The 1980s estate of Fengshan, carved out of Bedok New Town, lays claim to a history that is in fact older than the Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats and shops around it. Many of those who moved to Fengshan when the estate was established originally hailed from the farming village of Chang Mao Hng in Tai Seng.
Chang Mao Hng stood at the junction of Paya Lebar Road and Airport Road. In 1902, three immigrants from Swatow, China founded a village temple dedicated to the Nine Emperor Gods with joss stick ash taken from the Nan Tian Temple in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
The temple underwent expansion in 1927 and was named Hong San Temple (or “temple on phoenix hill” in Hokkien) after a geomancer shared that there was “phoenix’s home” at the back of the temple. The temple thrived and soon became a hub for the villagers of Chang Mao Hng and it subsequently established Hong San Public School and a village cooperative society.
The temple was so closely identified with the village that when its residents were resettled to the new HDB estate here in the early 1980s, the estate, previously Bedok North, was renamed Fengshan – the hanyu pinyin version of its Hong San name. While the temple remains at its original site in Paya Lebar today, the village school relocated from Tai Seng to Bedok and evolved into today’s Fengshan Primary School.