Boo Tong Keng
Sometime between 1946 and 1948, the Overseas Chinese community in Batu Phat, Malaysia established a Wudang temple, 武当庙, dedicated to Xuan Tian Shang Di, 玄天上帝, the Supreme Lord of the North. The Wudang temple was established when the villagers from Sungai Suloh returned to their ancestral village in Yong Chun, 永春, China to bring the incense from their ancestral village temple back to Malaysia.
This journey was set against a chaotic period in China’s history. The Sino-Japanese War in China had just ended in 1945 following Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies. The end of Sino-Japanese War was followed by the start of Civil War between the Nationalists and the Communist cumulating in the communist victory and their founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
The political situation in China created much problems and hardships in their travel but the villages refused to give up. Upon their return to Malaya, the villagers established their temple in a humble attap house in their Kampong (village). From the humble house, the temple grew with fellow villager’s support and even led to a restoration about a decade later in 1950s.
For the next few decades, the Wudang temple continued to service the religious, spiritual and cultural needs of villages as their ancestral village in China and their new homeland in Malaysia underwent major political and social change.
In 2005, Wudang temple embarked on the third restoration of the temple. This restoration received local and regional devotee’s support resulting in the largest scale and most expensive restoration in the temple’s history.
A new and well decorated temple now stands in the village and continues to serve villager’s religious and cultural needs and also functions as a community center for the village. The temple even supported the founding of a childcare centre for the villager’s convenience.
During religious events and major festivals, the Wudang temple organizes Chinese operas and geitai to entertain visitors and villages. Such events offer opportunities for fellow villagers, both young and old, to meet and to interact.
The Wudang temple’s history and development reflects the multiple functions of a temple and the ways in which a temple serves the local community, its ability to response to changing social needs of the villagers and the support it receive from supporters and devotees who benefited from the temple’s work.
Boo Tong Keng
Sungai Suloh, Mukim 9
83000 Batu Pahat