Leong San See Temple (“Dragon Mountain Temple” in Mandarin) is one of Singapore’s most ornate Buddhist temples. It was established by Reverend Chun Wu in 1917, who arrived in Singapore in 1913 with only an urn and a statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The temple was initially named Leong San Lodge and consisted of a few huts where Reverend Chun took care of the sick, with the central hut housing the Goddess of Mercy.
The present temple, a conserved building, was constructed in 1926 with building materials imported from China and funds contributed by prominent merchant and philanthropist Tan Boon Liat. The reconstructed temple has an altar with an image of Confucius, which is popular with parents who bring their children to pray for intelligence and filial piety. On certain days, free vegetarian food is served to devotees in the ancestral hall.
The abbot of the temple in the 1950s, Venerable Sek Kong Hiap, had planned for a new temple next to Leong San See Temple. However, he realised that there was a more pressing need for a school and founded Leong San School within the temple compound in 1954. The school started with only four classrooms and provided free classes in Mandarin.
Enrolment at the school grew rapidly and eventually a plot adjacent to the temple was acquired. The Mee Toh School (with mee toh meaning “eternal brightness” in Mandarin) was built there, and its students often visited the temple to pray. In 2004, the school shifted to its new premises in Punggol, though it continues to be closely linked to the Leong San See Temple.