A Christian in a temple

I had plenty of time to kill yesterday because my sons were delayed in finishing their school stuffs. So, armed with a camera, I wondered into a Chinese temple behind their school.


It is part of the Penang Heritage Trails.

Part of what is written :

When the Hainan men migrated to Penang late in the 19th century, the key occupations were dominated by other Chinese dialect groups, and so they turned to niche occupations by becoming sailors or cooks. Some Hainanese cooks first served in European and Straits Chinese households before branching out to open their own coffeeshops and restaurants.

I had often proudly proclaimed myself a Hainanese whose father sailed to Malaya with his eldest brother in a sampan, braving the rough seas (and pirates).

The Hainan Temple has these rows of photos of the elder Hainanese whom had died, tiled on the walls. It has a serene looking Ma Chor, described below:

The temple, called Thean Ho Keong or Temple of the Heavenly Queen, was founded before 1866 and the present building dates from 1895. It is dedicated to the goddess Mar Chor, the patron saint of seafarers. Goats are slaughtered during the deity’s feast days. It is a common temple for the different migrant groups from the island of Hainan in South China, now called Kheng Chew or Hainan province.

Hmm…now I know why I kept cooking mutton for my meals! And I never get sea-sick and love the thrill of rough seas. It is in my Hainanese blood. Hahaha.

OK, back to inspirational thoughts.

I had this over-whelming feelings of thanksgiving to the uncles and aunties whom had ventured so far from their roots in China to Malaya. I switched off my camera, put it down and bowed my head. For a few minutes, I stopped being a tourist and photographer.

I am but a grateful citizen of Malaysia. I thank God for being born and bred in Malaysia. I thank God for having grown up, grown old as a Malaysian. I thank God for everything. And thank Him for leading my father here safely.

When I stepped out of the temple back into my car, I realised that eventhough I am a Christian, I can still be very much part of my Chinese culture.

Quotes are sourced from Penang Tourism website.

10 thoughts on “A Christian in a temple

  1. hi. I am a hainanese too…
    I hope to see more open minded christians.
    not many of them are as open minded as you.

    a blog reader
    – Life Feel

  2. I suppose I’m Hainan. *roll eyes* LoL! Sorry la, I don’t remember because someone asked my Dad before and he too didn’t really know. šŸ˜›

    I ain’t much of a Chinese dialect speaking person anyway.. sigh..

  3. Danny – All the Foos are Hainanese as far as I know. See if you got square head. LOL.

    Life Feel – Welcome to the gang. James of Loopy Meal is also Hainanese. We can cook.

  4. u should visit tian hou temple (near mid valley) one day.
    it seems tian hou temple is a “stronghold” of hainanese clan.

    I like hainanese kopitiam,
    it has very classical feel.

    i think if you can understand cantonese and hokkien, you can understand hainanese.

    a blog reader
    – life feel

  5. Are the Hainanese the greatest Chinese worshippers in Malaysia?

    Are the Hainanese the richest Chinese worshipers in Malaysia?

    Can anyone eplain why the Hainanese controlled the largest Chinese temple in Malaysia – the Thean Hou temple in Taman Seputih, KL?

    Is is because of the Hainanese crook Tan Koon Swan?

  6. huh? what are you talking about?
    you comment sounds sarcastic?!?

    what I know is, Hainanese is a small clan in Malaysia but it is very influencial in Chinese community.

    I think Hainanese is influencial because the clan organises thier organisation properly.

    There are rich chinese clans like Hokkien and they are strong worshippers too, as they celebrate thier Tian Gong dan (heaven deity birthday) very grandly.

    a blog reader
    -Life Feel

  7. Life Feel (is your name Hon Ching? been to your site) – Thanks for holding the fort for Hainanese. I think of all the different dialect group, Hainaneses are the most mild ones. We only see chicken rice. Hahaha.

    esenaniah – For your info, all Chinese with surname Tan are mostly Hokkiens. If Tan Koon Swan owes you money, go find him? Don’t come here with that kind of remarks? What do you mean by worshippers anyway? And if the Thean Hou temple is the biggest, what is with you?

    lynee – Hahaha, Wa Si Hokkienlang will be pleased with that.

    Life Feel – You mean you can speak Hainanese? Wow. I only know a few cuss words.

  8. haha.. i can’t speak hainanese but there is a hainanese course offer in thean hou temple.

    I think you know my name through my birthday cake? hehehe
    no, I am han ching. nice to meet you.

    Hainanese is quite influencial. for example, half of the AJKs of persatuan wushu malaysia are hainanese šŸ˜‰

    I think I am the only xanga blogger on PPS šŸ™

    -Life Feel

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