On 27 January 2010 Tan Ah CHOON died at the age of 82. Born in the year of the dragon (1928), Tan was the most respected spirit-medium among his peers. He became a tangki (童乩 tongji ‘child diviner’ or Chinese spirit-medium) just before the 1950s, and by the 1960s was regarded as the wisest, most powerful spirit-medium in the Singapore tangki community so that he was nicknamed “Tangki Ong” (童乩王), the “Tangki King”.Mr Tan was “caught” by deities to become a spirit medium when he was aged about 21 years. This was just after the Second World War, but Tan’s family appeared to have done well enough for that time. The Tan family lived in Si Kar Teng (四腳亭 Si Jiao Ting literally “Four-legged Pavilion” named for the four-pillared pavilions built to provide shelter in the cemetery that once occupied this area) where Jalan Membina is now. The family home was a wooden hut with an attap (nipa-leaf thatch) roof, but it was big as far as village huts of that time went; there was room to spare, and three rooms were let out to tenants.
Asian Studies | Religion
South China Research Resource Station Newsletter
CHAN, Margaret and YUE, Victor, "Tan Ah Choon: The Singapore ‘King of Spirit Mediums’ (1928-2010)" (2010). Research Collection School of Social Sciences. Paper 1045.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/1045