Kwong Li Hung Shing Tai Wong (南海廣利洪聖大王), lit. the Saint King Hung the Widely Beneficial of South Sea. It is usually shortened to Hung Shing or Tai Wong.
Legend has it that Hung Shing continued to guard the people against natural disasters on numerous occasions after his death, and showed his presence to save many people during tempests. The government as well as fishermen in the surrounding area built many temples to worship him as the God of Southern Sea. Hung Shing temples have been widely built in southern China, especially Guangdong province and in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, they are named Hung Shing Miu (洪聖廟) or Tai Wong Miu (大王廟).