Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Legend of the Axe Brand Oil

Legend has it that the history of the Axe Brand Oil is somehow connected to legendary Chinese hero Yue Fei. But actually, it was his descendant who played a major role. Read on and find out what happened.


It is tough to be a revolutionary, Kai Fook lamented, as he searched for a place to hide. 

He had arrived at a large chye fang (firewood storeroom) after being chased by some Imperial troops. (Not the Star Wars kind but the Chinese qiang shi (vampire) sort).

Kai Fook cursed his luck. He had the enemy caught nicely in a classic Sun Tzu "rocks-roll-down-the-valley" ambush when his migraine returned with a vengeance. The intense pain blurred his vision and got him (oddly enough) all excited. An area of his loose pants began to balloon and bulge. Dang, what rotten timing! Why couldn't he have a normal splitting headache like anybody else???

Having a headache was one thing, but being endowed like that at the same time was like being too sick to drive a new car. It's hard to tell a girl expecting action that "Sorry, I am having a headache!" when all evidence point to the contrary.

Just then, a passing maiden of ill-repute at the ridge saw Kai Fook's shadow-casting ambition and immediately zeroed in on it. When she eventually lifted her eyes to look at Kai Fook, she wondered if he was someone famous. Ah, what luck! she congratulated herself as recognition spread through her brain like coffee on paper towel. Ooh, finally! A meal ticket!

And so, before Kai Fook could collapse from his Xinjiang-sized headache, this lady had already positioned herself under his arm to render support. Kai Fook's mind was swimming too much to care and so was grateful for the intervention. Besides, the Imperial troops were closing in.

It might seem a fortuitous turn of events for him but Kai Fook had been operating in a dangerous region for months. A region that had become lawless in the last decade, no thanks to corrupt officials and wannabe bandits out to take advantage of a bad situation gone worse. 

If you did not know kung-fu (such as heng gong or cliff-leaping skills) it was better to stay indoors. Better yet, some folks had resorted to pretending to be mad. At the time, madness was seen as a contagious disease that people avoided like the plague. The general belief being that crazy people were unpredictable and liked walking around with a chopper ready to cut anybody down at the slightest provocation. Mostly, it was propaganda perpetuated by sane people doing the insane thing.

However, it worked. Normal people avoided crazy folks like the bees. Even a sword-carrying wuxia fella knew better than to tangle with a "seow" one!

The firewood storeroom that Kai Fook now found himself in was part of a farmhouse that stood within a large compound. Who's this woman? he finally asked, as some of the fog in his mind lifted. This very determined girl who stoutly heaved him along on her slender and rather sexy shoulder.

Then two soft rounded bags slapped at his face. They were femininely scented and Kai Fook was glad. It had been a long time since he found himself in a soft bed or buried his face into the crevice of two soft baubles. Being a Revolutionary had taken its toll indeed.

He glanced over at his lady savior once more and for the very first time (even in his double-visioned state) discovered that she was rather colorfully made up. Heavy made up even and definitely colorful. Perhaps bordering on the garish.

Kai Fook couldn't be sure as his head was still splitting like stones in a hot dessert sun. He didn't know how big Xinjiang was but he wished it would shrink and be swallowed up by a crack in the earth.

To be sure, he was not a small man and walking with a "third leg" was awkward. His rescue-maiden didn't seem to mind as she redoubled her efforts to bring him where she wanted both of them to go. She wore a silly smile that shone like a beacon for the way ahead.

If birds could talk, they would say Kai Fook winced all the way from whence the maiden had found him. That's how uncomfortable he was and how much his head hurt.

Throughout the rescue, there were many moments where Kai Fook thought he would faint. But each time, he was slapped back into consciousness by those soft, great smelling baubles. At times the slaps were real. "Wake up! Don't fall asleep or I can't lift you at all!" 

To make sure he paid attention, this girl would flick at his 'ambition' to cause him pain. All guys know how painful that can be. It's a good trick to use on long distance drives.

That kind of retribution gave Kai Fook pause. Adoi, who's this woman who is taking liberties with my snake?

This woman was with the softly scented baubles so slender and yet so pig-headed at the same time. 

Ladies of ill-repute usually are more hardworking when they first see cash, and Kai Fook at the moment had little precious little on him. In fact, being a revolutionary meant he had more IOUs than Ah Long clients in Bukit Ho Swee! Maybe he should have joined up with the Nationalists or some other well-to-do private bunch of brigands. But Kai Fook knew he could never fight to rob.

At one point, through his blurred vision, Kai Fook thought twins had come to his rescue. That made him smile again. Ah, what a day this is turning out to be, he muttered, as his mind dived into a delirium of a menage a trois. Ah, three-in-one coffee! I missed that, he mused.

Suddenly, Kai Fook exclaimed: "F*** the mission!"

But the intoxicating fumes from the two soft baubles mollified him. He was a pussy cat once again allowing himself to be tottered here and there.

The truth is Kai Fook wouldn't have become a revolutionary if not for his mom. Think of your grandfather, she would say. Grandfather was none other than General Yue Fei, that historical figure whose mom was a tattoo artist with the patriotic messages like "Country before breakfast!"; "Death before sex!"...that sort of thing. 

What would Mom think now, Kai Fook thought, as he struggled to put one leg in front of the other. And keeping the snake in his pants out of harm's way.

His failed attempt at the ambush trap came gnawing back. Kai Fook sighed and lamented, "All those loose rocks prepped for nothing!" It didn't help that a nearby beaver slapped its forehead in disgust.


Once into the storeroom, the excessively dolled-up lady (or "ladies" as Kai Fook imagined in his double-vision state) was trying her best to engage him. Mostly, she was trying to get his pants off. 

Kai Fook (head still throbbing/vision not yet 20-20; and balance tipping at 30-70) could only protest weakly. He tried lifting an arm but it dropped like water soaked bread to his side. Wump!

"You are Yue Fei, right?" asked the lady, mistaking Kai Fook for the legendary Chinese hero. 

"Huh? Oh yes, he was my ancestor," answered Kai Fook, surprised that he could still understand a thing. Truth be told, he did inherit his forebear's noble nose-bridge and determined square jaw. But as for tattoos on his back, there were none. Not a signal letter, not a single word. His mom was not the sort to carve things on kid's backs. She was even afraid to slaughter a chicken. Most times, it was Ah Ju-soh next door who did the deed for them during festive occasions. 

At Kai Fook's admission, the maiden's eyes opened wide with astonishment. Her mouth also drew a mighty satisfied smile, the sort of smile anglers wear when they finally got the big one. The woman's actions then became more gleeful and frantic. Kai Fook's pants were finally ripped from him!

Oh dear, oh dear, Kai Fook lamented. Not another Yue Fei fan, he said before collapsing into a haystack with the lady mounting him like a wrestler in victory. Having famous ancestors can be such a burden were his last thoughts as day became night and the throbbing of his head migrated south. 


The next morning Kai Fook woke from a troubled but lustful dream. In it he was courting his ancestral cousin Mu Lan, a warrior who seemed to be better than him in almost any weapon category. It then dawned on him that he enjoyed the crap beaten out of him by more able females. In their presence, he became a wuss, not the mighty hero his mom he imagined him to be.

His head still felt hungover although the ache had reduced to the size of a small village, not Xinjiang province. But the dull pain below his waist was still there. Somehow, it felt as if squirrels had been busy digging for nuts down there. Instinctively, he cupped his hands over those injured loins and wondered the age-old question men had been asking in the morning after finding themselves in unfamiliar beds. Did I, did she, did we...get it on?

At the other end of storeroom, where a fire stove took centre stage, was a lady dressed in homely samfoo. She was tending to a claypot with something stewing in it. From the foully smell of it, she must be to be cooking some TCM herb thingy.

Kai Fook struggled to his feet and promptly fell back down again. His backside hit a hard piece of stone under the hay and he said "Ouch!"

At this pitiful sound, the lady turned round. In her hand, an all-natural bamboo ladle. 

"Ah, I see you have woken up!"

"Where am I?" said Kai Fook, rubbing the back of his head to wake up some more.

"Home. My home."

"What did you do to me yesterday?"

"Eh, don't get paranoid. You were bitten by a snake and hallucinating. But you were smiling at times and crying father-mother the next. Really perplexing. Fortunately the soldiers did not see us. Else we would be san bo (cliff-side) meat!"

"So we didn't..." Kai Fook looked at his previous day's 'ambition' and discovered that it had already retreated into his groin crevice. Hmm, I must have hallucinated the whole thing! he concluded, not without much disappointment evident on his face.

"Aw, don't be upset. You will get better!" said the lady with the ladle.

"The snake in your pants turned out to be not so poisonous, so no worries. But then again, you were one horny son of a bitch claiming to be Yue Fei and saying stuff like 'Come to Yue Fei hero baby!'"

"What? Did I do that?". Kai Fook looked as sheepish as he could.

The maiden pointed to a glass jar filled with Chinese wine that had recently been introduced to a grass snake. Such a tonic could heal anything from skin eruptions to intestinal hemorrhage - facts known since the publication of the medicinal text, Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, in 100 A.D.

"I think you had too much trauma in one day. But heck, it was tough getting you back here from all that distance." The maiden rotated her stiff shoulders as if for emphasis. And then, in a Yoda-like manner, she said: "Sore I am." 

"Oh, by the way," she continued, "the Imperial troops didn't smell your plan or else it would have been 'Bye Bye Beijing' and 'Moshi Moshi Manchuria'! Hey, your Sun Zi Trap 101 is still sitting pretty out there in the hot sun!"

Kai Fook face turned an embarrassed red. "Oh" was all he could say, his chin dipping onto his chest.

"Hey, I think you'd better stop worrying about that and relax. I have been brewing something. But it's not for you. Your stuff is here."

Saying that, the maiden produced a wooden mug filled with a kind of fragrant tea. Kai Fook took a sip and immediately felt better. There seem to be a kind of familiarity to it. The taste, the smell..... Then it dawned on Kai Fook that the baubles which slapped at him earlier were bags of herb tea leaves after all! Dang, said him and touched his cheek feeling a little regret. 

Kai Fook looked up and said to the maiden: "You look different." 

"Oh, I was wearing a mask yesterday. People here know me as the physician's crazy daughter. They believed I went mad first after my father died. I got worse after my mom perished as well. But my mom did not die. It was a ruse to get her away to my aunt's home in the next province. It's safer there! Our province has really gone to the dogs, don't you think?"

Kai Fook nodded his head in agreement as he rolled the cup of tea in his fleshy palms. 

"By the way, I am really Yue Fei.... Er, no, I mean I am really his descendant. You can call me Kai Fook," he said.

The lady's eyes opened wide in astonishment. So, she wasn't wrong after all.

"I am Shi Niang. Or people around here call me Sha Gu, the Crazy One."


Feeling much better after the tea, Kai Fook looked around. The firewood storehouse was quite large and doubled as a convalescent room (which was quite the norm given that the place is equipped with a stove and a charcoal-fired bed that could keep someone sick lying on a warm bed specially in the winter months. At one corner were bales of medicinal grass. There were also bamboo trays of stuff that were either once dried in the sun or in the process of being sorted out. 

"Why didn't you just leave?" Kai Fook asked, his question directed at Shi Niang, who was now back at checking her claypot of obnoxious stuff.

"The hills behind this house are my dad's natural TCM herb garden. They are priceless. I cannot just leave and let these folks here spoil or damage the place through their careless fighting or squabbling."

"I don't think you have anything to worry about. That area is considered quite wild and offers no route to any city or village. What I mean is that there are no military advantage whatsoever, so you can rest easy."

Shi Niang looked at Kai Fook thoughtfully and knew he was right. He was after all a fighting man. But still, she could not risk refugees seeking to establish a kampung back there.

The word "kampung" sounded foreign yet familiar to Shi Niang. She wondered why. The whole day she has been feeling as if someone was directing her actions and putting words into her mouth. At one point, she felt like a whore in bad make-up (and clothes) ready to accost anyone or anything. It was the weirdest feeling of all.

Or could it be that she was just having her period?

Shi Niang shrugged her shoulders and spoke to Kia Fook. "Come, let me show you around." The man with the sore nuts stretched out a hand and Shi Niang pulled him up. She then led him out to the compound and on to the main house. They did not linger there long as it was mostly empty. Eventually they exited the back courtyard to stand in the same wild grass as those of the hills behind.

"Are you good with herbs?" asked Shi Niang, picking out some tall ones from a patch.

Kai Fook shook his head. "No, not really. But we did smoke some way back in recruit camp. 'Chasing the Dragon' it was called but not really that addictive!"

Shi Niang crushed some of the tall grass for Kai Fook to sniff at. 

"This here is good for treating snake bites," she winked.

It was late morning and the sun bathed the whole hillside with its bright, cheery rays. The wonderful scene before him made Kai Fook forget all about his warring ways and failed ambush traps. He began listening to Shi Niang intently without effort. And Shi Niang was happy to oblige. She started to point out the various naturally growing herbs, roots and fruits all around the hillside. It was literally a goldmine of TCM stuff out there.

As Kai Fook listened it occurred to him that Shi Niang had a lovely voice. And as he was wont to do, he checked out her ass and breasts too. Lovely they were. Again he touched his cheek but this time, he felt impish and embarrassed. Is love in the air? 

He gave a skip and a hop. Not often you see a grown warrior do that.


As days passed, Kai Fook spent more time with Shi Niang learning about herbs and TCM cures. His restlessness began to slowly dissipate. However, every time he thought about battles and ambush traps, his headache would return prompting Shi Niang into action. She then sent him out to cut grass, er, herbs.

There was a particular patch on the hillside that Shi Niang always sent Kai Fook to. Although it was just a hunch from her medicinal brain, the ex-warrior reported that he felt better after each visit. 

Unknown to Kai Fook, each time he swung his halberg handaxe, fragrant oils from the grass were released. The sweeping winds around the hillside did the rest, whipping the pleasant but pungent smell all round. It was almost like Chasing-the-Dragon but much less addictive was what Kai Fook though as he took deep breaths. In the end, it felt more more like a splash of cold water on the face, so refreshing it was.

After a couple of weeks, Kai Fook decided to be more deliberate with his reporting to Shi Niang. Said he to her one time: "Shi Niang darling, I thing these grasses have something to do with my headache going away. Should we make some medicine out of them?"

Shi Niang was elated that her hunch was right. She was even happier that Kai Fook called her darling and now took a keen interest in her family trade.

She then asked Kai Fook to collect some more of the grasses so she could distill a batch into a small bottle of application oil. She decided to tentatively call it Axe Brand Oil as a tribute to Kai Fook. It was also a name easy to market with, same as Double Bell bra, Cupped Hands briefs and Lighthouse anal cream.

"We'll call it 'fung yew' or wind oil," suggested Kai Fook, recalling his pleasant experience on the hillside. 

"That's nice," said Shi Niang, "it has a ring of freshness to it."

And so each time Kai Fook thought about the warring situation in his country and feel a headache coming on, he would reach for a bottle of fung yew and feel much better afterwards. Applied to a knot on a handkerchief, it even helped him fall asleep faster too. That and the soft body of Shi Niang, who by then had become enthralled by the legend of Yue Fei and his descendant.

She did after all have a thing for that ancient hero with the noble nose, firm jaw and calligraphy on his back. Oedipus Complex not withstanding.

The end. Another myth imagined by TC Lai

Next: The Visit of the Haw Par Brothers and the Legend of Tiger Balm!

(Er, for the proper history of Axe brand oil, please visit their website or contact their corporate pple. Thank you!)

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