Fig. 33: Ah Zhong (阿忠) wraps the base of the trunk with yellow cloth.
Fig. 34: 2 temple helpers hanging electrically lit lanterns on the bamboo branches.
Fig. 35: A temple helper cleanses the bamboo by pouring burnt incense from an incense urn at every joint of the trunk.
Fig. 36: As the trunk is raised while being attached to a metal chain from the pulley system in the middle, people on the left pushes up the tree branches while those on the right holds the base of the trunk down to make the trunk stand upright.
Fig. 37: After the trunk is erected, Johnny (white singlet) ties the base of the trunk to the metal tower as a temple helper supports the trunk. Lu Gu (pink shirt) then pours burnt incense onto the trunk again.
Fig. 38: Johnny climbs up the metal tower to secure the middle of the trunk to the metal tower.
Fig. 39: Johnny (above) fastens the top of the trunk to the metal frame as Ah Zhong (below) supports.
After the erection of the 1st bamboo trunk, it was time to erect the 2nd bamboo trunk, from which the actual 9 kerosene lamps will be suspended.
Fig.40: Mr Tiong (front) and a temple helper saw the excess branches off the second bamboo trunk.
Fig. 41: Ah Zhong hangs the metal frame, which would later hold the 9 kerosene lamps, onto the 2nd bamboo trunk.
Fig. 42: Temple helpers hanging a flag with the inscription “九皇二帝千秋” onto the trunk. A similar flag with the inscription “九皇大帝千秋” (unseen) was hung further along the trunk.
Fig. 43: The base of the trunk is tied to a concrete weight on the ground, which acts as a pivot as the top of the trunk is raised to a high enough height.
Moving of statues to the festival space
One day before the festival, the statues for the various gods were moved from the temple building to the different areas of the festival space.
Fig. 44: Ah Tsui removes the statues accompanying the Jade Emperor (玉皇上帝) from the compartment above the entrance.
Fig. 45: Ah Tsui then removes the old clothes off the statues.
Fig. 46: The statues are then cleaned.
Fig. 47: Each statue will be adorned with new robes donated by sponsors.
Fig. 48: A devotee, after paying respects, helps to put on the new robes for the statues.
Fig. 49: Ah Tsui (right) and Ah Cai enters the case housing the Second Nine Emperor God (九皇二帝), the North Dipper Star Lord and South Dipper Star Lord to change their robes.
Fig. 50: Ah Zhong (left) and Johnny place the Tiger deity (虎爷) at its altar outside the tent.
Fig. 51: Mr Tan(left) and Ah Cai carry the Central Marshal (中坛元帅) to his altar inside the tent.
Fig. 52: Johnny (right) and Ah Zhong set up the altar for the Five Generals (五营将军).
Fig. 53: Johnny, Ah Zhong and members of the Fifth sedan chair team placing the Central Marshal in his spot.
Fig. 54: Ah Zhong places the statue of the Jade Emperor on the highest level of the pantheon, reflecting his premier status in Taoism and Chinese religion.
Fig. 55: 2 temple helpers carry a different statue of the Second Nine Emperor God and a small cauldron towards the festival ground. Different statues for the Second Nine Emperor God, the North and South Dipper Star Lords were used because the ones normally displayed in the glass casing were too big to be moved. The chamber housing the original statues would be sealed off to the public.
Fig. 56: Ah Wu (right) and Linus (left), son of one of the Head of Traffic, set up the altar for the Second Nine Emperor God after its statue, along with those for the North and South Dipper Star Lords, had been placed on the altar.
Fig. 57: Temple helpers position the large incense urn in front of the altar for the Second Nine Emperor God. There was another such incense urn for the Jade Emperor, which faced the Nine Emperor God altar.
Preparation of Dragon Ships
The dragon ships were a metaphorical vessel to rid devotees of their bad luck and unhappiness. Devotees, after making donations or buying products from the temple, paste their receipts on these paper ships as a symbol of putting their bad luck on the vessel. On the last day of the festival, the ships would be sent out to see and set alight to symbolize the sending off and ridding of such bad luck. This year, they increased the number of Dragon Ships from 6 to 8 due to strong devotee demand.
Fig. 58: A temple helper secures the flags on the boat with 3 long yellow raffia strings. For some reason the heads of the dragons were covered with a plastic bag until the last day of the festival.
Fig. 59: A miniature boat captain with a paddle (background) was put on each boat along with 2 large black paddles.
Receiving – 17/10/17 (28th day of the 8th lunar month) (农历八月廿八)
Fig. 60: Long Nan Dian entrance at the T-junction intersecting Sengkang West Ave and Jalan Kayu. The leftmost lane is shown being cordoned off so that the sedan chair teams can load their sedan chairs onto their trucks.
Fig. 61: The head priest, Xie Ze’en (谢泽恩) (dressed in yellow robe), with his assistants behind him holding the required ritual paraphernalia, initiates the Consecration ritual (开光) while facing the altar of the Second Nine Emperor God.
Fig. 62: After the head priest blows his horn and waves a burning charm paper in front of the sedan chair, the sedan chair members shake their own chair, showing that their chair has been blessed and is ready to invite their gods. Shown here is the First chair.
Fig. 63: The head priest doing the Consecration ritual for the Third chair, which was inside the festival tent at the time.
Fig. 64: The head priest conducts the Consecration ritual for a miniature sedan chair by making red marks with a calligraphy brush.
Fig. 65: Meeting among the sedan chair team leaders over the progression of events.
Fig. 66: All the devotees pray in unison in front of the Second Nine Emperor God.
Fig. 67: Collection of the urns took place inside the temple, with each team entering one by one. Here the Ninth team places its urn inside the sedan chair.
Fig. 68: The Seventh chair team loading up on their truck before it sets off for East Coast Park (ECP) for the Receiving.
Fig. 69: The team members for the Seventh chair set up their offerings along the shoreline for the Receiving.