Envoy visits temple and discovers its history

James Kon

British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe yesterday described the Teng Yun Chinese Temple in the capital as an “amazing and beautiful landmark.”

Virgoe visited the temple to understand the temple’s history and its cultural customs.

The envoy with two officials from the British High Commission at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex walked to the Teng Yun Chinese Temple and was greeted by the temple’s Executive Committee led by Chairman Lee Eng Ching.

He said, “Since arriving in Brunei Darussalam, I drive pass the Chinese temple almost daily. It is an amazing and beautiful landmark. Visiting the temple makes one realise that it is even more beautiful inside. I am very keen to engage with all communities in Brunei Darussalam including the religious community. I have visited some churches and the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah. Visiting the temple today is very significant for me.”

Virgoe noted the important role the Chinese community in Brunei Darussalam has played through centuries.

British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe accompanied by Teng Yun Chinese Temple Executive Committee Chairman Lee Eng Ching at the temple. PHOTO: JAMES KON

Lee Eng Ching briefed on the history of Teng Yun Chinese Temple.

“The idea about setting up a Chinese temple was started around 1913. The proposal only took off in 1914 when Chinese businessmen worked together to put the plan into action.

“Building materials were imported from China while prime land was donated by a wealthy Chinese businessman in Brunei. The land was located across the Water Village. The Chinese temple was built in 1918 and named Tua Pek Kong Temple (Grand Uncle Temple),” he said.

In 1953, the temple was given notice to be relocated and Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam donated the land for the new temple.

The new location is where the temple is now. Towards the end of 1960, the new temple was opened with support from late Pehin Datu Temenggong Dato Seri Paduka Lim Teck Hoo who was the chair of the temple and the Chinese community, Lee Eng Ching said.

The new temple was called Teng Yun Temple or Temple of Flying Clouds. The temple celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018.

Lee Eng Ching and the temple’s executive committee handed over a memento to the British High Commissioner to mark the visit.