KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — The city’s most popular Chinese temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy is set to welcome back devotees from 6am tomorrow for worship.
However, those keen to visit tomorrow or on the first day of Chinese New Year on Friday and on February 19 should be forewarned that the temple has introduced a booking system to ensure compliance with the government’s standard operating procedures during the ongoing movement control order.
Thean Hou staff Ho Yoke Mui said the booking system was the temple’s initiative to aid the management in crowd control measures and not a requirement by the government.
“For Thean Hou temple, we are only opening our doors to those who made prior booking with us,” she told Malay Mail when met at the temple’s main shrine this evening.
She added: “We are fully booked for all three days”.
During the visit, Malay Mail observed staff had prepared taped markings on the floor to indicate where visitors should stand. A large boxed area outside the main shrine also indicated where visitors were to remove and store their shoes before entering to pray.
Ho said the temple is expecting 240 visitors a day for the following dates: February 11, 12 and 19 (when Chinese from the Hokkien clan celebrate the Jade Emperor God or “Thee Kong”); and visiting hours are from 6am to 2pm.
She added that visitors will be granted entrance in batches of 30 people per time, and limited to only 30 minutes per visit to pray and make their joss stick offering.
Due to the time constraint, Ho said photography would not be allowed, not even for a selfie.
“It will be one-way traffic in and out of the temple shrine, so I hope everyone will follow the guidelines that have been prepared for them to ensure that everyone complies with the government’s SOPs,” she said.
It will be a marked departure from past Chinese New Year celebrations at the temple renowned for its large number of lanterns displayed.
“This is the first time the temple is this quiet because usually by now, the temple will be crowded with people,” Ho said, adding that the atmosphere leading up to Chinese New Year is usually very lively.
“That’s a reality that we have to accept, and all we can do now is to hope for the best of health for everyone,” she said.
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