Wednesday, 30 April 2008

THAIPUSAM AND LORD MURUGAN featuring SJ PHOTOGRAPHY

Some bloggers friends commented that they could not view the pictures, so I have uploaded the entire set again. If you fail to see it again, please let me know.
I love this header photo by Dennis G. Jarvis, with the background of Tibet. How I wish I could take such picture..but then I got to find that yak first. That and Tibet.

Malaysian Indians are the 3rd largest ethnic groups here where most of them are largely descendants from South India, migrated here during the British ruling of then Malaya. THAIPUSAM is celebrated by Hindu Indians on the 23rd of January this year. Next to Deepavali (festivals of lights), Thaipusam is the most elaborate and colourful celebration here for the Indians. It is time to pay homage to Lord MURUGAN, the most popular Hindu deity among south Indians. He is also the God of War and reference of him had been traced back to the first millenium BCE. We have the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world. Standing at 42.7 m (130 feet) high, it took 3 years of construction and unveiled in January 2006. It stands tall just outside Batu Caves (Limestone cave)which is 400 years old and have at least 1.5 millions of pilgrimage every year. Patrons goes through strict religious fasting and prayers to enable them to perform or endure unbelievable sacrifices. Hooks, spears or many other type of ornaments on any part of the body. Many do it to fulfil a vow or to give thanks to Lord Murugan. I will post some of the colourful feasts and the 'milder' pictures of sacrifices as I am sure most have not seen them. Most pilgrims will have to walk the 272 steps to the Cave where most of the prayers are done. Pictures are courtesy of SJ PHOTOGRAPHY, used with permission and thank you SJ for sharing :)

Murugan is venerated through out the Tamil year. There is a six day period of fast and prayer in the Tamil month of Aippasi known as the Skanda Shasti. He is worshipped at Thaipusam, celebrated by Tamil communities worldwide near the full moon of the Tamil month Thai. This commemorates the day he was given a Vel or lance by his mother in order to vanquish the demons. Vaikasi Visakam or the full moon of the Tamil month of Vaikasi signifies his birth. Each Tuesday of the Tamil month of Adi is also dedicated to the worship of Murugan. Tuesday in the Hindu tradition connotes Mangala, the god of planet Mars and war. This reveals the link between Skanda and Kujan (Mangala). For more information, please go here.

The gold coated 42.7 m high of Lord Murugan. I believe this is SJ's best shot of Lord Murugan.


A devotee carrying a smaller version of Lord Murugan, called "kavadi"

A child devotee, most devotees have their heads shaven

Another kavadi bearer

For those who can't carry the kavadi or other streneous feats, they offer milk

A woman devotee with a pierced cheek, don't worry, devotees are often in a trance and well prepared for this. All of them will bear no pain and scar later too. I guess that's the power of their beliefs and prayers.

For offerings and prayers

The most common offering, garlands of flowers

Interior of Batu Caves

Indian sweets

Entrance to Batu Caves.



Go to SJ PHOTOGRAPHY to see the entire set of photos.

I was in Batu Caves yesterday for a meeting so I didn't miss the chance to take some photos. Many of the local Indians were offering me flowers, short tour and taxi service as this is one of the main tourist areas. They probably thought I was a Chinese from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand? It was extremely hot and humid, didn't help that I was wearing a blazer but I just have to have a go at the pictures, considering that I am not here often and my office is 150km away. Oh well..no harm sweating under the burning sun just to get a shot or two.
A picture of Lord Murugan, standing majestically tall at 42.7 m high, no one can miss it.

Each step numbered, all the way to the top at 272 steps. Did I climb it? Sadly, no..I didn't want to turn back halfway :(

One of the painted ceilings at the blue entrance (see picture above) of the cave.


Our Indians friends here are well known for their colourful culture and yummy hot and spicy food, I should do a post on food soon. No one can miss the local Indian breakfast and their wonderful curries served on banana leaves.

Cheers to all and till we blog again :)

Sunday, 27 April 2008

BESUT AND HYATT, KUANTAN

Our 'balik kampung' trip to Besut was too brief, the travelling was about 8 hours and we managed to stay one night only at my wonderful MIL's house. No trip is quite complete unless we stop by the wet market nearby. I am quite sure my blogger friends havent seen such foodstuff before :)

Salted fish of all kind, so it's not really healthy but just taste good with rice.

What about this? This funny looking thing is actually 'keropok lekor' a local delicacy well known in the East Coast, made mainly of fish. It had to be deep fried and eaten with chilli sauce.

I've never eaten it..some small shells favoured by the locals, marinated heavily in salt, to be eaten on it's own or with rice.

I am 45 minutes speedboat away from Perhentian Island but I could not go, the trip was too short so we popped over at Kuantan (halfway between Besut and KL) and stayed here overnight.

OK, no island, even a night stay at Hyatt, Teluk Cempedak (Cempedak Bay) will do, view from the reception. I love this view :)

Hyatt is a 20 + years old hotel, rooms very well maintained but it's the blue pool surrounded by all those trees that I love..I need the shade!! I am a beach lover but not a sun lover :(

..and the pool



This stretch of beach is quite exclusive to Hyatt so there's not many outsiders at the beach, making it very private.

Just outside the hotel reception, partly surrounded by rainforest..with lots of monkeys around.


Thank you all for visiting, it's so good to know wonderful friends everywhere. I wish everyone a fantastic week ahead.

Hugs to all :)

Saturday, 19 April 2008

I wonder if my blogging friends ever watched a Chinese movie before? I am not really a big fan of Chinese movies unless they have great reviews, always prefering Hollywood to Bollywood (Indian movies) or Chinese. However, if you are watching an epic movie, you just have to love the colours and the costume. Here are pictures from the movie, the Curse of the Golden Flower, starring Gong Li, one my favourite star. I hope you'll like the pictures as much as me :)

Gong Li as Empress Phoenix (..and in case if you are wondering do the Chinese Empress wore such gowns years ago, the answer is yes)











All images are courtesy from IGN: Curse Of The Golden Flower Screenshots, Wallpapers and Pics

..but what about a real Empress in China. Let's talk about the last Dowager Empress Tsu Hsi (Tsoo Chee) or Cixi. Born on 29 November 1835 and named Yehonala, her parents were from middle ranks of Manchu society. She was married off to Emperor Hsien Feng to be one of his many concubines, but the most prominent one because she was the only whom gave birth to a son. When the Emperor die in 1861, her son aged 5 - Chih became the Emperor. She created history for her shrewdness and merciless ruling 'behind the curtain'. She was also one of the most powerful woman in China at that time, but sadly it was the end of their dynasty. She installed her grandson, Pu Yi into the throne shortly before her death in 1908. Pu Yi was "The Last Emperor" of China. Some of you may remember the multi-Oscar awards movie of the same title by Bernardo Bertolucci released in 1987. For more photos and story go to here.


Pictures courtesy of Empress Dowager Cixi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And there's lots of awards going round this week. First it came from the Diva we all loved, my favourite Diva-blogger, Charmaine of High Desert Diva whom celebrated her 17th wedding anniversary. Isn't that so sweet and wonderful?
Then the same one came from Indigo Blue, a multi-talented artist specialising in textiles, beads and bags to die for...and the award :)

..but it didn't stop there, another one came from Marina Capano...all the way from Argentina.

Marina's award was sparkly but I could not copy it the same. Anyone can help on this?

A million thanks for thinking of me. I would like to give both awards to every single person who read this blog, will do all the linking later because the list is very long :)

What about Bloggers Unite? Please see below (text by Bloggers Unite).
Bloggers Unite For Human Rights challenges bloggers everywhere to help elevate human rights by drawing attention to the challenges and successes of human rights issues on May 15. What those topics may include — the wrongful imprisonment of journalists covering assemblies, governments that ignore the plight of citizens, and censorship of the Internet. What is important is that on one day, thousands of bloggers unite and share their unified support of human rights everywhere.

I came across this article when wonderful blogger, Tracy of Hey Harriet mentioned this in her latest post. I believe it certainly deserved some mentioning and blogging about matters that are important to us. So, please go to the above link for more information and badges. Even if you are not blogging about any particular issues on the 15th May 2008, you can copy it to your sidebar.


Promote it and blog about it, spread the words and make someone aware of what's important to you and how we can change things. I know exactly what I want to blog on 15th May 2008, it will be about N.U.R.I.N Alert, a child missing alert system (as in Amber Alert in the USA) that was adopted after the brutal death of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, which started me on a blog frenzy last year in another blog.

Sorry for the long blog today as I will be out of office and also "balik kampung" (going back home/village as the local call it) from Thursday onwards, so no internet connection until I am back on Monday. However, renowned photographer Gabisa Motonia has given permission to re-post some of his fantastic pictures, so I really can't wait until next week.

So, here goes :

B O R O B U D U R , INDONESIA

"Borobudur is a ninth century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.[1] A main dome is located at the center of the top platform, and is surrounded by seventy-two Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa.

The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path circumambulating the monument while ascending to the top through the three levels of Buddhist cosmology, namely, Kamadhatu (the world of desire); Rupadhatu (the world of forms); and Arupadhatu (the world of formless). During the journey, the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with
1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades. Please go toBorobudur - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for more information.

Please see these wonderful pictures courtesy from Gabisa Motonia. Terima Kasih (thank you in Malaysia and Indonesia) Pak Gabisa for sharing your photos!!

* KAMADHATU : The world of desires.
* THE LAW OF KARMA (Karmavibhangga) :



..and finally, it's Earth Day today, so let's hope whatever effort we make will make a difference towards our environment.

Picture courtesy from Earth Day

With lots of love, a big hug and have a blessed week / weekend :)

Friday, 18 April 2008

It's been a busy but a wonderful week this week. When I meet someone in his/her blog, I always learn something new and it gets even better when you get to meet someone for real. I met Dany of A Garden in France, a wonderful French lady. A few emails and we decided to meet at the largest furniture retail cum shopping centre, where else but here:

She asked if I spoke French (from the blog title)..sadly no, and if the profile picture was me? Wow..(blushing and shying), so flattered she thought I looked that young, but no. That was a picture of my eldest daughter Emilea, taken 2 years ago when she was 9. ..but seriously, did you all thought that picture was me?
So, in between blog stories, salad and pies, green and cammomile tea, we had a great time because after 5 minutes, we were like old friends :) So, here I am re-posting her beautiful photos of Malaysia, courtesy of Dany ..merci.

I love this picture of nature.

Beautiful Koi fishes, a favourite for fish lovers here.

An antic lantern in a Khoo kongsi house built for the Khoo family clan in 1902 in Penang.

Honestly, I thought it was a temple's door until I read what was written, it was ancestral tablets for the Khoo clan.

We see this everywhere, it's a garland made by Indians for their prayers to their Gods.

Dany's grandson having a haircut at an Indian barber, we find them everywhere but mainly for males only. Females..enter at your own risk!

During Dany's trip to Hong Kong last weekend, I love this photo. Old and huge urns are usually used to keep preserved vegetables or salted eggs, in almost all Chinese communities.

Of course, yours truly and Dany..not so difficult guessing who's French and who's not. Do pop over to A Garden in France for more wonderful pictures and stories.


By the way, everyone loves salad (..almost), but how about our local salad here? This picture was taken during a recent buffet lunch in the city (..really got to cut down those eating and step on my exercise machine!!). A selection of many local raw vegetables and herbs.

..to be eaten with thousands Island, mayo, french dressing..no way, only with pounded chillies, lime, roasted dried fish paste and shallots, it's definitely the Malaysian way, hot and spicy :)

A plant from my garden..is this a flower or a herb? Well, it's the bud of ginger torch plant, mainly used for curries, eaten with rice or as a salad.

and was invited to go to Bangkok for some meeting which I declined (too busy here, otherwise, I'm on the first flight out) and what's happening in Thailand? It's their Songkran or Water festival, where everyone splashes water on whoever, so I think I'll skip this festival.

Photo courtesy from Thailand Life - Songkran Festival

Good bye, au revoir and jumpa lagi (see you again) soon :)