Two books launched to mark monastery's 120th year

The 120-year history of the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery (above) was recorded in two books launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (centre in photo on far right). With him is Mr Chuang Shaw Boon, who headed the monaster
The 120-year history of the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery (above) was recorded in two books launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing. With him is Mr Chuang Shaw Boon, who headed the monastery's restoration works.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
The 120-year history of the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery (above) was recorded in two books launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (centre in photo on far right). With him is Mr Chuang Shaw Boon, who headed the monaster
The 120-year history of the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery was recorded in two books (above) launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing. With him is Mr Chuang Shaw Boon, who headed the monastery's restoration works.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
The 120-year history of the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery (above) was recorded in two books launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (centre in photo on far right). With him is Mr Chuang Shaw Boon, who headed the monaster
The 120-year history of the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery was recorded in two books launched yesterday by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (centre in photo above). With him is Mr Chuang Shaw Boon, who headed the monastery's restoration works.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG

A collection of two volumes was launched yesterday to mark the 120th anniversary of Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery in Toa Payoh.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who was the guest of honour at yesterday's event, said that the monastery exemplified the Singapore spirit.

Referring to its architecture, which incorporates elements from different regions and dialect groups in China, he said: "It is in our DNA to continuously look for the best ideas and bring them back from the rest of the world to benefit Singaporeans, and in some other small ways, contribute to the world."

"We must always retain this spirit, to learn from the rest of the world, and bring in the best, just as how the architecture of this temple has illustrated to us," he added.

Mr Chan also toured the monastery grounds and chatted with the abbot, Venerable Wai Yim.

The collection was put together by an editorial committee of 27 writers - including authors, academics and experts on subjects such as Chinese history and architecture. It records the cultural and architectural history of the monastery.

The compendium, which also contains archival photos, newspaper clippings and old architectural drawings, details the growth of the monastery and its historical significance in Singapore since it was founded in 1898 by Hokkien businessman Low Kim Pong.

Retired journalist Toh Lam Huat was the editor of the 452-page volume on cultural history while Dr Yeo Kang Shua, an associate professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, helmed the 340-page volume on architectural history.

The two volumes were published last month. The project, which cost about $100,000, was sponsored by Thong Teck Sian Tong Lian Sin Sia, a religious charitable organisation.

Some of the 1,500 copies of the collection were gifted to those who attended yesterday's launch, including former Cabinet minister Mah Bow Tan.

Dr Yeo said that he hoped that the topics in the publication would pique the interest of professionals from the relevant fields.

One of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Singapore, Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery was gazetted as a national monument in 1980.

The last major restoration works for the monastery started in 1991 and were completed in 2001. The temple received the Architecture Heritage Award from the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 1999.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'Two books launched to mark monastery's 120th year'. Print Edition | Subscribe