More than 6,000 usher in CNY at temple

A group of devotees at the Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple shuffled to make way for an elderly couple.

Another group made a clear path for a wheelchair-bound man, so that he too could light his joss sticks.

More than 6,000 devotees turned up on Sunday night to usher in the Chinese New Year at the stroke of midnight.

It was one of the biggest crowds the temple has seen, and event coordinator Jeffrey Tan, 58, was glad to see everything run smoothly.

He said: "We are seeing more people this year but people are so nice to one another. Everyone is calm and enjoying themselves."

A particular furry and agile character was the centre of attention, delighting children and adults.

In line with the Year of the Monkey, an actor playing the monkey god Sun Wukong struck poses as devotees queued up to snap photos with him.

Administrative assistant Joan Ong, 40, was in the queue with her seven-year-old daughter Yu Jie.

"He's a hit among the kids, and my daughter kept telling me she wants to touch his feathers," she said, with a laugh.

In previous years, the temple had brought in live animals such as goats and horses to heighten the festive atmosphere. 


"It is hard for us to get live monkeys here in the temple, so we brought the famous monkey god instead," said Mr Tan.

Devotees The New Paper spoke to said the visit was a ritual not to be missed.

Sales manager Edwin Chua, 51, came just in time as the crowds started moving towards the God of Fortune at around midnight.

He visited the temple with his 37-year-old wife, and three children aged 10, nine and six,

Said Mr Chua: "We just came from our reunion dinner and my wife and I visit every year. We wanted to introduce this to our kids."

Web designer Malvin Lee, 31, said he and his group of friends have been visiting the temple for the past seven years.

"We used to be a big group, all from the same secondary school, who would go together."

Pointing to his two other companions, he laughed as he said: "The group has shrunk now, but I am glad we all meet when we can and keep this tradition alive."

This article was first published on February 9, 2016.
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