A record crowd of over 25,000 devotees from near and far attended the nine-day celebrations of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival this year at the new Leng Eng Tian Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya.
Temple chairman Yap Yit Leong told Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY) that the number was arrived at based on the temple’s sale of more than 25,000 sets of joss-sticks to devotees for the nine-day celebration, far exceeded the minimum target set of 15,000 sets.
“The crowd of devotees is very much bigger this year. This is unexpected, well beyond our expectation,” said Yap who attributed the mammoth crowd to the newly built temple which had generated wide media exposure and publicity,” said Yap.
The temple shifted to its present site from its old place less than two kilometers away and celebrated the Nine Emperor Gods Festival this year at its new home.
Yap said the temple was opened round-the-clock with devotees came in their thousands non-stop each day and night during the nine-day grand celebrations from the first day till the ninth day of the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (October 15 – 23, 2012).
“We received old and new devotees, including a larger number of Indians, who told us they liked the beautiful architecture design of the new temple, its huge size and that the smoky incense haze inside the prayer hall tolerable due to its larger space,” added Yap.
The present of exhaust fans helped to clear smoke and smells from the prayer hall caused by burning incensed joss sticks and candles.
“They said we are very flexible in the sense that we do not force anyone to make donation. It’s free flowing and no forcing. It depends on your affordability. We provide free vegetarian lunch to devotees and those who want to donate a sum, it can be any amount,” he said.
This year we had moved to this new temple so besides the traditional Chinese opera show, we also have a string puppet show from Segamat, Johor which cost us about RM30,000 for the nine days performances.
Both the opera show and puppet show were held to entertain the Gods as a form of thanks-giving. However, the people can also watch the shows.
Yap said the temple was fully completed internally, but there were still some work to be done externally such as the archway, perimeter wall and a 25-feet high burner.
The work will take a few months to complete and will commence soon after the festival.
“We are still short of about RM900,000 to meet the construction cost and the contractor has allowed us staggered payment. Hopefully we can collect the shortfall in time to pay off the contractor. Whatever we can collect, we want to collect,” he said.
The new temple has been built at a cost of RM5 million which came from public donations and grants from federal government and Selangor state government.
“We hope to continue to improve every year. We want to thank all the devotees for their strong support and especially the over 3,000 strong devotees from Banting, Sungai Pelek and Sepang who showed up at Morib beach for the Nine Emperor Gods send-off ceremony,” he said.
Yap said they had been carrying out the ceremony at Morib beach since 40 years ago till today. The send-off site at Morib beach is exclusive for their temple use and as a respect for each other, no other Nine Emperor Gods temples from elsewhere will use the same spot.
Those who want to make donations to the temple, call the temple at 03-7874 3509 or temple chairman Yap Yit Leong at 012-2299309.