Only five more days before the summer holidays ended. Jasmine imagined a wall chart with her name and a gold star for her history project. Everything had gone so well and had been so exciting. What were the last four letters of the secret message IHOPEYOUHADSOM? She couldn’t wait to find out.
Wong Tai Sin temple. One rush, one suck, one slobbery lick and they were there. Jasmine remembered TV shots of people at Chinese New Year rushing to place their joss sticks before Guanyin. Who was the Home Affairs chief this year?
Jasmine took some photos of an archway then held Gramps’s hand to pass two scary dragon statues and other Chinese zodiac animals. She noted the shrines of a land god, a healing god and a money god then read from her app: This Taoist temple became popular in 1915 when a Chinese medicine man opened a shop with an image of Wong Tai Sin and patients came to pray for good health.
Jasmine’s eyes watered from smoke swirling in the air from a bush of incense sticks. A monk beat a drum while chanting. Visitors lowered plates of fruit to the gods and bowed.
‘Where do you think the next clue is?’ asked Jasmine.
‘Over here,’ called an old woman kneeling on a puffy cushion shaking kau cim sticks.
Jasmine got a tumbler of sticks and shook them - number seventeen. She selected the fortune-poem of that number from a rack. A wrinkled fortune-teller with thick-rimmed glasses called from a nearby stall, ‘Is this your clue?’
Gramps shrugged. Jasmine pulled him towards the mysterious lady.
The clue was: A place between Statue Square and City Hall which honours the dead.
The next letter of the mystery message was E.
‘What? Another war memorial?’ said Jasmine.
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