Page 1


DECLARATION OF SUBMISSION This is to certify that: 1) The Report comprises our original work towards the course work on Methods







ARC60305/ARC2323/ARC1215), 2) Due acknowledgements have been made in the text to all other material used.



















7 MARCH 2016



ABSTRACT In a group of 27 students, we were given the task to measure and document the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple as a part of our short semester module. The report is meant to give a deeper understanding of the building from various aspects such as architectural, historical and cultural. We choose to primarily base our research on the relationship between its culture and architecture. The aspects we covered were the relation of the building with its context, its significance, the key components in its architecture and the way the users interact with it. From the project, we hope to cover a gap of knowledge of the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We would like to express sincere gratitude to Ms. Tey as well as the countless amounts of administrators, staff, and helpers that were present at the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple that provided us with ample care, help, and a friendly hospitality to enable us to conduct our research. We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to Ms. Nor Hayati, the main coordinator of the module and the respective teams and staff in Taylor’s University for providing us with the opportunity to conduct this research and project. We are also greatly in debt to Architect Kevin Mark Low, whom willingly took time away from his busy schedule to agree upon us to have an interview to provide us a clearer understanding and heading of direction of our project. Lastly, we would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to our tutors Ar Ian Ng and Dr. Sucharita Srirangam for guiding us along this project from the beginning until the very end.


LIST OF FIGURES, PLATES AND ILLUSTRATIONS Page 1.01 Sketch of the road leading to the temple


1.02 Natural light shining through the opening


in the main hall of the temple 1.03 Staircase located in the temple storeroom


1.04 Sketch of temple faรงade


2.01 Sketch of temple entrance and face


2.02 Roof of temple and Kuala Lumpur skyline


2.03 Ladder assembly and usage


2.04 One of the books used for the research


2.05 Interview being conducted with Ms.Ranjit


2.06 An elder praying to the deities


2.07 Members of the group conducting measuring exercise


3.01 Sketch of temple main entrance


3.02 Picture of Yap Ah Loy

29 6



3.03 Ample light is able to shine into the temple through these openings 30

4.03 Visitors taking photographs in one of the temple halls


3.04 Temple main hall when in use


4.04 Floor plan showing the places (red) that is most frequent in-use


3.05 Tourists and visitors arriving at the temple


4.05 An elder standing next to the main altar


3.06 Main hall of temple, level change seen on green tile


4.06 One of the many skylights in the temple


3.07 Usage of temple with rituals


4.07 Picture of the ancestral hall


3.08 Temple helper working on fortune telling services


4.08 Statues of the Goddess of Mercy at the altar


3.09 Details on roof, of original state


4.09 Drawings of deities in the temple


3.10 Original staircase of temple still in use


4.10 “Sedan” used by the Gods in certain times of the year


3.11 Temple sillihoutte with buildings nearby


4.11 Sketch of the offerings


3.12 The temple and Kuala Lumpur


4.12 Location of statues of deities


3.13 List of names of the influential people


5.01 Sketch of main hall


5.02 Back entrance and alley of temple


in the making of the temple 4.01 Sketch of the back entrance


5.03 Section of temple


4.02 Floor plan colour-coded according to the temple’s


5.04 The use of wrought iron suggests that this part of


function, supporting spaces and services.

the building is an add-on 5.05 Arc doorway that serves as a connector between halls

51 7



5.06 Traditional use of threshold to separate spaces in the temple


6.12 The beam and column


5.07 The main hall


6.13 Main door and the Door God


5.08 The kitchen, located in the middle of two halls


6.14 Sketch of dragon ornamentation on the urn


6.01 Sketch of back entrance


6.02 The parking as seen from the office


6.15 The main porch of the temple


6.03 The back entrance of the temple


6.16 Fu Dog 1


6.04 The main hall of the temple with wooden beams


6.17 Fu Dog 2


6.18 Main Door


and columns

located outside the temple

6.05 The section of the temple


6.19 Dragon ornamentation


6.06 Dougong and column components


6.20 Boundary of the temple


6.07 Roof of the temple


6.08 Brick usage in temple, such as this furnace


6.09 Floor tiles at the main hall


6.10 Timber framing at the top of the main hall skylight


6.11 Poison arrows’ pointing at the temple



FOREWORD We thank the entire team who worked on the Methods of Documentation and Measured Drawings course work at the site of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, Kuala Lumpur, for offering such a great time and learning experience together. The team’s task was to measure and document the temple, which is one of culturally and historically significant landmarks in the city of Kuala Lumpur. The team enjoyed studying the temple for it offered a contrasting experience within the city, where the tradition meets the contemporary and where the chaos meets some order. With the immensity of such dualism, the team went ahead to study both a) the tangible, scientific and technical aspects of the building and b) the intangible, experiential and qualitative aspects of the temple. The production of deliverables from the course work, thus, became of two folds. On one hand, the students presented the measurements by translating the spatial measurements into graphical and physical representation through drawings and model. And on the other, they presented sketches and photographic journals, through actually becoming part of the temple itself by participating in the cultural or ritual activities inside the temple. The spatial articulation of Sin Sze Si Ya temple is of great complexity that has its frontage facing a central courtyard that has two entries from two parallel streets; the temple also exhibits complexity in its geometry as it orients an 9

angle to the streets in an attempt to confirm to the original intensions on Feng Shui. The team deserves deep appreciation for handling such complexities in meticulous, systematic efforts with passion. The team also captured the significance of the temple by paying attention to details; may it be construction details, poetic aspects such as lights from the sky, smoke escape from the incenses and chimneys, decorative altars of the deities, furniture facilitating the ritual practices. We congratulate the team on capturing the intangible significance into tangible expressions of architecture, spaces and the interior. Thus the outcomes, Report, Model and Measured drawings, exemplify the passion on the spatial and perceptional studies. The following pages of the Report is the concise of the entire work by the cohort towards understanding, analysing and recording the place of dualism, the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple.

Dr Sucharita Srirangam Tutor


Having ever measured only one building in my long career, I approached Sin Sze Si Ya with excitement. Deja vu it would not be then, particularly when 27 energetic and enthusiastic students under my charge would undertake the task, not me. The most curious trait we would share would be that I was their age when I measured a cruck barn in Yorkshire in the 70’s. The purpose of the exercise in Leeds, UK, was quite removed from that of classical European tradition where it was thought that measuring up and drawing of works of masters would somehow awaken some kind of consciousness of the perfection of the classical orders and their proportions. It was more than the acquisition of practical skills using instruments of measuring, and recording onto paper (in pre-digital days.) Of that I would be certain, as the final question from my reviewer would reveal. It was a question I would remember above all other recalls. “And what have you learnt about the building?” he asked. Thinking that it was an historic-theoretical question, I fumbled in response. “Basically,” he said to end the ordeal, “it’s a simple structure that works very well in keeping out the weather.” Things have perhaps not changed today. It is more than measuring. Sucharita and I challenged the students to extract more than merely bricks and mortar from Sin Sze Si Ya. Beyond the mandatory mechanics of measuring, cadding and model making – old skills to be repeated, no doubt, for the rest of their undergraduate studies – we picked the video as an opportunity to explore short-film communication as a means of synthesising 11

research. The basis of choice was the increasing use of narratives in video to relate human experiences that other forms of communication do less well in, particularly in the youngsters’ cyber spaced world. Happily, the students took to textual analysis for an understanding of the principles of fictional narratives with strict adherence to appropriate points of views. And amazingly, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears fared well as the context for study. Sucharita and I were delighted with the enthusiasm and the level of film and dramatic talent the students harness on plunging into the filmmaking. Finally, the reflective pieces each student wrote bear witness that the learning had gone beyond measured drawing to drawing from cultural life and relationship management. That, for me at least, is enough to make this an 8 weeks well spent together.

Ar Ian Ng Aik Soon Tutor




Declaration of Submission






List of Figures




Table of Contents






2.1 Module


2.2 Aim


2.3 Objectives


2.4 Instruments


2.4.1 Measurements

24 13

2.4.2 Accessibility


2.5 Method of Research


3.4 Summary 4.0 LIFEBLOOD – Rituals, Activities and Belief

35 36

2.5.1 Internet


4.1 Functions


2.5.2 Books


4.2 Activities on Annual Calendar


2.5.3 Interviews


4.3 Rituals



4.4 Hierarchy of Deities


2.6.1 Lack of Information


4.5 Summary


2.6.2 Human Error


2.6 Limitations

3.0 BLOODLINE – History, Folklore and Culture

5.0 CONDUITS – The Circulation and Usage of Space



5.1 Space Configuration


3.1 History of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple


5.2 Spatial Articulation


3.2 Social Significance


5.3 Summary


3.2.1 The Temple and Its role in Society


3.2.2 Temple and Tourism


6.1 Structure


3.2.3 Temple and Religion


6.2 The Study of the Façade


3.2.4 Temple and History


6.2.1 The Main Entrance


3.2.5 Circulation of Network


6.2.2 Back Entrance



6.2.3 Opposite the Temple


3.3 Other Temples Around the Area

6.0 PULMONARIES–Structure, Construction and Detail



6.3 Construction


6.7 Summary


6.3.1 Roof Details




6.3.2 Column Details







6.4.1 Tile Roofing




6.4.2 Brick Structure




6.4.3 Tile Flooring




6.4.4 Roof Timber Framing







6.5.1 Orientation




6.5.2 Construction Details


6.5.3 Symbolic Ornamentation


6.5.4 Customs


6.6 Ornamentations


6.4 Materials Used in Relation to Climate

6.5 Feng Shui

6.6.1 The Order and Chaos


6.6.2 Meanings

66 15


1.0 INTRODUCTION This report is an outcome of an eight-week exercise undertaken by 27 students from the School of Architecture, Building and Design, Taylor’s University, Malaysia. As part of a mandatory short semester course we, the students, measured the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple in Kuala Lumpur with the objective of learning methods of measuring and recording as well as to research and report on the history and culture of the heritage building which was constructed before formal and modern systems of design drawings were invented. The team of measurers comprised students who had just completed the Semester 2 and Semester 3 of the BSc (Hons.) Architecture programme, and was supervised by Senior Lecturers, Dr Sucharita Srirangam and Ar Ian Ng. This report includes reduced copies of all the drawings (originally A1) and written text from our research questions which themselves were derived from Fig 1.01 Sketch of the road leading to the temple

by Farah Ain Ismail

literature review, site visits and class discussions responding to the privilege given by the course module. The privilege was to choose to investigate either the history or the culture of the building. We chose to research and report on the culture of the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple.


One of the first findings that impressed us was the circumstances surrounding and giving rise to the building of this temple, a series of socio-political events in the founding years of Kuala Lumpur in the mid-19th Century. This involved protracted inter-racial and communal wars which saw its turning point when the leader of one of the groups was beheaded. Folklore has it that white blood flowed from his beheaded neck, a phenomenon that so startled the opposing group that repentance and reconciliation between the warring parties followed. The building of the temple followed in the ensuing years in commemoration of the event. This report, thus, takes inspiration from this generating point, entitling itself WHITE BLOOD, and picks up on the metaphor to flesh itself out. Following the introduction Chapter 2, Module and Methodology, tables the module outline given for our instruction and the methodology which were in the main prescribed. The methodology led to a guiding research question which is, “In what way does the temple respond to the need of contemporary users?�

Fig 1.02 Natural light shining through the opening in the main hall of the temple


With the clear research question, reporting was naturally organized into the ensuing five chapters. Chapter 3, Bloodline- from history to legend to faith, records the founding and growth of the temple to present time. It starts with the white blood occurrence, discussing the degree of truth of the matter, and attempts to show its relationship to the character of the faith that forms the basis of this temple. It also discusses the value of this temple to not only its adherents and devotees but also the neighbouring community and our multicultural nation. Chapter 4, Lifeblood - rituals and activities, gives a descriptive analysis of the user content that range from formal and symbolic rituals to the day to day activities of the temple occupants, and covers the deities housed. It focusses on the essential rituals that give this temple its unique characteristic. Chapter 5, Conduits - the spatial articulation within the temple, moves into an analysis of how the architectural spaces within the temple are configured according to our contemporary values of perception. It uses the concept that what appears to be chaos may actually be order of a “natural, organic� kind and comments on how this dynamic between order and chaos speaks of the life of the temple.

Fig 1.03 Staircase located in the temple storeroom


Chapter 6 Pulmonaries - the architectonics of the temple, is a straightforward description and analysis of the container of the space – the physical building itself, and includes the controversial (yet fervently held) belief of Feng Shui. Chapter 7, Conclusion comprises 3 parts – 27 individual reflections on the pedagogical experience of this 8-week exercise, an analysis of the group feelings (a corporate response, so to speak) and a summary conclusion to the project. Following the preceding textual narratives are the measured drawings, a link Fig 1.04 Sketch of temple façade

by Farah Ain Ismail

to our video on perceptions of the temple from an individual experience point of view, and appendices which include our original English translation of the temple manual.



2.0 MODULE AND METHODOLOGY 2.1 Module The task set before us – in terms of the Learning Objectives and Outcomes – was extremely precise with little room for creative variance as university standards had been set and many precedents archived. We followed the prescription as much as we could, diverging only where we felt it was absolutely for clarity of communication or for creative impact based on the research questions we had set ourselves. Module outlines may be inspected in Appendix 5. One of the rather unusual approaches we adopted was to video-record the cultural perception of the temple through a simple narrative framework of human relationship as we felt it was the element closes to how users might experience the temple and for the fact that the human plot-element is often the best way to bring the building to life. You may view our video on YouTube at the link given in Appendix 3. Fig 2.01 Sketch of temple entrance and face

by Amir Fauzan


2.2 Aim Our aim was simple; to relate the architecture of the building to its significance, highlighting how the two support the inhabitation of the building.

2.3 Objectives The objectives of this project are to analyse the relationship between architecture and the significance of the building as well as its inhabitation. Furthermore, to learn to use different type of methods for researching information.

Fig 2.02 Roof of temple and Kuala Lumpur skyline


2.4 Instruments 2.4.1 Measurements Measuring tape string and retractable measuring for curved and round objects, construction laser ranger finder to measure height and distances on high ground.

2.4.2 Accessibility Multi-purpose ladder, Folding ladder, Safety Harness

Fig 2.03 Ladder assembly and usage


2.5 Method of Research 2.5.1 Internet This method was used to gather basic information about the site and its context. It was also used to gather a deeper knowledge of the use of Feng Shui in our temple. Fig 2.04 One of the books used for the research

2.5.2 Books Understanding Sin Sze Si Ya histories, cultures, events, activities and type of gods in the Chinese version of the temple’s book and translated into English to allow others to understand it. We also got some inside of the design of the temple in order to meet the requirements of the Feng Shui. 2.5.3 Interviews Interviewing the worker in the temple, Miss Ranjit and Ms Lim, a committee member of the temple, to gain more inside information about the temple.

Fig 2.05 Interview being conducted with Ms.Ranjit


2.6 Limitation 2.6.1 Lack of Information Information about Feng Shui in books are limited and mostly about modern building. Hence, we obtained the information through some elders who have more knowledge on the Feng Shui of old buildings like temple but some of it Fig 2.06 An elder praying to the deities










2.6.2 Human Error Parallax error may occur during measuring as the eye level is not perpendicular to the reading of the measuring tape. Besides, not all the measurements take several attempts thus it leads to the documentation of inaccurate measurements.

Fig 2.07 Members of the group conducting measuring exercise



3.0 BLOODLINE History, Folklore & Culture 3.1 History of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, built in 1864 by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, is hailed as the oldest Taoist temple in Kuala Lumpur. The Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is an object and place of faith for the civilians as well as a symbolic monument of the historical fights of the Chinese. The existence of the temple allows us to look at the backgrounds and life experiences of the Chinese heroes who were part of the early stages of the development of Kuala Lumpur, which were comprised of blood and tears. According to history, in year 1859, there were two local emirates in Seremban who were in a fight against each other due to mining and taxations rights. The Chinese then followed the Malay landlords and were divided into two organizations which were Ghee Hin and Hai San. At that time, Liu Ngim Kong was a captain under the Chinese Kapitan Shing Kap and he recommended Yap Ah Loy as someone capable who is brave, resourceful and can play a major role in the fight to be the vice-captain. In the year 1860, a war broke out and unfortunately, Kapitan Shing Kap’s forces was defeated and Kapitan Shing himself was beheaded after being captured by the opposing Malay forces. His death was extraordinary as white Fig 3.01 Sketch of temple main entrance

by Mark Eng

blood was seen flowing from his neck after his head was chopped off. In 28

Malay belief, it is an indication that the person is a saint if white blood is spilled by a dying person. After witnessing such phenomenon, the Malays begged for forgiveness and allowed the Chinese to retrieve his body for burial. The news spread like wild fire and had soon become a myth. It was said that Kapitan Shing Kap was very kind and had the heart of a Buddha, hence after he was killed, he took his place as one of the Gods. Ever since then, Shing Kap is regarded and looked upon by the local Chinese as a deity, and a temple was built in his honour in order to worship and commemorate him. In 1861, Yap Ah Loy became Shing Kap’s successor as the Kapitan of Seremban. Aside from Shing Kap, there was another hero, Sze Si Ya, who was the commander-in-chief during the Selangor Civil War. He admired Yap Ah Loy during that time and followed him to the war. He won a lot of battles but in the end he was killed in the battlefield. In order to commemorate him, Yap Ah Loy built a temple and named it as Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, which is the combination of the name of Shing Kap and Sze Si Ya. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is a part of the history of Kuala Lumpur. To the Chinese community, the temple is a clear evidence of the contribution of the Chinese Fig 3.02 Picture of Yap Ah Loy.

community to the country. The temple holds certain sentimental values for the

Source: history.html

local Chinese as it reflects the hard work of their ancestors who came to


this land and witness the birth and growth of the city of Kuala Lumpur, which indirectly formed the core starting point for the current Chinese community who eventually resided here in the country as their home. Other than the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, there are twelve other temples with the same theme and objectives in many other towns and cities around the region, each of them easily dates back to more than a hundred years old.

3.2 Social Significance Fig 3.03 Ample light is able to shine into the temple through these openings

3.2.1 The Temple and Its Role in Society Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is the oldest and most respectable Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur, it was first established during year 1864. Visitors, from tourists to devotees, the temple and the social value it possesses is by no means feeble nor just a dot on maps of Kuala Lumpur. Social value is defined by a location’s value to society, be it of any aspect whatsoever. Sin Sze Si Ya temple, most obviously would contribute upmost to those whom value a little religion in their lives. Besides that, the temple too serves as a tourism destination, a cultural and historical landmark, and an architectural goldmine with many original aspects of the building still in place

Fig 3.04 Temple main hall when in use

from centuries abode.


3.2.2 Temple and Tourism As a tourism destination, the temple provides an excellent representation of ancient Chinese culture and community in Malaysia that is conveniently located mere feet away from another historical landmark of Kuala Lumpur, the Central Market. Tourists and visitors of especially the western portion of the world would find themselves greeted by friendly locals that work and reside at the temple, showing no hesitation to speak and teach about the ways of the temple. Tourists would learn on the fantastic architecture that had its origins form mainland China dating thousands or years back, the expert Fig 3.05 Tourists and visitors arriving at the temple

craftsmanship that went into the details of the ornaments, statues and decorations made with pure precision. They may learn something new, or trigger the most memorable portion of their trip. Needless to say the temple’s contribution to tourism is immense. 3.2.3 Temple and Religion Devotees appear in masses especially during the annual Chinese New Year celebrations. Many arrive with the intentions of conducting a prayer that will provide luck and prosperity to the prayers. Some may pray for health and the safety of loved ones. Others may pray because it has already become a routine for them, many familiar faces can be seen bleeding the interiors of the

Fig 3.06 Main hall of temple, level change seen on green tile

temple. Sometimes, yearly event would spawn pilgrimage-esque turnouts, such as the now famous and well documented ritual of crawling under a red 31

table of the main altar on the eve of Chinese New Year, in the hopes of lessening mortal burdens through help from the Almighty above. Humans from the oldest and wisest to the purest and youngest would conduct this ritual, without any hesitation. Further influences that draw in devotees and visitors alike include the unique ritual of praying to Wenchang Dijun, known widely as the God of Education in Chinese history and mythology. Most popular during times of examinations, prayers to the God of Education himself will hopefully lead to the passing of examinations of flying colours for hopefuls. Also ever present in the temple’s religious line up are the odd Fig 3.07 Usage of temple with rituals

devotee conducting a prayer that includes them circling the main altar three times, to shower his or her with good fortune from the Gods. Of course, a temple would not be a temple if it were not for the fortune telling facilities as well. An extremely popular bread and butter service from the temple, many a time the odd hopeful will seek a hint or clue to their next big break of hitting the fortune bucket. Sadly, this service has its place well in Chinese culture, as wealth is an ominous sign of success and social stature that all so craved in Chinese culture. Therefore, to say that the temple’s influence on religious matters is profound is an understatement. Serving a city with thousands of inhabitants that observe the religion would mean that the temple is not only influencing the social stature, it is an essential aspect

Fig 3.08 Temple helper working on fortune telling services

within the community. 32

3.2.4 Temple and History The temple’s historical significance is nothing short of priceless. Groups of individuals that may value this most are ones that may appreciate the temple’s history, examples of which include the Chinese citizens here in Kuala Lumpur, historians, scholars, or even hopeful architects that may study the architecture of the temple. The temple, which has maintained its mostly 19th century built state to this day, include original pieces, bobs, ornaments that were exclusively hand made from China. Special architecture designs and construction methods that were unique to that era is also still available to see. The skylights located all over the roof, a later edition to the temple, provide a sense of purity and clarity during times of intense light. The interior room designs, mostly used for storage too provide the opportunity to learn of the ways interior architecture was handled during the 19th century.

Fig 3.09 Details on roof, of original state


On a wider scale, the temple, along with the aforementioned Central Market grew up to adapt to the changing landscape of Kuala Lumpur. Surviving horse carts and world wars, the temple remains in its place amongst the cloud piercing buildings of the modern era, blending in seamlessly in a beautiful mixture of modernity and tradition. Fig 3.10 Original staircase of temple still in use

3.2.5 Circulation of Network The temple, too, is an important circulation on its surroundings. As it is located sandwiched between buildings and busy roads, many people, often workers of nearby offices and such, would cross over to nearby areas via the temple to access restaurants and transportation hubs. Therefore, not only is the circulation of the temple restricted to its users, non-users that belong live and breathe in the area too use it as a connecting tool from one area to another.

Fig 3.11 Temple sillihoutte with buildings nearby


3.3 Other Temples Around the Area Other than the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, there were 12 other temples which had the same theme and objective in many other towns and cities around the region, each of them easily dates back to more than 100 years old. The temple signifies a lot of sentimental reasons for the local Chinese as it reflects the hard work for early batches of Chinese who came here and witness the Fig 3.12 The temple and Kuala Lumpur

birth and growth of the city of Kuala Lumpur, hence indirectly formed as core starting point for the current Chinese community who eventually resided here in the country as their home. Founded in 1886, this is one of the temples that still stands today. 3.4 Summary The temple holds strong social significance through its historical heritage and contemporary cultural practices. The beliefs on supernatural and rituals have been carried on for centuries and still vibrant in the contemporary urban enclave. The temple creates surprise and contrast by its institution and informal function in the busy commercial node of the city.

Fig 3.13 List of names of the influential people in the making of the temple



4.0 LIFEBLOOD Rituals, Activities & Belief 4.1 Functions Functions in the temple fall into three major categories: 1) Main activities of worship and rituals a) Main Hall b) Ancestral Hall c) Guan Yin Hall 2) Supporting activities of administration and retail for temple offering a) Administration office b) Maintenance c) Counters for selling the offerings such as incense, prayerscripts 3) Services: Fig 4.01 Sketch of the back entrance.

by Yan Wai Chun

a) Kitchen b) Storage c) Toilets The functions have been taking the form of certain order; the main functions occupy the three major halls, the supporting functions exhibit themselves in fronting and separated spaces and the services fill-in the transition spaces.


Referring to Figure 4.02, the colours of red represent the three main halls, while orange represents the supporting spaces and finally yellow representing services. 4.2 Activities on Annual Calendar Below is the list of events that happen annually in the temple: 1) New Year’s Eve – Temple opens at midnight for prayers for a blessed year 2) Shang Yuan Dan – The act of Zhuan Yin (change of luck) 3) Cai Shen Dan (Financing Day) – Pray to the deity of Guan Yin to gather wealth and prosperity 4) Jing Zhe (White Tiger Praying) & Villain Hitting – To get rid of bad luck, gossips and prevent misfortune. The person engaged in the villain hitting would give the villain a nickname and not the real name of his/her as that will bring bad luck to all parties instead. 5) Parade Festival – Flower parades, lion dance performances conducted along the streets. Gongs and drums along the parade are played to ward off evil spirits. 6) Fu De Gong/ Da Bo Gong Dan (Earth God) – Celebrating the birth of Fu De Gong, the Lord of Blessing and Virtue. Also traditionally worshipped before the burial of any deceased, to thank him for Fig 4.02 Floor plan colour-coded according to the temple’s function, supporting spaces and services.

allowing the use of his land to return their bodies to the earth. 38

7) Wen Chang Dan – Celebrating the birth of Wen Chang, the God of Culture and Literature. Believers flock to be blessed with good academics and smooth education. 8) Kapitan Yap Ah Loy Dan – Celebrating the birth of Yap Ah Loy to commemorate his prominent role in history, his influence to the temple and to obtain his blessings. 9) Guan Yin Dan – Celebrating the birth of Guan Yin. Devotees offer oil to Guan Yin;s lamp and pray for health and peace, while others offer long silk scrolls in hopes of bearing a son. Some pray to Guan Yin to bless their child with longevity. 10) Yee Yong Chee Dan – To commemorate Yee Yong Chee 11) Tham Gong Dan – Celebrating the birth of Tham Gong and Siddhartha Gautama 12) Jin Hua Dan - Celebrating birth of Jin Hua, praying for blessings and fertility 13) Guan Yin Dan (to reach illumination – Buddhism) – Celebrating the birth of Guan Yin 14) Guan Di Dan – Celebrating the birth of Guan Di 15) Si Ya Festival – Taoist Masters conduct reading of the sutra, celebrating the birth of Si Ya Fig 4.03 Visitors taking photographs in one of the temple halls

16) Zhong Yuan Dan – Zhuan Yin (changing of luck) 17) Cai Bai Dan – Celebrating the birth of Cai Bai


18) Guan Yin Dan (to become a Buddhist monk or nun) – Celebrating the birth of Guan Yin 19) Tai Sui Dan – Celebrating the birth of Tai Sui 20) Anniversary of temple – Yearly celebrations 21) Hua Guang Dan – Celebrating the birth of Hua Guang 22) Xia Yuan Dan – Zhuan Yin (change of luck)

Thus the temple is full of liveliness throughout the year. Figure 4.04 illustrates the locations of one of the key-event in the Chinese calendar. During Chinese New Year the three main halls, highlighted in red, are frequently visited and used for rituals and activities, becoming the most used spaces in the temple. This explains the culture of the space, with people performing religious activities and rituals.

Fig 4.04 Floor plan showing the places (red) that is most frequent in-use


4.3 Rituals A few of the most unique rituals carried out by this temple are the activities carried out on the eve and first day of Chinese New Year, Jingzhe Day, and Wen Chang Day. To begin with, devotees will visit Sin Sze Si Ya temple on the eve or first day of Chinese New Year to get blessings for peace and security for the whole year. Devotees will have to crawl under a table in front of the altar to secure a smooth sailing year. On Jingzhe Day, devotees will worship the White Tiger God and perform the “Da Xiao Ren” (villain hitting) ritual. According to folklore, on this significant day the insects will awake from hibernation and the White Tiger God should be worshipped. Devotees are to silently say a verse while worshipping along the tones of “Hope to get away from villains, dispel all bad luck, turn around dangers to be safe, enjoy good luck” These devotees then carry out the ritual of hitting villains whereby paper effigies representing said person would be hit in hope that they would be Figure 4.05 An elder standing next to the main altar



When perceived psychologically, this activity actually ensues in emotional relief to the villain hitter without causing any danger to the “villain”. This ritual is only done to expel bad luck and negative gossip to prevent misfortune, and not to put the said villain in harms’ way. In fact, the real names of the “villains” are not encouraged to be written on the paper as the hitter itself will acquire bad luck too. Nicknames are encouraged to be written on the paper effigies instead. Another unique activity provided by the temple is Wen Chang Day, whereby folks pray for smooth sailing education for their children. Offerings will be Fig 4.06 One of the many skylights in the temple

brought to worship Wen Chang Di Jun (God of Culture and Literature) that comprises mainly of fresh vegetables so that their children can have good luck while facing their examinations. The significance of the vegetables is as such: 1) Celery: diligence and perseverance 2) Garlic Sprout: ability to calculate accurately 3) Onion Sprout: intelligence and wisdom 4) White Carrot: auspicious omen

Fig 4.07 Picture of the ancestral hall


5) Osmanthus flower: achievement of noble and honourable status 6) Steamed sponge cake and glutinous rice dumpling: excellent results in examinations 7) Bamboo Shoot: smooth sailing in all efforts 8) Steamed bun and glutinous rice dumpling: assurance for passing examinations 9) A bottle of oil: efforts to cheer somebody on.

There are also considerable amounts of the mix of visitors; may it be Chinese or other races, locals or tourists, pedestrians or car-drivers. This proves that the temple is a vibrant cultural anchor in the urban configuration of the KL City Centre.


4.4 Hierarchy of Deities Hierarchy exists in everywhere. Just like social hierarchy, hierarchy of gods and immortals exists in Taoism. At the top of the hierarchy are the gods of the highest ranks – the Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning, the Celestial Worthy of Numinous Treasure and the Celestial Worthy of the Way and Its Virtue, who are the epitome of Tao or the Tao itself. Below them are the gods of the lower positions, who are depended with the obligations as indicated by their fulfilments in Tao and Virtue. Fig 4.08 Statues of the Goddess of Mercy at the altar

The Three Pure Ones, San Qing (三清) are the greatest deities in Taoism. They transcend the entire hierarchy of Taoist deities. The Three Pure Ones are known as the avatar of Taoism which has come to signify ‘an embodiment, a substantial indication of the heavenly’.

When all things are created, Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君) descends and settle on the right. He holds a mystical fan which symbolizes the consummation of the Universe, and that Taoism can be spread far and wide, and living things can seek salvation. According to the Chinese Folklore, the Jade Emperor, Yu Huang Da Di (玉皇 Fig 4.09 Drawings of deities in the temple

大帝) is the supreme ruler of the Heavens, the hades and the protector of

mankind. He is said to be the highest ranking deity among the Taoist


pantheon and directs Heaven and Earth. His birth, commonly known as Tian Gong Dan (Festival of the Heavenly God) is an important festival to the Chinese community and is celebrated on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year. Taoist temples throughout the world will hold gatherings and prayers together to worship him, to entreat him to allow peace, plenteous harvest, and assurance from catastrophes for the year. Despite the hierarchy of deities in Taoism, the main deities in Sin Sze Si Ya Temple are none other than Si Sze Ye (四师爷) and Sin Sze Ye (仙师爷), as the temple was deliberately built in their honour. Hence, they are both seated in the centre altar in the main hall. However, the two main deities worshipped were not traditional deities originating from China, instead, they were two local people that had elevated to the status of deities based on their merit. The two deities are considered patron deities of the local population of Kuala Lumpur and are very important and prominent to the local community as the deities had guided Kapitan Yap Ah Loy in his dreams, which helped to defeat the enemies and defend Kuala Lumpur during the Civil War from year 1870 to 1873. Devotees will visit the temple when the white tiger opens its mouth annually Fig 4.10 “Sedan” used by the Gods in certain times of the year

which is what the temple is famous for, the Tai Sui and the White Tiger Prayers. 45

Aside from that, devotees will also come forth to the temple to pray to the deities listed below: 1) Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君) – The Grand Supreme Elderly Lord (TheTaoist Ancestor) 2) Zhu Sheng Niang Niang (注生娘娘) – Goddess of Child Birth 3) Fu De Zheng Shen (福德正神) – God of the Soil and Graves 4) Guan Di Sheng Jun (关帝圣君) 5) Guan Yin Pu Sa (观音菩萨) – Goddess of Mercy 6) Tian Hou Sheng Mu (天后圣母) – God of Wind and Safety 7) Wen Chang Da Di (文昌大帝) – Deity of Education Scholar and Prosperity 8) Di Zang Wang Pu Sa (地藏王菩萨) – the Bodhisattva of the Great Vow (to save all souls before accepting Bodhi) 9) Da Ye Be (大爷伯) – Deity of Prosperity 10) Qi Tian Da Sheng (齐天大圣) 11) Hua Guang Da Di (华光大帝) – Deity of Artistes and Craftsmen 12) Tai Sui Ye (太岁爷) – Master of Deities of Prosperity, Health and Good Luck 13) Cai Bo Xing Jun (财帛星君) – Deity of Business 14) Hu Ye Gong (虎爷公) Fig 4.11 Sketch of the offerings.

by Valentine Hew

15) Shi Jia Mu Ni (释迦牟尼) – the historical Buddha and founder of Buddhism


16) He He Er Xian (和合二仙) – two Taoist immortals known as the ‘Immortals of Harmony and Unity’ 17) Tan Gong Xian Shi (谭公仙师) – Deity of Medicine and Health 18) Di Mu Niang Niang (地母娘娘) 19) Hua Fen Fu Ren (花粉夫人) – Deity of Beauty 20) Jin Hua Fu Ren (金花夫人) – Deity of Fertility The locations of statues of the deities (figure 4.12) in the temple correspond with previous information mentioned before in that the deities are placed in order of importance and hierarchy to the temple the same way that places the activity locations to their importance in the temple. In this case, deities that are very important will be placed in the main hall (red), in terms of religious beliefs and also corresponding to the history of the temple. Other deities (orange) are placed in the smaller halls hence their separation and distinction from each other.

4.5 Summary The temple has significantly unique rituals such as nailing-the-villain etc. The architectural space adapts to activities of varied time of the annual calendar. The simplicity of form offers great flexibility to the ways of those temporal and Fig 4.12 Location of statues of deities

permanent activities.



5.0 CONDUITS The Circulation & Usage of Space 5.1 Space Configuration An architectural study is never ever complete without studying form and function. Within the discipline, form and function almost always become two entities that co-exist with one another. Some may argue that the former is more significant than the latter and vice versa. Nonetheless, we can always agree that these two aspects of architecture are derived almost always by its surroundings – a manifestation of a response. The solution to a question. Prior to building the form, an architect and his team goes through a cultivated process of design – deriving from the needs of the users, the needs of the surroundings, the urban fabric of the location, the weather, the required spaces, the materials of the building – the list goes on.

Fig 5.01 Sketch of main hall.

By Amir Fauzan



Situated in the middle of Central Market, a busy bustling city at Leboh Pudu, the temple immediately sets itself apart from other traditional Taoist temple. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is sandwiched between a bank tower and colonial shop lots, causing the façade to be constraint to the template, in terms of the size of the entrance, again, following the likes of its neighbours with regards to the dimensions and the height. Yet, the architecture that partakes in the façade is purely traditional Chinese architecture – allowing the form to emulate the function of the temple being a sacred place, a temple. Referring to the location plan, we can observe where the façade acts as the main entrance, and the back alley houses the long stretch of gate, the temple’s back entrance. Fig 5.02 Back entrance and alley of temple

The form of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple itself has a degree of symmetry to the design. Cutting the section through the main hall, you could see that the essence of the building is based on symmetry, an element very commonly applied in sacred buildings. The very initial purpose of the building as a sacred place for Taoist believers has initiated the extensive use of traditional Chinese architecture, apparent in the ornamental design of the roof, the façade, the high volume of space constructed by a high ceiling and open spaces evokes a certain ambience to assist the emphasis on the spaces being a sacred place. The temple has also paid attention to its décor by relishing it in Fig 5.03 Section of temple

masterpiece paintings with symbolic meanings as it goes to the ornaments and details. 50

The continuous changes of the form of the building itself has been contributed by the cultural advancements and changes in the social, political and economy of Kuala Lumpur itself. Due to the dire needs of advancements in the social and economic success in the city, the temple has come to offer believers to cleanse apart from having rituals for good fortune, and fortune telling. The design of the temple exists a clash in the uses of modern materials, indicating that a few renovations and expansions were made due to the increasing need of space within the temple as the outstanding interest for these activities has resulted in an increase of influx of visitors and staffs. Fig 5.04 The use of wrought iron suggests that this part of the building is an add-on

5.2 Spatial Articulation In terms of architecture, articulation means to delineate spaces so different functions are clear and meaningful and avoids ambiguity. It simultaneously makes spaces more functional and interesting. The public spaces in Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, though are not separated by doors, one can still clearly make out where one function of a room ends and another begins. The spaces in the temple are well articulated as they do not blend indiscriminately into another by adopting certain architectural features and elements to help articulate the functions of spaces and make them more meaningful. Fig 5.05 Arc doorway that serves as a connector between halls


Aside from the obvious use of doors for the separation of the private areas (the office and store room) from the public areas, the other spaces in the temple were separated by the use of different floor levels, arc doorways, and in the case of a temple, a threshold. The use of these architectural elements provide the users an idea of when they are entering another place of different functions or purposes while maintaining the flow of the space. Also, these subtle architectural elements segregate the crowd according to what they intend to do or where they intend to go in the temple. This in turn brings an Fig 5.06 Traditional use of threshold to separate spaces in the temple

order to the otherwise overwhelming or sometimes – chaotic – crowd in the temple. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple possesses a uniqueness that differs itself from other traditional temples where the deities that were worshiped were not of the traditional Chinese deities, rather it was for two people – Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya, who were elevated to the status as deities through their merit. Therefore, to accommodate the patron deities, the building’s main component consists of two wings, the west and the east for the two deities and a main hall.

Fig 5.07 The main hall


Spatial proportion plays an important role in space planning as well. In Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, the main hall has the greatest area and volume followed by the west and east halls. Aside from praying, most activities such as fortune telling and the selling of joss sticks and other tokens for the deities are taken place at the main hall, while the two other halls are solely for praying. On the other hand, there are two hallways which are narrow in comparison to the three main halls as the hallways serve as a form of connector from the main hall to the west and east wing. Besides that, the spaces delegated at the hallway are the kitchen and toilets, which the activities taken place there are considered inconsequential in a temple. 5.3 Summary The connection between the main and supportive functions happens through the transition spaces which are effectively used for services. The simplicity of the form, once again, allows effective or layered connection between the prayer halls, i.e., main functions, and linear connection inside any hall or given space.

Fig 5.08 The kitchen, located in the middle of two halls



6.0 PULMONARIES Structure, Construction & Details 6.1 Structure The building was built on 1864, ancient Chinese wooden architecture was used to build this temple. There are few significance components that can be found in this building such as the timber frame and the decorative roof. The fundamentals of Chinese wooden architecture are the load-bearing timber frame and a network of interlocking wooden supports forming the skeleton of the building. Unlike western architecture, in Chinese traditional architecture, the wall is only defined by an enclosure, and did not form a loadbearing structure. The building in Chinese traditional architecture are being supported by wooden frame. There are several types of wooden joint can be found in this buildings such as, half lap joints, mortise and tenon, and cross lap joints. This building also features architectural bilateral symmetry, one of the significant element from Chinese architecture. The building emphasizes on articulation and bilateral symmetry, which signifies balance, it can be seen from plan to elevation. The building tends to contain an even number of columns in a structure to produce an odd number of bays. The plan of Fig 6.01 Sketch of Back entrance.

by Chew Jia Chen

renovation of an extension often try to maintain overall bilateral symmetry. 55

6.2 The Study of the Facade 6.2.1 Main Entrance The primary function of this entrance is to allow cars to enter and park in the building. The second floor houses the office for the temple. The main entrance is sandwiched between two buildings. The ornament heavy facade stands out because it contrasts the facade of the two buildings. The facade is asymmetrical balanced. It has like a framed effect going on each part of the facade is framed. This gives an illusion of many stacked Fig 6.02 The parking as seen from the office

painting. 6.2.2 Back Entrance The back entrance primary function is to allow easier entrance to the building for patrons that walk. It is shorter and has light ornamentation. It uses bright colours to stand out rather than ornamentation as the main entrance. It is not symmetrical due to a longer right side. 6.2.3 Opposite The Temple The facades opposite the temple is mostly monotonous and the back

Fig 6.03 The back entrance of the temple

entrance is facing the back alley. The back alley is mostly bare walls with some small entrances. 56

6.3 Construction Sin Sze Si Ya temple's construction has many distinct features that relates to traditional Chinese architecture such as its massive columns and beam structure which supports this edifice. The exterior is mainly brick and stone work while it's counterpart is mostly made out of wood. It uses the technology of skylights which is becoming very popular in architecture nowadays although it being built hundreds of years ago. Temple roofs were also made of glazed ceramic tiles and have an overhanging cave distinguished by a graceful upward slope. The roof arch comes from the intricately fitted rafters, which were jointed together. The ridges of each roof are topped with figures of mythical creatures, each curve no more than a sweep. The roof has wavelike tiles that run horizontally, and vertical round ridges that run vertically.

Fig 6.04 The main hall of the temple with wooden beams and columns


6.3.1 Roof Details The roof construction is very complex due to the fact its components are made from timber. The roof mainly consists of horizontal girders that gives support to the vertical posts. The brackets supporting the horizontal Fig 6.05 The section of the temple

components are called Dougong. Dougong (Figure 6.05) is a ‘cap and block’ bracket system. A dou is an inverted cap holding a gong, a block, or a beam on top of it, and each dou has a small hole drilled in the bottom into which a matching pin protruding from a gong is mated. 6.3.2 Column Details The external columns are connected with the installation of Pingban Fang (perimeter girders). The connection continues with other components such as Ying Ding until roof installation is completed.

Fig 6.06 Dougong and column components


6.4 Material Used In Relation to Climate 6.4.1 Tile Roofing The material used in relation to this climate is the overlapping clay tiles used in the steep sloped roof of Sin Sze Si Ya temple as it reacts to the hot climate because of its high solar reflectivity causes it to be a popular cool roofing material. The tiles are glazed to enhance its solar reflectance ability. In moist locations, cool roof surfaces can be more susceptible to algae or mold growth. So, the clay tiles are also coated with special chemicals to prevent mold or Fig 6.07 Roof of the temple

algae growth. 6.4.2 Brick Structure The whole Sin Sze Si Ya temple structure is basically constructed with bricks. Bricks have excellent thermal mass as it helps adjust the building’s temperature by storing cool air and heat, keeping the internal temperature in the comfort zone. They provide great cooling effect especially in a tropical climate. Situated in a high humidity climate, bricks can easily absorb humidity as they have a surface which is more diffusion-open than other materials. As they are 100% inorganic and absorb humidity, this combination minimises the

Fig 6.08 Brick usage in temple, such as this furnace

risk of mildew.


6.4.3 Tile Flooring Tile is suitable in tropical climate because of its high thermal mass. The flooring of the Sin Sze Si Ya temple uses tile flooring as it can store energy absorbed from the sun and release it over time. Conversely, it can resist Fig 6.09 Floor tiles at the main hall

heating up too fast from solar radiation. 6.4.4 Roof Timber Framing As the tile roofing minimizes the heat intake and has moisture prevention, timber frame can be used due to its ability to heat up quickly and retain that heat for longer. The openings in the timber roof construction also allow air to escape as heat rises so that air can flow through all areas.

Fig 6.10 Timber framing at the top of the main hall skylight


6.5 Feng Shui The Sin Sze Si Ya temple showcases multiple informal codes of Feng Shui, which means the absence of formality in its exhibit of Feng Shui. The architecture of the temple can sometimes influence the culture of its occupants and this chapter is to uncover the informal practices that the temple fulfils to balance the yin and yang ergo creating a harmonious surrounding, ranging from its apparent to its obscure details. In the past, the temple was built on the site as it was an open space. However, due to development around the area, the temple is now ensconced by various buildings. This causes ‘poison arrows’ to be pointed at the temple (as can be seen on the plan). Poison arrows are the edges of the surrounding buildings pointed at the temple. If not fully understood, bad luck could fall upon the occupants. Therefore, many steps have to be taken to prevent ‘bad energy’ in the explained below. Most may think that Feng Shui is just a belief that may not even work but most of it has scientific reasoning behind it. In other words, Feng Shui brings order to the building. Fig 6.11 ‘Poison arrows’ pointing at the temple

6.5.1 Orientation History informs that Yap Ah Loy decided to build the temple on its present site after consultation from a Chinese medium. The deity who spoke through this medium promised good Feng Shui, prosperity and wealth if the temple was 61

to be built on that land. The temple was the Chinese religious and community center of Kuala Lumpur at that time. It was the place where the leaders of the Chinese community held meetings and made important decisions about the administration of Kuala Lumpur. It is said that a temple should be built far away from residential areas as there are a lot of Chi energy in a temple. The negative Chi will flow to the surrounding thus people should avoid living near to that area. In regards to that, temples are normally built at quiet places due to the negative Chi. A temple built in an urban area must have a lot of tall trees or tall buildings in its surroundings to reflect the negative Chi away. In year 1864, when the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple was first built, it was not built in an urban area. The buildings such as the Hong Leong Bank only erected along the stages of the development of its surroundings. In order to balance out the negative energy, many plants are planted and placed along the perimeter of the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple so as to create a harmonious balance between the energies. 6.5.2 Construction Details The Chinese belief is that any sharp edges or corners should be avoided as it can be harmful to the occupants, and gable roofs are said to have a better Feng Shui than flat roofs. Which is why the roofs of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, be Fig 6.12 The beam and column

it during the initial construction or the renovations after that, had taken the propensity to use gable roofs over any other roofs. Besides, a higher ceiling 62

Additionally, the rain water down pipes are placed strategically through the inside of the temple as the rainwater from the roof will flow from the exterior to the interior and then to the underground. According to Feng Shui, it is believed that this will bring wealth to the temple as the flowing of rainwater symbolizes wealth. Another belief is that earth materials should be used on the floors as anything broken suggests an unstable foundation. The tiles that cover the floors of the temple are good earth materials as they suggest a stable foundation. 6.5.3 Symbolic Ornamentation A powerful Feng Shui features is to have personalized main doors which has a small roof to symbolize protection, as can be seen on the main door of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. The door open inwards to welcome the Chi and to create can be constructed using a gable roof as the temple could use the source as a form of passive ventilation from the smoke of the incense sticks.

a positive flow of Chi into the temple. The personalized doors of the temple are painted with a pair of gate guardians with fierce faces and glaring eyes, powerful presence, muscular bodies and threatening poses while bearing

The beams and columns in the interior of the temple is cylindrical because in

weapons. These guardians serve to ward off evil spirits and show their power

Chinese, yuan man (ĺœ†ćťĄ) means harmony, where the first word yuan (ĺœ†)

by carrying out their duties in protecting the temple. They are the

means round in English. Round pillars signify Chi moving upwards and brings

manifestation of the Bodhisattva Vaiparani, protector deity and are a part of

the promise of abundance. Hence, we can see that the preferred shapes of

the Mahayana pantheon believed to have travelled alongside the historical

the beams and columns inside Sin Sze Si Ya Temple are cylindrical rather

Buddha to protect him.

than square-shaped. Fig 6.13 Main door and the Door God


Also, Fu Dogs are placed in a pair flanking the main door of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple as it will guard against wandering spirits from entering the temple. Their fearful faces and muscular bodies are believed to ward off evil influences and spirits. The male Fu Dog is placed on the left while the female Fu Dog is placed on the right side with both of them facing outwards. They are placed near the doorway to ensure protection of the visitors and devotees when they exit the abode. It is widely believed that dragons bring prosperity and success. Thus, a pair of dragons made in the color of gold flank the urn in the main porch. Gold dragons are said to best portray the dragons. Spiritual consciousness can also be heightened through the sense of smell. The aroma of incense purifies and revitalizes spatial energy to the temple. The fragrant scent of the sandalwood is particularly uplifting and has the power to break down negative Chi. It brings out the creative spirit of the devotees’ consciousness and is wonderful for transcending into other dimensions. Besides that, a seven metal Tibetan singing bowl is placed on the central table of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple to create a fresh new energy in the abode and absorb and transform negative Chi. A small mirror is also placed facing away from the deities so as to reflect away evil. To bring Yang life into the temple, Fig 6.14 Sketch of dragon ornamentation on the urn outside the temple

by Valentine Hew

the bell and gong in the main hall is used periodically as it will bring the energy alive instantly. 64

6.5.4 Customs Each and every gestures are significant in a temple. Upon arriving at the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, devotees are required to bow to the Jade Emperor Urn outside (heaven) to show respect to the deities of the temple as well as to inform that they are here to pay their respects to the deities of the temple. Whilst entering the main hall of the temple, the devotees will be sure to cross the red frame, which symbolizes them passing into another dimension and cleanse one’s physical body, mind and soul. The traditional Chinese belief is to enter with the left leg and exit with the right leg as this will ensure that upon Fig 6.15 The main porch of the temple

exiting, one’s ‘bad luck’ will be retained by the deities and they will be blessed upon with ‘good luck’. 6.6 Ornamentations 6.6.1 The Order and Chaos This principle is seen throughout most of the ornamentation and the motifs used in temple, the chaos being the ornamentation and motif itself while their arrangement is order. The order they are arranged in, is always balanced. It’s either symmetrically or asymmetrically balanced.

Fig 6.16 Fu Dog 1

Fig 6.17 Fu Dog 2


6.6.2 Meanings Chinese guardian lions, also known as Fu Dogs are believed to have powerful protective powers, discovering the bad intentions from someone who is coming into the temple and help to ward off evil spirits and influences. Fu Dogs are often display in pairs. According to Feng Shui, the female lion should be placed on the left with her left paw fondling a cub and the male lion on the right playing with a ball. The female is said to protect the interior of the place as well as its worshipping believers or inhabitants and the male guards the structure. Fig 6.18 Main Door

The Door gods (Figure 6.12) are the earliest gods worshipped by the Chinese. They are regarded as the Spiritual Guardians of the Entrance. People believe that peach wood has spiritual properties and can ward off evil spirits so they started making auspicious carvings on peach wood, made and pasted on gates in the hope of attracting good luck and scaring away evil spirits. The door gods usually come in pairs, facing each other; it is considered bad luck to place the figures back-to-back. Ancient Chinese Dragons are ultimate symbols of cosmic Chi (energy). It is said to be the most potent symbol of good fortune in the Chinese pantheon of symbols. The Dragon stands for new beginnings. Fig 6.19 Dragon ornamentation


6.7 Summary The symmetry in the temple offers a lot of order in the architectural form and thus the detailing. The magnificent form is put together with simple structural logics on load bearing walls, columns and struts, rafters and beams. The entire composition offers comfort in the interior and poetic qualities such as light and shadow, human scale and visually cuing perspectives.

Fig 6.20 Boundary of the temple




The temple was created in symmetry, with two identical wings attached to its’

The journey of this this course has taken us to the final chapter to discuss -

main hall in order to accommodate the specific rituals carried out in the

how did the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple manage to respond to the need of

temple. In contrast to the orderly form, Sin Sze Si Ya is wedged in between

contemporary users? Based on fore-mentioned arguments, Sin Sze Si Ya

two shop-lots in an asymmetric manner. This significant concept of duality

has embodied the essence of duality, time and time again. The duality of

then supports the inhabitation of the building, balancing again between its’

order and chaos has become very apparent through the temple’s form and

architecture and its’ significance.

activities, where form becomes the order and activities represent chaos. To

Finally, we learnt the importance of coordination in the team in order to

elaborate further, the form and the activities continuously complements one

succeed. One of the key examples are when tallying all the measurements to

another and as the activities within the temple evolves, the form changes to

produce an accurate drawing.

quip to the user’s needs.



AMIR FAUZAN Based on my personal experience, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is a building which had full of complexity. A temple built surrounded by rebel cityscape and urban development that had a simple spatial layout but in term of religious circulation (function) it’s a bit crowded. Other than that, this exercise is an opportunity for me to expose into a different world which is very important nowadays, `Seeing is believing` not because i believe on their religion but because of knowing the importance of cultural sensitivity and humility as an acknowledge

the country where you live, its culture and be to others as you would have them be to you what you give is what you get Getting access to different cultures is important in appreciating the positive aspects of our multicultural society has to offer and as an architect it offers me to learn more about the form and function and how it serve to the people(user).

TEO HONG WEI When I first step into Temple Sin Sze Si Ya, I found out that the surrounding is totally different from the outside. Being in this Chinese temple, I was surrounded by the

elements of Chinese Temple Architecture, which is flooded by lots of carvings, ornaments and red colour. Once stepped into the main hall of the temple which is always crowded, my senses were completely impacted by the surrounding inside the temple, which is extremely saturated. The skylight, ornaments, and the altars formed a very nice view which gives a spiritual feeling. The sound of people chatting, the drum and bell, is one of the things which is unforgettable from the temple. The smell, of course, coming from the burning sticks which people use for praying, the special smell and the smoke coming out from them would be the most unforgettable element in the temple. While measuring, I found out that it is just a simple building with a lot of furniture, ornaments and carvings, which increases the complexity of the temple. And that is why, the important elements are all in the details of the temple. “God is in the details� as Mies Van de Rohe said. Temple Sin Sze Si Ya, which is

around 200 years old, was well taken care of. We, who were doing the measuring, found out that the temple, which is not made human scale, covered by ashes. We were told to be careful while measuring, as the building is very old and we risked breaking something. Anyways, it all when out smoothly and we had a different experience staying that long in a temple.

SHALINN TAN From this exercise, I have learnt to be a better team player and to take the lead when the situation calls for it. Moreover, I learnt to put down my ego and listen to the 70

team leader and lecturers and learn greater insights from that. I have also learnt to document the significance of the building to accompany this module. Other than that, I am able to identify and describe architectural cultural heritage and apply it to this project. Besides, this module has pushed me out of my comfort zone which allowed me to further hone some skills and also learn new skills such as AutoCAD Drawings, report writing, on site measuring, on site sketching, researching, triangulating information, the skill of interviewing and interacting with people and many more. It was an eye opener for me because it is the first time that we have been given so much freedom in completing our respective parts of the module, and being able to dabble in so many different areas all at once. It has been a real pleasure to be in this group because most of the members has been very cooperative and efficient in their completing their work.

together as team, this was really great.

CHONG JIN FENG I think that this project was very successful. All of the group members co-operated well. We get a chance to visit to a temple which was fulfilled with the smell of Chinese culture. With a lot of awesome and patience teammates, we get to finish our project in time. In this project, we had learned a lot of things like how to solve the problems about fining data, to get along with our group members. We have learned many things about the Sin Si Sze Ya Temple. Through this semester i get to meet new friends and work

VALENTINE HEW It was certainly breath-taking as I ventured into the temple. When I entered the main hall I could see the joss sticks burning with smokes billowing up at the background silhouetting the statues of the deities, god and goddesses. It gives me a peaceful break in this bustling city although there’s an influx of crowd in here.

recitation ceremony and it is much more packed compared to the other two halls. Whereby the guan yin hall has a totally different surrounding, as it illustrated an environment of serenity with the light penetrating into the hall through the skylight. Bell ringing can be heard from time to time, from my perspective bell works as an antidote to one’s mind. It is said to believe that the ringing sound is to invite the deity to accept the worship and prayers, also to drive away the evil forces. Sin Sze Si Ya temple is a sacred place, when you are in there it set apart from turmoil of the outside world. Hence, the heightened sense of awareness of Sin Sze Si Ya temple stays with me as I leave and somehow influences my perspective on life.

The design of the building may not be appealing but it really does serves its own function and purposes. The ancestral hall is where the people have their 71

YAN WAI CHUN ‘’ Gain ‘’ would be the only word I can used to describe this whole activity throughout the week. It was different compared to other site visit that I’ve participated as it was truly an eye-opener trip down to Kuala Lumpur. In the first day, when I stepped out the bus, the scent of joss sticks flow through the air into my nose. The unfamiliar scent of the joss sticks made me uncomfortable. This had worried me as I need to bear with this situation for the rest of the site visit. Once I entered the temple’s compound, my feelings changed 180 degrees, thoughts rushed through my mind, questioned

myself why there is a heavenly nice place inside a hustle and bustle area. I think I am attracted to this temple not because of the architecture itself, it’s the warmth of the area that protruded through the culture activity in the temple. Not sure if I am the only one who felt like a little kid inside the Disneyland. My vision was attracted by every single details of the temple such as the carvings or the detail parts of the temple. Besides, the Taoist temple that I’ve visited was air-conditioned and cement were used mostly in the temple. The presence of the vintage wooden windows, Skylights, and other different materials used to construct Sin Sze Si Ya temple were interesting for me. Coming from a Chinese person, I never experience such ambiance and culture as I never been in a temple for so many days in a row. It was a privilege to participate and visit this temple.

MARK ENG SHANG This project has helped me to enhance my leadership skills and guide me to better express my feelings. I have learnt skills that will be with me for the rest of my work life. Being the group leader, it was essential that I know the skills for measuring on site, etc. Thankfully, I have some experience in that before and I relayed my knowledge to my group mates. They were eager to learn and very hardworking, that I must commend. As the AutoCAD Drawings compiler, I have experienced various ups and downs during the compiling such as having conflicting

measurements in the drawings and having to triangulate everyone’s data. It can sometimes be very frustrating but once I’ve fixed the issue it felt very satisfying. I have pushed myself to the limits during the 5 days at the temple while doing the measurements. A fine example is when I climbed onto the very fragile roof to help my group members with their measurements. This has been a wonderful experience and I will remember everything we went through to ensure the smooth sail of this project.


During our visit to the Sin Sze Si

Ya temple, we got to learn about the ancient architectural wonders of the Taoist culture ranging from long narrow corridors to large open main halls depicting longevity and abundance. We also learned about how light and shadows affects the emotions transmitted to the visitors and what kind of remembrance it will hold in their mind. We also acquired new skills on measuring a building in the proper ways with the help of real on-field measuring tools and surveying equipment. Furthermore, we were able to assess the functionality of the architecture to its people and its environment. In the end, it was quite an experience and it helped us understand a building in its every nook and cranny.

TANG JU YI Through this exercise, I have gained more knowledge about Taoist Temple Architecture. I think that this temple is really meaningful because it blends the Taoist theories and believes with the traditional Chinese methods of construction. Together, they create a unique Taoist style. Another thing that impressed me was the excellent ventilation of the temple. The use of double-height space allowed windows to be positioned at a higher level, thus provides good air and light ventilation. The most interesting part is the natural light that

penetrates into the dark space, they are so beautiful! They give out a feeling of warmth and hope. Besides that, I have also learned to gain measurements of the building through various methods with some help of mathematics. This made me paid more attention the details of the temple, for example the fruit ornaments on the roof, flower paintings on the wall, human paintings on the front façade. Through research, I found out that in Taoist architecture, they enhance the principle of harmony, thus ornaments and murals are all related to nature. That was the reason why whenever I was in the temple, I always felt calm and comfortable. The concept of embracing nature, compactness of space and the magnificence in height made Sin Sze Si Ya temple emphasized a lot on harmony. For me, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is a truly unique architecture in Malaysia.

JASON LIM CHEE SHEN A student of the measured drawing course. A member of SIN SZE SI YA TEMPLE’s group. I would like to thanks to the organization that giving us this great opportunity for us to learn something that we never get to learn before. Especially doing work at a historic structures and also the safety awareness. I realized that doing at all these measurements at the historic temple is much more different compare to other structures, because of every single details measurement, we need to get it right. 73

This site visit gave me a chance to experience and learn what cannot be gain during the lectures. One of the first thing that I have learnt is understanding the importance of safety which is a basic knowledge before we get to measure at the site. Furthermore, I have learnt many things by identifying different types of construction materials and their uses at this temple. All these might help in AutoCAD as well, and it is also a benefit to know more about AutoCAD.

LEE KAI YUNG This building is the oldest and most respected Chinese temple in

Kuala Lumpur. It is built on 1864 and there are few significance components can be found in this building such as the timber frame and the decorative roof. Elements such as architectural bilateral symmetry can be found anywhere in this building, from the floor to roof. The building emphasizes on articulation and bilateral symmetry, which signifies balance. This symmetrical element enhances the spiritual feeling from inside out. Besides that, the use of Chinese wooden architecture as the building structure is now very rare to be found. It is a network of interlocking wooden supports forming the skeleton of the buildings, making it as a loadbearing timber frame. This can be found in the main hall of the temple. And with this construction method, walls are only use to define an enclosure, unlike western architecture. There are several types of wooden joint can be found in this buildings such as

half lap joints, mortise and tenon and etc.

SHERY EDRINA It was indeed an interesting experience being able to go to a temple for a first time. Getting to know its architecture elements, learning the meaning of each ornaments and getting to know their culture and way of praying is a fascinating eye-opener. The thing that impressed me the most is how the building maintained its structure for the past 200 years still while still using some of old wooden structure and just by adding another structure over the old ones to throughout the renovations. The first time I

entered the temple, it was filled with the smell of incense and for the first two days it was quite hard to adapt to the surrounding but after a while, being in the temple actually give me a sense of calmness and peace. Situated in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, it was also an exciting and somehow surprising to see the busy city centre of Kuala Lumpur and how the culture and people surrounding that area doing their daily activities every day. I also learned in a more in depth way on how to take proper measurements for documentation. All and all, it was a nice experience and it taught me a lot.


HARIISH KUMAR My experience in the gained me new knowledge of how a design building influences the way the people interact to it. As simple as, how a concrete slab made for the drain can become a meeting area or how a bench can become a home of a cat. What I learnt from this is that design isn’t what it was meant to, but what it becomes. As an example, there is an office on the entrance. I don’t think it was put there on purpose, it was evolution that made it there. Now, the office has become a meeting area that has privacy from the rest of the building.


The cultural significance of Sin Si Sze Ya Temple has proved that how the historic culture of its own is actually the key to why the temple itself is still standing strong today. The foundation of architecture also resembles the beliefs, hard work and dedication of the devotees. Throughout my journey in measured drawing, I have gained more understandings about the traditional construction of Taoism and its cultural attribute. It is a whole new experience for me to visit the oldest temple in Kuala Lumpur as it holds a significant meaning and pride of locality.


I personally think it was a great practice to experience a different environment and having an on-site measuring work for 4 days straight, with a huge team consisting of around 26 people. To experience a different culture and having to adapt to that particular lifestyle for a few days was pretty much a ‘once in a blue moon’ kind of thing. After all, we’ve all got to meet new people and friends to work together with as a team, it was all great, and I think that’s what matters the most.

acquired a deeper understanding as well as appreciation for architecture, specifically Taoist temple architecture.


From my personal experience during and after the site visit, I have come to the realization that function precedes form is a predominant idea of the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. In terms of architecture, the temple has basic blocks of spaces – a main prayer hall with two smaller prayer halls on each side, which shows simplicity in its form. Culturally, the 152-year-old temple holds a significant meaning to its visitors, mainly consisting of local Taoist worshippers who visit the temple on a regular basis, be it for normal prayers or special prayers during important festivities such as Chinese New Year. The temple also functions as a strong symbol of history, culture and religion to the community.

Through the task of observing and analysing the building assigned – Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, I have

Nonetheless, the spirit or sense of place would not be as prominent without physical details such as 75

the ornamentations, statues of deities, smoke from the burning of incense as well as intangible aspects such as the togetherness of the temple’s community and ethereal ambience of the temple. All in all, my overall insight of this assignment is heavy on the significance of a building and how it still holds a strong importance for the people and its surrounding, even years after it is built.

CHEW JIA CHEN Measurement is not made with eyes but is made by using different tools. Through this project, our given place is Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. At my first glance at the

temple's main hall, the red pillars seemed to be symmetrical. But our repeated measurement shows that the difference is quite significance. Most of the Chinese temples have the same architecture style as carvings, ornaments and openings are in the same style. Last of all, communication and cooperation is the most important thing to make this project successful.

ONG JIA HUI A building is like a clock and the people resembles the machines that make it function and whole. This thought is what settles in when one steps into Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. The essence of the place

is strongly molded by the architecture of the building, the people and culture. A building, especially one like the temple, is hollow without its people and the culture. Also, throughout the visits to the temple, I came to understand that like humans, adaptation is likewise important in terms of architecture, which can be seen from how the temple adapted to the need of the users to park their cars by adding in front porches on a later date. Lastly, I have learned that the function of a design is very crucial. The design may not be very appealing or pleasant, but it should be adequate as long as it serves the function or purpose. The openings in the temple is mundane with the absence of fancy designs, yet the openings served their purpose by allowing sufficient natural light into the building, which in turn creates a very divine and holy ambience to the building when the light shines in - an attribute fitting for a temple.

LEE HUI QIN During the 5 days’ field trip, I learned about Taoism culture and the history of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. Even though we were busy on that day for measuring, we were given some time to walk around the temple, sat down and sketched. Through sketching session, we were able to enjoy the beauty and significance of the temple where every corner fully decorated with ornaments. By looking at both interior and exterior of the temple, I was surprise to see the uniqueness of every single architecture element back to the past where modern construction technique was not introduced yet. 76

The ornaments, the statues, the motifs on walls, columns and beams have their own special with every single detailed parts. Besides, we also got some information about the history, facts and Feng Shui of the temple from the visitors, mainly devotees through hearsay when we were having break time. There is a saying “Better spend your time travelling ten thousand miles than reading ten thousand books” and definitely, I agree with this. Architecture, is something we need to see on the spot while culture, is something we need to feel on the culture. It is a totally different feeling from getting know through books and internet.

KAN JIA WEI ADRIAN Personally the greatest takeaway from this journey is how I managed to work with different types of fellow students and different lecturers in the form of them being master’s lecturers as well. This has provided me with a greater chance to work with, and understand various forms of techniques of work and learn from it, values which were of my personal ambition throughout this course. Furthermore, the ability to work on a temple made me realise how culturally colourful and meaningful Chinese architecture and culture can be, from the temple to the inhabitants that were very fond of us as well as users of the temple, many whom which I have made friends with and also fits into my university life agenda or aim that is to meet as many people from different walks of life as possible. Architecturally, the experience of working on this temple allowed me greater appreciation of more ancient

architectural styles, something which I previously was not fond of given its many small details and what I had seen as unnecessary ornamentations, all of which have been cleared throughout the journey of this module.

VICTOR HENG WEI YEN The architectural style of the temple is very unique compared to the architecture that we will see in the modern days. Although it is not very eye-catching on its façade because of the typical templelook, but it has contained some elements that makes the building stand out among other temples in Kuala Lumpur. The building was built in the early days before Kuala

Lumpur become a developed city in Malaysia, and it has significantly present the history of KL by the building itself in the modern days. The building has mainly split into 3 main spaces, which is, Ancestor Hall on the left, Main Hall in the middle, and Guan Yin Hall. In the middle of every hall, there will a long corridor with low ceiling that lead people walk into the hall. When entering the hall, it gives people a kind of spiritual perception due to the ceiling height contrast and light penetration. The temple has been designed with lots of skylights right above the idols and altars, it makes believers feel the holiness while kneeling down in front of their god. This is all I feel about the temple during the days I visited the temple, I think it is a good building.


have largely developed more architectural thinking skills and how to solve problems related to the temple. This project also teaches us how to properly document our measurements in detail and organised manner for reference to the future generations.

statues and furniture. The play of the temple with light and shadows is instantly clear even for a normal goer. It still amazes how just light and shadows can affect an experience to that degree.

NUR EMILY After spending a week in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, measuring our chosen site – The Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, I have learned to appreciate the surrounding architecture throughout the whole project. The temple itself is located in the busy streets of KL, which offers exposure in the diversity of the cultures as well as in architecture. The opportunity we had showed that there are so many ways one can learn that are both fun and educational. I’ve became proficient in measuring to the finest details of the temple. I’ve learned to work and communicate better in the group. I feel that I


MUHAMMAD AZZAM Architecture is what we experience, this is one of the aspects that really struck me about this temple. The moment I entered the temple, the light that struck in the middle and the smoke dissolving to it created an instant holly feel. This what amplified as the light shined through the brass

During the visit to Sin Sze Si Ya temple, I have managed to absorb new knowledge through my whole experience there. What I’ve learned is that every detail counts, how small or big it all may matter in bringing the Chinese Taoist experience out from the temple. This can’t get any truer than Sin Sze Si Ya temple itself. Everywhere you turn a detail/ ornament can be seen, it’s like

every inch of the temple is covered with details. Just the sheer amount of work that has gone into making the building it is today is simply an awe for us to experience. Even a small space in the temple have a motif. While researching through the detailing and ornaments that are in the temple, I’ve gotten a huge appreciation for it and have found out that a lot of the ornaments and detailing are would relate to the Feng Shui of protecting or warding the temple off evil spirits and bring fortune and happiness. Every detail matters.


After the visit to Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, I have gain new knowledge about Kuala Lumpur as the temple’s was built to honor Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya. As the temple started to attract local residents to come and pay them respect, statues of other Gods were brought in for them to pray. When measuring the building, I have noticed that each and every ornamentation and structures has different measurement even though they have the same shape. This is because in the early constructions, these structures are hand crafted instead of machine made. This enhances the beauty of craftsmanship as each and every item there is made using the skills and experience of an artist. As he devoted his time crafting ornaments to make each and every one special in their own way. When researching the God’s background and their meaning for

the report, I have also found out that the spaces are set according to the position of the Gods. For example, in the main hall, the statue of Sin Shi Ye and Xie Shi Ye are found here. Even though they are not Gods, their position in the temple is higher than the rest as the temple is dedicated to them. In the temple, each and every ornamentation and structures has their own specialty. This is what makes the temple an interesting place to be in.


In what we have learn from this module, normally Chinese temple should be in a peaceful and quite place, as well as Sin Sze Si Ya Temple but slowly as times passed, more and more high rise buildings and shop lots were built, but the structure of this temple still remains as a remembrance of traditional Chinese ornaments and constructions technique since it was strong enough to stand for 152 years as to date (2016). The location of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple were also relevant to the battlefield of Kuala Lumpur. Learning how to use different type of instruments which I had not use before in measuring the exterior and interior of the building and convert it to full architectural drawings was also a new experience for me. For example, using the construction laser range finder to measure the height of an object such as the ceilings is easier than climbing up the ladder,

this method is safe and accurate, it also shortens the time taken,

FARAH AIN BINTI ISMAIL I think that it was a great experience to be given an opportunity to be doing what we have just done. Measuring a temple in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, it really shined a light on my thoughts and perceptions of Chinese culture and have a new found understanding of it. Through this experience I also learnt to work with many different people, and gained many new friends from this as well.












































GLOSSARY 1. Bodhisattva Vajparani - He is the protector and guide of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha's power 2. Chi – “energy force” in Chinese culture. 3. Feng Shui - Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. 4. Fu Dogs - Chinese guardian lions, guardian dogs or stone temple dogs. 5. Mahayana - is one of two (or three, under some classifications) main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice 6. Sutra - a Buddhist or Jain scripture. 7. Yin - Yin energy is the cool, slow, passive, feminine energy of darkness and slow ice. 8. Yang - Yang is heat and action, movement, fire, and masculine force.



1. Bramble, C. (2003). Architect’s guide to Feng Shui: exploding the myth. Burlington, Mass.: Architectural Press. 2. Too, L. (2003). Feng shui life planner. London: Hamlyn. 3. Ranjit, M., & Lim, M. (2016). Interview with workers of Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, Kuala Lumpur. 4. Feng Shui and Taoism. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2016, from 5. Magazine, K. (2016). Sin Sze Si Ya Temple - Oldest Taoist Temple in Kuala Lumpur. Retrieved 16 February 2016, from 6. MUST SEE Feng Shui Tips And Taboo When Looking For House | Feng Shui







from 7. T Which way does my property face? (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2016, from


8.,. (2016). The Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. Retrieved 28

14. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple - Oldest Taoist Temple in Kuala Lumpur. (n.d.).

January 2016, from


9. A Temple That Tells Where Great Fortune Lies. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2016, from 10. Overseas Chinese in the British Empire. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2016, from 11. Sin Sze Si Ya Temple - Oldest Taoist Temple in Kuala Lumpur. (n.d.). Retrieved






February (n.d.).

20, Retrieved






from 16. Taoism Religion. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2016, from 17. Golden Dragon Mythology: Pangu. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2016, from


http://www.kuala- 12. XIAN SI SHIYE / SIN SZE SI YA Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Index Page.






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APPENDIX 1 Translation of Sin Sze Si Ya Commemorative Book












APPENDIX 2 Transcript of Interview with Ms.Ranjit Q: The thing inside the glass, is it the thing that they use for the parade?

A: Yes, they will carry the thing during the parade. Q: What other events are there in the temple? A: They have the White Tiger Festival and 'Zhong Hiong'. That is something very interesting which is why people will come and pray. For the 'Zhong Hiong' ritual, people will go around the table three times. Everybody will come and 'Zhong Hiong' and put the joss sticks, and they will go under the table for blessing. Very interesting. During the eve of the festival, the crowd cannot see each other. It's a yearly thing, ever since I'm here, I see all this thing. Maybe when we were young that time we don't come in, so I was not used to it. Q: All these (the festival/events), are they celebrated on the second day as well? A: No, I don't think so.


Q: Is there a story for each of the halls?

step on (the green) is the ‘Xiao Ren’. There’s one special day for this event. The white tiger will then open its mouth.

A: Aside from the main hall, there’s also the business God. People come to pray for their business. People pray with the joss sticks. There's not only one Si Ye Temple, there's so many Si Ye Temple, like there's one in Kajang. He was a local and then he assumed the deities’ status. Visions came up

Q: The paper for the ‘Da Xiao Ren’, do people write names on it? A: Some people writes, some don’t. It’s fine even without name, the god will still show you the person and nothing will block you, at least that’s what I feel. Q: Is this the only temple with this ‘Da Xiao Ren’ activity?

to him, and his blood was white and that is very, very rare. What I heard is what I know. And it's true, you know, what the people who had been doing divination says, they come true. My wish also came true.

A: No, there’s another temple that has it, but I find here, they say that it’s more powerful. Maybe the people praying here is powerful or what, I don’t know., but it’s really powerful. Compared to the other places, they are not as powerful

The main door was in front that old one. It was not the current one. Now only

as this. Some shifu will specially send their people to come to this temple, but

they change, after the May 13th.

I don’t know why do they specifically come to this temple. So I asked them and they said their shifu asked them to come.

Q: What was around this area in the earlier days? Q: Is there like a sequence to how people pray here? A: Shop lots. When our temple was here and it was small, there was all these shops, very old shops all over this area. There was not a building.

A: Yeah, the first place they go is to the God at the front (main hall), then they go to the sides

Q: Can you tell us about the ‘Da Xiao Ren’ event? A: ‘Da Xiao Ren’ is the villain or bad people that gossip or whatnot. There’s red and green paper, the red is like the person who guides you, the one you 137



Link: Directed by: Amir Fauzan Acting credits: Valentine Hew & Adrian Kan





APPENDIX 5 Module Outline









Measured Drawings report (Sin Sze Sia Temple)  
Measured Drawings report (Sin Sze Sia Temple)