20 - 30 Minutes
Located on Kusu island is the popular Chinese temple - Da Bo Gong 大伯公 or Tua Pek Kong (Grand Uncle). Built-in 1923 by a wealthy businessman, the temple houses two main deities - the Da Bo Gong and Guan Yin 观音 (Goddess of Mercy). The former is highly regarded as having the power to confer prosperity, cure diseases, calm the sea and avert danger, while Guan Yin is known as the 'giver of sons'. this temple was built to serve and provide convenient access for residents living in the center, especially those who have difficulties moving around. Between the 1950s and early 1970s, the population of the island was about 2,000 when quarrying activity was at its peak. Three-quarters of the residents were Chinese, one quarter was Malay and the rest were Indian.
At the top of the rugged hillock on Kusu Island stands three kramats (or holy shrines of Malay saints) to commemorate a pious man (Syed Abdul Rahman), his mother (Nenek Ghalib) and sister (Puteri Fatimah) who lived in the 19th century. Many devotees will climb the 152 steps leading to the kramats to pray for wealth, a good marriage, good health, and harmony. The shrines are also popular with childless couples who would pray for children.
During such festivities, hawkers would set up street stalls, and traditional wayang or opera were performed on the stage. These were opportunities for villagers to meet and catch up with one another. Children also enjoyed the celebrations as they get to snacks on tidbits that they would not usually eat and stay out with their friends till late. The temple and wayang stage continue to host festival celebrations for the villagers even now. One of the biggest festivities on the island is the celebration of the deity Tua Peh Kong’s birthday, a 5-day event of Chinese opera performances, which culminate in a modern “Getai” performance on the last night! Many old villagers often return, some bringing their grandchildren, to join in the celebrations and pass on this tradition.
Things to carry
Things Not Allowed