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KUANTAN: After 12 years, the Lao Zi Temple, located on the way to the former mining town of Sungai Lembing, held a drawing and coloring contest for Chinese primary school pupils.

Caretaker Kui Fook Weng, 79, said his father and temple founder decided to organize the event to bring joy to the pupils.“Even though they live in Kuantan, some do not have the time to visit the temple as their parents are often busy with work.“So we decided to ask the management of the schools to bring them here for a short visit, as well as to take part in a contest.Kui said nine schools with 72 pupils took part in the contest.

It was divided into two categories – aged seven to nine and 10 to 12.He said the top three and 10 consolation prizes each were prepared for the winners.In addition, light refreshments were served to the pupils and accompanying teachers before they were taken on a guided tour around the temple.“The event was also an avenue to promote the temple as a religious tourism site.“We hope more locals and foreigners will pay us a visit when in Kuantan,” he said.

Kui said they would constantly upgrade more deities and other attractions to bring in more visitors.“We would like to express our gratitude to the state government for helping to promote our temple as a tourist site under its religious tourism package,” he said.The temple is famed for the Golden Dragon, said to be the longest in the world, and the 7m-high replica of Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism.The Malaysia Book of Records has certified it as “The Longest Dragon Statue” in the country.

Every year, about 100,000 visitors, including those from Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore, pay homage to Lao Zi.Other attractions include a fish pond surrounded by the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, a brass image of the Goddess of Mercy dating back to the Ming dynasty, monkey god, a pair of Earth dragons, Prosperity Buddha, 18 disciples of Buddha, eight fairies, statues of God and Goddess of Heaven, Confucius, Gods of Wealth, God of Beggars, a three-legged toad, a wishing bell and a pair of longevity and prosperity tortoises.Among the latest collections are a family of Panda bears, the replica of life-size dinosaurs, two Chinese unicorns – a symbol of long life, peace and harmony – and 12 Chinese Zodiac animals on both sides of the main road leading into the temple.


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