Deity gives mixed economic rating for the year

Giving respect: Devotees paying homage to the resident deity Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong and catching a glimpse of the flames during the annual Snake Temple flame-watching ceremony in conjunction with the deity’s birthday.

GEORGE TOWN: The resident deity at the Snake Temple has predicted that the economy will be average in the first quarter of the year, great during the middle and take a small dip in the last quarter.

Devotees of the Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong deity interpreted the flames according to their strength in the annual fire-watching ceremony held at the temple in honour of the deity’s birthday.

However, the prediction should be taken with a pinch of salt, according to Cheng Hoe Seah Association chairman Teoh Hock Guan who helped the temple in the flame-watching ceremony.

“The resident deity is a master of healing the sick and his predictions were originally looked at in the context of well-being but they became a way of predicting the economy as this event is held right after Chinese New Year,” he said during a press conference after the ceremony on Saturday.

Teoh added that devotees could refer to the flame-watching predictions of Tua Pek Kong (God of Prosperity) at Hai Choo Soo Temple in Tanjung Tokong on the 14th day of the Lunar New Year.

He gave his interpretation of the flames at the Snake Temple ritual.

“The first flame that ignited at 11.53pm was neither weak nor strong, signifying an average start to the year.

The second flame came alive at 11.57pm and was very big and strong, signifying good tidings.

“The last flame was a bit weak ,” he said.

It is a temple tradition to read the deity’s divinations based on the stability, brightness and strength of three bursts of flames of the incense urn – each representing a four-month cycle of the year.

Earlier, thousands of visitors were entertained with performances at the seventh edition of the Ban Ka Lan Snake Temple’s Chinese New Year Cultural Celebration.

Present at the event were state Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, Hokkien Kongsi public officer Datuk Tan Lye Hock, and event organising chairman Cheah Cheng Ean.

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