Do you know how much Malaysian palm oil were exported to India in 2019?
Palm oil accounts for nearly two-thirds of India’s total edible oil imports. India buys more than 9 million tonnes of palm oil annually, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia. In the first nine months of 2019 India was the biggest buyer of Malaysian palm oil, taking 3.9 million tonnes, according to data compiled by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (Image & Notes Source: The Star & PalmOilAnalytics)
(27 people died but what caused the accident is yet to be confirmed, at least by the right people but already fingers being pointed at the driver and the bus whilst the bodies of the dead Thai tourists being sent home. Image source: http://www.salon.com/)
(Been lagging lately due to work and other assignments and holidays)
(The Chennai International Airport’s departure area – brightly lighted and well furnished but the crowd can still give you an headache. Sorry, no photos of the secured areas – the officers looked too menacing and strict)
I kind of have forgotten to do the conclusion for this post, so here is it…
The trip to Chennai came to a quick end for my wife – she did not have enough of the shopping but as far as I was concerned, I was looking for a safe return back to Malaysia. I already was missing the good, clean food and the weather back home.
The hired 4 wheel drive that suppose to pick us early was no where to be seen and I was getting worried. It was almost an hour drive from the apartment to the airport and I had no idea how was the traffic from the apartment to the airport at that point of time. The last thing I need is for us to miss the flight because we got stuck in a traffic jam. Our Indian relative noticed my facial expression as I kept looking out the window for the ride. The uncle (the head of the family) started to make some phone calls and it was not long before, I saw a white 4WD snaking along the narrow lane in front of the apartment.
Getting our luggage down from the apartment was made extra difficult – compounded by the fact we had extra “kilograms” added after several days of shopping (which is why we had extra but empty luggage brought from home). With the minutes ticking away and in the mid of the Chennai heat, we had to bring down the overweight luggage rather quickly – I think we damaged some part of the luggage. We managed to load the luggage into the car and we were off to the airport without further delays.
Chennai airport was still undergoing renovations so the departure area was still a nightmare. We had to park far away from the actual departure entrance and there was no luggage trolley at sight. Thankfully our relatives walked around and managed to find some empty trolleys. Customer service sucked big time – no porters helping out and the crowd outside looks so disorganized. We bid “goodbye” and “thank you” to our host in Chennai who been very generous and helpful during our stay in Chennai and headed towards the check-in gates. I could see a long queue at the very entrance of the terminal – things were not looking too good.
Out of the many security scanners around, only one was working so imagine the chaos. The many lines converged into one and some of the passengers were rather ruthless – despite seeing small children at the queue, they just push ahead, pushing the small children aside and jumping queue. The security guys near the scanners did not do much to ease down the mess. Anyway, we managed to cross over the line without any “bad incidents” and headed towards the MAS check in counters. Once again, we confronted another chaos here – the local MAS staff did not really cared about the queue, leaving us to fight over to get the right line – kind of reminded me of this.
The staffs at the counter looked inexperienced and were facing problems with passengers insisting to check in their overweight luggage without the need to pay for it. The staff also looked lost when had to print out the boarding passes for the passengers who are on transit. Pity the young lady at the front of us who had to transit in KLIA and had to take another flight to Australia. That delay caused us to loose some good seats – we did not get seats in the same row but we managed get at least one seat by the window. We sorted out the seats so that we arranged the window side seat for the “Big Boss”. That made the day for my son even though it was a night flight and he cannot see much once we are up in the air.
With the boarding passes at hand, we headed towards the immigrant checkpoint. From afar, we were given immigrant exit form and advised to fill up in full (the word “full was strongly stressed). So, we did as was advised, but not some of the locals who thought their names will get them through the immigrant with breeze. They had half filled forms and tried to talk their way through.
The senior looking uncle at the gate before immigration counters looked fragile and weak but he amazed us when he stopped some people at their tracks and asked them to fill up the form first. He did not even moved a bit when the stubborn locals raised their voice and tried to use their “connection” powers. They were told to buzz off and come back with fully filled form. We later found out that the old, fragile looking man is the head of the immigration at the airport – no wonder he can stand up to the nonsense put up by the locals. The immigration officers were professional and courteous – they even chit chat with my son as he stood in line to get his passport stamped.
(The “Big Boss” managed to get his seat of choice on the return flight and soon got busy with the in-flight entertainment system)
Another round of security – mostly handled by officers from northern side of India and they were very strict about this. Despite the long queue and security check that seems to be taking forever, we appreciated the strict and detailed checking. After the horrors in Mumbai, the last thing we need is some bomb blast by a crazy terrorist in Chennai airport.
The waiting area was jam packed but we managed to get a nice cozy spot. We decided against any purchase of souvenirs at the airport because 1. The price was a nonsense (it was also 10 times more than the normal price) and 2. The “duty free” shop was manned by someone who looked like some drug peddler at some back lane (read dirty clothes and harsh language).
Boarding announcement was rather rudimentary and before we know it, a long line started to form. Good thing was we already anticipated this and stood somewhere at the front of the queue. We had to pass another security checkpoint before we reached our seats – I felt proud to be a Malaysian as the Indian passengers were fast appreciating the clean interior of the MAS cabin and high quality service from the award winning cabin crew. There was some delay before the plane can take off – as usual, some idiots went missing and the rest of us had to wait for them. Then after almost 10 minutes, we were ready to take off.
The big boss soon got busy with the in-flight entertainment system and he rarely slept during the journey back. The flight back home was not that long and the MAS cabin crew service was top notch as usual – pity them having to deal with those Indian passengers who probably taking the plane for the first time. Some of the idiots were so busy drinking away beer and wine throughout the flight and just before we landed, we hit turbulence and these idiots immediately puked on their seats (did they know how to use the disposal vomit bag?). I saw a couple of them, drenched with nasty vomit all over their pants and shoes and thankfully none of them was too near to us – otherwise they would have gotten nasty blow to their head as well. Hmmm, perhaps I should add this to my list here.
That rather messy incident was the conclusion of my very first trip to Chennai (and India) and I must say that it was eye-opening trip. My wife got her shopping done and we all had a great time in time, largely thanks to our Chennai host. And since I have been to Chennai once, I know which pitfalls that I need to avoid the next time around.
(The main entrance to the 300 plus years old temple – Click for higher resolution photo here)
A trip to India will not be complete without a trip to the majestic and historical temples, right?
So, even though our mission in Chennai was purely for shopping and other non-religious activities, we decided to visit at least one temple so as to “complete” the trip to India. We decided to visit the nearby Kapaleeshwarar Temple which was “walking distant” from the apartment.
It was rather a historical temple as per the entry below:-
The age of the temple is the source of much debate. The commonly held view is that the temple was built in the 7th century CE by the ruling Pallavas, based on references to the temple in the hymns of the Nayanmars (which however place it at the shore).
It is an example of the beautiful architecture of Pallavas. Further, the architecture of the temple appears to be 300–400 years old.
The scholarly view that accounts for the discrepancies is that the original temple was built on the shore at the location of the current Santhome Church but was destroyed by the Portuguese, and the current temple (which is 1-1.5 km from the shore) was built more recently. A small minority of people believe that the original temple was indeed on the beach, but that the sea has receded over centuries.
The Vijayanagar Kings rebuilt the temple during the 16th century. The original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese.
(The door in the interior part of the temple certainly looks old…very old. I was afraid to touch it)
An inscription at the entrance of the temple states this:-
Ptolemy, the great Geographer (AD 90-168) has referred to Mylapore in his books as Maillarpha, a well known sea port town with a flourishing trade. Saint Tiruvalluvar, the celebrated author of Tirukkural, the world-famous ethical treatise, lived in Mylapore nearly 2000 years ago.
The Saivite Saints of the 7th century, Saint Sambandar and Saint Appar have sung about this shrine in their hymns. St.Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus, is reported to have visited Mylapore in the 2nd Century A.D
Mylapore fell into the hands of the Portuguese in A.D.1566, when the temple suffered demolition; the present temple was rebuilt 300 years ago. There are some fragmentary inscriptions from the old temple, still found in the present shrine and in St.Thomas Cathedral
The temple was indeed old and historical and since we are already staying nearby and it is “off-peak” season, we decided to visit it despite busy with shopping.
(The sun was not that high but who want to walk bare feet on hot rocky floor? The “mat” helped a bit but we had to run, not walk to get to the other part. Malaysian temples fared better with proper roofing and beautiful cooler tiles)
We started early in the evening when the sun is not high and there was a cold breeze. Just when we were about to enter the temple, my son wanted a drink. We looked around and found that 5 – 6 shops that were facing the temple were selling nothing but religious things. None of them was enterprising enough to sell bottled drinking water. I had to walk all the way to a small sundry shop near the main road just to get couple of mineral water bottles.
We walked in after “surrendering” our shoes to the shoe guardian at the front – no token was given and the shoe guardian was busy chit-chatting with his friend. We were expecting our shoes to go missing when we returned. We realised that there was no place to wash our feet – people just walk in (from whatever place they had stepped on earlier) and start doing their prayers. We felt it was odd since in Malaysia, every temple would have a place to wash up before we can start with the prayers. Here we have one of the famous temples in the area and no place to wash our feet before doing prayers. It was no wonder the temple ground looked dirty especially those surrounding the deities. Clearly someone has missed the part on cleanliness but then again, we remember that this was India where anything goes.
With no place to wash our feet, we used some of the mineral water that we had and we opted to wipe our feet on a sorry looking rag and with a heavy heart, proceeded to do the prayers.
(Sorry for low resolution, poor quality photo but those f@#kers at the front insisted us on paying a load of money before we can take photos. A load of rupees may mean nothing to wealthy Western tourists but not for budget concerned Malaysians. Good thing that hand phones these days comes with a reasonable quality built-in camera)
There were plenty of signboards forbidding people from taking photos in the temple grounds. There were also signboards that stated that if one pays x amount of rupees, photography is allowed. We smell sham miles away and I instead opted to snap the interior on my mobile phone (I only took out my DSLR as we were walking out and even so, got into an argument with a guy who insisted us to pay. Thankfully a holier looking man came to our rescue and told the guy off. He too questioned the notion of charging people for taking photos. He then smiled at us and we thought an angel had come to our rescue).
The architecture of the temple structure is simply brilliant and there was an aura of mystery and historical. I loved the carvings on the wall and ceiling and wondered how craftsmen hundreds of years ago have worked on it. Most looked too ancient especially the part when it is said that made from the older structure. There was a feeling of a magical aura surrounding us when we stepped into the interior. When we walked in, we thought we were already been transported to ancient India.
(The very interior of the temple – I was speechless when I saw the sunlight rays beaming in from the small opening in the roof. The interior air smelled ancient but it was not that bad. It was not that crowded as well – thank God! If it has been during major religious season, the crowd inside this small area would have been lethal – there is only one small entrance for way in and way out)
We walked around, completing our prayers and felt somehow fulfilled. Since the ground is not clean to sit down and take our breath (and say silent prayers), we decided to leave the temple earlier. We walked out and noticed a couple of souvenir shops – we decided to hop over and check it out (some prayer items in Malaysia can be too expensive, so better to buy cheaper ones in India). We bought some items – it was cheap but not as cheap as we found out later – the fact that we were foreigners meant the prices of the items to increase immediately.
Why build thousands of temples when our Indian children can’t even afford to go to the school? Why the fuck do we need air conditioned temple? So that people will call our God ‘cool’ eh? The Tamil schools don’t even have a ceiling fan, and we have fully tiled expensive marble temples all over the country?
We have the biggest statue in the world, and we also have the first school to be located in shop houses. We point our fingers towards the politician, but shouldn’t we be looking in the mirror? The change should be with us. We’re the one to be blamed.
We hesitate to give to another human being, but we do not hesitate to give it to God. When had God used your money? He do not need your pocket money all la! If you’re saying by donating directly to the school, the schools might misuse the money; then what about all the money you give out to the temple; it goes to Lord Sivan’s pocket is it?
We are so scared about God and punishment that we eventually forget what He said in the first place, to help fellow human beings first, not Him. He does not need your fruits, rice or any other things. We, humans are the one who need it. We give out so many offerings to the God, using our hard earned cash, when none of them realistically would reach God.
Annual festival in the temple and you take part in as much as ‘Abishegam’ (ceremonies) as possible. You pay between RM 51 to sometimes as higher as RM 1001 for something that is solely based on your faith. Is there a price for faith? Will God not accept prayers from the poor?
If all this funds can be redirected to schools, imagine how many thousands of children would study in a much more excellent condition than below cramped and hot classrooms?
It is a noble idea especially people have been bugging me to donate “generously” to temples and especially on certain days of the year so that me and my family will get that “extra” blessings. Well, it has not be to only Indian students but to any Malaysian students who been derived of proper environment for better educations. Poor students in schools, facilities depleted schools and struggling charity homes should take precedent to cash rich temples.
Further, with many small temples still hesitating to merge with other smaller temples and create a more efficient temple administration, depriving them of the extra cash in yearly festival donations may just be the trigger to force them to merge into one bigger temple.
The 2007 Hindraf rally was a rally held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 25, 2007.
The rally organizer, the Hindu Rights Action Force, had called the protest over alleged discriminatory policies which favour ethnic Malays. The rally was the second such street protest after the 2007 Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur on November 10, 2007.
The rally started when a crowd estimated to be between 5,000 to 30,000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning. At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released.
When Hindraf took to the streets in November 2007, certainly it was not done overnight. Hindraf existed long before that and often in thick of actions when it comes to demolishment of temples particularly in the state of Selangor.
Hindraf is a coalition of 30 Hindu non-governmental organizations committed to the preservation of Hindu community rights and heritage in a multiracial Malaysia (source)
Demolishment of temples under the old Selangor MB, Khir Toyo was one of the catalysts for the organisation to take the matter to the streets.
The case against Hindraf
The rally itself was tainted with accusations of being highly racist (that it only takes care of Indians and not Malaysians in general) and was not helped by the fact that Hindraf was trying to seek help from a foreign sovereign instead of the Malaysian King who in fact is our real sovereign (which many called it as treason on the highest order) and some of the demands in the full list of demands was worded too extreme and unreasonable.
The police at one point even painted that there was a connection between Hindraf and the Tamil Elam Tigers who were fighting for separate state in Sri Lanka but it was a case that was never proven to this day.
Hindraf vs MIC
One of the biggest implications of the Hindraf’s rally, in my opinion, was that it created a room for many Indians to start questioning the role of MIC when it comes to the welfare of Indians in this country. Long before there was general election and long before MIC realised the lost of Indian support in the ballot box, there was already Hindraf movement all over the country participating in prayers in the many temples and getting involved when there are any issues affecting the community.
Hindraf’s role in getting involved in the community’s issues was a role that I think MIC could have played more effectively but with older issues like the Telekom shares remains unsettled, many have lost confidence in MIC’s ability to continue to champion the plight of the community. Hindraf provided the alternative avenue. What more when there was a lack of coordination and solution provided when it faced with demolishment of temples in Selangor? This is why PKR, DAP and even PAS managed to grab the big swing in Indian voters during the general election.
Another implication that resulted from Hindraf rally and before that with Bersih and protest against toll hike was the high handedness of the government when it comes to dealing with dissent voices of the people. Instead of friendly dialogue, forum or close knit communication, the response was often come in form of arrests, tear gas, water cannon and arrogant discard of issues. The Hindraf leaders were promptly arrested under the ISA and spent almost 2 years in custody. There was a clear lack of engagement between the government with the people and the problems facing all Malaysians.
The cry “Makkal Sakthi” (or People’s Power) became famous battle cry during the last general election and it has impact on all walk of life (not limiting to Indians under Hindraf). As V mentioned in the movie V for Vendetta –
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people”
Admittedly Hindraf is now seen has lost their core objective, mainly due to several reasons such as some of the states where they were very active such as Perak and Selangor have fallen into the opposition hands, there has been more swing towards Indian welfare and focus on the problems faced by the community by the government under Najib’s administration and more importantly, due to breakup of Hindraf itself into many small factions including one who formed their own political party.
Hindraf’s rally for right or wrong, did achieve one thing that it was meant to do – that is to create awareness, both for the government and for the Indians who been ignorant of the issues facing the community.
Thankfully things are better under the Pakatan Rakyat’s administration (except perhaps on the Kampung Buah Pala incident) and to some extent, under Najib’s administration.
It is hoped that the government irregardless it is from BN or PR, to engage the issues with more conviction and effective rather than silencing them in swift harsh actions. Otherwise, Malaysians will be far from being one as Bangsa Malaysia and street rallies like the one organised by Hindraf will be part of our daily life.
Photos – (no photo of the restaurant or the food but will take it on the next trip there) Sunset reflected off the window of our apartment. The dust is a major irritation here.
I can’t recall but this is probably the third time I am celebrating Deepavali far from home and family
The first year I did that was quite painful especially when my son had just born and it suppose to be the first year to celebrate it as one family. But work assignment and professional commitment took priority and we had to postpone our celebrations after I came back from abroad. Deepavali was a gloomy day on both ends.
The second time was not that painful as my family had now got accustomed to my travels and long stay abroad. However I miss the moments the night before, cleaning and decorating the house and the morning where one would wake up early, take oil bath and after prayers, sit down for a hot thosai and spicy chicken curry.
My wife has been telling that my son was more excited this year for Deepavali as he wanted to play fireworks. Shopping has been kept to a minimum and probably there will be some visits from friends and other family members. I hope that my son will enjoy his fireworks and without hurting himself. I recall me and my cousins doing crazier things with fireworks when we were young.
Celebrating abroad is painful but it is soften a bit by friends who made the trouble to look for Indian Restaurant here in Tehran. We probably walked 3 kilometres before found one. The restaurant tucked away near a hotel was well furnished with decorations of India. We were greeted by well dressed Punjabi man who we guess was also the manager of the restaurant.
The décors looked expensive and so did the prices on the menu list. We looked for the cheapest item on the menu – briyani and the taste or the portion did not disappoint us. Chicken briyani (plus drink and service tax) went for almost 140,000 rials whilst mutton briyani went for 160,000 rials (1 ringgit is about 2,800 rials). We promised ourselves that we need to dig into their chicken / mutton curries on the next trip.
For those who are celebrating Deepavali, Happy Deepavali and for the rest, I wish Happy Holidays…
Dust has yet to settle on the Section 23 temple relocation issue…
The police after earlier much inactivity at cow head protest (this was blamed on having a ‘junior’ officer onsite) and then later at the resident dialogue (where insults and threats of violence were uttered in public) have started to round up the protesters to be booked under the law (but whether they will be punished accordingly will be another big question)
The State Government have started to look for alternative site and found one within Section 23. The location of the new site from MP Khalid Samad’s blog:-
Hopefully the temple is not short-changed by having it close to the oxidation plant. Despite the fact that the new location is even further from the residential area, this has drawn some protests – something we had expected – why stop half way in their unconstitutional attempts to wrestle back the State. Hopefully the PR led State Government will stay firm and make the right decision without any intimidations.
But if there is any silver lining in the recent Section 23 temple fiasco, it has to be the lessons to be learned by all Malaysians, namely:-
1. 1Malaysia concept for now is only looks good on paper – Najib, if he is really sincere, (which many doubt after the coup in Perak) has a long way to go in ensuring Malaysians recognises each others religions and cultures, no matter what side of the majority they are in. Considering the protest was ‘poorly’ timed during the month of Ramadan and Merdeka, it only shows that mob rule has prevailed and won this time around.
2. Existing temple committees cannot continue to play ignorant especially when the surrounding areas are continuing to be developed. Get the temples properly registered or get it relocated to a more preferred area or get it forcefully relocated.
3. There is influx of massive migrations in near future – so what may look like deserted area today, may be dominated by certain groups in the future. The government need to look at this seriously – are we going to integrate Malaysians from all walk of life more comprehensively or leave pockets of Malaysians claiming to represent the majority and ask the minority to butt off?
4. There is always danger of racial confrontation if it is not handled carefully. The very delay of the police and Home Ministry in arresting the protesters (not mentioning the initial support from the Home Minister) only shows that not all is well and square in the Bolehland. 52 years of independence and we are still on ground zero – we hardly moved as one nation (and still fall for the cheap political game of colliding Malaysians against Malaysians – all in the name of power, greed and corruption).
It’s time for Malaysians to wake up and accept the diversity in this country
Almost a year ago, I talked about the temple fiasco faced in the state of Selangor and the latest protest by Section 23 residents had somehow prompted me to revisit this delicate issue
In my post titled ‘Temple Fiasco & MP Resigning” I laid down 6 steps that the state government could look at when dealing with the many Hindu temples in the state.
The steps, nothing new, are as follows:-
Register all temples and proper classify them into large, medium and small temples. Just how many temples are there in Selangor or in other states – anyone has the right figure? And how many of it is illegal? When it comes to registration of temples, the temple committee cannot act ignorant and wait until it is too late – there is no way the Government is going to know each and every temple before registration. The committee members must be proactive to get their temples registered and ensure the existence and future expansion of the temple is done by the book. So that if there is any dispute in future, the temple will have a stronger case to fall back to.
Verify the number of years the temple has been in existence – we cannot afford to have a temple sprouting out every time someone decides to worship different deities. 100 years old temples on the hand should be relooked from the angle of preservation of heritage and tourism as well
Verify the status of land where the temple is situated – this is one of the biggest issue in the past – it’s funny how 100 years old temples are “overlooked” by some officials and reclassify them as “squatters”. It is not like the temples been hidden somewhere for the past 99 years and decide to pop up in recent years!
If the temple is “wrongly” situated in the land, then what’s next? Make a study and decide whether the status of the land need to be changed to accommodate this temple OR whether the temple need to be demolished and merged with another temple in the same area OR relocated with a proper documents and better facilities.
If demolishment is really, really needed, then define what would be the right way of doing it? High-handed tactics must be strictly avoided and a closer working with the devotees, temple committee and representatives from the State and NGOs must be done
Proper guidelines must be drawn out for future development. The existence of legal and registered temples must be acknowledged and the developer needs to revise the development layout plan that takes these temples into consideration. No more having major highway or future commercial development running in the middle of 100 years old temples
The question is what has been done todate?
Has the temples in the state has been duly registered? Has some kind of studies been made with the help of various NGOs and temple committee members so that ‘feasibility’ of having too many temples in certain areas and so on. Has some guidelines been drawn-up?
The State Government, to be fair, have taken the necessary steps in handling this sensitive issue – read here on steps taken todate
But then again, there is a limit on what the state government can do. The rest is up to the various temple committee members themselves. And one major step that the committee members can do is to consolidate.
Let me illustrate the problem with the temples in Puchong:-
Listed here is the many temples situated within about 5 kilometres radius.
Temple 1 is about 2.6 kilometres away from Temple 2 and Temple 3 is about 4 kilometres away from Temple 4. Out of the 5 temples listed, let’s focus on Temples 1, 2 & 3. From the start Temples 1 & 3 (both are more than 100 years old) has been ‘screwed’ by the previous BN led government when the layout for the LDP Highway was laid down for approval. The highway squeezed the said temples and they are now precariously situated at the edge of a busy highway.
I recall several years ago when Litrak wanted to expand the lanes and they wanted to relocate / demolish Temple 1. There was a huge protest and Litrak backed off – end result, a tight bottle-neck near the temple. Temple 3 faced a similar problems.
With plans to relocate / demolish disbanded, one would have expected that the temple committee members would now have enough time to properly save the temple from potential problems. Nothing much spectacular came out from this. The temple remained as it is but increasingly being squeezed by surrounding developments, making traffic and travelling to pray a nightmare.
Look at Temple 1 (red) closer – it is surrounded by the LDP highway, commercial buildings (green) and a police station (blue). There is no more room for further development. And when there is religious celebrations, there is hardly any place for the devotees to pray comfortably.
As for Temple 3 (remember the “snake magically appearing” incident couple years ago), there is some space for expansion at the back of the temple but having the temple at the fast corner of the highway seems way too dangerous. This is so during certain temple festivals where the worshippers simply park their cars along the side of the highway and put the other highway users in danger.
Temple 2 fared better between the 3 temples – it has been properly renovated to accommodate a large number of worshippers, has more room to expand in future, ample of parking spots (provided there is no developments at the front of the temple) and situated at least 100 metres away from edge of the busy highway.
Given the close proximity of the 3 temples, it makes more sense that Temple 1 & 3 to merge with Temple 2 as one temple.
Now think of the potential benefits of consolidation!
Cash from sale of land where Temple 1 & 3 now situated (if any) can be reused to purchase the land next to and on the front of Temple 2 (the temple can also organise fund-raising event to collect the money needed). The additional land then can be used for future expansion of the temple (perhaps to place the deities from Temple 1 & 3), building of a proper wedding hall (which has a separate area for dining) and more organised parking area (perhaps 7 storey building just for parking). Booking fees from wedding halls and parking tickets should generate more income for the temple to organise religious and cultural activities.
At the same time, temple management can be more streamlined (with healthy cashflow) and the devotees would have one place to go for their prayers, religious and cultural activities.
That’s the way that various temple committees need to look at and start moving on – consolidate and expand properly instead of jealously guarding their turfs whilst adding pressure on its current location.
On 28th January 2005, the world’s tallest Lord Murugan’s statue was unveiled in Batu Caves. The statue is 42.7 meters tall and presently is the tallest in the world presently. The temple officials are hoping that it will be listed in Guinness Book of World Record. There were other records too:-
1. The statue cost RM2.5mil is made of 1,550 cubic meters of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 liters of gold paint brought in from Thailand. Fifteen Indian sculptors had worked on the project for three years.
2. The RM15,000 flower garland, which was 43m long and weighed about a tonne (A total of five days without sleep and 18 men was what it took to prepare this enormous garland. They needed another 20 men to help lift it to the crane so it wouldn’t sway and hit visitors).
Although, I was not in Batu Caves for the ceremony, my camera was (ya, I managed passed it to my sister as she was leaving to Batu Caves)
The statue as it was unveiled – they had to use 2 cranes to lift the huge malai (flower garland) up the statue and placed it in the right way. Look closely at the feet of the statue and you will see something interesting. See the next picture below to see what is interesting
Picture 2 .
The little kid dressed up as Lord Murugan standing at the feet of the statue – that’s gives some comparison of the real size of the statue
In conjunction with the unveiling of the statue, various Indian Cultural activities were also held. My sister managed to get 2 of the cultural dancers to pose for the shot (ya, she did a better job than me on the camera). It is quite rare to see the peacock dance.
For more pictures, also see TV Smith
. (Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Indians) .