Have you ever been to Thian Hock Kheng Temple in Singapore’s Chinatown? It’s really rich in Singapore Chinese culture, and an extremely popular tourist spot.
Whenever Singaporean Chinese travel across the seas, especially the older generation, they first visit the Thian Hock Kheng Temple to ask the gods to watch over them. Back in the days when a large number of Singaporeans were in the fishing industry, fishermen visited this place to pray to Ma Zu, the goddess of the sea, for blessings when they go out to fish. Although most people come to visit Ma Zu, the temple also houses several other gods.
Inside the temple, there are large paintings on the main doors. Legend has it that a long time ago, an emperor was tormented by demons in his sleep every night. He stationed guards at his doors to chase away demons that might appear. However, the guards could not watch the area 24/7, so the emperor ordered pictures of guards to be painted on the doors as a substitute.
Tourists are always impressed to learn that the entire temple was structured using balancing concepts, with not a single nail. This type of architectural design originates from Southern China, where many of the original residents of Chinatown come from. Just looking at the elaborate balancing beams leave me in awe.
The small, golden blocks in the shelf at the back are ancestral tablets. If people like, they can place memorial tablets of their ancestors here. Of course, this is subject to availability and rental fees apply.
Singapore has many kinds of interesting architecture here, especially in the cultural areas of Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India. What’s most interesting are the stories behind them!
Your Singapore Guide