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Thian Hock Keng Mural, Singapore Overview

The Thian Hock Keng Mural is a 40m long painting on the rear wall of the iconic 177-year-old Thian Hock Keng Temple. A gorgeous work of art displaying fine craftsmanship, the Mural tells the story of the early Hokkien immigrants of Singapore, right from the very beginning. Read from right to left, it beautifully depicts the struggles of the early immigrants, the pain they had to go through when they left their families behind in China, and the hard work and labour they put into building the Singapore we see today.

The Thian Hock Keng Mural was painted by Yip Yew Chong and was commissioned by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan. It was unveiled by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Hokkien Festival in 2017. The painting has mostly been done in tones of sepia, although bright colours have been used to depict flowers, balloons, lanterns, birds, special figures like statues of Gods and special events. Visitors can also use a special app called LocoMole and view the Mural in augmented reality. The best time to view this magnificent Mural would be on 'Car Free Sundays', which are regularly organized. On these days, the entire mural can be viewed in its complete glory, as there are no cars parked in front of it to hinder the view.

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The Immigrant's Story Through Thian Hock Keng Mural

The Mural is a stunning sight to behold. It is painted in such a way, that when it is looked upon from right to left, it narrates a beautiful story about Hokkien immigrants who came to Singapore from China. The Mural starts off with paintings depicting young men and women bidding goodbye to their families and setting sail for Singapore. This part has several poignant scenes, which illustrate beautifully the dangerous two-week journey the immigrants made by boat.

The next part of the Mural shows scenes from the Telok Ayer Bay, and the important role played by Hokkien Clan Association during the 19th century in Singapore. This part has been mostly painted in shades of brown. After this, the visitor moves on to the centre of the Mural, with several bright and beautiful colours depicting the grand procession held in 1840 to welcome the statue of the Goddess of Sea, Mazu. This procession was held every three years until 1935. The Thian Hock Keng Temple, which is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore, is itself dedicated to Mazu.

A big part of the Mural has also been dedicated to the importance of education. Homage has been paid to Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian, both of whom were instrumental in the establishment of schools in Singapore. The scenes here depict happy graduates, standing in front of schools and colleges.

The last of the Mural is very touching. It shows a grandfather standing on the bank of the Singapore River, with his granddaughter and pointing out towards the river. The scene aims to show that the grandfather is actually showing his granddaughter the two hundred year-long journey of the immigrants and how their blood and sweat had transformed Singapore. As such, the Mural succeeds in narrating the entire story of the Hokkien immigrants and the result of their hard work.

Locomole - Augmented Reality App for Thian Hock Keng Mural

The app LocoMole, made by the Singaporean company LDR Technology, allows visitors to view extra augmented reality content using the Mural. Download the app and then the Telok Ayer - Past and Present map. Then, choose the Hokkien Huay Kuan Mural as the point of interest, proceed to the Things to Do section and switch on the Augmented Reality mode. Finally, point the camera at the Mural and scan it. Additional content like images and more information about the Mural will pop up on the phone, at specific points of the Mural. This initiative was taken to show how technology can be mixed with heritage and culture. These instructions have also been painted on the wall, along with the Mural.

How To Reach Thian Hock Keng Mural

The Mural has been painted on the rear wall of the Thian Hock Keng Temple, which is located at 158 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068613.
  • By Bus: Visitors can take Bus Nos. 970 and 186 to reach bus stop no. B03041 which is the nearest bus stop from the Temple.
  • By Train: The nearest MRT station from the Temple is Telok Ayer MRT

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