As befits a man of mystery, the origin of Toh Peh Kong is lost in a shroud of stories that defy corroboration. Some say he was a scholar exiled by a Manchu ruler who became a teacher in Penang. Others claim he was a triad boss who pulled his weight to lasting effect. Historian Leon Comber, who peered through the Bamboo Window to leave an account of life in post-war Malaya, calls Toh Peh Kong "the most interesting Malayan-Chinese temple deity." The jolly mariner is certainly a hit on Ubin, where he enjoys a double domicile and the faithful devotion of islanders who still celebrate his feast days with the ritual and rigour of a seafaring and sea-fearing village.