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Religious melting pot in Waterloo St

Proximity of two temples encourages cross-worshipping

Published on Aug 15, 2014 6:05 AM

It is after midday on a Friday and the Sri Krishnan Temple in the Bugis area is closed for the afternoon. But this does not stop a constant stream of Chinese devotees from stopping in front of it, murmuring silent prayers.

Tendrils of incense rise from joss sticks in an urn with the inscription "Waterloo Chicken Rice" in front of the entrance to the Hindu temple, two doors from the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple known to many as the Simalu Guanyin Temple.

Waterloo Street, where the two venerable places of worship meet, is arguably the best showcase of Singapore's religious melting pot.

The main deity at one temple is Guanyin or the Goddess of Mercy, while Krishnan, a god known to destroy evil and spread love, watches over the other.

But devotees of one temple spill over to the other; the area overflows with fortune tellers, sellers of fresh chrysanthemum and lotus flowers, and cheerful refrains of "Miss, do you want to buy flowers?"

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Background story


When it rains, my shop stays open and I use my umbrella to keep my flowers from getting ruined.

- Madam Catherine Teo, who inherited the family flower business started by her grandmother