We were walking down Lowland Road, off Upper Serangoon Road, when we came across this Chinese temple.
The building looks like a rural village temple, the type that used to be commonplace in Singapore’s rural areas until urban redevelopment wiped out almost all of them.
The compound was locked, and the doors and windows were shuttered. The place looked deserted. At least the fence was see-through, so we could peer inside.
The Chinese characters on the black signboard, read from right to left, are “Yi Lai Guan”. “Yi Lai” means “the Coming of the Extraordinary”, while the noun “Guan” can stand for a Taoist temple.
As for the red banner above the signboard, the four largest characters are “San Jiao Fo Zu”, a reference to the three deified patriarchs of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism - Lao Zi, Buddha, and Confucius. This is a syncretic Taoist temple, with Buddhist and Confucian elements in it.
The plants in the compound look recently tended, so perhaps this temple is opened on specific dates, such as the birthdays of its deities. But it is certainly an unusual feature in a neighbourhood filled with private housing.
The wood and zinc characteristic of rural village temples.
The back part of the temple.
This is worth a return visit on a date of religious significance - for example, the 15th day of the 7th Lunar Month, which is the Hungry Ghost Festival.