Tung Fuk, Wankers, and Fucking

Before you get huffy and shocked with what you deem my coarse language, calm yourself. Tung Fuk, Wankers Corner and Fucking are the names of communities I have visited in my travels.

In 1985 I was in Hong Kong. Typical of the city, the dormitory I stayed at was crammed with people. During one night some idiot kept turning the light on and off. My irritation was mollified by realizing that the jerk was me – the light switch was beside my jerking foot. For respite from the idiocy of dormitory mates and the clamor of Hong Kong, I fled to Lantau Island to spend quiet time near Po Lin monastery. This was in the days before the airport and bridge to the Island had been built. So it was a peaceful place.

At Po Lin the monks hit me up for donations for a planned giant statue of Buddah that was to built nearby (it’s there now). The monastery was too austere, so I stayed nearby at a Youth Hostel. But that was also grim, although cheap. The doors and gates were locked in the early evening and did not open until after breakfast – perhaps to persuade hostelers to do their assigned chores.

I was told at the Monastery that sunrise from Lantau Peak was a spiritual experience. I was keen to see for myself. I had enjoyed sunrises in many places, but none to date had been as glorious as those I enjoyed from the freezing lip of the 10,000-foot Haleakala crater on Maui, where I had lived for many years. But I am a life-long fan of dawn walks, and craving isolation during my quiet time respite, I decided to go see dawn from Lantau Peak.

I awoke at 4 am and clambered over the tall barbed wire fence around the locked Youth Hotel, ripping flesh. I followed the white stones and soil of the rough trail and winded, got to the top and waited, chilled in damp mist, until about 6 am. After a while the orb of early sun stained red the clouds and the aureole drew me away from the direction of the locked hostel and instead I wandered down the mountainside along rough trails, going who knows where?. I did not care. I ended up at the village of Tung Fuk (aka Tong Fuk). The delightful name and the 15 mile early-morning walkabout made worthwhile the whole morning’s wash-out of the promosed dawn spiritual experience. Anyway: walking alone in new place, blessed by the early sun, is all I normally need to refresh my spirit.

The Brits and British Colonials have their own fond and oft-used expression for jerks: wankers. Both words literally mean masturbators.  I once spent the summer prospecting in British Columbia and several of the young men working with me had been delighted to learn the word from me and use it. All the time, all summer. At the end of my last traverse which they had earlier  cut through the forest, I was greeted with an array of lath pickets festooned by a bunting of pink survey flagging tape, adorned with the felt pen greeting ” Ed – You are a Wanker. Thanks for the Great Summer!”. So it was with delight that a couple of years later saw a road sign on highway I-5 in Oregon for Wankers Corner. My wife at the time,  unfond of the word “wanker”, was not amused when we detoured so that I could cheerfully ask her to photograph me below the Wankers Corner sign in the village.

I traveled much in Bavaria and Austria with Angelika K~, a German girlfriend. We both delighted in finding oddities in the countryside around Munich, using excellent German Shell road maps that showed so much detail that I could predict upcoming curves in the road, pre-imagine topography and suggest to Angelika odd tortured routes for her to drive, where straight lines would have been more efficient. She had much patience with me and was up for most of these adventures, too. Anyway, we were both dedicted to non-linearity and serendipity. Later in our love-affair we did travel along a more or less linear route – the Pennine Way– but we did that backwards.

The village of Fucking was one of those detour oddities on our roads less traveled, whose unexpected discovery amused me uproariously. It’s the little boy in me, you see. Fucking was very amusing to people – the village had a problem keeping its roadside signs. To some, perhaps stealing a Fucking sign was a spiritual experience?

About Ed Medley

Ed Medley has been on a random walk for over 50 years. Many scribbles and snapshots at this site are from his vagabond transits; others are from his decades of international experience in geological and geotechnical engineering, academia, and mineral exploration prospecting.
This entry was posted in Olde History, Vagabond. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply