There was a big do at the private temple opposite the condo on Sunday (9 Aug 2015).
When we returned in the afternoon ( about 3 pm), the big booming drums of a Lion Dance troupe sounded out. Then we saw 8 Northern Lions in orange (Northern Lions are furrier cos, cold in the north) followed by two dragons, one pink and one green. (No. I wasn’t drunk at 3 in the afternoon.)
The eight Lions danced into the temple compound (as well as they could with 8 of them and a confined space), and then came out.
Then the 2 dragons entered the compound (up to the door), doing their best to be dragons, in the confined space. They settled for squishing their dragon bodies up against the door. After a while, they backed out of the compound.
Some temple officials – mediums? priests? – entered and exit with incense paper, then the Lions re-appeared to form a line in front of the gates of the temple. It was quite impressive – eight furry northern Lions arrayed in front of the Temple. This temple must be rich.
Then a lady (she looked like a lady, or perhaps a man playing the part of a lady) in a costume with flags on her exited the temple, and the Lions let her pass through. She was “attended to” by some other people. I got the impression that they were enacting a scene or role-playing, and she was playing the role of a female deity (which? I do not know).
Then a man in another costume, also with flags exited the temple, passed through the line of the Lions and joined the Lady. He was probably also playing (or possessed by the spirit of) a male deity.
After some role play which I did not catch from my apartment (I was watching all this from our window), the two deities moved off, attended or accompanied by the temple staff or officials, the eight lions and the two dragons. They walked down the road, forming a human procession. Then halfway down the road, their path was blocked by what seemed like a back Lion (like a lion dancer), but to my eyes, it did not appear to be intended to depict a lion. But I could not see clearly, and it might have been representing something else. A demon perhaps?
Anyway, the Lions stepped forward and “chased” the black “creature” away.
Then the procession continued.
And at the end of the human procession, two buses brought up the rear.
Later, we learned from PL’s parents that the temple had moved to Jurong, and what we had witnessed was the “uninstallation” of the deities from the old site, which would be followed by the “installation” of the deities at the new site, probably with lots of pomp and ceremony and lion and dragon dancing.
I do wish them well.
And I guess, some residents will be happy that they have moved.
But I will miss them. I won’t be able to say, “there’s a Chinese Temple just outside my apartment, and every now and then there will be pomp and pageantry.” And yes, every now and then there will be some inconvenience and nuisance (like smoke and ashes from incense burning).
But I feel that it is these minor inconveniences that teaches us to be accommodating, and tolerant, and to live and let live.
Which is not to say that I enjoy smoke and ashes, but that it is part of living in a multi-cultural, religiously diverse society. And to be fair to them, they have tried to be good neighbours (except for that one time on CNY eve when they had drumming and music up to 11:30 pm. But it was Chinese New Year’s eve! The next day is a holiday, so sleep a little late.)
I would have like Z to have a chance to grow up with these inconveniences, to understand that we live in a small crowded city, and we need to live and let live.
Or live and let leave.