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Crowd control at Kuan Yim Temple

Crowd control at Kuan Yim Temple

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“Hundreds and thousands” line up at Waterloo Street temple for CNY prayers
by Fang Shihan, who was queueing and got bored.

The crowd only set in after noon, but the barricades had been up since midnight on the eve of Chinese New Year. According to a Cisco guard on duty, “hundreds and thousands” of the annual-faithful patiently queued up outside the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple at Waterloo street, waiting for their turn to offer prayers.

There were surprisingly no casualties despite the crush of people and the crowd was a relatively peaceful one with minimal shoving involved.

Dotting the throng of devotees were largely unlicensed streets vendors selling ‘upsized’ incense sticks. Inflation had apparently affected profit margins this year. While the incense was selling at 3 for $1 last year, costs had pushed the price to $2 this year.

According to one vendor from Malaysia, profits ranged between $200 and $1000, after paying off fines for unlicensed hawking. A first time offender would be charged $400 and a second time offender, $450. She reckons that most vendors live around Waterloo Street and says that foreigners are not allowed to set up shop in the area.