If you have already done your research and planned your Singapore tour itinerary, I’m pretty sure Chinatown is on your list of must-see places to visit. It is one of the most interesting places in Singapore to visit for those who want to see authentic South-East Asian culture in person. Best of all, it is free!
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore’s Chinatown is the Thian Hock Kheng Temple. Inside, there are numerous Chinese statues that tourists can freely view. Each statue carries its own interesting story in Chinese mythology.
In Chinese folklore, the equivalent of the Grim Reaper are the Black and White guards of hell, 黑白无常 (hei bai wu chang). Their job is to escort souls of dead people to hell, where they get reincarnated into another life.
This is how the legend goes:
Black and White were long time friends traveling together. At the mouth of a river, White suddenly felt unwell and so had to go back to get medicine. He told Black to wait for him at the river. While waiting, there was a flash flood which caused the river to overflow. Instead of running for his life, Black faithfully stayed there to wait for White to come back. As a result, he drowned.
White returned to find Black’s decomposing body. His body had turned black. Deeply saddened by the death of his good friend, he hung himself.
That is why Black’s skin is black and White’s tongue is hanging out.
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