Sembawang God of Wealth Temple Reopening Today (30 Apr) After Large Fire in 2020

Last Updated on 2023-05-05 , 10:24 pm

Devotees were devastated when the Sembawang God of Wealth Temple suffered from a large fire in 2020.

Since then, the temple has been operating from a temporary tentage.

After more than 2.5 years, the temple is finally reopening.

In fact, it’s reopening today.

Grand Reopening Ceremony

According to a Facebook Event created by the temple’s official Facebook page, the Sembawang God of Wealth Temple will hold a Grand Reopening Ceremony on 30 April 2023.

Image: Facebook (@三巴旺财神庙 Sembawang God of Wealth Temple)

The temple is returning with a bang, organising a free local food fair in honour of its reopening.

The ceremony will last from 30 April to 30 May.

You can take a look at the temple’s grand itinerary of events here:

Image: Facebook (@三巴旺财神庙 Sembawang God of Wealth Temple)

Devotees can touch the 9.44m God of Wealth statue on three different days.

On 30 April, devotees can touch it from 12 pm to 11 pm.

The statue can also be touched on 1 May and 4 May from 9 am to 9 pm.

Mark your calendars.

Over these 30 days, there will also be prayer ceremonies to mark the temple’s reopening.

Cost Nearly $4 Million to Rebuild

According to Shin Min Daily News, rebuilding the temple cost nearly $4 million.

The chairperson of the temple, Jiang Haifu, said that reconstruction wasn’t allowed to start until August 2021 as authorities needed to conduct an assessment and contractor bidding.

He said, “The work of repairing the temple was very cumbersome and needed to take after its original structure. Furthermore, it was difficult to find construction workers during the pandemic, so reconstruction suffered many delays and took very long to be officially completed.”

Another cost concern was the 68 Buddha statues burnt in the fire.

According to Mr Jiang, they have been remade as the repair cost was similar to the cost of getting new ones.

Thus, the temple hired sculptors from Taiwan to make the statues before shipping them to Singapore.

Temple Thanked Devotees in a Video

Of course, $4 million is a hefty sum.

In a video on the temple’s Facebook page, Mr Jiang thanked devotees for their generous donations.

He expressed his gratitude to local devotees and devotees from other countries like Taiwan, China, Malaysia and Indonesia. 

He also thanked the devotees for urging their relatives to donate to the temple’s reconstruction costs.

He said, “I thank the devotees for their generosity and willingness to donate money to the God of Wealth temple.”

History of the Iconic Temple

The temple houses the iconic God of Wealth statue brought back from China in 1998.

Standing at a height of 9.44 metres, the statue weighs a whopping 8,290 kg. 

The temple only completed construction in 2006.

It spans a total of 20,000 square feet.

In addition, the project cost $3 million.

It’s located at Admiralty Street, near Sembawang MRT station. 

Image: Google Maps

The temple is the only one in Singapore with the God of Wealth as its primary God.

According to Mr Jiang in the Facebook video, there is a difference between the God of Wealth in the Sembawang temple and the one in Taiwan.

The temples in Taiwan enshrine the martial God of Wealth, Zhao Guongming.

In Singapore, devotees worship the civil God of Wealth, which is uncommon in Taiwan. 

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Fire Broke Out in 2020

On 18 September 2020, the temple was struck by a massive fire.

It massively damaged the temple’s office on the second floor.

It took three hours to extinguish the fire.

19 emergency vehicles and 62 firefighters were deployed to stop the blaze.

However, it surprisingly left the statues of the God of Wealth and Thousand-handed Guanyin intact.

While nobody was injured, the fire killed three of the seven dogs that lived on the temple’s premises.

In response to misinformation, the temple put out a statement on its Facebook page clarifying that they do not chain up the dogs.

It said, “Our temple has a total of seven stray dogs under our care. We do not chain up our dogs and they are free to roam the temple compound during the night.

“Unfortunately, we have lost three of them as they were trapped on the second level when the fire broke out. The remaining four managed to escape and are safe.”

According to Mr Jiang, the fire wasn’t reported until it got so severe because nobody watched the temple at night. 

Three temple staff now guard the premises overnight in shifts to prevent another incident from happening again.

New electrical wires have also been installed throughout the temple.