Week 2 Journal- Buddhist Temples

What is your favourite Buddhist Temple in Singapore? Why?


I don’t have a favourite Buddhist temple but the most memorable one is the Guan Yin Temple, also known as the Kwan Yin Thong Hood Cho Temple, on Waterloo Street.


Image taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/40261708@N02/6194545742

My parents pray to Guan Yin so this is a temple that we will frequent, more so in the past then now. It was a temple that I remember going to quite frequently on hot Sunday afternoons. The crowd was terrible and the amount of smoke from the incense burnt would irritate my eye most times. After praying, you could get sweets from the table in front and my dad always took some for us. “It’s for good luck,” he would say and I think my siblings and I were just happy to have sweets. My mother would take chrysanthemum flowers back for blessings too.

Now, when I visit the temple again, it is a place that brings me peace. The crowd is still terrible, the incense not so bad, and the sweets and flowers are still there for people who want to be blessed. Sometimes you see the occasional auntie riffling through the flowers as if she needed to get the best piece. It is a place that holds memories for me but it is also a place where I feel a little closer to a divine presence.

After learning more about Buddhism from Art History and my earlier interests in reading about it, I feel like I can understand the religion better.

Chinese Porcelain Visual Response Reflection

In reproducing Chinese porcelain designs on paper plates, we seek to address its changing nature, from decorative items to utilitarian wares.


The plate we referred to was the Chrysanthemum dish made in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), found in the Asian Civilizations Museum.

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Chrysanthemum dish

China, Jingdezhen kilns, Qing dynasty

Porcelain with depictions of plants and butterflies


After research and group discussions, we settled on the uses of Chinese porcelain designs and comparism of the past and future uses. In the past, such plates were deem precious and placed for decorative admiration yet such designs can be found on plates used for eating now. To emphasise on the shifting nature of the designs now, we use paper plates, a disposable item easily thrown away after use. People are more blasé about such designs and with printed technology, it is easy to throw away what might be deemed precious centuries ago.




To emulate the casual setting we were going for, we decided to set up a picnic table where such plates are more commonly used. Bottles, chips, and flowers are provided to create a friendly atmosphere where friends can easily gather to chat.


Through this project, I realize art is never just a reflection of its own period but also an instigator of critical questions to an artist, art students, art historian, anybody. Yes, it does represent the period from when it came from but such art inspires the next generation of art and that is how we fit in. Looking at a plate created centuries ago prompted us to think about the ever-changing nature of goods and compare them. It can go many ways then, we can ask ‘why has it changed?’ or ‘when did it change?’, the questions are endless. In creating a visual response, we are creating a conversation with the piece which I found intriguing and frankly, rather amazing.