I’ve recently become a master in Goki Feng Ho, the ancient Chinese art of decoding license plates. It has, you can imagine, changed my life dramatically and for the better.
Like most practitioners, I’ve always had this suspicion that there’s more to life. That we can’t be mere random collections of molecules with no higher purpose than figuring out how not to soil ourselves while we keep our bodies running as long as possible. Such a view has always seemed too arbitrary to me. So, ever since I was a child, whenever I saw my initials – or part of my date of birth – pop up on a car license plate, I’d get that uneasy feeling. As if there was something I needed to do, or that I was supposed to realize. As if someone was sending me coded messages. Even at a very young age, I understood that something like Goki Feng Ho must exist, and that I was drawn to it like a moth to a particularly nice lady moth.
So, I was both surprised and not-really-all-that-surprised when a friend gave me this book on Goki Feng Ho. I started reading and became hooked. Even the relatively scarce historical background was interesting to me on so many levels. Although much is lost about how Goki Feng Ho first came to the west, the stories about its initial discoverer, master Hung Lee, survive, and I dare say they’d constitute fascinating reading for even the hardened skeptic.
From the early days of receiving his gift in the mail (though some claim he received it in a dream) to his struggles to find disciples to whom to pass it down, Hung Lee’s story is a heartwarming one. Obviously his life was made particularly challenging by the absence of license plates, or even cars, at the time. I have found no record of what the first Goki Feng Hoos practiced and honed their skills on, but I assume they invented plates for each other to decode, or borrowed some from the Germans.
At the time, though, Chinese mystics were known to keep their gifts a secret, passing them down only to family members. Lee broke this mold when he became the first mystic to offer up his gift to the general public. But even then, the story goes, he had trouble finding anyone who was remotely interested. There are parables of Lee raffling off free Kindles and iPods among his disciples, but, again, he was too far ahead of his time. No one understood what he was talking about. He finally found a handful of willing participants at a local mental hospital, after raffling off a small pig and some sticks. And even though he lived to be a hundred and fifty, it is said he never managed to earn those back.
You can read the continuing adventures of decoding the ancient Chinese art of Goki Feng Ho on Graham’s blog. And if you haven’t yet read No Hope for Gomez! you really should check it out. It’s one of the most delightfully odd books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.