After my visit to the Fuk Tak Chi Temple, I proceeded to Thian Hock Keng Temple which is situated along the same street.
I was not too happy with my shots at the 178 years old temple that day as my new lenses were not suited for wide angle shots. As I figured what to do, I took a walk around the perimeter of the temple when I realized that mural artiste Yip Yew Chong has been commissioned by the Hokkien Huay Kuan to draw a 40m mural at the rear wall behind the temple.
For the uninitiated, Thian Hock Keng Temple is managed by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (Huay Kuan = Clan Association).
I thought I could take photos of the mural instead since my shots of the temple were not satisfactory. However, my view of the murals were obstructed by the vehicles parked alongside the wall.
Imagine my delight when I found out that the area would be closed to vehicular traffic for "Car-Free Sunday" in a few days time.
"Car-Free Sunday" is a initiative by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) happening during the last Sunday of every month when roads within the Civic District and parts of the Central Business District (CBD) are closed to traffic, transforming the area into a walkable, cyclist-friendly, and activity-filled precinct for families and friends.
I decided to take advantage of the event to return on that day for another photoshoot and I was not let down.
An unobstructed view of the 40m mural
The mural depicts the life of the early Hokkien immigrants when they had just arrived here at Amoy Street. You should 'read' the mural from the right to the left.
The following are just my own interpretation of the mural.
Bidding farewell to their loved ones and their homeland in search of a better life
Taking the Chinese Junks, they landed at Telok Ayer Bay
Giving thanks to Ma Zu, the Goddess of the Sea at Thian Hock Keng Temple for the safe journey
Joining their respective Huay Kuan (Clan Associations) for assistance
Taking part in temple festivities
The Chinese characters 波靖南溟 (bo jing nan ming) means “gentle waves over the South Seas”. Inside the temple, there is a plaque inscribed with these words which was bestowed upon the temple by Emperor Guang Xu of the Qing Dynasty in 1907.
The immigrant settled down here, had kids, the kid had a education, got married himself
By the way, that is the mural artiste himself.
The immigrant, now old, sharing with his grand daughter about the history of Singapore
I like the flow of the story, from how these early immigrants left their homeland in search of a better life here and their contributions towards Nation building.
A few passing cyclists interacting with the mural artiste
The mural is nearing completion with only some touching up to do and should be ready for the Singapore Hokkien Festival 2017 from 13 - 23 April. There will be a guided tour and viewing of the mural if you are interested.
THIAN HOCK KENG TEMPLE 天福宫
158 Telok Ayer Street
Mon - Sun: 7.30am - 5.30pm
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/b9FoTEnzir62
GPS Coordinates: 1.2810871,103.845288
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