Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tze Yin Khor, Lubok Antu – The Japanese Occupation 1941

The Japanese Occupation started in 1941 in Sarawak and ended in 1945. Tze Yin Khor in Lubok Antu was partly founded due to the war.

Lubok Antu is a small town of the Sri Aman division, about 4 hours from Kuching by road; from the Trans Borneo highway junction alone, it take more than 30 minutes to reach this small border town, one of the very few townships in Sarawak sits next to Kalimantan of Indonesia.

In 1941, after Kuching was controlled by the Japanese force, small inland towns were like a domino, one by one fallen to the Japanese as their soldiers moved along the Batang Lupar to the interior.

Lubok Antu was no exception. As the Japanese landed in Engkilili which was the nearest town to Lubok Antu, and about a day journey by river, the soldiers faced fierce resistance from the Iban warriors at the Batang Lupar upstream.

As the Ibans slowly lost ground to modern gun power, anxiety permeated the Lubok Antu township residents where many of them were Chinese. The Chinese feared that the Japanese might take revenge when they landed in Lubok Antu, as happened in many parts of Asia earlier when resistance was encountered.

It was at this moment that the last resort as for many people was to pray for God’s help. The residents were led by few seniors to pray for peace & a simple hut was thus put up for the Gods; this was in fact the earlier Tze Yin Khor of Lubok Antu. The main host housed in this small hut was just a few simple Chinese wordings ‘Group of Gods’.

Gods might have moved, Lubok Antu did not face a massacre, and the war ended quite peacefully in 1945. Even during the 1961 Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, this blessed town did not face much disaster.

After the war, the simple temple was thus reconstructed, and the Host Deities were formally transmitted from Tze Yin Khor of Sri Aman to Lubok Antu to continue the kind of protection, worship & devotion.

Today, Lubok Antu is associated with the Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort & the Batang Ai Hydro-Electric Power Plant. The Japanese Occupation in 1941 looks vague to many local Chinese residents.

Batang Ai Hydro-Electric Complex

Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort

The new lake created from the Hydro-Electric Dam Project

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tze Yin Khor, Sri Aman – The History & The Live Crab Feng Shui

Tze Yin Khor is located in Sri Aman, the capital of 2nd Division of Sarawak; it is about 200 km by road from Kuching. There is only one traditional Chinese temple in this small town.

Batang Lupar next to Tze Yin Khor

The temple is located at the river bank of Batang Lupar, famous for the Tidal Wave called Benak locally. This is one of the few temples in Sarawak which is more than a century. The present glamorous architecture was completed in 1993.

Around the year 1849 when James Brooke established its forces in the Skrang region near Sri Aman, the Chinese, particularly the Teoh Chew pioneers, started to do business in the area. As the Brooke Administration reinforced its presence in Batang Lupar with a fort, more Chinese especially Teoh Chew settled down in Sri Aman or around the Batang Lupar area.

Before the turn of 20th Century, a small temple was thus built to cater for the growing Chinese population; this was the earlier Tze Yin Khor, with Tze Pei Goddess as the host deity.

The present location was relocated in 1899. It is believed by most adherents that the present location is seated on a good Feng Shui, a Live Crab Feng Shui. Many believe that because of the Live Crab Feng Shui & the blessings from Tze Pei Goddess, Tze Yin Khor had escaped many major disasters in Sri Aman.

In 1928, a major fire broke out in Sri Aman, devastated about 60 wooden shophouses. Tze Yin Khor was next to these shophouses; most parts of the temple, including the main chamber, was unharmed. In 1961, a cyclonic storm swept through Sri Aman, the half an hour windstorm demolished most of the buildings in Sri Aman including Tze Yin Khor; however, Tze Pei Goddess and the two Protectors remained seated in the main chamber unmoved. Even during the Japanese Occupation in the 1940s, Sri Aman faced few tragedies.

And because it was seated on a Live Crab Feng Shui, before the 1993 major renovation, major parts of the temple was painted green, instead of using red traditionally for most Chinese temples, to avoid ‘cooking’ the Live Crab. With the major renovation in 1993, the practice is still maintained; all roofing of Tze Yin Khor is still kept green until now.

Green Roof Burner

Green Roof Temple

Places of Worship & Devotion In Sarawak

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ching San Yen – Her Feng Shui & the City of Kuching

Ching San Yen, Muara Tebas

About two centuries ago, Ching San Yen area was already a prosperous port for Kuching. It served as one of the two major ports of entry to Kuching or Sarawak at large at that time (the other one is the Santubong river mouth), for vessels from the South China Sea.

The Brooke Administration at that time also had custom offices or the like established for purposes of taxation & other clearance.

The temple was already established at that time for the Chinese immigrants. It also served as a first stop for the newly arriving Chinese immigrants to pay respect and to thank for the long safe journey, before moving on to the hinterland or other parts of Sarawak.

Many adherents believe that Ching San Yen was built on a good Feng Shui; the prosperity of Kuching is associated with that since then.

Accordingly, Ching San Yen is seated on a Golden Turtle in the North (the Muara Tebas hill), and facing a flowing river in front on the South. The location might have been chosen carefully by a Feng Shui master as believed, and thus continues to bring prosperity to the City of Kuching nearby!

Today, the Sarawak River mouth at Ching San Yen is the only river entry for vessels to Kuching after the completion of the Sungai Sarawak Regulation Scheme in 1997, which includes a causeway across the Santubong passage. In the past, heavy floods caused economic and social problems, devastated parts of residential and business areas such as the 1963 and 1982 major incidents. The SSRS is believed to minimize floods and has brought significant socioeconomic impact on Kuching.

Will those man-made changes affect good Feng Shui or chi around the areas? The prosperity of Kuching will of course largely depend on its people initiatives besides good Feng Shui!

Ching San Yen & the South China Sea.

Part of the Sungai Sarawak Regulation Scheme.

An Express Boat Entering The Sarawak River

Places of Worship & Devotion In Sarawak