Monday, February 27, 2006

Kim Tong Hu 金洞府

Tucked away in this quiet lorong is a temple or sintua (Sheng Tan) named Kim Tong Hu 金洞府(Hokkien) or Jin Dong Fu in Mandarin. Except to the devotees of the temple, most Singaporeans might only get to know about this temple when it holds its celebrations twice a year at the Kallang Park, next to the McDonald's. This temple celebrates on 22nd of the Lunar New Year (First Month) in honour of Sian Chye Ya 善才童子 (Shan Cai Tong Zi) and on 15th of the 5th Lunar Month in honour of Kim Min Dai Lin 金面大人 (Jin Mian Da Ren).

This sintua is well known to sintua-observers for its big statues of the Deities. Put together, the number of Deities and the layout in the tentage, it could well be one of the most comprehensive temple of Deities.

This sintua started some 42 years ago, when the medium (known as tangki or kitong in Hokkien) was "chosen" to represent the Kim Min Dai Lin. He was only 18 years old then, and like many youngsters, he was attracted to the activities of the Kim Hong Beo (Jin Feng Miao) then. Kim Hong Beo was probably the main temple of that village by the name of Kim Hong Chun. The village was in what is now Lorong 3 of Geylang. At that time, when the mother of the medium of Kim Hong Beo came back from China with the "joss-fire", the medium representing Chi Min Dai Lin (Qing Mian Da Ren) said that Kim Min Dai Lin (a good friend of Chi Min Dai Lin, all being Ong-Yah) was looking for a medium to kiu-sei (to help the world). As as destined, despite so many people trying, he was the chosen one, and then, he was asked to join in for lack of people. (^^)

Now, Kim Hong Beo continues at Arumugam Road and Kim Tong Hu is at Lorong 40, Geylang.

Kim Tong Hu has a membership of devotees with many who speak English as well as Mandarin and Hokkien. The members are friendly and welcome any visitors. They even offer to explain to the visitors about the Deities of their temple. It is an educational experience for many.

It is said that the Kim Min Dai Lin does not come down often, only when there's serious matters to attend to or to "set-up" the tentage on the festival days. So, for routine consultations, these days, the responsibilities are delegated to Sian Chye Ya. On festive days, the medium also represents the Kim Ji Peh 金钱伯 (Jin Qian Bo), who is a very colourful and jovial Deity.

There is only one medium and he represents four Deities on different occasions. The robes of Sian Chye Ya are one of their kind in Singapore and probably the world. They are made painstakingly by the wife of the medium and are a work of art in themselves. Perhaps, they should be displayed with the Power Dressing. (^^)