A black sedan pulls up in front of a Seattle Chinatown ornamental building. Lester Louie and Chester Ling get out of the car. Paper Fan chauffeured them all the way from San Delfina. It was dark. The duo, not older than 21 years old, were fit into a pitch-black suit at least two sizes too large. Their sleeves reached past their wrists, and their jacket extended to their groin.
The ceremony was held in a dark room lit by candle fire in a basement. The ceremony master was dressed in beautiful handmade traditional clothing with red ornaments. He lit incense next to the large candles on an altar. And all the initiates in equally dark suits kneeled down all to the left of the altar. The triad members that vouched for them, such as Paper Fan, sat to the left and right of the altar, facing the aisle.
The ceremony was kicked off by the cutting of a live chicken’s throat, the blood caught in a vessel that was positioned on the altar. Each initiate came forward one by one to do the Hung poem. And as instructed by their mentors, recited the answers they rehearsed to the ceremony master. “Step forward. What brings you to the Hung gate?” — Lester steps forward. “To pledge allegiance to the Ming emperor and my brothers.” — “What have you brought as proof?” — “A poem. I climb the western tower in silence, the moon like a sickle. Clear autumn is locked in the deep courtyard, where a Wutong tree stands lonely. Sorrowful parting has cut, but not severed our ties; my mind is still wild.”
The initiates cross the gate to the right of the altar one by one. To become illuminated lanterns, they pass on the vessel with chicken blood and each nip from the platter. Their brotherhood is bound in blood.
Super Wok Explosion is a unique animated web-series about Chinese organized crime. The project is funded entirely by its audience. On this website, animator Tony Cheuk likes to share information about Asian organized crime—and world-building of the universe of the series, Chinese tongs and triads. If you're interested in learning more about the project, you can click here.