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Albert Kawasi

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Nov 3, 2003

The Story of Wu Fei

We really can't talk about the early migration without going into the exodus from Nanxiong (íZíZíZíZíZíZ). And we can't talk about the exodus from Nanxiong without telling the story of Wu Fei (íZíZíňíZíZ).

However, there are more than one version of the story.

The first is that one of the emperor's concubines, Wu Fei, went missing. A country-wide search was mounted. Nanxiong being so far away from the capital that rumours preceded the royal edict. One of these rumours triggered the exodus. What was the rumour? It was that the emperor had find out the whereabout of Wu Fei. She was hiding in Nanxiong and the angry emperor's army was on its way to recapture her and slaughter the entire town for giving her shelter.

Another was that in 1272 Wu Fei, one of the emperor's concubines, sneaked out of the palace to escape from being prosecuted by Jia Si-tao (Ŕ│íZń╝╝ÚíZíZ), the prime minister. Once outside, she by chance, met Wong Chu Man (Ú╗íZŔ▓»ŔíZíZ), a merchant, by the water in Hangzhou (íZíZşňíZíZ). Together they returned to Wong's hometown, Nanxiong and lived in Zhuji Lane. Before long, Jia Si-tao got wind of her whereabout and dispatched his private guards to massacre the entire population living on Zhuji Lane. This precipitated an exodus. Meanwhile, Wu Fei, in her effort to save the others, drowned herself in a well.

The third version has more detail than the other two. In September 1272 Jia Si-tao was in charge of making an official offering at the temple. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Jia visited the Gain-Ling Palace (íZíZ»ÚíZíZň«íZ). It started to rain heavily just as he was ready to leave. So Jia decided to wait it out. However, he did ordered Wu Fei's brother Wu Hin Ju (íZíZíÚí»šąíZ) to return to the imperial palace first with the ceremonial utensils and the royal carriage.

The emperor inquired about Jia. Wu replied that Jia would be delayed. Jia took this as meddling by the emperor and became extremely upset, enough for him to resign. To pacify Jia and to get him to retract his resignation, Wu was dismissed and his sister, Wu Fei, was forced to leave the palace and become a nun.

Wu Fei's son also left the palace and moved to Zhuji Lane in Nanxiong. Some time later because the Queen was childless and Wu Fei's son was named heir-designated to the throne. As the birth-mother of the heir-designated Wu Fay would be living in the palace once again.

A royal garrison was dispatched to escort her back. However, it was mistakenly rumoured that the garrison was to search and kill Wu Fei and the residents in the neighbourhood. Out of fear for their lives, the residents of Zhuji Lane fled southward into the Pearl River delta, Guangzhou (ň╗íZíZíZ).

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