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Sien Teck Temple · Liu Shang Bang Shrine in Bau, Kuching, Sarawak 善德庙 · 刘善邦庙

Rainbow on a rainy day in Bau, Sarawak.

We were on our 6 day Kuching Sarawak self drive adventure. After visiting Maw San (Old Bau), Tasik Biru lake, Bau town, and Fairy Cave we swung by Sien Teck Temple 善德庙 on our way to Siniawan town for dinner. (Long but fruitful day! 🤣)

It's a small temple complex at Jalan Jugan Buso dedicated to Liu Shan Bang 刘善邦. Buso (busuk) in Malay means smelly or a bad smell.

The entrance arch to the temple.

Liu Shan Bang was a leader of the Hakka Chinese 12 Kongsi 十二公司 mining company that ran the gold mine at Maw San (Hat Mountain) in 1830s - 1850s.

The small main temple building.

In the 1850s, the prosperous 12 Kongsi got into disputes with Rajah James Brooke over taxes. The Hakka miners decided to rebel.

The small main sanctuary.

On that fateful day of 18 Feb 1857, Liu Shan Bang and 600 miners paddled up Sarawak River to Rajah James Brooke's Astana palace in Kuching.

The miners killed several of Rajah Brooke's officials and their family. Rajah James Brooke escaped and quickly organised a counterattack.

Liu Shang Bang's altar.

Liu Shan Bang and the miners retreated back to Maw San in disarray.

Liu Shan Bang and many of the miners were intercepted and killed here at the Buso area. The smell of their unburied corpses was probably why the area was named Buso, busuk being the Malay word for smelly.

The altar plaque bearing the names Liu Shan Bang, his elder brother Liu Tah Boh, and sister Liu Chen Chen who also perished.

Rajah James Brooke's forces went on to raze the miners' settlement in Maw San. The community of 4,000 people was obliterated and the settlement was abandoned. Only an old flag pole holder at the town square survived.

Today, there's a shrine at the old Maw San (old Bau) town square.


In the 1870s, about twenty years after the miners' rebellion of 1857, Rajah James Brooke brought in a new wave of Hakka Chinese miners to exploit the gold and antimony deposits of Maw San. 

A new township known as Bau was established by the new wave of Hakka miners.

The original riverine trading post of Siniawan which served the old Maw San mining settlement was also abandoned after the mining community was eliminated.

Siniawan trading post was revived by the second wave of miners and its old shophouses is a nostalgic attraction today. Siniawan is famous for its weekend night market (open Fri, Sat, Sun), and restaurants.


Buso town today is a quiet, sleepy enclave with a couple of shops serving the villagers and elementary school SJK Chung Hua Buso here. Its present tranquility belies its place in Sarawak's history - 167 years ago, many men of 12 Kongsi stood their last stand and breathed their final breath here.

Liu Shan Bang is one of the historic figures commemorated at the Tugu Phalawan or Heroes Monument in Kuching, opened in 1993.

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Written by Tony Boey on 15 Feb 2024

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