Lum Sai Ho Tong History
Tin Hau Sung Mu
Tin Hau, also referred to as Tin Hau Sung Mu, Matsu, or Ku Po (Great Grand Aunt), was born on the 23rd day of the third month of the lunar calendar. She was born a Lum maiden, the sixth daughter of Lum Yuen, an official of Poo Tin County, Fukien Province. Tin Hau was noted for her unselfishness and for her remarkable intelligence. She was hailed as a young lady who was always willing to help others in need. Legend tells us that once, during a severe storm, she dived without hesitation to rescue her father from drowning and valiantly tried to rescue her brothers. Her devotion to family and her bravery were known and admired throughout the village. Tin Hau however died at a young age, in her twenties. Legend tells us that even after her death, she would appear to seafarers during heavy storms guiding them to safety. Hence she is known and revered as the "Goddess of the Seas". The successive courts of the Sung Dynasty and all subsequent dynasties in China noticed Tin Hau's deeds. In all they had bestowed upon her 22 official or imperial titles, the last being "Holy Mother of Heaven".
The original ancestor of the Lum clan was Minister Bi Gan (aka Pi Kan), who was born over 3,000 years ago. A direct descendent of Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor, Bi Gan served in the court of King Tzou, his nephew, during the declining years of the Shang Dynasty. Bi Gan was one of the King's three closest and trusted advisors. King Tzou was described as a cruel and tyrannical ruler. There was great concern about unrest and rumors of rebellion. Several of King Tzou's advisors, fearing for their lives, left the court. Bi Gan was an honest statesman, known for his courage and forthrightness. He continued to serve King Tzou and tried to persuade him to mend his ways. For that, King Tzou ordered Bi Gan be killed on the spot and his heart ripped out and examined. Unsatisfied, King Tzou ordered the execution of all related to Bi Gan. Bi Gan's wife, who was expecting a child, fled to a stone house in the forest near a spring of water. There a son was born. He was named Lin Chien, ("Lin" meaning forest and "Chien" meaning spring of water). All descendants took the name Lin as their surname. The Lin family name is also spelled as Lum, Lam, Lem, and Lim.
Beginnings of Lum Sai Ho Tong Hawai'i
The Chinese started coming to Hawai'i in the early 1800s but it wasn't until the mid-1800s that large numbers started to come to work in the sugar plantations. Many years had passed before a group of men decided it would be of mutual benefit to form an association of individuals bearing the surname of Lum. In 1889 they established themselves as Sai Ho Tong. The Society's purpose was to provide for the basic needs of its Lum members. It was a place where they could gather, meet friends, send and receive letters from their homeland, and help each other in times of illness or financial need. In addition to worldly needs, it also provided a place to worship the goddess Tin Hau. Lum Sai Ho Tong was first located on Smith Street, between Hotel and Pauahi St. During the initial years, members rented a clubhouse near the Sun Yin Wo restaurant. By the late 1890s the Society was still without its own building. Lum Say Yip, a prominent farmer and rice merchant, generously donated a parcel of land to the Society. Located on River Street this land remains the site of Lum Sai Ho Tong for well over 100 years.