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Aug 28, 2017

Inter-Religious Places of Worship in Singapore

The Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple at Loyang Way, Singapopre

History of the Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple

The history of Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple (luo yang da bo gong) can be traced to the early 1980s when statues of Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu deities were found on the coast near Loyang Way. A modest hut was built on the beach to house and worship the deities. In 1996 a fire destroyed the hut and with generous donations by its devotees a new temple with brick walls and tiled roofs was bulit in 2000 at Loyang Way. In 2007 the temple moved to the current location, which is less than 2 km away from its previous site.

The former Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple facing the sea.

The new Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple at Loyang Way.






Sequence of praying at the Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple

Self-service praying items

There are also vending machines for the exchange of Singapore currency notes and coins for the convenience of the devotees.

Coins and currency notes exchange machines 

 Community service at the temple

The mobile medical service provided by SATA at the temple.

Different religions under one roof

The Taoist, Hindu deities and a Muslim 'kramat' (shrine) of different faiths worshipped together in one location.

Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple is one of the few temples in Singapore that has Hindu deities worshipped alongside Chinese deities, reflecting religious harmony in Singapore. Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple is one of the few temples that is opened 24 hours for prayer. [Source: Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple website here .]

Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple is one of the few temples in Singapore that has Hindu deities worshipped alongside Chinese deities, reflecting religious harmony in Singapore. A related blog "On a little street in Singapore for worshop" here .

The temple owes its existence to a group of friends, who on finding figurines of different religions abandoned on a beach, brought them together and housed them under a unique mixed-religion temple.


In the 1980s, a group of fishing buddies, including Paul Tan and Huang Zhong Ting, stumbled across statues of Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist deities strewn across the beach at the end of the Loyang industrial area. The friends built a small hut made of bricks and zinc sheets to house the figurines. This humble construction served as a makeshift temple. It also includes a kramat to honour a holy Muslim man.

Soon, scores of people, mainly those working in the Loyang industrial area, were visiting the temple. Miraculous powers were attributed to the temple as devotees claimed that their prayers for prosperity and wealth were never denied. Unfortunately in 1996, the hut was razed to the ground by a fire. The Taoist statue of Tua Pek Kong, the god of prosperity, was the only one that was not damaged by the fire. New premises to house the deities and the kramat had to be built. Through public donations that poured in, a new temple complex was built on a 1,400-square-metre area at the same site. The temple was named after Tua Pek Kong, the god whose statue had miraculously survived the fire.

Around 20,000 devotees visited the temple per month despite the fact that bus services were limited to week days and the nearest bus stop was half an hour’s walk away. 

One of the temple’s claims to fame was its two-metre-tall statue of the Hindu god Ganesha, said to be the tallest Ganesha statue in any temple in India or Singapore. 

Another attraction was the lighting of non-hazardous fire crackers on weekends.

In June 2003, the lease on the land on which the temple was situated expired. The temple authorities procured a new site nearby for the construction of a new complex. 

In August 2007, the temple re-located to its new premises at 20 Loyang Way. The new temple cost S$12 million to build and its construction was completely funded by public donations.

The temple holds yearly celebrations in conjunction with various festivals, such as a celebration to welcome the God of Wealth on the eve of the Chinese New Year. 

Animals are sometimes brought in to heighten the atmosphere. Other events include the celebration of the birth of the Hindu god, Lord Ganesha, on the 5th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar.10 The two-metre-tall statue of Ganesha, which was moved over from the old temple, attracts Chinese devotees as well.

[Author: Naidu Ratnala Thulaja.  Courtesy of eResource, Infopedia of the National Library Board]. 

Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple consist of 3 wings with different architectural designs linked alongside each other.

While the Chinese deity Tua Pek Kong, the small centre wing contains a Datuk keramat shrine while the right wing with Hindu deities Ganesha and Dunga.

Da Bo Gong (Tua Pek Kong) 大伯公

The right wing of the temple for worship to the Hindu deities.

The Muslim 'kramat' where non-Muslim devotees pray.

There are clearly no physical boundaries within the Loyang Tua Pek Kong temple which allow devotees to cross freely  between one another with due respect and devotion.

Every Singaporean is entitled to freedom in Singapore, regardless of race, language or religion.  The multi-racial, multi-religion and multi-culture Singapore is an unique country in the world.  

Chinese devotees pray at the foot of Hindu deity Ganesha with flowers and lamps, while Indian devotees were seen carrying joss-sticks in front of Tua Pek Kong and the Datok keramat shrine.

Such are signs of cross-cultural, cross-religion interactions in a distinguished yet assimilating religions hybridized space for the peace and harmony of Singapore.

In November 1990, the Singapore parliament passed a 'Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act' with the aim of further enhancing religious harmony.  Under the provisions of the act, the Minister for Home Affairs may issue a restraining order against any leader, official or member of any religious group or institution who causes or attempt to cause ill feelings between the different religious groups.

The Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO) was founded in 1949. The date of registration is 18 March 1949. Since its humble beginnings, IRO has worked quietly to promote peace and religious harmony in Singapore.

With the passage of time IRO organized more activities in line with its objectives and participated in local and international forums to learn more about what is being done in the region to promote religious harmony. It networked with organizations like the World Council on Religion and Peace (WCRP) and the Asian Council on Religion and Peace (ACRP).

IRO also regularly conducted inter-faith prayers and blessings at launching ceremonies of public and private institutions. 

Increasingly, IRO became recognized as a force for good. It was invited by the Government to conduct prayers at the passing out parade of the Singapore Armed Forces and for the victims and their families when the SIA air crashes happened in Taiwan and Palembang.

Photo courtesy of the Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore

Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) Singapore promoting peace and religious harmony in Singapore.

Today, 10 major religions are represented in the IRO. IRO will build on the momentum already generated and continue to promote inter-religious peace and harmony in the next decade and in the years to come.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee pay respect to the mosque, church, temples and shrine in multi-racial, multi-religious Singapore here .



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