Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Fort Siloso & Underwater World/Dolphin Lagoon

Recently, my hubby booked two tickets from his company for corporate discounts. These tickets comprised with Sentosa rider ticket, underwater world & Dolphin Lagoon ticket and Moonlight at Chinese Garden ticket. So far, we went only two places except Moonlight lanterns at Chinese Garden that we will go later before 18 Sept 2011 which will close on that day.
So we planned to go on 30 Aug 2011 in the morning at about 11am, we proceeded to take a cab to reach Sri Mariamann temple at Chinatown which is near from my place as the Sentosa rider bus's timing is at 11.30pm at the bus-stop (waiting point) to pick up 'ticket-holder' passengers like us to board a Sentosa Rider. Actually, Sentosa Rider's timing schedules are started from 9am to 9pm and 10.30pm on a few 'selected' location and these are every hour intervals stops from location to location. There are two Sentosa Riders (two Loop services) which pick up ticket-holder passengers at the designation points at different locations - Orchard to Sentosa and Marina Bay to Sentosa (end point is Beach station).
After we reached the temple just opposite bus-stop where the Sentosa Rider will arrive in a few minutes time. More than 10 minutes, I saw Sentosa Rider arrive at the designation point and we boarded the rider. On the bus, there is a guide sitting infront is a young lady, announced that if nobody alights at the Mount Faber (The Jewel Box), the bus will reach Sentosa straight from the our pickup point and arrived at 12.00 noon at Beach Station.

To be continued...

Friday, 19 August 2011

Ancestral Temple of Ying Fo Fui Kun (Hakka Cemetery)

Note: News have reported on 18th Dec 2012 of the Last remaining Hakka Cemetery at Holland Close in the middle of a housing estate.
Committee members from the clan association have suggested clearing it out and building a multi-storey building there instead.
In 1996, before I selected the new unit which is the new block at Holland Close. I was told there's a Hakka cemetery which is surrounded by HDBs and I am aware the 'selected' block that I chose is a few blocks away from a old Hakka cemetery. I eventually selected the new unit in 1996, after renovation then moved in 1998 since till now. Ying Fo Fui Kun cemetery's location at Holland Close, nestled on prime land in a residential area. For almost 15 years, I used to walk to the 'Open' fence of  the cemetery's footpath lines to reach the Tanglin Halt and sometimes walk pass to Block 6 coffeeshop to buy food.
This original Hakka cemetery that was established in 1887 as a burial ground for kinsmen from Jia Ying prefecture in Canton, China. The Hakka cemetery had an area of more than 100 acres at Holland Road. In 1965, as large part of land was acquired by the government, the original cemetery size was reduced to 4.5 acres. As Queenstown developed, the burial land was acquired for public housing. The village was resettled in 1968 .New memorials and a columbarium were erected in the 1970s around this cemetery temple and its remaining land.
Most residents walk pass this 'Open' fence from their HDB blocks, to the main entrance of Ancestral Hall.
 Ancestral Hall
Today, the 1.89 hectare site retains the relocated graves, the original ancestral hall and a newly built community hall.
Unlike the elaborate designs and Chinese carvings found on many Chinese tombs, the 'checked' box-like tombs can only be described. 
Row of tombstones facing to Block 32

 Stone on the top of tombstone
The row of tombstones is simliar to one of the cemetery - Kranji War and the narrow space of each tombstone as if there's a ash or remains that buried underneath each tombstone. There are some stones on top of tombstones and no ideas for what purpose or this tombstone has a 'living' descendant to look after.

This signboard shown at the entrance gate which no one knows this piece of land is belonged to the Hakka Clan established since 1822, is one of the oldest  Hakka Clan 'Ying Fo Fui Kun'  in Singapore.

What puzzles me is the 'gift' stoned-chair that was constructed by ANN SENG CONSTRUCTION CO. was given to Ying Fo Mansion Swimming pool. Was Ying Fo Mansion Swimming Pool around when Ying Fo Fui Kun cemetery estalished in 1887?
On the right side of the cemetery, there's a Dai Bak Gong, or earth god, whose silver /white headstone is the gateway to the cemetery. Dai-Bak Gong is a popular deity amongst the Chinese of southern China. It is associated with wealth and prosperity but may also be a form of land god, whose main role is to watch over a site. There are 4 festivals in the annual Chinese calendar - the Hungry Ghost Festival, Qing Ming Festival and the Spring and Autumn festivals. A few hundreds of people come down to the Hakka cemetery during Hungry Ghost festivals every year.
Many of these 'large' size of plaque tombstones lining in front of the cemetery and this particular tombstone incribed in Chinese hardly seen clearly incribed the 'year of the headstone'. It could be earlier buried and one of the tombstones has indicated '33 years'on it.
Most of the urns are kept inside the Ancestral Hall (above) that the cemetery housing exhumed graves, comprises a 125-year-old ancestral temple, a memorial hall for the Hakka clan and a stand-alone columbarium where the urns are stored.
Footpath to the Ancestral Hall

There is a footpath that runs through the cemetery and residents of Block 6 and 7 use it as a short cut to the nearby Commonwealth Mrt. It's no wonder that some of the communters who board the train would have noticed the cemetery when the train drives pass by from Commonwealth Mrt and Buona Vista Mrt, is clearly seen behind the Petrol Station (Blue Rooftop).

Cemetery is seen behind the Petrol Station (Blue rooftop)

Inside the Ancestral Hall that is clearly seen outside the rows of the large-sized of tombstones. 
It is not clear whether the Government will most likely take back the land. It's such a pity that this cemetery has a long standing history and heritage. And this could let the younger generations to know the heritage of the Hakka Clans and the cemetery.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

It's 7th Month

Every year, the fall of the Hungry Ghost Festival, many people are busy preparing foods and offerings. Hope, my explanation on how the Gate of Hell (Hades) operates which come from of the book that indicated all events and written by Yang Sheng, a leading planchette handler of Shen Xian Tang (Taiwan) - renowned temple to visit Hades.. This book (English version) is printed in Malaysia only that translated from the original Chinese version that covers all episode in Hades and as well as the explanation of 'Real Life' of the souls of their past when they were alive which no one knows what happens to the suffering of the souls that punished in Hades instead of Heavenly Realm or Western Pureland of the Bliss. Not all the souls of the dead being to Heaven but straight to Hades when they dies, the soldiers of Hades being send down to earth to collect the souls before it wondering around. This book is published for "FREE" distribution and it encourages readers to continue practising religious beliefs of their own choice. This book is a goodwill from the renowned temple, individuals and organisations who sponsor it. This book is not available in Singapore. As far as I know there are temples in Singapore where you can find the 'free' books on the shelves but these books are NOT covered the whole episode including the souls of the dead sufferings in Hades.

Just a brief about Hungry Ghost Festival
At the start of 7th moon which falls on 31 Jul 2011 (the month of lunar calendar) the Gates of Hades are opened wide for the souls of the departed to visit Earth again to enjoy themselves. That is why the 7th month is often called the "Ghosts Month". It is advisable that during this month human beings should be more careful about going outside the house, especially at night time, in order to avoid crossing path of the souls of the dead.
To begin with a start, I am writing this story that stated from the book, to all people to know that when there is a Earth and there is also Hades where human beings live and die.

As you all already knew there is "Gui Men Guan"(Gate to Devil's Home) and the side door is open. Many souls are rushing to get out through the open door, their faces are so cheerful and happy to breathe the fresh air outside. Yes. This side door of Gui Men Guan will be open only during the 7th month when the souls of the 'common' people are allowed to get out through this side door in batches and when they are out, they behave like birds being set free from their cages - so happy and free. The words of "Gui Men Guan", is where a human being dies, he or she becomes a ghost. When on Earth the body can walk about on the roads but after death, he/she becomes a devil, on reaching 'Gui Men Guan', the gate automatically opens for his soul to enter. When a person is alive, the door of Earth is open and when he/she dies, the door of Earth is closed and the door of Gui Men Guan is open for his soul to enter.

During the 7th month only the souls of the 'common' people are allowed to go out through the side door because when they were alive, they were more or less average, i.e. they were not famous or had earned merit; neither were they very sinful. So, in ordinary days they are concentrated in the average or 'common' people's section but they are not allowed to leave it - they are allowed to just exist day in and day out. Only during the 7th month, on receipt of the District Officer's Amnesty, are certain group of these souls allowed to get out and other otherwise. Speaking of the demonism in Hades, it is on the 15th day of the 7th month that group after group of eligible souls are allowed to partake of the lavish food offerings given by human beings on the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts.The meaning of "Pudu" is to relieve souls out of purgatory. Buddhists call this festival "Yu Lan Pen Hui"; Taoists call this festival "Zhong Yuan Pudu". The official workers in Hades generally have their regular fixed holidays which are different from the holiday given to souls. This is more or less the daily run of affairs in Hades.

Not all the souls are set free and there are the remaining souls who are still in Hades. They(most sinful ones) envy those lucky souls who are allowed to go out and enjoy whereas they are still kept back in this Prison in Hades. Therefore they(most sinful ones) have good reason to be sad. On earth, human beings can enjoy the moonlight but in Hades, the souls are suffering in darkness or semi-darkness.

The period of the Festival of the Hungry Ghost, in the human world, people pray to and offer food to the hungry ghosts in connection with the ritual of relieving souls out of Purgatory; those souls who are not too sinful have the privilege of enjoying themselves by eating the various food offerings and collecting burnt paper money. Some souls who had committed great sins; the amenity on the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is not extended to them to visit the human world and partake of the feasts..etc.

Have you heard from people who says that roaming spirits/souls disturb people on earth? Yes. this is true that there are still many roaming souls on Earth disturbing people. To be reasonable, there are quite a number of roaming souls on Earth who died through murders, accidents...etc, and Hades have given them special permission to go back to Earth to take revenge. But when some of these souls are on Earth, they tend to act without due consideration and when they see human beings, they are apt to disturb them. But, if a person has good fate and good luck, or has good morality or ascetic practice, he/she cannot be harmed. If a roaming disturbing soul does not follow reason and is detected by Officers/Police of Hades, or the deities on Earth, he will be arrested and brought back Hades for punishment. This anomaly is the same; in Hades some deities have pity on the roaming souls and give them permission to go to Earth and take revenge, exactly like prisoners on Earth who are set free, but instead of turning a new leaf and be good, they create more trouble and mischief.

Nowadays, there are five main important religions in the World i.e. 1) Taoism, 2) Islam, 3) Confucianism, 4) Christianity and 5) Buddhism. These are the true religions having the Right Path (Tao) as the source. Originally, there was only one religion but eventually, Heaven sent down the various Sages to teach human beings throughout the World the true religious beliefs. After the death of the followers of the other Sages to claim that one particular religion was and is better than any other religions. On Earth, there are many religious faiths, but the various followers of one faith are always attacking the religions beliefs of other faiths thus causing the meaning of true ascetic practice to be lost, there is an office of 'Wan Jiao Gui Zong' is established so that the souls of religious people are brought to undergo further indoctrination and instruction. The word "Gui Zong" means one heart - all hearts must become one heart and must work towards mutual help and love for each other. All religions have doors wide open to admit those who believe in any particular religion; even though the founders are different, the ultimate aim is the same - to teach all to do good.

The useful words: You must not indulge in vain hopes and immoral thoughts. If you have immoral thoughts you will suffer. Those who practice aceticism need not have magic powers; they must control their mind, and their inner soul must also be steady. In that case, they can be classified as "small fairy".