Thursday, April 23, 2009

singapore buddhist lodge @ kim yam road

i heard about the free vegetarian food available at the singapore buddhist lodge at kim yam road. i decided to check if it was true you could get a wholesome free meal at this place. i have passed this place before in the past but had not stepped inside the temple until today.

in true buddhist tradition, nobody is barred from helping himself to the free food served at this temple. no question is asked and nobody blinks an eye even if you are in shirt and tie queuing with the uncles and aunties for the fried beehoon, porridge or soup.

as is expected, it is self-service all the way. for crockery, you can choose to use the porcelain bowls or melamine plates. these days, because of the greater number of people who turn up for the free food, they have resorted to using disposable bowls, chopsticks and plastic spoons. those who use the porcelain bowls or melamine plates will wash them before returning them to the shelves.

a friend of mine who used to volunteer at another temple serving free meals had seen some well-to-do free-loaders. he was upset to see this well-dressed attractive woman, in her 40s, appearing every day to help herself to the food and leaving immediately after having her fill. the woman would arrive with a maid in her posh mercedes benz.

however, i explained to him that some of these people who can easily afford better food choose to eat the food prepared at the temple because they believe that the food is blessed and so it will benefit them nutritionally and spiritually.

i had thought it was just fried bee-hoon, like what we used to get when we visited leong san see or bright hill's kong ming san on certain days of the month. here it is available every day and four times a day. and it is not just bee-hoon; there is porridge, soup and stir-fried dishes.

there is even desert like cheng tng and beverages like milo or ovaltine. hot tea is also available. there is no limit to the number of helpings you can have so long as the food is finished within the temple premises. you are not allowed to tar pau or take away food from the place although i did see one person filling up his water-container with the hot milo or ovaltine.

that afternoon when i was there, i counted about 40 persons helping themselves to the free food. most of them were elderly chinese - equal number of men and women - and two who looked like malays.

i could tell that the majority of the helpers in the kitchen at the temple were volunteers. they do not have the glum look of ordinary workers; you can tell from their cheerful demeanour as they went about doing their work. guess it is not work for them but rather it is a service to the needy and hungry.


stanley said...

I may try to go there and have my fill one day. Is it opened daily?

yg said...

yes, stanley, it is open 7 days a week but not advisable to go on weekends as it gets very crowded.

Victor said...

I feel that diners who are not in dire need and have some conscience should at least make a small donation to the temple.

yg said...

victor, some of them, who can afford, do 'tiam yew'. actually, a lot of the provisions like bee hoon, rice and vegetables are donated by well-wishers. i have seen people coming to the temple with two big packets of bee hoon or a 10kg bag of rice.

Anonymous said...

I called to the temple today. I spoke to Mr. Lee Bock Guan on
the phone.
I asked if I could speak to someone in English.
He was rude and told me that " NO one speak English at all"
I was just looking for an elderly
person who was missing.
He often have his lunch there.
He is all more 75 year old.
I wanted to check with him if
I asks or report to the police.
If they go down to the temple whether
they can help the police to investigate.
Mr Lee spoke rudely towards me in
mandarin. "if you want you can call the
police there's nothing he can do."
He mention that he don't give free foods.
Is only for people who pray and DONATE
to the temple.
When I called the second time his staff
said that his attitude is like that and he
dislike people who speak ENGLISH on the phone
and also at work .I feel is very unfair.
His staff was very understanding she
apologies to me immediately.
I feels that Mr Lee Bock Guan is not professional
and understanding enough towards people.
There no one i can write to but
only leave my comments here.
No point writing in he will be the
one the receive away.
Even his own staff can feel this way.
With the president like that I will not visit again.

Pete Peter said...

Buddhist Universal doors opens to 84,000 sentinels beings. Please do not be offended by one and may caused a bad impression. Please do not leave the dharma even at SBL. Buddhas teaches compassion, we cannot judge him , we are not qualified to judge. Do visit and enjoy the serenity of the place. Look at Buddha's face not at one's face.