Friday, 15 May 2015

Guanyin, Goddess of Lifesaving

Guanyin standing in her colourful tiled robes on a lotus flower in Repulse Bay
Today I got a chance to visit Repulse Bay, and with blue skies, and 32 degrees it was hot! The place was crawling with tourists, their coaches parked outside by the newest development, The Pulse.

It's a sleek shopping/lifestyle/dining destination that is perfect for the summer months, though can it sustain during the winter? It has some hip dining spots, a cool gym and yoga studio, and lots of options for kids.

Near her is this happy Buddha sculpture
Next to this complex though is a quirky place. It's where Guanyin or the Goddess of Mercy stands in her mosaic-tiled glory, several feet high. There's a quasi-looking temple building behind her, but it's really the Hong Kong Lifesaving Society clubhouse. Inside it are several glass-door fridges filled with cold drinks.

We noticed some Thai tourists who prayed in front of the Guanyin statue, and purposely rubbed some statues, probably in the hopes of good luck. There were also mini shrines with Thai script on them too.

The Goddess of Mercy is not related to the sea, but the society seems to have adopted her as the Goddess of Lifesaving.

And then there were lots of statues, like twin lions, horses, and so on, as well as tablets, each bearing plaques to explain who donated them and when, from British government officials from colonial times to wealthy local donors. These stone gifts were haphazardly placed so there was no rhyme or reason to where they were placed.

Nevertheless, further down from the Guanyin statue are more colourful tiled ones shaped like fish and people, creating a really kitsch sight.

Across from her is an emperor-like statue, also made of tiles
It reminds me of the Tiger Balm Garden in Tai Hang, that was Hong Kong's original amusement park, but that is long gone after then owner Sally Aw Sian sold the property to Cheung Kong, Li Ka-shing's company in 1998...

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