Tuesday, December 30, 2008

leong san see and mee toh school

leong san see or 'dragon mountain' temple is a taoist/buddhist temple built in 1913 by a buddhist monk from fujian, china. he bought a plot of land at race course road where he built a simple leong san lodge. in 1926, the temple was rebuilt with funds donated by devotees. the temple was constructed in the chinese temple style with a traditional roof, with intricate carvings of dragons.

in 1954, a school called the leong san school was set up. it was later renamed mee toh school. the temple managed the school until 1957, when it became a government-aided school. the school relocated to edgedale plains in ponggol in 2004 but the former school building is still around at race course road.

along serangoon is an arch referred to as the leong san gate. the 'mountain gate' leads the way to the former mee toh school and the temple; however, if you drive you cannot come through this arch because the one-way traffic goes from race course road to serangoon road.

i used to visit this temple when i was young because my late grandmother used to help out at the temple. once a month, the temple would serve a free vegetarian lunch. i think that this is still the practice. at that time, the abbot was the late venerable sek kong hiap. a small built man, he was well-liked and respected by the worshippers at the temple.

on the other side of the road is another well-known temple, the sakya muni buddha gaya temple. built in the 1920s, it is also called the temple of a thousand lights.

adjacent to leong san see, on the right side, is a row of four unoccupied houses. each of these houses has a pair of distinctive gate pillars.


nah said...

Along the Race Course Road, these are the two temples that leave a deep impression in my mind. I used to walk past these temples when I was young. Near the main altar of Leong San See temple is a statue of Confucious. Some parents bring their children to pray for intelligence and filial piety.
In the early days, another school which was just as popular as Mee Toh School was Maha Bodhi School in Geylang Road. Both school used Mandarin as the medium of instruction. Maha Bodhi School became a Special Assistance Plan school, with increased emphasis on English and Chinese and the cultivation of moral values.

yg said...

nah, i can think of only three so-called buddhist schools in singapore: mee toh, maha bodhi and manjusri sec.