Gods and Deities worshipped at the Temple
The Kew Ong Yah Temple houses many deities. Besides the Nine Emperor Gods (九皇爷), which are enshrined in the Inner Chamber (内殿), most of the main deities are enshrined in the Main Hall which divided into three parts.
At the main altar（part 1 on the picture）, there are four levels for the idols. Guangze Zunwang （广济尊王）and his retinues Imperial Envoy Tan (陈钦差) and Grand Commandant Ong（黄太尉）stay on the first level at front.
On the second level, there are Blessing & Virtue (福德正神), Marshal of the Central Altar (中坛元帅), Sudhanakumāra(善财童子)，Confucius (孔子), Erlang Shen (二郎神), Gantian Dadi(感天大帝), and Bodhidharma(达摩祖师).
Eight idols on the third floor and they are Celestial Master Zhang(张天师), Taishang Laojun(太上老君), Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven (玄天上帝), The God of Land from Mt.
Xianyue(仙岳山土地公), Zheng Chenggong(郑成功)，Sage Lord Guan (关圣帝君), Lord Chao Kung-ming(赵公元帅), and The Monkey God (齐天大圣). Patriarch of the Clear Stream (清水祖师), Marshal Tian (田都元帅), and Grand Master Pu-An (普庵祖师who are popular deities in Southeast Asia are placed on the highest floor of the altar.
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Goddess of Mercy
The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary xian (“immortals”)in Chinese mythology. Each immortal's power can be transferred to a vessel(法器)that can bestow life or destroy evil. Together, these eight vessels are called the “Covert Eight Immortals"(暗八仙). Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang or Shang dynasty. They are revered by the Taoists and are also a popular element in the secular Chinese culture. They are said to live on a group of five islands in the Bohai Sea, which includes Mount Penglai.
In Chinese folk belief, the female image of Guanyin Bodhisattva is very prominent, and she is also often called “Mother Guanyin”.
And even though Guanyin Bodhisattva had long attained Buddhahood, she decided to remain a Bodhisattva in order to save the world, and hence she is also often called “Guanyin Fozu” as well.
The Chinese devotees believe that Guanyin Bodhisattva is known for her compassion.
As the Lord of the Flaming Face (Mianran Dashi or Dashiye) is the subordinate (or incarnation) of Guanyin Bodhisattva, hence the image of Guanyin Bodhisattva at the top of the Dashiye’s head is responsible for the salvation and feeding of wandering souls during the Hungry Ghosts Festival in the seventh Lunar month.
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Lord General Tiger
At the gate of the Hall of Tai Sui, there is a hole for Lord Tiger. Lord General Tiger is a folk deity of the Han Chinese, he is also known as the Tiger God. He was initially riding upon by the Earth God (土地爷 or the City God城隍爷), and later on he became the beast of mount for all the other Gods as well, with the additional duties of guarding the villages, the cities as well as temples. The Tiger God can also protect children from harm. In many places in China, there is the practice of getting kids to become godchildren of the Tiger God. The Tiger God is also capable of attracting wealth, as the saying goes, "the Tiger God is using his teeth to bring the money to you." In addition, the Tiger God can also deter evildoers and drive away the evil spirits. The Tiger God at thethe Kew Ong Yah Temple is enshrined in a"cave"specially built for the purpose.
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The Octagonal Tower
Traditional Chinese temples usually have another smaller hall behind the Main Hall to enshrine the main deities, but the Kew Ong Yah Temple, which was built based on the courtyard layout, does not have this smaller hall. Instead, the main deities, i.e. the Nine Emperor Gods, are enshrined in a two-storey octagonal annex tower to the back of the Main Hall.
The only entrances are the metal grill doors that are hidden behind the sides of the main altar. The doors are locked on normal days. During the festivals, committee members will unlock the door, and enter the building to invite the Nine Emperor Gods’ urn out of the tower. Only males who practice the Jiuhuang retreat by observing a vegetarian diet, cleansing the body, and wearing white clothes are allowed entry. Females are always prohibited from entering. These traditions and restrictions are still practiced today. Devotees believe that any disrespectful or unclean behaviour would enrage the Nine Emperor Gods, who would condemn the offenders.
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January 14, 2005
Hougang Dou Mu Gong was acknowledged as a national monument.
Hougang Dou Mu Gong resumed the “Nine Emperor Deities” Holy Birthday Celebration.
December 27, 2015
Kew Ong Yah Temple (Upper Serangoon) Trustee Managing Committee appointed Mr Tan Thiam Lye as Chairman, Mr Ling Kim Huat as General Secretarial, Mr Tan Tee Sea as Treasurer, to oversee and administrate Kew Ong Yah Temple (Upper Serangoon) operation and finance paperwork. 27th December Kew Ong Yah Temple (Upper Serangoon) Trustee Managing Committee chose an auspicious date to hold the Groundbreaking Ceremony to start the temple restoration project.
22nd September marked the completion of the restoration project. A grand ceremony was held to commemorate the event and the opening of the new administration block. Singapore President, Mdm Halimah Yacob, was the guest of honor. “Sacred Site of the Nine Emperor Gods: The Kew Ong Yah Temple (Upper Serangoon Road) was launched on the day as well.