Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Celestial Princess of North boat Quay

This article is about a single photo taken in the early 1970s of a small unassuming shrine at the Leng Hiang Tua temple in North boat quay, on Clark Quay at Read Bridge across the Singapore River.
 Photos of the temple and its activities have been the main inspiration of the blog.

   At a time when I was learning about Gods Deities and Taoist traditions I used to visit The Leng Hiang Tua temple as a "home" away from home. I befriended Ah Hui the medium and the members, and we enjoyed many adventures together which I intend to eventually detail in these pages.
   The small shrine in the photo is easy to miss. After a 100 visits to the temple I hardly knew of its existence. One time the caretaker told me the story of the temple, how some boys found an old statue of Lo Chia, The Third Prince in the muddy field of the Duck farm existing pre war along River Valley road, where the public swimming pool was situated later.
    The boys washed the statue placed it under Read Bridge and provided a cheap urn and some joss.
 Gamblers visited the shrine and asked for numbers, some successes were recorded. One or two first prizes. So a shop house ground level was provided for the Deity. People came in droves asking the God's assistance in all matters. The usual success story of temples with a large contingent of worshippers that came from humble beginnings.
     Now back to the little shrine. No one remembers how it all started. Or her name . The daughter of a committee member and donor to the temple had a daughter who died at age 12 years. The Ah Pek, in trance, communicated that the young miss was not just a normal pretty little girl who died tragically, we know not how, but some illness it was given out. She was in fact an immortal, a celestial being , who had transgressed heaven in some way , judged and sentenced to live as a human being for 12 years. She died on her 12th birthday. So a shrine in the temple was set up for her to be worshipped as "Kor Neo"  (Young miss).   A deified human, a whole new field for me to study but this was my first given example.   The caretaker told me that girl children dying aged 7, 12 and 18 are potential Kor Neos . Entitled to be worshipped in a temple with just 1 joss.
   I often think of the young nameless girl in the temple. What is her story. It's not too likely but someone with the answer might just pop up here.  Or with special visit to read the words inscribed on the plaque. That would reveal so much more.

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