Discovering the Goddess of Mercy in Swee Nyet Temple of Pulai, Kelantan (金山作客: 吉兰丹水月宫及其观音信仰)

Pulai village, located in the southern part of Kelantan in Peninsular Malaysia, is a unique Hakka settlement that has managed to cling to its traditional culture till this day. The Swee Nyet Temple, which has been around for more than 400 years, is the centre of activity and religious worship for the villagers.

金山作客: 吉兰丹水月宫及其观音信仰 Jin Shan Zuo Ke: Ji Lan Dan Shui Yue Gong Ji Qi Guan Yin Xin Yang (Discovering the Goddess of Mercy in Swee Nyet Temple of Pulai, Kelantan) focuses on the Guanyin worship of the Swee Nyet Temple in Pulai village and its religious characteristics. It also outlines the history and legends of Pulai village and elaborates on its religious culture, in particular the origins of the Swee Nyet Temple and the close relations between the villagers and the temple.

The first chapter analyses the history of Kelantan Chinese immigrants in Pulai village and the origin of Guanyin and Mazu belief of this Hakka community. Chapters 2 to 4 discuss the three rituals of the Guanyin festival, revealing that the temple still adopts the traditional way of worshipping the Goddess of Mercy. Chapter 5 studies the two precious historical documents preserved in the temple, and analyses the diversity of Hakka beliefs in Pulai village as well as tracing back some of the forgotten histories of this community. Chapter 6 reinterprets the history of Kelantan Chinese migrants and highlights the inherited cultural values of the temple. The conclusion reiterates the cultural significance of the Guanyin belief in Pulai village with its adoption of the characteristics of folk beliefs in China.

Lew Siew Boon The author, Lew Siew Boon (廖筱纹), obtained a master’s degree from Minzu University  of China, and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore. Her research focus is on the interactions between the Chinese communities in Singapore and Johor.

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