The prostitute’s temple

12 08 2017


At the Empower Foundation sex work museum I had been intrigued to read about Wat Kanikaphon, literally “the temple built from the profits of the prostitute”.

It was constructed in the eighteenth century and paid for by notorious madam Grandmother Faeng, from the profits of her “green lantern house”. A bust of the unconventional Buddhist benefactor stands on the grounds.


Today the temple stands in an interesting corner of Chinatown, directly facing a police station (and a Hindhu shrine to Ganesha) and next to the Poh Teck Tung Foundation and its “body snatcher temple”.

When I visited, it was busy with cross-dressing fortune tellers, stalls selling cardboard credit cards for the dead, emaciated temple dogs, orange robed monks and cars reversing in and out of the temple yard, now utilised as a seemingly profitable pay parking lot.



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