New immigrants visiting the Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple before the evening banquet.

To promote the understanding of local customs among new immigrants, the Social Affairs Committee of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) organised a learning journey about the Hungry Ghost Festival customs during the seventh lunar month which the festival falls on. The event took place on August 14th (Sunday) from 4pm to 10pm, with over 30 immigrants from 7 new immigrant associations invited. Attendees were from Tian Fu Association, Shanxi Association, Hua Yuan Association, Tianjin Association, Kowloon Club, Chinese Students and Scholars Association in Singapore, and Singapore University Alumni Association. Together, they experienced and immersed themselves in the lively atmosphere of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

The event garnered support from Mr Tan Thiam Lye, the Chairman of the Singapore Taoist Federation. Mr Tan arranged for docents at San Qing Gong Temple for the attendees to learn about the Hungry Ghost Festival customs. Furthermore, a banquet was prepared for the attendees to enjoy at the Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple, allowing them to witness the bidding activities while feasting to their hearts’ content.

At 4pm on that day, attendees gathered at SFCCA and took a bus to the San Qing Gong Temple. Attendees from Zhejiang, Sichuan, Shanxi, Liaoning and other provinces of China, had the chance to interact with others from the same province, adding much joy to the trip.

Memorable experience for the new immigrants during the bidding activity

At the San Qing Gong Temple, Master Adrian Long, Treasurer of the Singapore Taoist Federation Youth Group, explained the origins and customs of the Hungry Ghost Festival to the new immigrants. During the event, “881”, a movie about Hungry Ghost Festival getai shows was also screened, showcasing Singaporean traditions. After the informative session, attendees raised questions enthusiastically and gained a deeper understanding of the customs and history of the Hungry Ghost Festival in Singapore.

The atmosphere was lively during the evening banquet, and the bidding activity left a deep impression on the new immigrants. Mr Weng Kang from Liao Ning Province, China, shared that despite having lived in Singapore for several years, he has never attended this type of event in person. Witnessing the bidding scene revealed the generosity and kindness of Singaporeans. He thanked SFCCA for organising this event, as it allowed him to take a deeper dive into our local customs and culture. He also expressed interest in participating in more activities to learn about the local culture.

Mr Zhou Zhao Cheng, SFCCA Director of Social Affairs Committee, responsible for organising the event, shared that it was an initiative to help new immigrants integrate into Singapore society. He believes that through experiencing Singapore’s unique culture and customs firsthand, barriers between cultures could be broken and misunderstandings caused by cultural differences could be avoided. SFCCA will continue hosting such events next year, inviting both locals and new immigrants to promote interaction.

On August 20th (Saturday), SFCCA organised another learning journey inviting 10 representatives from the Singapore Alumni Association in Sun Yat-Sen University to visit Ying Fo Fui Kun Cemetery and attend the dinner banquet for the Hungry Ghost Festival.

This initiative launched by SFCCA to assist new immigrants in their integration has received positive responses, and it is expected to continue next year, potentially involving locals as well. SFCCA plans to introduce more events to allow immigrants to better understand the local culture, including visits to clan associations and a series of seminars, to bridge the gap between new immigrants and our society.