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March 31, 2010

Templing and puppets

                               Sin Hoe Ping (Hokkien) puppet troupe at Po Chiak Keng (Magazine Road)

I went there around 2pm but sorry to say, there wasn't any performance yet or it was already over, quite strange because the day performance usually starts at 2pm..shall compensate with more interesting pictures and information below. As there was no performance at that time, I went in to Po Chiak Keng and have a look. Some of these statues striked me because they actually look quite similar to puppets.

I have yet to find out if there are any links between such statues and puppets but there are indeed puppet deities to name a few, especially those prayed by Henghua people, Marshal Tian (Xiang Gong 相公爷/田都元帅) and Chen Jinggu (陈靖姑) or the more commonly known ones such as Grand Elder (大爷伯). 

Was lucky to be able to visit 2 Henghwa temples, An Ren Gong (安仁宫) and Qing Yun Miao (青云庙) (side by side each other) near Lorong Ah Soo. As usual, these temples never fail to amaze me with their unique traditions and beliefs which are never heard of or seen in other dialect-affiliated temples.The first one I visited was An Ren Gong. Partly due to my research on Xianggong, the first thing I will usually look for in a Henghua temple is whether they worship the deity. Sure enough, I found Xianggong's statue inside this temple.

He is being identified as having a crab drawn on his mouth. There are a few interesting stories as to how the crab was associated with the deity. Will share next time. 

The other time I mentioned about the Hu-gi (扶乩) ritual held at Cheow Leng Beo in Yishun. Both the Henghwa temples in Lorong Ah Soo have hu-gi as well. Here is one taken at An Shan Gong.

The next trip was to Jiu Xuan Gong's celebration event of Jiu Tian Xuan Nv (九天玄女千秋日,农历二月十五日). I thought there was a marionette performance but it was a glove puppet one (布袋戏) by Shuang Neng Feng Huang Gezai troupe (双能凤凰歌仔班)! This was the second one (first one which I have watched) I have encountered so far! What a pleasant surprise!

                                                     Glove puppet stage in the day before the performance

The worshipping of Hai ji (孩儿爷) possibly by the glove puppet troupe, which are also worshipped by most Chinese opera troupes and Hokkien puppet troupes.

                                                               Glove puppet performance at night

Anyway, I had a wonderful and fruitful trip today, thanks to chinatownboy for showing me around!

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