29. Peck San Theng, 1891, rebuilt

bishan map_edit

Founding dialect group – Cantonese ( Guangfu, Huifu, Zhaofu); Main deity – Kuan in; status – rebuilt

My maternal grandfather was cremated here and my great-grandmother’s ashes are housed in the columbarium. It was in my university days that I first saw the old temple, amidst the burning incense papers & smoke. The second time I visited this place, hoping to see more of ‘Cantonese’ architecture, it had already been rebuilt. The last time I visited it, it has become a spanking new temple. It was during this last visit that I witnessed my first encounter of a marriage ceremony for the departed. Two paper effigies were made to bow to each other and the heavens like in any traditional Chinese marriages. The paraphernalia that came with the wedding ceremony was grand – there were cars, dvd players, clothes TVs, etc I am sure the couple will be quite happy below, or up there, wherever lah. Just wondering if they burnt any marriage contract, just in case.
The initial setting up of the temple could really be made into a Hong Kong movie. Story goes that much trouble were made by the local thugs when the Kwong Wai Siu Clan decided to build a burial ground and temple here. Volunteer vigilante ‘guardians’ protected the vicinity from these malevolent forces.A grand memorial in the compounds was erected to commemorate these ‘7 heroic gentlemen’. Gradually, a primary school, a market, a tea house, a factory and even a factory sprung around the temple compounds. This was how Kampong San Teng came about. Bishan was named after Bek San, the Mandarin version that is.


Of Beetles and Chinese Cemeteries


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