The Poh Oo Toong Temple (GPS: 5.42801, 100.31469) at 253 D & F Jalan Burma is a Buddhist temple along a quieter stretch of Burmah Road. It was originally the property of Yeoh Cheang Seng, a wealthy Penang merchant. His wife, Khoo Soh Oo, was a devout Buddhist. Together, they allocated a part of their home for the construction of the Poh Oo Toong Buddhist Temple, and sought the help of the monk from Pau Yue Kong Temple to realise it.
The Yeohs came up with the funds for establishing the Poh Oo Toong Temple. Construction began in 1939. During the Second World War, quite a number of nuns stayed there for meditation. Poh Oo Toong was completed and opened to the public by Khoo Soh Oo after the war, on 2 August, 1947.
View of the roof and front facade of Poh Oo Toong Temple (23 December 2006)
A famous monk by the name of Master Ci Hang came from China to Southeast Asia in 1941, staying in Penang for seven years. During this time, he travelled to Singapore, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh to give lectures. He was instrumental in establishing the Phor Tay Institution in Singapore and Penang as well as the Phor Tay Schools and Buddhist Associations in Singapore, Selangor, Ipoh and Penang. He also started a Buddhist magazine. The premises of the Malaysian Buddhist Association was at Poh Oo Toong. The Buddhist Association was initially very active in meditation and chanting but was eventually dissolved.
In the later years, Khoo Soh Oo became a nun and took on the title of Reverend Hooi Kong. After she passed away, a seven-tier pagoda was built in her honor. Master Ci Hang was present at the official opening of the pagoda. A tablet attributed to him was erected in front of it.
In 1978, Master Wen Chien was invited from the Kuala Lumpur monastery to be the abbot at Poh Oo Toong Temple taking over from Master Chuan Yen. Today the Malaysian Buddhist Association also runs the Cheng Huah Kindergarten within the premises of Poh Oo Toong Temple.
Side gate of Poh Oo Toong Temple, Burmah Road, Penang (29 December, 2018)
Pavilion with the stalae or stone tablet (23 December 2006)
What to see and do
The Poh Oo Toong Temple is not geared to accept tourists. Unless you are seeking it for religious reasons, it is unlikely to feature highly within your list of sights to visit. Nevertheless, you can come to admire its temple architecture, pagoda and pavilion. The temple itself is likely to be locked if no attendant is on hand.
Close up of the stone tablet (23 December 2006)
Pagoda at Poh Oo Toong Temple (23 December 2006)
Cheng Huah Kindergarten, within the premises of Poh Oo Toong Temple (23 December 2006)
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