I need to make a habit of checking OSS. Sorry about this (and a few others) super belated posts!
“What is your favourite Buddhist Temple in Singapore? Why?”
First of all, I am guilty of generalising every Chinese temples as well, Chinese temples, disregarding the complexity of the various religions worshipped by the Chinese. Not only are there buddhist temples but also temples for the Taoists and Chinese folk religions.
My favourite Buddhist temple in Singapore is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (incidentally, the temple that Group Two presented on). I visited the temple once when I was bringing a group of Czech and Chinese delegates for an F1 youth event back in 2011. I often walked past the place too as I used to frequent the Duxton and Ann Siang area (and anecdotes of drunken friends and temple stone guardians but I digress).
I remembered being awed by how richly decorated the place is, especially the imposing statues of Maitreya and there is a huge hall in the middle where the devotees congregate for prayers. It is cordoned off from visitors by velvet ropes and visitors are allowed to walk down the aisles at the side. The walls contain niches with small buddha statues (can be seen in the image above, their halos give off a blueish hue) and the tall ceiling adds grandeur to the space.
Hymns were played in the temple and it is surprisingly air-conditioned (I always have the impression that temples are often ventilated by natural wind drafts). I didn’t go on the guided tour as I don’t have the luxury of time at that moment but I’d like to go to the temple again, this time equipped with the knowledge accrued from art history lectures, allowing me to fully appreciate the temple even more.