Tuesday, July 26, 2005

21. Kwong Fook Gu Miu, 1880, demolished











Founding dialect group - Cantonese ; Main diety - Monkey God ; status - demolished,1880 bronze bell at the rebuilt Peck San Theng.

A Cantonese temple located at Lavender Street but since demolished. This temple functioned as a temple as well as a guild house for the various trades practiced by the Cantonese then (in Penang, there is the 'Lu Ban' temple which act as a carpenter's guild). A little sidetrack, there was a more historical shophouse neighbouring the temple. This two-storey clan house was founded by a guy called Chow Ah Chi who was a carpenter cum translater (probably spoke Bahasa & English) recruited by Raffles in Penang before Singapore was founded. So Chow sailed with Raffles alongside with 30 Indian convicts to form the first rackey party in search of a better port to rival the Dutch perhaps. Local legend has it that it was Chow who landed on Singapore first and planted a flag (Union Jack or East India Co., nobody knows....I doubt if even Chow himself could have told the difference) on a hillock 200km from mouth of Rochor River.Raffles saw the glorius flag and landed soon after. Nobody knows where, historians were not the least interested. Legend continues that as a reward for braving unchartered territories - such as lions, crocodiles, mosquitoes, Orang Lauts and above all ,the Dutch - Chow was given a plot of land near the landing spot. That plot of land eventually became No. 1 Lavender Street, the clan house of Chow, the Toi San Cantonese carpenter from Penang. The clan house has also been demolished.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kent Neo said...

Lavenda Street was named in 1858. Here is an interesting account from www.can.com.sg. "There are several stories, all sarcastic, on the origin of the name; which really came first is uncertain.Margaret C. Wilson in her book "Malaya, The Land of Enchantment", comments on the smell of the urine and night-soil which Chinese market gardeners used as fertiliser, and on the sarcastic comments then being made about the name. Another possibility relates to the smells from the old town gas works which stood at the junction of Lavender Street and Kallang Road. It is said that a resident suggested the name because of the smells and the Council accepted the suggestion. At the committee meeting of 29 Jan 1929 Mr John Laycock, of Laycock & Ong, suggested that the adjacent roads might appropriately be named rosemary and thyme since, at this time, the name and the smells were already a standing joke.The Tamil name was kosa theruvu, potter's street. The Hokkiens called it gocho tua kongsi, big Rochor Kongsi and chai hng lai, vegetable gardens inside, and the Cantonese Kwong Fuk min meaning Kwong Fuk Temple Street. Lavender Street was one of the first roads in Singapore to receive a tar seal."

http://www.can.com.sg/content/neocan/en/streetwise/unwind/a_flower_on_every.html

7:12 AM  
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