Friday, August 7, 2009

chwee kang beo (shui jiang miao)

taking up my suggestion, my monday and thursday walking kakis went with me on a visit to the kolam ayer basin. during my previous visits to that area, i had admired the taoist temple from outside and did not step insideat all. this time we decided to take a look inside as i wanted to see the relica of a ming boat i had read about.

while we were waiting tentatively outside, a lady caretaker proudly pointed out to us that there was a board, put up by the national heritage board, on the other side which has a bit of history of the temple.

located at the kallang river near the upper stretch of boon keng road, chwee kang beo (in hokkien) or shui jiang miao (in mandarin) has been sited here for more than 45 years.

the main deity of the temple is tua pek kong (grand old man) who is considered to be the guardian saint of overseas chinese in south-east asia. another equally important deity is cheng huang (city god) who has been associated with the temple for more than 40 years. other temple deities include the stone lion city god, the horse general and the tiger god.

the area was once known as kampong soo poo. more people settled into the kampong after the japanese occupation. human bones were once washed up at the site of today's temple. in order to alleviate the bad omen and to seek protection from deities, the villagers erected a simple shrine.

over time, the shrine evolved into an attap-roofed temple. it gained a tarred rof and stilts in 1961 as it would flood during high tides and heavy rain. since then it has attracted many devotees from the then kallang gasworks nearby. in 1991, the temple managed to establish ownership of the site with the help of two malay members of parliament, and with the support of devotees and residents, carry out the latest rebuilt which was completed in 1993.

the temple used to be sited next to the former jin mu chang boat factory and whenever there was a new boat to be launched, a ceremony would be held at the temple to bless the new boat. the ceremony was last held in 1970.

this is extracted from the heritage website:

there is a boat which is unique to this temple by the river. the boat is built of teak and is a scaled replica of a mng dynasty era vessel, complete with a keel, canvas sails, rigging and even miniature ladders in the cargo hold. it was built by a devotee who once used to build and repair boats in the area. i took him two months to complete the miniature boat.


PChew said...

I remember in the 1950s there was a small Chinese temple at the end of Kallang Bridge by the side of the river. It was on the right hand side of the bridge from Geylang to Victoria Street. Due to road widening the temple was demolished.

yg said...

mr chew, my friend who used to visit his aunt in the kampong bugis area also told me about the temple at the end of kallang bridge.

nah said...

That’s right. The small ‘tua pek kong’ temple was on the left hand side of Sir Arthur’s Bridge, from Kallang Rd to Geylang Rd, which was a two-way street. Today, the end of Kallang Rd is split into Sims Avenue and Geylang Rd, both one-way streets. I remember the temple used to stage three days of ‘wayang’ at Nam Lock Street/Sin Koh Street, opposite Kampong Soo Poo. After the temple was demolished, the idols in this temple were transferred to a temple in Eunos Rd.