Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fook Tet Soo Hakka Temple (望海大伯公庙) - The Temple That Used to Overlook the Sea @ Palmer Road [Next to Shenton Way Bus Terminal]

My mom has a standard list of temples to visit whenever she manages to arrow me to drive her around but Fook Tet Soo Hakka temple was only recently added. 

Situated in the central business district yet holed in a location that wasn't filled with office crowd, many people would have given it a miss without realising it is the oldest tua pek kong temples in Singapore that could even predate the arrival of Raffles! 

There wasn't anything particularly attractive about it and in the few times i was there, there were hardly any devotees. 

Nevertheless, it was said that the deities were known to answer prayers and this came from a close relative who has been winning the lottery very frequently over the past year!

The main altar in splashes of auspicious red and housed in a traditional Chinese courtyard. Official transition from a shrine to a temple was made in 1844 but the land it currently stands on was acquired by the government in 1982, which means it could be demolished anytime since the temporary occupational license is renewable on a monthly basis. 

With the focus on cultural preservation nowadays, i don't think the demolition would happen given the temple's historical roots, The bigger challenger is the dwindling number of followers for Taoism. 

Offerings section where you can purchase the incense, the paper money and candles to honour the deities. Speaking on behalf of my generation, our rational mind could not digest the purpose and henceforth the values for burning them.

Why the incense? The paper money can be used; burn trees would be better? Why do we need candles when the day is so bright?

Tea leaves and candied biscuits; i think i would curse and swear if i am ever given them on a long term basis. Tea leaves sound good although i would likely be immortal as a deity so i don't really need to keep myself healthy. Sorry for being such a skeptical nag today! 

One of two door gods to keep the evil out of the temple. I was sharing the story of an 'uninvited guest' to my house a few years ago during the ghost month and my aunt suggested that i pasted the image of the door gods for protection.

Main tua pek kong altar with over twenty statues! 

The everlasting light - from what i understand, this should never be extinguished. 

Pay a token sum to have your name / the entire family placed at the altar for better luck, protection, more wealth etc. Alternatively, for something more affordable albeit of a shorter term, you may consider the incense coils.

For devotees to light their incense sticks - you just need a hyperactive kid to knock this over and it would be an incredibly oily mess to clean up!

Altar for the horse god - i don't know if this animal deity is popular in other countries but there's one reason why it is popular in Singapore; it's supposed to be synonymous with 4-digit betting! 

The underworld altar!

These three are enforcers of hell; dua ya peh, di ya peh and the one adorning the brown straw attire is sa ya peh. There is supposedly to be a si ya peh which is rarely seen in the local medium circle like sa ya peh. 

Chinese characters can be confusing; as one character, it may mean something and when you combine them, the meaning can be different and confusing! The matter worsens when we tend to read from left to right when traditionally, it should be from right to left! 

Wall painting depicting 4 of the 8 immortals; not too sure of the history although it seemed like it requires a new coat of paint. 

Narrow walkway in between two compounds. 

The Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君) compound; even though i have heard his name since young, i don't really quite remember what his role in Taoism is. 

According to wikipedia, the founder of Taoism is said to be a manifestation of 太上老君. In terms of ranking, the highest is Yuan Shi Tian Zun (元始天尊).

Exiting to our last section.

General Tiger - as with the tiger god at 仙祖宫, meat is longer allowed in the mouth! I think some temples still allow the placement of raw meat and i guess i would show them in this blog once i manage to shoot some pictures.

Two more pictures of the temple's surroundings. As mentioned in the post title, it was supposed to face the sea but the excess reclamation means that the sea is now at a distance! 

Shall attempt to check out this quaint little mosque the next time i dropped by the area. Those who drive along AYE often should have spotted this in their journey! I was mesmerised on quite a few occasions when the sun shines on the dome and it shimmers as if gold bits were sprinkled on it! 

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Location
50H Palmer Road

Map
As above.

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