08 September 2009

Plate galore

Location: At the same »Bright Hill temple in the last post. Camera-phone series #16.

If you are wondering why a temple needs so many plates, it is because it is one of the few temples known to provide free food, twice a day, on a DAILY basis. The other one that I know is the »Buddhist Lodge, off River Valley Road.

On certain special days, there will be literally thousands of people passing through either of these temples, and invariably, stopping by for lunch or a drink. The massive amount of food is a sight to behold. It is also free for all, not just for devotees (nobody cards you or anything before serving you the food, and in fact, please help yourself to a second serving), so that is good news for nearby construction workers or the homeless. The menu even changes every day. When I went to Bright Hill Temple yesterday, I also saw a number of taxis parked there. Times must be hard; taxi drivers are not particularly known to be vegetarians.

I remember asking my mum when I was young, "Won't the temple go bankrupt this way?" (I know, what an economist...) My mum confidently replied, "No it won't. In fact, the more it cooks for people, the more stock it ends up with."

After 20 years of empirical observation, I have to admit that it is true. I imagine this can only be explained by a virtuous cycle theory. If you are next in the area, pop by Bright Hill Temple or Buddhist Lodge for a look (and a prostration as well if you are so inclined).

P.S. Bright Hill temple is more civilized; Buddhist Lodge is more spectacular with its sacks upon sacks of rice, bee hoon etc.

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