Monday, February 18, 2008

Shang Ti Temple, Carpenter Street, Kuching

Extracts from Commemorative Plaque of Shang Ti Temple (The Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple), Carpenter Street, Kuching...

" The Hiang Thian Siang Ti (Deity of the North) Temple was a very simple building when it was first built more than one and a half centuries ago by the Teochew immigrants from China. The Temple was originally located at the previous Soon Hoon Street (now known as the Main Bazaar). It was re-built at the present location in 1863. It was razed by fire in 1884 and again re-built in 1889.

In 1968 a major renovation of the temple was carried out and the statues of the Deities were completely re-furnished with gold foils. A pompous celebration took place on the 4th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar to commemorate this occasion. There were merry-making and a grand procession was held to add to the festivities. This celebration has become an annual event attracting devotees from far and near to congregate at the Temple.

The yearly celebration will see Kuching city becoming alive with a burst of activities which include stage shows and a colorful procession as the highlight. Thousands of people line the streets to witness this celebration which will last till late in the night. The crowds will be rewarded with a skillful display of talents by the lion and dragon dance troupes amidst the thunderous beatings of the gongs and drums while pretty maidens, singers and dancers in colorful costumes performing on beautifully decorated floats.

In the old days, an annual election was held to form the temple management committee which was called ‘Ngee Ann Kiun’ Committee. ‘Ngee Ann Kiun’ was the ancient name of the Teochew district in China. This committee was later renamed ‘Song Hong Kong Si’ which became a registered society when the Sarawak Government introduced the Registration of Societies Ordinance in the year 1914.

The ‘Song Hong Kong Si’ was renamed ‘Teo Kiaw Association’ in 1933. In order to comply with the standardization of the names of all Teochew Associations in Malaysia, the name was changed to ‘Kuching Toechew Association’ in 1938.

Nowadays the daily management of the temple is the responsibility of a committee whose members are elected by the Kuching Teochew Associations. The Kuching Teochew Association traces its origin to the Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple.

Well known as a sacred place of worship for devotees and a historical monument, the majestic temple is a popular tourist attraction for both local and foreign visitors."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Kuching Wat Chao Kun Foo, Jalan Uplands

A new wat or temple is under construction at Jalan Uplands, Kuching Wat Chao Kun Foo.

The wat was launched on 22 Feb 2006 when the building plan for the present site was unveiled, and the ground breaking ceremony on the 12 Feb 2008, by the Parliamentary Secretary to Ministry of Works (Datuk Yong Khoon Seng), was for the commencement of the wat’s construction.

The Wat was registered on 15 Dec 2004 under the name Kuching Wat Chao Kun Foo Buddhist Followers Association as a non-profit organization; it is to be built in memory of the late prominent local businessman in Sarawak, Datuk Amar Wee Hood Teck and the late Venerable Chao Kun Foo. As a place of worship & devotion, it is to promote the teachings of the Lord Buddha.

The temple, costs around RM2 millions, designed by local Akitek SKJ, built on a 40 points land at Jalan Uplands provided by the Wee family, is expected to be completed by early 2010.

The main shrine will house the statues of the Golden Buddha, the Kuan Yin and the Four-Faced Buddha.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Thian Chun Tien, Senadin

Thian Chun Tien or Thian Chun Chamber is one of the few orthodox Taoist temple in Sarawak. The newly completed temple is now situated in Senadin, Miri.

Thian Chun Tien was first started in 1975 by Lee who practiced Taoist divination & Chinese medication to help people, in a devotee’s house in Miri.

The small temple was relocated to Krokop, Miri in 1982 in order to cope with the growing number of dedicated devotees.

The year 1985 marked a new milestone when Thian Chun Tien was successfully registered with the Registrar of Society; a new temple was thus planned after that. The current location here in Senadin was thus later granted by local authority.

In 1990, the temple in Krokop was forced to relocate to Lee’s house in Pujut as the Senadin location was not ready yet. Affected buildings, included illegal squatters & Thian Chun Tien in Krokop areas, were to relocate in order to make way for the Miri Resort City Project.

The construction of the temple started in 2001, and completed in 2006, 31 years after the faith was first initiated by Lee.

Thian Chun Tien was officially opened by the Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister on 30 April 2006; to complement the occasion, various cultural related events were organized for the day.