YONG PENG: A 107m dragon is set to make its public debut here by the year-end.
The RM6mil replica of the legendary animal is expected to draw thousands of local and foreign visitors when it is officially opened in November.
The event’s coordinating chairman Tang Hong Seng, 55, said they expect tourists from as far as the United States, New Zealand, Australia, India and Singapore.
The fortune dragon, he said, was a dream-come-true for the Che Ann Khor Yong Peng Moral Uplifting Association.
“We have been working very hard after receiving a sign from heaven in 2008 to come up with the dragon,” Tang said of the air-conditioned replica which can seat 500.
“We (Taoists) believe that by making one round, entering from the dragon’s mouth and exiting via its tail, will lead to a change in luck.
“This ritual also dispels bad luck. Those who already have everything going well, will find things getting even better,” he explained.
The height of the dragon varies from between 3.6m and 4.8m and there are 144 steps inside.
The internal decorations will include paintings and sayings on Chinese culture and beliefs which promote values such as filial piety.
A Song Dynasty garden next to the dragon is also shaping up.
“Every element of this fortune dragon has a profound meaning,” Tang added.
Looking back over the project, he said they bought the four-acre plot in 2012, followed by the ground breaking ceremony the next year.
Tang said the dragon was 80% complete now.
Some 70% of the building materials were sourced locally and the remaining from China, he added.
While there are also dragon replicas in Sitiawan and Kuantan, Tang pointed out that the fortune dragon in Yong Peng was the first of its kind in Malaysia.
“Unlike the rest, our fortune dragon is elevated from the ground,” he said.
The dragon, Tang added, could also boost tourism in Johor.
Tian Pao Kong Temple
Yong Peng is also proud to have the second highest Che Kung statue in the world.
“It is 20.72m high while the highest one at 23.16m is in Taiwan” said Teo Zhi Tek who is the sculptor for the statue at the Tian Pao Kong temple here.
Che Kung, a military commander in the Southern Song Dynasty, was known for his ability to suppress uprisings and epidemics.
His believers worshipped him as a god and seek good fortune from him nowadays.
Yeo, 43, said he had been to Che Kung’s birthplace in China thrice to help him come up with the statue’s design.
He said the statue was completed in September 2014, two years from the time he started it.
Expressing his gratitude at being given the chance to make the statue, Yeo who also attributed it to god’s will, said this has also further strengthened his determination to ensure it is a success.
Drawing from Che Kung’s teachings and words of wisdom, Yeo said: “I went step by step. I divided the entire job into 200 small steps, and I know exactly what to do and how to do it for each and every step.”
Black dragon cave Temple
Temple stays have become increasingly popular tourism product overseas, and a temple in Yong Peng will also be offering such a package soon.
Black Dragon Cave Temple adviser Tan Won Teck, 65, said Yong Peng is popular among Malaysians and foreigners, especially Singaporeans, for its good food in particular, and having a temple stay would be a boost for tourism.
He said there were 24 rooms for the temple stay programme and all are located in one block.
Tan said visitors would comprise tourists who are here for a holiday or those seeking a quiet retreat.
The temple also has a mini park with water features like wading pools and a jacuzzi for children under 12.