Hong San See
29 Mohamed Sultan Rd, Singapore 238973
Location: 31 Mohamed Sultan Road
A magnificent Chinese temple in the Minnan style, Hong San See (Temple on Phoenix Hill) was built between 1908 and 1913. It was gazetted as a national monument on 10 November 1978 and was originally located on Tras Street in Tanjong Pagar. It had a magnificent view of the sea. However, that structure had to be demolished for road widening and was replaced with the present building.
The decoration of the temple is very fine, with phoenixes and door gods painted on the double leafed timber doors. Roof ridges and eaves have chien nien ornamentation (traditional southern Chinese art incorporating flowers, birds, leaves and figures) and plaster relief work. In the centre of the roof ridge are two prancing dragons on either side of a blazing pearl. The main courtyard is flanked by corridors and secondary altars dedicated to other gods such as Cheng Huang and Xuan Tian Shang.
In 1829, the Hokkien migrants from Nan Ann (or Lam Ann) county in Fujian province, China, and built a temple dedicated to the God of Fortune (Guangze Zunwang) on Tras Street. In 1907 the Singapore government acquired the land for road widening with $50,000 as compensation and the temple had to be relocated. With the $50,000 compensation the site at Mohamed Sultan Road was purchased for the construction of a new temple. In 1908, the construction of the new temple began with all construction material imported from China and the temple was finally completed in 1913 at a total cost of $56,000.
Several restorations have been undertaken and in 1970 restoration according to then current guidelines included the removal of several features. In order to retain its original early twentieth century style architecture, these features are now to be restored to the temple.
As with other temples in Singapore, it was used as a school for local children but the school had to close after 10 years when it ran into financial difficulties.
Under the management of the Singapore Lam Ann Association, a Hokkien clan, the temple has undergone several renovations and a full-scale restoration from 2006 to 2009 after the corner of a roof collapsed. In 2010, the temple was the first building in Singapore to be awarded the Award of Excellence in the annual UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
1. National Library Board Singapore . (2015, July 30). Hong San See. Retrieved from SINGAPORE INFOPEDIA: Link Here
2. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2014, July 18 ). Article: Hong San See. Retrieved from WIKIPEDIA THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA: Link Here