Kuan Kong Temple, 1858, demolished


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Quote from Negotiating Conceptions of ‘Sacred Space’: A Case Study of Religious Buildings in Singapore  by Lily Kong

In the case of a Chinese temple, the Tang Suahn Kiong San Soh Hoo Chu Buddhist Temple, previously in Henderson Road, the site was required for a swimming pool to be built by the HDB as part of the Bukit Merah Town Centre development project. The Gazette notification for acquiring the temple site was made in April 1973 and the site was acquired in April 1975 at a compensation payment of S$184,000. The HDB repeatedly made offers to the trustees to combine with other similar resettlement cases to build a new temple on sites offered by the Board. However, by January 1978, the trustees of the 120-year old temple were still insisting on the retention of the temple at the existing site. Their argument was that the temple was very popular with worshippers and was full of valuable artifacts which they felt should be preserved. The HDB, on the other hand, felt that the geographical location of the temple was highly undesirable because the surrounding land averaged eight to ten metres higher. It was also argued that the temple’s artifacts could be removed and preserved at another site and not destroyed with the shell of the temple, “which is a simple brick structure” (quoted in The Straits Times, 7 January 1978). Despite the arguments put up by the temple trustees and their initial refusal to move, they still had to vacate the premises eventually because the Land Acquisition Act (1966) was invoked.


Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 3 (1993), pp. 342-358

Chong Yee Temple, Kuan Kong statuette originating from same mother temple of Tang Suahn Kiong San Soh Hoo Chu Buddhist Temple – see http://www.facebook.com/pages/%E8%90%AC%E5%9C%8B%E5%B1%B1%E5%BF%A0%E7%BE%A9%E5%BB%9F-Chong-Yee-Temple-/214478395291834?sk=info

Chong Yee Temple photo album – http://s1285.beta.photobucket.com/user/rudolfin2/story/17451



19 responses to “Kuan Kong Temple, 1858, demolished

  1. I was away in UK completing my studies when the “Black
    Friday” ..the 13th fires occurred. I remember at the time the
    rumours abounding that these were not so “accidental” as one might
    suppose . The speed at which the authorities cleared up the post
    blaze mess around “Ang swoir”, mostly kampong area then, and started
    building the early HDB flats raised a few eyebrows , as some
    thought , even if they did not express the question, was this pre
    planned? If you ask me I would say those fires only hastened what was
    going to happen anyway.
    Did you know about the Guan Di temple at Henderson road? The one
    that took the URA under Liu Tai Ker five years to finally demolish in
    one of the rare folks resisting the authorities situation. We have
    discussed this one on the site much earlier. Guan Di via his medium
    said he didn’t want to shift. The Sng brothers who held the title
    deeds to the land were told to get lost and offered a compensation
    worth less than 5% of the property. The Sng brothers came back with a
    counter offer to donate 90% of the land to the authorities, in
    exchange for not destroying the temple. Several Australian
    architects , working in Singapore , and interested in the temples
    predicament offered their free services to draw out several plans
    allowing the temple to survive alongside the filtration unit for the
    intended swimming pool of the new HDB towers. Can’t remember if it
    was “Time” or “Newsweek” that came out with the article “Kuan Yew V
    Lord Kwan”. URA rejected all the counter proposals. The architects
    disappeared, some said their work permits were revoked.
    (suppositions) This temple, said to have a history of over 100
    years , though small in size was architecturally “interesting” as a
    copy of the mother temple in Fujien built in traditional style with
    wooden joints, no nails and cement . ( I’m not qualified to discuss
    Guan Di’s halberd style weapon apparently weighed 80 catties. I
    could not lift it from its stand. It seems the original medium when
    in trance could brandish that weapon, I was told but did not witness.
    Anyway it all ended when several vehicles of the riot squad turned up
    to clear the area of people as the bulldozers moved in to complete
    the saga.
    Ive only briefly outlined the details of what was a long
    protracted, and certainly heroic struggle of a small group of folk to
    obey the wishes of their Deity. An offshoot of this temple seems to
    have since resurfaced in Pongol. As to the pool , there were
    predictions that there would be several deaths . I have no proof of
    this, but was told by informants that this did happen, and for a
    while the pool was rather abandoned. I have not yet returned to
    confirm the details. The above events according to my memory happened
    around early 80s.

  2. Erm to the person who so helpfully, at least explained our roots of our temple.

    sadly. we are reduced to almost ashes, but we are still running with only for disciples all under 30 years old. Currently out temple last time known as (Tang Suahn Kiong San Soh Hoo Chu Buddhist Temple ) is now known as leng lian keng is now situated in bukit merah view blk 114. although its a bit shaken but from the looks of the statues to anyone whom have been there before it was demolished should recgonise them. i hope our temple will once rise from the bottom again just like last time. i am very sincere in making our temple build up again. you guys can email me at 81129689. I am really greatful!

  3. San Xi Fu Tze, who is He? Is it Kwan Yun Chang? Deity worshipped by both Law-abiding people & the people from the underworld?

    Seldom nowadays the Taoist temples refer to Him by such name.

  4. yeap original! our command tablet is from shan xi 山西。 btw he is not from the underworld. 山西父子 (shan xi fu (“tze”->zi) is actually Guan Yu or when he had his manifestation is called as guang gong 关公。 as he said that he wanted to protect lord buddha.

  5. Well you are right, he is known as Kwan Sheng Di Jun, Kwan Di Yeh, Kwan Gong. Nowadays only few temples in Singapore address him as Shang Xi Fu Zi, especially those old temples. The off-shoot from this temple still exist, just that not much people know.. Only those old residents living near Bukit Merah View knows it. Or those who used to visit the temple’s at the original site may know where it is now. Let’s hope this old establish temple will still carry on it’s mission to help the devotees

  6. Hi to all readers, just for your info, (Tang Suahn Kiong San Soh Hoo Chu Buddhist Temple ), is actually a Taoist Temple not Buddhist Temple. It has a long history which brave through rains and storms. However let’s us pray for the continuity of this temple and hope that one day this temple will regain it’s formal status. Cheers

  7. By the way, Kelvin Fu Tze, your chinese “Fu” is wrong. It’s not written as “Papa” but ” the “Fu” is correctly written as “Gentleman”.
    U know Lao Fu Tze / “Lo Fu Jee” (cantonese)?

  8. Hi Fu Tzi,

    So 山西父子 is also known as Lao Fu Tze/Lo Fu Jee? I stayed in HK for 10 yrs, researching chinese culture esp. folklore. Never heard of that. Is this a local slang?

  9. Guan Di’s halberd style weapon apparently weighed 80 catties?????
    Anyone knows where the big blade is now????

  10. 1)where is the henderson rd “kuan dao” residing now? 2)whereabout in pongol is the resurfaced temple 3)whr relationship does this henderson road temple with striling road, “chong yii mui”

  11. it’s residing in my temple which i am helping in now.

  12. happened to discuss about URA claimining over land issue
    used to stay in redhill and heard alot of story from folks about this guan ti temple which is still occupied by the present defunct swimming pool…any update of the progress of your temple at blk 114. keep me update


    • We are now temporarily placed at Kong Hong Temple at Telok Blangah Heights. to distinguish whether you are the right place. look for the 80katty gold halberd

  13. There are many zhong yi miao in singapore, we are not associated to any zhong yi miao temple btw. and about punggol. i dunno theres a temple there during the 1970’s… over there are all swamps.

  14. it’s now residing in my friends temple. sorry that it’s relocated and i cannot tell you the whereabouts. we wanted to keep low… sorry

    • Kelvin can I check with u u have any ideal in Singapore got any standing guan di temple

    • Hi Kelvin do you know where is the temple located to? The last time when I was there, was in 1975, I was only a very young boy and I remember there was a medium with lots of helpers over there helping common folks with problems .
      Is the temple still full of Helpers and is the medium still there helping people?

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