Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sights of Singapore 2 - Loyang Tua Pek Gong Temple

I wrote about Waterloo Street Kwan Im Tong Hood Cho Temple earlier on - a popular worship place where Buddhists/Taoists will go praying. There is another famous temple in Singapore where Taoist would go praying. It is the Loyang Tua Pek Gong Temple (洛阳大伯公). Loyang (洛阳) is a Singapore street name. It is located at the extreme east of the island (after Pasir Ris).

It is a very popular temple and often very crowded during the first and fifteen of lunar month. During Chinese New Year, people would also go there to pray for good luck throughout the year.
Usually, Chinese temples used a lot of wood craving designs as main decor. The elaborate cravings are usually plants and animals like bamboo, chinese dragons, birds like stork and swallows etc which were considered as auspicious by Chinese. The decor would also include Chinese idioms phrases. On the left were 国泰民安 which meant "Country would prosperous as People will be safe", on the right were 风调雨顺 which meant "in hope for good weather". The Chinese characters in the middle were the name of the temple which is 洛阳大伯公。

I am not very sure how best to explain what/who Tua Pek Gong is. “Tua Pek Gong” 大伯公 is Hokkien pronunciation of a Chinese deity. The literal translation of “Tua Pek Gong” is Great Grand Master. According to Wiki, Tua Pek Gong was a pantheon of Malaysian Chinese Gods. He was a Hakka (one of Chinese dialect) man named Zhang Li who landed on Penang accidentally after his Sumatra bound boat was struck by wind. I guessed he must have done a lot of good deed in Penang because after his death, people worshipped him and even built a Tua Pek Gong temple after him. Tua Pek Gong was so revered among the Chinese community that it was being worshipped not only by Malaysian Chinese but Singaporeans Chinese as well.

Actually, these photos were taken by my brother. He went there during the Chinese Year to pray for good luck. Because it was the year of Ox, Loyang Tua Pek Gong temple "hired" an ox for people to pray! Quite clever marketing idea once you got past of the idea of praying to an ox. Don't worry animal rights people, the ox was not there as a sacrifice. It was there for people to pray at only, with lots of food, water and space provided.

So tourists, the next time you are in Singapore, do visit the fame temple and get to know more about Singapore Chinese culture.

1 comment:

Sevani Rajasekar said...

I recently visited this temple too. It was quite crowded when I went. I was wondering what was written in Chinese, didn't have anyone to tell me. But after reading your post, I know. Thanks for sharing.