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Toa Payoh's 'god tree': Fallen, but not forgotten

Landmark felled by storm, but site will remain a place of worship for devotees

Published on Sep 20, 2013 7:55 AM
 

As modern Singapore grew around it, the towering ficus tree stood firm.

For four decades, it bore witness to the prayers and dreams of devotees who worshipped at a Buddhist shrine at its foot.

That was until last week, when a storm brought the six-storey landmark in Toa Payoh Central crashing to the ground.

For worshippers drawn to its Goddess of Mercy statue and four-faced Buddha, the collapse of the great tree seemed to signal the end of an era.

But the area's residents are not ready to let go just yet.

Toa Payoh Central Merchants' Association told The Straits Times that it plans to erect a new shrine by Chinese New Year, with the remaining parts of the ficus as its backdrop.

 
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Background story

TIME TO MOVE ON

I do feel an attachment to the place and the people in the neighbourhood, having lived here most of my life. But it's time to go.

- Mr Chen Zhou Rong, caretaker of the shrine under the tree, and son of the monk who brought the statue of the Goddess of Mercy there