Friday, 7 March 2014

Site 9: Water Kiosk at corner of Boon Teck Road

Question(s): What does this water kiosk provide? What does it suggest about life in Singapore in the past?  
Around the bend of Boon Teck Road, we saw a water kiosk which dispenses water and tea to any thirsty passer-by. There were two containers at the water kiosk: one is filled with water whilst the other is filled with Su Teh ("tea" in Teochew dialect).

The two pots that dispenses water and tea
The significance of this kiosk was to provide the poor with clean water and tea for free. In the past, clean water was a luxury that was hard to come by. Rickshaw coolies, who were generally poverty-stricken unskilled Chinese immigrants, often got by without potable water despite their physically-taxing job nature. Realising this, Thong Teck Sian Tong Lian Sia Temple provided this kiosk for free for these coolies and passer-bys of Boon Teck Road.

Although residents and patrons of Boon Teck Road today could easily and conveniently afford potable water, Thong Teck Sian Tong Lian Sia Temple preserved the tradition and still continues to provide clean water and tea as it had in the past.

An act as generous as such reminds us of our country's humble past and highlights the nobleness of charity and helping the poor. This epitomises the conventional Chinese wisdoms that one should return unto the society what one has received from the society (取之社会,用之社会); and that one should, whilst drinking, always remember the source of the water (饮水思源).


Carrying the charity spirit forward

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