KOTA KINABALU May 9, 2012: The Wah San Chon Chu Kong temple in Ranau will play host to about 5,000 guests from worldwide who are expected to attend the fourth Malaysia Tuah Peh Kong festival this weekend.
It will be the first time that the festival to be held from May 11 to 13, is hosted by a temple in Sabah.
The previous hosts were Bintulu, followed by Sibu and later Kuching.
The long line of guests will include senior officials, representatives and devotees of the Tuah Peh Kong deity in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia with some 68 affiliated Taoist temples from Sarawak and 10 from Peninsular Malaysia are expected to take part in the celebration.
Organising chairman Datuk Chua Khen Siong explained that the main objective of the celebration is to promote better understanding of the Tua Peh Kong deity, his benevolent attributes and contributions to the Chinese community.
Chua said the actual celebration will be on May 12, starting from 8am till 6pm, with a host of interesting programmes lined up to mark the celebration.
This includes a spectacular procession by the various affiliated temples, a car float procession comprising of Volkswagon cars and various other types of four-wheel-drive vehicles starting at 6pm.
The programmes will kick start with an assembly of the participants and guests at the premises of the temple, at 8am, to be followed by an elaborated mass prayer ceremony headed by Datuk Seri Panglima Sari Nuar Tan, the president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS).
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai is expected to grace the occasion on behalf of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman.
A welcoming dinner will be held on the evening of May 11.
“Most of the guests will put up in Kundasang and Ranau,” said Chua, who is also the chairman of the Wah San Chon Chu Kong temple and expressed his appreciation to the State government and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment for the support and generosity to partially sponsor the expenses incurred for the celebration.
Chua also urged tour operators in the State to bring their guests to the temple, to observe and to experience the unique Malaysian Taoist culture and celebration.
The worship of the Tua Pek Kong in Southeast Asia is a unique culture of the Chinese community.
Tuah Peh Kong which literally means “Grand Uncle” in the Hokkien dialect, is one of the pantheons of the Taoist deities. It was believed that Tuah Peh Kong first arrived in Malaysia in Penang some 40 years before Captain Francis Light in 1746.
The Tuah Peh Kong was a man named Zhang Li from the Hakka clan and his Sumatra-bound boat was blown away by the wind and accidentally landed on Penang island, which at that time was inhabited by 50 people.
After his death, the local people began worshipping him and built the Tuah Peh Kong temple there and today Tuah Peh Kong is worshipped by Malaysian Chinese throughout the country.
Tuah Peh Kong is often mistaken for Tu Di Gong, partially because of their physical similarities.
Meanwhile, the Wah San Chon Chu Kong temple is also a popular tourist destination, especially famous for its ‘holy spring water’ and it is commonly held by the local community that the consumption of the natural spring water obtained from a source 108-feet deep in the vicinity of the temple, could help treat many illnesses.
Many also believe that bathing with the water could get rid of bad luck.