Perhaps, it is a petite vernacular temple which epitomises the intangible heritage of the Aberdeen coastline. Measuring at a height and width of roughly 1 metre, the Sea Lord’s Temple（海王大神廟）could be found in the intersection right outside the Aberdeen Centre (junction between Chengtu Road and Nam Ning Street). Even today, the pious kaifong of Aberdeen kneel, pray, and burn incense regularly at the Temple.
In fact, the Sea Lord’s Temple pre-dates the Aberdeen Centre. The current location of the Temple marks the former coastline of Aberdeen. In the 1970s, when the Whampoa and Aberdeen Dry Docks were demolished, the area was reclaimed and re-developed into the Aberdeen Centre. The Sea Lord’s Temple remained in its current position throughout the redevelopment. Folklore has it that re-locating the Temple leads to bad luck.
The Sea Lord’s Temple marks the cohesive network of Aberdeen’s evolving heritage. It is a dynamic network that involves the intangible heritage, oral histories, lived practices, and historic sites of the district. By recording and presenting the stories of Aberdeen, Urban Diary hopes to present this intangible yet precious heritage for all to see.
In the words of Eric Hobsbawn, heritage preservation is concerned with safeguarding “the social mechanisms that link one’s contemporary experience to that of earlier generations”. This is also what Urban Diary holds firmly to.
Interviews: Ray YIU
Photography: TAI Ngai Lung
Painting: Eleanor FU
Photos: KO Tim Keung