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God Of Prosperity Temple And The People's Park, Ipoh
The Chinese temples and religious associations in Kinta give an indication of the identity and distribution of the Chinese immigrants. Sojourners and settlers of the same dialect tended to cluster together, particularly in the mining kongsis and farms, but in the towns, more inter-dialect interaction was inevitable. To keep the peace it was therefore normal in the early days to establish different temples that worshipped deities common to different groups.
The God of Prosperity and the Goddess of Mercy are typical of these deities and the Kinta River in Ipoh had them both. This photograph courtesy of Malcolm Wade, shows the view of the God of Prosperity Temple near the Hugh Low Bridge, Old Town. It was also known as Paloh Old Temple (Pa-lo-ku-miao) and Tua Pek Kong Temple (Ta-po-kung-miao) and was founded in 1876, by Leong Fee when he first arrived in Ipoh with 16 other Chinese immigrants, making it the oldest temple in Ipoh. It was rebuilt in 1894, and opened in November 1895 with great ceremony including a band. This new temple was facing Hugh Low Street, rather than the river, after the Kinta River was first realigned.
t is said that the temple was a favourite spot to give thanks for a safe journey as soon as the immigrants arrived by boat or to pray for a safe trip home before leaving.
An inscription on the temple roof, a ritual lance and a bronze bell cast at a foundry in Fo-shan, near Canton bear the date 1894. A wooden plaque donated by devotees originated from Hui-chou and a pair of stone lions are both dated 1895.
Leong Fee together with Yau Tet Shin, prominent miner and New Town developer, were the main sponsors of this temple building. It is said that the temple was a favourite spot to give thanks for a safe journey as soon as the immigrants arrived by boat or to pray for a safe trip home before leaving.
In 1907 the open land in front of the temple and in which the temple stood (shown in the photograph) was gazetted as the 'Peoples Park', a gift from the government to the people of Ipoh. At the time the land was valued at $70,000 and was used to display a fantastic collection of Chinese plants presented by Yau Tet Shin. The Park was officially opened on the same day as the Birch Memorial Clock Tower was dedicated in 1909.
To read more about Towkay Yau Tet Shin, click here.
To read more about Towkay Leong Fee, click here.
To read more about Sir Hugh Low, click here.
To read more about the Hugh Low Bridge, click here.