Four-faced Buddha exits Golden Mile Complex
The famous statue of Phra Phrom – the god of good fortune and protection in Thailand – at Golden Mile Complex has vacated its shrine of more than two decades.
Also known in Singapore as the four-faced Buddha, its statue will be relocated to Leong San See temple in Race Course Road. Worshippers can visit the Buddha at the temple from 9am on May 11.
For now, the statue will undergo some touch-ups at the Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple in Jalan Bukit Merah before moving to its new home.
The statue had to be moved obecause of the upcoming closure of Golden Mile Complex.
Mr Loh Yuen Seng, 59, co-founder of the Thai supermarket there and custodian of the shrine, told The Straits Times that several parties, including restaurants and shopping centres, had approached him to take custody of it.
In the end, he decided to give it to the temple as he believed that is where the Buddha statue would be best looked after.
The Leong San See Temple, known as “Dragon Mountain Temple” in Mandarin, is a Chinese Buddhist temple that has been around for more than 100 years.
On Wednesday at 1pm, a one-hour ritual was performed by nine monks for the relocation of the statue. More than 50 devotees gathered at the shrine to offer their prayers and witness the send-off.
Ms Loo Chit Min changed her work shift and travelled from Woodleigh to take part in the ceremony after learning about the relocation on social media.
Said the 53-year-old cleaner: ”I prayed for work not too long ago, and a few days later, I was employed. Besides offering thanks, I am also curious about the relocation ceremony.”
Events organiser Ben Ong, 60, said he visits the shrine two or three times a month. He will continue to pray before the statue at its new home.
The Tampines resident said: ”I heard from the shopkeepers here that there had been regular worshippers who offered to take over the statue, but I am glad that it has found a proper home in the temple.”
Golden Mile Complex, a conserved building, was sold to a consortium comprising Perennial Holdings, Sino Land and Far East Organization for S$700 million (US$518 million) in May 2022. Almost all the tenants have moved out, with most going to nearby malls such as Golden Mile Tower, City Gate and Aperia Mall.
The Thai supermarket at Golden Mile Complex has also closed, and will be opening at Aperia Mall at the end of May or early June.
Golden Mile Complex became known as “Little Thailand” because it was a stop for tour buses from Thailand and Malaysia. Over time, Thai workers congregated there for its variety of Thai products and services. They also offered prayers at the shrine.
Phra Phrom is widely worshipped in Thailand and has many worshippers in Singapore. Devotees offer incense, candles and jasmine flowers in front of each of the four faces, as each side bestows different blessings.
Mr Loh said that an emporium which had housed the Buddha moved out of Golden Mile Complex around the year 2000, leaving the shrine behind.
“I saw the Buddha every day and decided to take care of it,” he said. “You can say that it is a kind of fate.”
Mr Loh sought help from a Buddhist priest to move the statue outdoors. He also set up a box for devotees to make cash offering to the Buddha, and all the proceeds were donated to charity over the years.
He has forked out about $50,000 for the relocation, including the ritual.
Fighting back tears, he said: “I am sad to part ways with the Buddha as he has been taking care of our Little Thailand at Golden Mile Complex all these years.”