MIDDLEBURGH

To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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MIDDLEBURGH TEMPLE

temple garden - a golden lion head resting

What a lot wasn't written up last year.....

I just rediscovered some photos that I posted to flicker which I intended to put with a piece about my local Hung Shing Temple. (when I say "my".. as in mine.. I am using the term loosely) By definition temples, Indian or otherwise/churches/mosques and synagogues "belong" to their respective deities or more specifically to the communities using them . At the very least they "belong" to the custodians such as priests/ministers/mullahs/rabbis responsible for them ,in this case the Chinese Temple Committee And Shirley Temple doesn't come into it

To my knowledge there are 3 Chinese Temples in Ap Lei Chau.Two are directly administered by the Committee unlike the 3rd which is not even listed on their website.

Tai Wong Temple - The Unlisted One

As far as I can work out this is only accessible by boat. It is located behind St Peters Catholic Primary School. When I called the Temples Committee to find out more about it they fobbed me off onto the Government Information Help Desk who (credit to them) at least could tell me its name which lead to some recent pictures taken for an MTR Environmental Impact Assessment, an interesting 1983 article on the history of Ap Lei Chau temples, and a picture of the "Earth God Shrines on Ap Lei" which I never new existed.

Kwun Yum Temple

also known as the Shui Yuet Temple @ 181 Apleichau Main Street, built 1866(?) and listed as Grade III historical building.

A busy little temple -apart from Kwun Yum (Goddess of Mercy) the temple also houses All Saints (All Saints include Kwan Tai (God of War), Tin Hau (Goddess of the Sea) , Jai Kung (Beggar Monk of Good Character) and Wong Tai Sin (a God of Medicine) )Traditionally, there are four festivals in the lunar year in honour of Kwun Yum. They fall on the 19th day of the second, sixth, ninth and eleventh lunar months and these days correspond respectively to her birth, ordination, deification and assumption as a sea-goddess.

Kwun Yum aka Kwun Sai Yum (觀世音) and Guan YiN, is known as a deity of sympathy, compassion and mercy, hearing the pleas of those who are suffering. She is worshipped by people of both the Taoist and Buddhist religions.

Hung Shing Temple

@ 9 Hung Shing Street, Ap Lei Chau .

My favorite - built in 1773 by local residents, it is the oldest temple in the Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau area and is listed as Grade I historical building by the Antiquities Advisory Committee. Historical relics in the temple include an iron bell cast in 1773 and Shi Wan potteries made in Qing Dynasty.I saw a reference somewhere that temple bell was made from stone - not true. The roof of the front hall is decorated with Shek Wan pottery along its ridge. Check it out here (zoom.it or the Photosynth below (NB both take a few seconds to "focus" when zoomed)

Hung Shing was originally a government official named Hung Hei in Tang Dynasty(唐朝). He promoted the study of astronomy, and geography and established an observatory to observe the meteorological changes. Legend has it that Hung Shing continued to guard the people against natural disasters on numerous occasions after his death. Many government officials later built temples to worship him as the God of Southern Sea.

Apart from the main deity of Hung Shing, the temple also houses Kwan Tai (God of War), Tai Sui (Sixty Gods of Time) and Kwun Yum (Goddess of Mercy). There is an annual festival held on the 13th day of the second lunar month. Theatrical performance and processions are organized by local residents to mark the occasion.

Apart from the tiles, historic artifacts , dragons teeth, etc this temple also boasts a fine collection of moggies whom #3 son likes to visit after breakfast at the weekends. Personally I find the ad hoc functions at the temple fascinating. Last year before the Hong Kong Lion Dance Contest there was a Hoi Gong ceremony for the local team's lions. I am looking forward to the upcoming temple festival ....

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