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Postcards: The legacy of Georgetown (MY)

A single blog post is hardly going to be sufficient to tell the rich history and the many tangible heritage sides of Georgetown, and I would not even dare to try to write a succinct summary in fear of getting it wrong or short-changed it in any way.

Instead, I’ll let the photos take you through a simplied journey, of appreciating the kind of childhood that is familiar to my generation (and those that came before, for we played barefoot outside and wouldn’t think of sliding an icon on a touchscreen gadget), on looking at freeze frames harking back to the colonial time, or seeing how much we stand to lose if we do not preserve part of our roots.



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Postcards: Kek Lok Si (MY)

The Temple of Supreme Bliss, or Kek Lok Si as it is known based on Fujian dialect (the most prominent dialect in Penang) pronounciation, is the most celebrated and largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. Sitting atop the hill and overlooking Ayer Itam, it is said to be auspiciously located and feng shui-approved to protect the well-being of the temple and its devotees.

Constructed in 1893 under the direction of a well-supported head monk of the Kuan Yin Temple i.e. Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, from local consuls to the Chinese Emperor Guangxu, Kek Lok Si incorporates motifs of Buddhism from Burma, Thailand and China – a nod to both major branches of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. (Note: ask most Chinese Buddhist and they’ll have a hard time telling you which branch of Buddhism they are followers of, in part due to the integration of Taoism to muddle up the mix further.)

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

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Project 365 – Week 39

Week two of our holiday came and went. We spent a good few more days snorkelling in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia (not to be confused with East Malaysia, which is part of Borneo) before we returned to my hometown for yet another family event. The questions that were hovering on everyone’s lips upon seeing me were (1) “Why did you get yourself so tanned?” (Uhmm, there’s no why, just how, and I was enjoying the outdoors for a good bit in the last 2 weeks!”) and (2) “When are you getting married?” (“Honestly, I’m not in any hurry to.”) Nobody seemed to take me seriously on either in any case.

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23 Sep: I have been to Kek Lok Si on multiple occassions and yet somehow, I have never noticed these crystal ceiling lamps before. Not only that, I have also been missing the vibrant colours behind the chandeliers, along with the cobwebs of course. Could it be the (lack of) expectation for decorated ceilings in Asian structures that tend to be unadorned, unlike European palaces and halls that come kitted with extravagant frescoes and decorative elements? If so, I’ve been remissed.

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Project 365 – Week 38

This is week one of our main holiday for the year and we’re in south east Asia! It had been a rather relaxing week, all in all, with considerable time spent in the sea – what can I say? F loves snorkelling – and some other time sightseeing and eating. There would be a lot of eating throughout the trip. Such a shame though I was given wrong info about a certain family function so our time in Bali was cut short. Oh well…

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Funereal offering

16 Sep: There are nine directional temples in Bali and among them, this is the least known to foreigners. Pura Masceti is off the beaten path, the site truly sacred (no watersports or sunbathing on the stretch of the beach adjacent to the temple) with countless purification and funeral ceremonies taking place here. Legend also has it that this was where Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakhsmi came to end their relationship following a fierce argument. Balinese therefore believe that couples in relationship should not visit the temple or risk coming to their own irreconcilable differences.

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TAR in Penang

The Amazing Race took off to Penang, Malaysia in its latest instalment, challenging the racers a) in the Detours to either carry a dozen of giant joss sticks (“Buddhist Tradition”) to the top of a temple or balancing chingay flags across a certain distance (“Chinese Custom”), and b) in the Roadblock to prepare a Hindu offering.

Here’s a video if you’ve missed the airing on Sunday night.

The pitstop of the race is the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, a beautiful heritage mansion that houses antiques and collectibles associated with the culture and custom of the Peranakans.

In a couple of months time, I’ll be heading to Penang where one of my brothers lives. I must make this one of the places to see. Afterall, our greatgrandmother was originally from Penang and she was a Peranakan too. It’s high time for me to take a deeper look into part of my heritage, which I should have learned while she was alive. However, being young and naive then, I didn’t appreciate just how much I would have missed out by failing to take an interest in it.

It is definitely time to catch up.

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