Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tua Pek Kong Kuching - the Feng Shui Legend

Thus as I had heard & read; at one time, the Kuching Tua Pek Kong Temple was seated on the best Feng Shui location in Kuching; as according to the Feng Shui principle, a hill at the back seat, a small & smooth flowing river in front (the lost Sg Kuching), and the best front view of the highest peak in the area, Gunung Serapi.

The temple was built more than two centuries ago, long before James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak, arrived in Kuching.

Like most Chinese temples, the temple prosperity affected & associated highly to the businesses, emotion & activities of the local Chinese community in the early days where majority were followers of Taoist related faith.

It was said that after the 1857 Chinese Insurrection in Bau, the Brooke Administration at that time was worried about the Tua Pek Kong prosperity & its influence to the local Kuching Chinese community. The growing strength of the local Chinese might affect the political power of the Brooke Administration.

A plan was thus initiated to weaken the Feng Shui of the Tua Pek Kong Temple.

In 1928, in the name of development, Sg Kuching was filled up for road construction.



The hill (Bukit Pasu or Bukit Mata) at the back of the temple was cut through with an additional road, with the exit just besides the temple, in order to weaken the dragon ‘chi’, as believed locally. The additional road through the hill was viewed as unnecessary by the local Chinese.



The current Chinese History Museum squared building, also believed to be part of the plan, was erected in 1912 just a few meters in front of the temple, to block the good Feng Shui; the building was built initially to mediate local Chinese affairs & other arbitrations.

Good or bad Feng Shui, legends or facts, the Tua Pek Kong Temple continues to stand there as a growing tourist attraction; the legends had long been forgotten, and the temple has gone through the Brooke Dynasty, the British Colonial era, and the Japanese Occupation.

The future & prosperity of Tua Pek Kong Temple will seem to depend more on its harmony with the local tourism, and cultural awareness of the local Chinese community.

Places of Worship & Devotion In Sarawak

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tua Pek Kong Temple, Kuching

Tua Pek Kong Temple, Kuching

Tua Pek Kong Temple is one of the oldest (or the earliest known) Chinese temple in Sarawak; it is also one of the most famous and mentioned tourist destination in Sarawak.

The temple was believed to be built around the year 1800, more than two centuries; the earliest known official land title issued by Charles Brooke was 29 August 1871.

Like many of the earlier Chinese temple in Sarawak, it was a small & simple hut; the first known renovation was done in the year 1856, and subsequently it was upgraded with ceramic roofing & partial brick walls in 1863.

By the year 1880 when cement was introduced into Sarawak, major parts of the temple were then concreted as to existing look.

The earlier management of the temple before the Japanese occupation was elected informally by yearly cast lots of getting one representative with two ‘taukey’ to assist the required periodic ceremonial & religious occasions.

After the war, the temple was managed by five Chinese Associations from respective major dialects in Kuching. The temple was then transferred officially to Kuching Chinese Community Charitable Trust Board in 1951 until now.

Places of Worship & Devotion In Sarawak

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Introduction

The sacred places of worship & devotion here concentrate on religious places mostly of the Taoist & Buddhist origin; particularly of the local Chinese traditions. Some other interesting & holy places of worship of other faiths may also be included.

More than two hundreds years ago, there was an influx of Chinese immigrants, seeking a better living environment, headed out to various parts of the world, including the South East Asia region, where many of them were from Southern China. They brought with them from their home land the culture, traditions and skills to the new settlement; and one of the first things they did when they settled down on the new land was to build a place of worship to thank for the long safe journey, and subsequently to continue the kind of devotion from home, and to provide spiritual supports and protection in the new challenging environment.

The history of Chinese in Sarawak & in many parts of the world can be observed from the histories of these places of worship & devotion, though many of them are now followers of orthodox Buddhism or of other religions such as Christianity.

Local publications on religion do not provide statistics on these places of worship & devotion, whether adherents described themselves as followers of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, or a mix among these.

This web site & related links hope to provide more information on these historic places in Sarawak, and also serve to remind the cultural heritage of our time; as well as providing meaningful reflections to the younger local Chinese generations.

Black Charcoal.