Monday, 19 October 2009

Trip To Kusu Island

It's been more than a decade I was busy working and had no time to visit to Kusu. My mum, an auntie (my mum's old friend) and I decided to make another trip to Kusu Island to pay homage to Tua Peh Gong at Kusu Pilgrimage on Monday 19th Oct 2009 early in the morning as the weather is clear with no haze.
Boat Jetty at Kusu Island
We took a bus service 198 nearby my place instead of took a train to Marina Bay Mrt, to reach Shenton Way (Raffles Place) and transfer another bus service no 402 to Marina South Pier as there was no Mrt linked and is still under construction going on North South Line and Circle Line at that time. I presume that Marina South Pier Mrt will open in Nov 2014. We have no choice, took a bus there and it a long journey for us but it's worth it. Upon reaching at the Cruise Jetty at Marina, I bought 3 tickets (cost S$14/pax) and walked briskly to the station and hopped on the boat that carried devotees to Kusu Island. I remember the tickets last sold was only S$9 per adult at that time in year 2005. It did increase a few dollars as it was remarkably attracted tourists as well as visitors and devotees because Kusu Island is so famous with tourists and beach lovers as well as devotees to pay homage to Kusu Pilgrimage and ear-marked of the legends of Kusu.
Arrival port at Kusu Island
Upon reaching the Kusu Island, 45 minutes ride by boat, we hopped onto the platform of the jetty port on the left side. It was indeed warm and humid weather on Monday morning as the sun rises. The waters is clear and calm. The upgraded pier at Kusu Island was opened recently and daily shiploads of tourists and visitors come here to visit the turtle pond which Kusu is famous for.
Sluice Gate (right)
We walked along the footpath, I saw the water flows from the sea into the path of the Chinese temple and it filled up the area of the temple.There is also a sluice gate to the turtle pond. During the hot weather, the water dries up rapidly and sea water is then let in through the sluice gate.
Sea Water flows onto the pond at the gate
The caretaker would use a rope attached to the red pole to showering the sea water from a sea when the tide is low on the pond or dried up during hot weather that surrounding the temple.
Tua Pek Gong altar
We bought a set of  incense papers & joss-sticks for S$2, to pray for Tua Peh Gong and other deities at the altars and placed some fruits we brought along, on the "prayer" table. 
Deity and Earth God
Guan Yin 观音 (Goddess of Mercy)
There are lots of deities (Tua Peh Gong, Yuan Yin and others ) on each side to pray for good luck, prosperity, peace and so on.
 Incense burner
After we prayed and brought the incense papers that we bought earlier, to pass it to the caretaker of the burner and drop a dollar to the donation box.
At the top of the rugged hillock on Kusu Island, climb of 152 steps, stands three Keramats or holy shrines of the Malay saints.
 Stairway to Holy Shrines
Climbed of about 152 steps to reach Datok Kong shrines and it was indeed a tiring on each step and there's a rest shelter nearby if you need to rest for a while before reaching up the shrine. And but we managed to reach without any rest at the shelter as we are very energise in our body that we felt in ease. I don't feel tired while walking up the steps as I felt my whole body being lightened up.
4 digits numbers by devotees
Before reaching, you can see all written four digits inscribed on the wall of the rock painted in yellow, some covered with yellow cloths, incense burner, and a donation box. Many visitors and devotees wrote their favourite numbers or magic numbers on the rock and yellow cloths to pray to Deity to grant their wishes for the lucky numbers to appear and also to pray for their good wishes and luck as well as good health for their family. There are also written numbers on the handrail that painted in yellow too.
Datok Kong shrines
All the three Kusu Keramats (shrines) are painted entirely yellow. The caretakers wear yellow rimmed spectacles if you notice it. Devotees pray to an interesting ‘all good’ wish list written in unique Singlish, written with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors as well as a smattering of English translated Hokkien words. But we don't mind about this and just respect to the shrines and caretakers who took pain to take care of the three shrines.
Datok Nenek Ghalib (Mother)
Datok Nenek Puteri Sharifah Fatimah (Daughter)
  Datok Kong Syed Abdul Rahman
These Keramats were built to commemorate a pious family - Syed Abdul Rahman, his mother Ghalib and daughter Sharifah Fatimah who lived in the 19th century.
Devotees to the Keramats would pray for blessings for good luck, good health, marriage, wealth and harmony. The Malay Shrines are also popular for childless couples seeking to start a family. The interesting part is that some people mentioned Datok Nenek "Puteri Fatimah" -  his sister or his daughter that crossed my mind. I wonder which one is correct?
Tian Gong (Heaven God)
Most of the pilgrims praying at the Keramats (dedicated to Malay Saints) were Chinese people. The customs form is a part of our multicultural heritage in Singapore. It  also forms part of our social cultural identity and what it means to be unique Singaporeans.
Wishing Well
After prayed to the shrines, we walked down the steps which is the shortest route to reach on the other side facing the sea and strolled along the beach to the food centre for a quick lunch and a wishing well nearby.
Battery-operated Box (Prayer)
Bought some items - batter-operated box (Chant Prayer) for only S$3 (prayer - last time we bought and it spoiled after played for 2-3 years) and others items at the stalls under the shade tents near the footcentre.
Heading Home
The boat parked at the jetty in an hour for every 45 minutes ride - to and fro to heading back to the Marina South Pier.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Guan Yin is also known as patron bodhisattva of Putuo Shan (Mount Putuo), mistress of the Southern Sea and patroness of fishermen. As such she is shown crossing the sea seated or standing on a lotus or on the head of a dragon. The dragon being an ancient symbol for high spirituality, wisdom, strength, and divine powers of transformation.