Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wee Ma arrives for a visit to Po Chiak Keng

On Sunday, 15 Oct 06, the 24th of the 8th Lunar Month, Wee Ma, the grandma of Kai Chang Sheng Wang, the patron saint of Bao Che Gong 保赤宫 (Po Chia Keng), in the form of a statue, arrived in Singapore for a short visit, together with the 650 year old statue of Kai Zhang Sheng Wang 开漳圣王, also known in Hokkien as Sheng Ong.

As in traditional Chinese style, a procession, led by lion and dragon dances and Kong-Kuan (cymbal and gong troupe), the elders of Po Chia Keng carrying the "fire" from the mother-temple in China, and three sedan chairs carrying Wee Ma and Sheng Ong, and a whole entourage of Po Chia Keng members, started from Bullockcartwater (Kreta Ayer) and walked through the heart of Chinatown.

With the lights and decorations commemorating the mid-Autumn festival still lit, it was like Disneyland parade come alive, ala orang cina (Chinese), with the parade. It was accidental attractions for many tourists, and local visitors to Chinatown too. Cameras and handphones with cameras were flashing non-stop. Many must have thanked their lucky stars for such a catch or shot.

Situated at Magazine Road, this is a 130 year old temple that has seen much of the development of Singapore. What was a tributary of the Singapore River (near to the Chwee Lang Tau) in front of the temple, what stands now is an electrical power distribution building. It is a temple dedicated to the ancestors of the Tan Clan (chen in Mandarin, and possibly, Chan in Cantonese and Chin in Hakka), with Sheng Ong as the patron Deity. The mother temple in China is in Zhang Zhou.


Monkey said...

where did i get the impression that this temple is only for the hokkien Tans
but i know my dad told me that even though we are also Tan, we are not from the same clan. They were from another ancestor who given the 'title' of Tan by the emperor or something.

As you might be able to tell, I didn't really understand my dad when he was explaining to me

chinatownboy said...

I won't be surprised if it is only the Hokkiens as this temple is closely related to that one in Zhang Zhou. I am not too familiar with the history on the family roots of the "Tan" - the Chinese character being "Chen", but I guess that when they move from place to place over time, some could have adopted the local dialects. (^^) Will leave that to the experts to tell us.

Anonymous said...

Actually the Po Chiak Keng building consists of two parts. There is the ancestral hall of the Hokkien Tan clan, and there is the temple dedicated to Kai Zhang Sheng Wang. The deity was a real person living during the Tang Dynasty in 7th century AD. He was an official, Chen Yuan Guang, who established and developed Zhangzhou, then an ulu place. Not only he but all his family members were deified, including his grandma, father and even his daughter.