In the 19th Century Chinese believe Datuk Gong is a local guardian spirit that residesin trees, hills , caves, riverbanks and in strange stone formations. Around the Malaysian countryside some small, yellow-colour or red-colour painted shrines by the roadside or under a tree can be found, these shrines are usually worshiped by the residents living around the neighborhood. According to local legends, Datuks were once humans who had a standing in society either for their position or special attributes. They could have been an important leader, a renowned healer, a silat warrior, a pious man or even a shaman. Upon their death, locals and their followers would sometimes offer prayers at their gravestones, in line with the concept of keramat. Local Malay culture prior to the arrival of a more conservative brand of Islam practiced the paying of respects to guardian spirits or Penunggu which is believed to reside in seemingly 'unusual' natural formations; a unique shaped rock, an ant mount, a snake's nest, an extra ordinarily large tree etc. A Datuk worship usually begins after a person is granted a vision of the Datuk's spiritual form. Most common forms are a white tiger or the form of an old man dressed in white. Datuk can also be invited to reside outside ( never indoors ) a family home for spiritual protection and luck.