Saint Long Wei, 龙尾圣王
During the last years of the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty in China, various rebel groups rose to challenge Mongol rule over China. One of the most prominent groups was the Red Turbans, 红军, named after their headdress or Incense Army, 香军.
As the Red Turban movement grew, they were also torn by internal rivalries. One of the leaders, Chen You Liang, 陈友谅, murdered his allies and declared himself Emperor of Great Han,大汉, in 1358.
Despite his proclaiming of a dynasty, Chen You Liang’s power was far from secured. There were other rivals; the most prominent being Zhu Yuan Zhang, 朱元璋.
Chen You Liang who was assisted by his military strategist He Ye Yun, 何野云, had to work on overthrowing the Mongols while defending themselves from rival movements.
In 1363, Chen You Liang and Zhu Yuan Zhang finally met in battle. After rounds of fighting, Zhu Yuan Zhang emerged the victor while Chen You Liang died of an arrow wound. Zhu Yuan Zhang eventually founded the Ming dynasty in 1368 and is often associated with using moon cakes to overthrow the Mongols.
Journey to Teochew
After the defeat of Chen You Liang, He Ye Yun fled to the Teochew area in the south and changed his name to avoid capture.
Despite his difficult circumstances, he helped people in the Teochew region by serving as a physician and geomancer. He lived in poverty and was often seen wearing a flea infested shirt earning him the nickname, flea immortal, 虱母仙.
He Ye Yun managed to evaded capture and eventually passed away in Teochew area. By the time of his passing, he was already a well respect man and the Teochews built a temple in his memory and worshipped him as Lord Long Wei or Saint Long Wei, 龙尾圣王. His wife is also worshipped in the temple as Lady Long Wei, 龙尾夫人.
Saint Long Wei, 龙尾圣王
Saint Long Wei temples became a feature of Teochew culture and as Teochews migrated overseas, temples in memory of Saint Long Wei was constructed and served as the focus point of Teochew social life.
Meanwhile, the Saint Long Wei’s temples in Teochew also become a reunion center for Teochew Diasporas around the world.
He Ye Yun might have failed in his attempt to build an empire for Chen You Liang but his contribution to society and his deeds survived the Ming dynasty and are still celebrated to this day.