Sunday, October 18, 2015

Siang Cho Keong / Sian Chor Kang Temple (仙祖宫) @ Amoy (Next to Amoy Street Hawker Centre)

Let me share with you a dream; not mine but that of my mother which happened a few years ago. She was asked to collect money from a temple, one that we always walked past on the eve of Chinese New Year.

Background story - i would take the opportunity to soak in the festive atmosphere at Chinatown on the eve of the spring festival every year and i would normally park my car along Amoy Street.

The temple she was referring to was along the same street and rather small scale when compared to most Chinese religious abodes in Singapore. I didn't pay particular attention to it; I did note then that it was open even when it was past midnight and there were always devotees inside.

Dedicated to Tua Pek Kong (the popular Grand Old Uncle), the name of the temple can be translated literally to mean Immortal Ancestors' Temple. On official writing, there are two versions; Siang Cho Keong and Sian Chor Kang. Since this is a Hokkien temple, the latter version sounds correct.

We all know Singapore has a lot of reclaimed land although the extent of the reclamation is pretty much a question mark for the younger generation. Sian Chor Kang used to face the sea; an element of good Fengshui and it even has a wishing well in its tiny premise!

With water running from a pipe, i am not sure how natural the well is since the temple has undergone no less than three major renovations and its history stretches back to 1889.

At the side was a connected compound that had an elevated level requiring a staircase.

I have no idea what this altar is for and even though i recognise some of the Chinese characters, the combination doesn't make any sense to me.

This one i know; Tiger God! In the past, you would see devotees stuffing raw pork into its mouth as offerings! This practice is slowly being discouraged as there's a notice informing devotees not to put any pork into the mouth and the cave.

Praying to the Tiger God is so cumbersome - i originally thought it would only be sticking the incense sticks to the urn, mumble a short prayer and off i go! You may read the above notice for more information; it seems to include a ritual that we sometimes see in movies - 打小人 (hit the villain).

Damn.... No photography allowed?!?!?!

Whatever the case, i am going to shoot this last one for prayer procedures which also included a map of the temple. From the map, i now know that the altar on top of the staircase is for wandering spirits!

Self banished from the temple, i presume taking photographs outside the temple would not contravene its rules. This is one of mom sticking incense sticks; judging from her serious expression, it must be some serious praying!

The many deities housed at the main altar; as with most temples in Singapore, there is a wide variety of Chinese deities although there is usually a dedication to at least one specific god. Since i couldn't take more photos of its interior, guess i would have to stop here.

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Location
66 Amoy Street

Map
As above

Operating Hours
As above; for eve of Chinese New Year, i understand it is open even past midnight to welcome the start of the new year.

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