Counterculture Examination: Triads

Caprian Kan

What are countercultures? Countercultures are groupings that reject the major principles, norms, and methods of the larger world and replaces them with a fresh set of ethnic patterns (Thomas). A counterculture found mainly in china, but also globally will be the Triads. Initially, the goal of the triad group started off as a patriotic movements, but later turned into a counterculture. Someplace along their struggle for patriotism the lines of justice blurred and the Triad groupings turned to criminal offenses (Blundy).

Origins of the Triad societies time frame back to the 17th century. Martial performers (Hung Mun's) wanted to rebuild the Ming dynasty so, they desired their solution by wanting to overthrow the Qing dynasty (Blundy). However, their coup ended in vain. According to the Wing Chun Kung-Fu Relationship this movement started out because the Ming's politics and economic electricity started to wane through ongoing boundary warfare. The Qing, previous allies of the Ming, got grown much political power that they managed the majority of the provincial territories presented by the former Ming Emperor. Remaining survivors of the Ming dynasty either fled or relocated in several provinces, specifically for 5 youths: 4 guys and 1 lady that would coach at Fukien Si Lum Temple. The five youths would later be known as the "Five Elders of Sil Lum. " The "Five Elders" secretly trained loyalists in the art of Kung-Fu, leading to the starting point of key notorious societies, which we have now know as the "Triads. " During this time the Qing had an increasing awareness of partisan episodes; soon thereafter, in their impatience, the Qing armies burned and demolished monasteries and temples including the Sil Lum Temple. The Five Elders journeyed in disguise following the devastation of the Sil Lum Temple for per annum and a half however, discord grew on the list of elders and they soon fought each other. As annoyance grew Jee Shin challenged Bak Mei to a martial arts duel, however in the end Jee Shin died. Great shock rippled between the other elders, in fury, Mew Hin also fought with Bak Mei, but met the same fate as Jee Shin. Fung Doe Duk was next to struggle Bak Mei. Despite being closely matched up Doe Duk supplied a element fracture to Bak Mei's feet which would later kill him. Following the fighting with each other, Fung Doe Duk and Ng Mui, the previous staying elders, parted on different paths to teach their own varieties of fighting techinques; Ng Mui who teach the Dragon-Tiger system (Wing Chun Kung-Fu Association). Practice of the crouched Dragon-Tiger system also resulted in representation of 1 of the Triad icons: the red dragon.

Ethnocentrism is characterized by the idea or frame of mind that one's own group is superior (Mish). Ethnocentricity applies to the Triads because modern culture (typical) views this group as a counterculture credited to the sort of relationship between your members and the sort of rituals, rules, etc to make and keep maintaining that relationship between each other. Corresponding to Rachel Blundy in the Law and Crime section of the South China Morning Post as organizations started to form, members were expected to view one another as "body brothers. " Need for calling one another "blood brothers" led to the idea process that the bond between strangers was just like that of family if not superior because commitment was both being given and received. This is augmented by the composition of hierarchy in the Triads; which, also led to the enforcement of rules, expectations, and conducts for each member to follow (Blundy). In the Illuminating Lantern, Nepstad composed thata famous guideline for new people was an initiation oath known as "36 oaths. During initiation each member would recite the "36 oaths, " pledging their respect and devotion only to each other and the Triad group. If, at all, the oaths are busted then that member shall face punishment by 5 thunderbolts or a myriad of swords (Nepstad). Sacrifices are also apart of initiation ceremonies, a chicken breast is typically slaughtered and its blood vessels is drained into a glass for drinking (Nepstad). If other civilizations or individuals were to look after this ceremony they might be disgusted, but this is one way the Triads display and elicit ethnocentrism; through the tight rules of conduct, which is specifically mentioned in the oaths and their overwhelming rituals. Although this isn't of the norm in in the culture of the bigger society this can be a practice that helps specify the Triads as a counterculture and augments this practice as something that is common only to their culture and patterns.

Cultural relativism is the fact that a culture should be judged by their own benchmarks and not by the standards of other ethnicities (Thomas). In cases like this, even though Triads are a subculture these are better known as a counterculture because they reject the techniques of the larger society and replaces them with a fresh set of cultural patterns by taking part in criminal behavior. Because of a rise of Triad customers there has recently been a rise in legal activities; Hong Kong has dedicated a law enforcement officials division designed for Triads known as the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau in order to manage this issue (Blundy). Three main Triad communities which have the most significant amount of fans or influence, especially in Hong Kong, are Sun Yee On, 14K, and Wo Shing Wo (Blundy). Within an estimated membership of 20, 000 Triad members about 2000 would actually be "active" in unlawful behavior (Nepstad). Relating to Blundy from South China Morning hours Post such action includes medication trafficking, which is a major source of income for the groupings. Most of the medicine being trafficked are opium, heroin, and cocaine. Other unlawful activities that the Triad groups take part in are fraudulence, extortion, gambling, money, laundering, and prostitution (Blundy). In recent years Triad associates have considered credit card fraud, minibus concessions, call-girl bands, and software applications and Compact disc pirating (Hays).

Personally, I do believe that the Triads are a counterculture because civilizations in today's culture, although they vary, do not take part, in any way, in criminalist action like the Triads do. A general or main goal for the culture of the larger society is to have a job job, which helps offers a stable income. However, in the view point of ethnic relativism the Triads are a counterculture that presents ethnocentrism because they haven't any jobs plus they spend their leisure time participating in legal activities to gain dirty money based on chances and dangers while risking their First Amendment rights and liberty. Also, the actual fact that Triads are willing to risk their protection under the law shows ethnocentrism because they may have the fact that they are above the law. Whereas, lawful individuals would not have the ability to perform such activities because they value their rights and liberty. The Triad communities have been a counterculture since the start of Qing dynasty to your present time frame; their actions that defines them as a counterculture do not seem to be to be improving if not worse and will continue their reckless, unlawful behavior.


Blundy, Rachel. A Brief History of Hong Kong's Triad Gangs. 4 Feb 2017. Website. 5 March 2017.

Hays, Jeffrey. Facts and Details: Triads and Organized Criminal offense in China. April 2012. Website. 9 March 2017.

Mish, Frederick C. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Tenth Model. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2000. Reserve.

Nepstad, Peter. Triads. 15 March 2015. Website. 5 March 2017.

Thomas, W. LaVerne. Sociology: The Study of Human Relationships. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2003. Book.

Wing Chun Kung-Fu Association. History and Lineage: The Five Elders. 2004. Website. 6 March 2017.

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