Malay shrines in Kusu Island blaze were built for a pious family, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Malay shrines in Kusu Island blaze were built for a pious family

A fire on Sunday (April 17) evening ravaged a cluster of shrines situated on top of a hill at Kusu Island.

Aided by Sunday night's heavy downpour, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) managed to put out the blaze at the hilltop where three Malay shrines, or keramat, are located.

However, in pictures shared on SCDF's Facebook page in the early hours of Monday, the shrines appeared razed to the ground - a tangle of zinc roofs and debris.

The shrines are at the top of a flight of 152 steps.

While one of them is dedicated to a pious figure named Syed Abdul Rahman, the other two are believed to belong to his mother, Nenek Ghalib, and his sister, Puteri Fatimah Shariffah.

Inscriptions at the shrines have revealed that Nenek Ghalib had visited a Straits Chinese man, Hoe Beng Whatt, in his dreams in 1917, and requested the shrines be built.

To reward him, as well as the other donors who had contributed financially to the construction of the shrines, Nenek Ghalib would bestow success upon them.

The shrines, said to have been built in the early 1920s, are also visited by devotees who make the trip to Kusu Island to visit the Chinese Da Bo Gong (Tua Pek Kong) Temple.

The temple, built in 1923, is best known for attracting thousands of devotees every year during an annual pilgrimage, which primarily takes place during the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, typically between September and November. Last year's pilgrimage period lasted from Oct 6 to Nov 4.

Kusu Island, located off the Southern shore of Singapore, is only accessible via ferry.

Kusu means "tortoise" or "turtle" in the Hokkien dialect.

A turtle sanctuary can also be found on the island behind the Chinese temple.


[Fire @ Kusu Island] At approximately 6.30pm yesterday on 17 April in the midst of a heavy downpour, SCDF’s marine and...

Posted by Singapore Civil Defence Force on Sunday, April 17, 2022