Talks on 'temple hubs'

Talks on 'temple hubs'

Singapore's Taoist Federation said it is in talks with the authorities to move makeshift "temples" into hubs around the island.

This is in response to complaints by neighbours of these "temples", which are usually nestled in residential units, said federation chairman Tan Thiam Lye, 63.

"We are applying to the Government to see if we can put all of them under the same building. This way, we won't disturb other people," Mr Tan said. Talks are in their preliminary stages, he added.

Although the use of HDB flats for public worship is prohibited, Mr Tan estimates that there are more than 1,000 "temples" in both private and public residential units dotting the island, with HDB flats forming the bulk.

He said: "Many of these 'temples' are from the kampung days. When the owners moved, they brought along their deities."

But many of them did not have enough money to build proper temples and so housed the deities in their homes.

SPECIAL OCCASIONS

He said that on special occasions when there are huge crowds, these "temples" usually apply to hold their celebrations at a nearby empty plot of land.

Mr Tan also reminded these temple owners to be careful when it comes to fire safety.

He said: "We ask them not to put too many joss sticks into the urns... or they may burst into flames and topple. If there are flammable papers or oil lamps nearby, it can turn into a disaster."

HDB said its flats are meant for residential use.

Said a spokesman: "HDB will issue warnings to flat owners/ tenants found to have misused their flats to conduct such activities. As a last resort, HDB can take action to compulsorily acquire the flat, or terminate the tenancy of a rental flat."


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