All in the name of Religion Part 2


Read these first

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The issue of religion in this country has been a very sticky issue especially when it comes to issues relating to Muslims and Non Muslims.

One such case is the issue of implementing hudud – it will be interesting to see how this works out the non Muslim component political parties of the Government with the upcoming RUU 355 which will be presented by the Government in Parliament. There is already voices of dissenting to the proposed changes from MCA, MIC and component political parties from East Malaysia but let’s see how these guys will actually react when the changes actually tabled in Parliament. If you ask me, the whole thing about RUU 355 looks more politicial than religion.

Another has been the unilateral conversion of children in a marriage where one parent converts to Islam – a case in point has been the case of Indira Gandhi, a case that gone all the way up to the Federal Court for decision. The husband convert already gone into hiding with one of the children and remains missing despite mounting court orders. I am not sure what that achieves other than causing high distress and bad experience for the children. In the end, the family remains disunited and parents at each other’s throats and time wasted at the courts.

Of course, there are others that is considered “out of this world” such as building tombstone in a school. It does not matter if 80% of the students in the school is not Muslim or if there is no consent from the parents & teachers. But it does a great concern when we try mixing religion & politics into our schools. It would have been a different story if the same parties had build a science lab or an astronomy observatory for the students. I don’t see how we can achieve high income nation status with building tombstones and not science labs. We sure need to make a reality check on what we need to present as educational item for the young minds.

Anyway as I said, the issue of religion in this country has been a very sticky issue and it will be so in the coming years. Now that leads me to a very interesting news recently relating to my fellow Hindus for Thaipusam.

A group of vigilantes behind the Facebook page called the “Thaipusam Spraying Group”, have threatened to use aerosol spray paint on women, including those who wear the saree (Indian traditional dress for women) with their backs exposed.

Accompanying the warning were pictures of saree blouse designs that the group deemed inappropriate. “Advance Warning to Hindu Female Patrons coming to Thaipusam festival, beware of being sprayed with Aerosol paint if found inappropriately dressed”, said the group in its “about the page” column.

Federal police Corporate Communications Head ACP Asmawati Ahmad told FMT the post could be considered a crime, punishable under Section 507 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation, or Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act for improper use of network facilities or network services. “So don’t taint a religious event by doing things that can disrupt public harmony and peace,” she advised.

The post was published last week, and at the time of publication, the group had close to 150 members. A Facebook user by the name of Henry Barnabas, who allegedly created the page, wrote on his personal Facebook page that the post was meant to protect the “ritual and culture” of Hindus.

“Let’s spread the positive message through this group, so they will also get knowledge and respect the meaning of Thaipusam. “Most youngsters these days don’t know our history. Thaipusam for them is just to be glamorous, dancing, etc. Let’s bring some awareness among the youth and the upcoming generation,” he said.

Barnabas also called for his followers to make the post viral, saying that women today were behaving like “call girls”. “Who to blame? Boys trying to protect girls but girls behaving like call girls and at the end of the day, when they are in trouble they will blame the guys.”

(Source)

I can’t recall when was the last time I visited Batu Caves (even worse, Batu Caves during Thaipusam) but if I am not mistaken it was couple years ago when I attended someone’s wedding at the wedding hall in the temple grounds or when we had to shave my daughter’s head during prayers. I don’t know which is which. The massive crowd, lack of parking space, the heaps of rubbish, the issue of safety, my own reflection of religion – I don’t know which of these reasons that made me to shun Batu Caves during Thaipusam. I guess, I rather pray in a more conducive manner.

So when I heard of the “Thaipusam Spraying Group”, I admit I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was concerned that someone is trying to force their set of religious values onto others by means of violence (even though it may be limited to spraying), something seems to be rare when it comes to Indians – we even had people with short pants coming to temples for prayers in the past (how about naked Sandhus during Kumbh Mela, one of the most important Hindu event in India?), so what is so wrong with some sarees with modern designs?

On the other hand, it was comical since there are worse things happening during Thaipusam than some pretty ladies wearing a designer saree – how about starting with cleanliness of the temple area in the first place?

Yes I agree that there should be minimal standards when it comes to devotees coming to places of religion (no one will accept anyone walking in naked to pray unless of course it is a Sandhu, right?) but I don’t think sarees with some designs is so degrading and causes high tension at places of religion. Seriously guys, the notion of pushing down one’s religious throat with force and violence need to stop. Religion as I mentioned before, in my opinion is something personal and it is just between you and Him. This is also why I prefer morality compared to religion any time, any day.

The last thing we need in this country is moral policing vigilantes that makes threats and causes apprehension on others. So calm down everyone, designer sarees will not cause the end of the world and we do have other priorities in life. So please have great days ahead.

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Indian Wedding Part 5


Read these first:-

Another wedding, another story…

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(The garlands that me and my son went to pick up for the wedding – we had to walk a bit far to a small stall by the road side and the man behind the “counter” asked why we were late and we went like ‘huh?’. He pointed to a box next to the stall – it was all sealed up and it was cold. We walked back fast, hoping the ice cubes in the box have not melt away before the wedding starts)

This time, it was my sister-in-law’s wedding and by right I should not been around for the wedding. I suppose to be away on an overseas assignment and I suppose to be back only after the wedding had long ended. Since it was a “crucial” wedding (after all it was my wife’s younger sister wedding) and I won’t be around, I decided to offer to do something else – a drive to Taiping the next day for the bride & bridegroom (the wedding is in KL but they must be “back” to Taiping as the girl’s house is in Taiping and tradition dictates the newly weds to be in the bride’s house for at least 3 days after the wedding). But then at the very last minute, my trip got postponed and suddenly I was available for the wedding.

With that premise, let’s start the story.

The event started as usual, the night before the wedding where last minute ceremonies had to be done before it was all “green-light” for the wedding the next morning. I had to work, it was left to my wife to do the necessary last minute shopping and attend the said ceremony at another sister’s house. I came back home late after work and had a slow hot shower – a small break before the big day. My wife was not back from the ceremony early so I watched TV waiting for her to be back. The plan was for her to be back home from her sister’s house (not the one who is getting married) and we would make our way to another sister’s house (once again, not the one who is getting married) since it is nearer to the wedding hall. My understanding was that we would sleep the night over at the sister’s rather “empty” house and get ready early in the morning for the wedding. On the way, we would pick up one of our aunties along for the wedding.

When we arrived at the sister’s house, it was chaos all around – a bulk of our relatives had also decided to make the house as the starting point for the wedding next day. All the bedrooms was fully occupied with tired, sleepy relatives, the hall was loud with some of our uncles busy with the football match on the TV and to make things worse, hyperactive kids running around playing “catching” just when the clock on the wall turned midnight. I did not need the “spidey sense” to know that to continue to be around in the house just before a major event would be a disaster. After a quick check with my wife, I decided to drive back home for a quiet house for a proper sleep. My wife had to “work” on the preparation and my son seeing his uncles and his cousins, decided to stay back.

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(One of my brother-in-law who had to step in as the bridegroom’s best man, well he had no choice – he looked cool all the way but when it comes to the time when he had to get the ring from the bridegroom, his hand was shaking on a Richter scale of 8. The bridegroom had to hold down his fingers to put on the ring)

The wedding starts at about 9 am the next day but since I had to pick up my wife and my son (and I am very sure, a couple of my aunties and uncles would tag along too), my day actually started at 3.30 am. I woke up, had a quick shower and by 5 am I was already at the sister’s house where everyone was fast asleep. It took some shouting and pushing to get everyone up and get ready for the bathrooms and time was ticking away. Then a funny happened – almost everyone was up and ready to go to the wedding hall (although the queue outside the bathroom took some time to be sorted out) but no one wanted to make the actual move to leave the house. 2 cars (with its drivers – one included me) was all up and ready to go but the passengers were missing. They were still lingering around, asking who want to go first but not moving themselves.

After a moment of “finger-pointing” and the clock ticking away, a decision was made on who will go first – my car was the first to leave the house to the wedding hall – me, my son and all 3 of my aunties leaving my wife and the rest still in the house packing things up. Despite the short trip and it is being a well-known route, I missed the route and had to make a U-turn but we still arrived earlier than anyone else. After a quick unload of the aunties who soon got themselves busy with the items for the wedding, me and my son went off to get the wedding garlands. Once we had done that, we had nothing else to do except to wait for rest of the guests. The transportation of the bride from the house to the make-up studio and then to the wedding hall was taken care by another cousin of mine. My brother-in-law handled other things for the day including ensuring the caterers arrive on time.

Sitting at the front, I took out my DSLR and was toying with the settings when my son asked for my phone – he too wanted to take some photos (and play some games whilst he waited). I thought about it and decided to pass on my DSLR to my son instead. I stood next to him guiding him (initially) on what to take and when and more importantly to do without being in the way of the official professional photographer and videographer. My son had some limited experience with my DSLR before in another event, so he knew how to hold the camera (the first thing I taught him as my wife was worried that he may accidentally drop it), how to work the auto-focus (although he need a lot of practice get the angles right) and lens functions (setting it to auto was helpful too).

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(This shot was taken by my son – he had to make way for the professional photographer but this was an interesting angle nonetheless. A nice touch of colours especially purple – a shot that I probably would not have taken. It will be interesting to see what else my son will take from his point of sight as he get used to my DSLR and be the next family photographer in coming events)

When most of the guests made it to the wedding hall in time, the wedding ceremony well on-the-way without any hassle and my son at the stage busy snapping photos, I decided to head back to the main entrance in case we had any last minute guests coming in when another brother-in-law walked over looking rather concerned and asked me if I were busy. When I said no, he smiled and he just wanted to know because he thought two of us could take a break from the wedding and have teh-tarik at the nearby restaurant. After all those work in the morning (couple of months for my brother in law), it all came to a closure in the morning. We made it back in time for the bridegroom to tie the “sacred” string and my son starting to get tired and hungry. Lunch was really good despite it was all vegetarian and surprisingly we need not queue for the food (the crowd was not that mean too).

Wedding was officially over by 12 pm but it was not the end of the day – we still had plenty of things to do. We all went back to the house (it took another round of pushing people to leave the wedding hall) before the newly-weds arrive in the house. A bit more of ceremony to be done at the house before the newly-weds can be “safely parcelled off” for the day and all of us can take a break. The house was still in a “chaos” with relatives and well-wishers lingering around the house – some waiting for their transport back home, some busy with the cooking and some busy with the cleaning up. We waited for a while to help out but it was clear that all of us needed a proper break. When a bulk of things has been done, we said goodbye and head back home – it was already 4 pm by then. My son was already dozing off in the car and we had a hard time to wake him up. We pushed him to take a shower first and after a quick bite, had him to go straight to the bed (he slept throughout the night, not waking up for dinner and only waking up the next morning).

There was one last thing I had to do – to make good of my offer to drive the newly-weds to Taiping…

And God Strikes Back!


Just a quick one before I am off for the holidays…

(It was good to see a very familiar face at the helm of, surprisingly a public demo – perhaps it was high time to learn a thing or two on public demo from Hindraf and Bersih. Unfortunately this was done before it was revealed that it was BN and not Pakatan who approved the development plans. It then turned to be a comedy piece from there onwards)

Happy belated Deepavali and happy holidays to all and since we are on the subject of religion & culture, let me tell you a story.

A long time ago or rather more than 100 years old someone “discovered” Batu Caves and decided to open a temple in one of the caves (thank God that no one lives in caves these days; otherwise we would have another cow-head incident). And over all those years, this temple have grown bigger, more organised and became one of the “must have” place for the Hindus in this country to visit and pray – more so during Thaipusam. And it has been so for damn good years until the 2012 when someone discovered that a private developer is going to build a 29 storey condominium project near the temple and started to make some noise. Religion fanatics, opportunists and issue-hunger politicians then decided to put their 2-cents words and squarely blamed the State Government and demanded that the project to be scrapped otherwise to face the wrath of the Indian community (hoo, are you scared now?) and legal suits. After all, Batu Caves is in Selangor and election is just around the corner – so who want to miss this rare opportunity to create some “inconveniences” to the State Government? Well they tried with the water issue and then with the Talam issue but nothing much happened, so this is not so surprising.

Former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu spearheaded today a demonstration at the Batu Caves Hindu temple, objecting to the construction of a 29-storey condominium project, in what is seen as a bid to pressure the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration ahead of the 13th general election.

The former works minister accused the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) of having approved the construction project without a proper study. He said legal action could be taken against the council.

“This project is not planned properly and without referring to any professional party,” Samy Vellu told a 300-strong crowd of Hindus and non-governmental activists who had turned up at the famous temple complex this morning to protest the condominium construction, saying the work was an environmental risk and would jeopardise the temple grounds.

(Source)

More accusations flew in the media and the long-lost political party readied themselves to come out from the political wilderness and to champion this great “danger” to the rights of the community. It is not a big secret that some Indians (there’s one in every community) are quite passionate (and brainless) when it comes to religion and any intrusion to their turf (despite having too many unregistered temples at the same place) and how the destruction of temples in Selangor was one of the key factor for the swing of Indian votes to Pakatan in 2008. The plan on paper was rather simple – highlight the great “danger” to the temple due to the development so to “unite” Indians from both divides, give a final option to the Pakatan led Government (well knowing that Pakatan Government cannot keep due to obvious legal implications and short of time) and once that deadline is passed, accuse Pakatan of selling out the Indians in the State and tell the Indians that the ONLY way out from the mess is to vote Pakatan out from the State (as predicted, with the usual I help you, you help me kind of pre-election promises thrown in for good measures).

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given the assurance that Barisan Nasional will stop the controversial 29-storey condominium project in Batu Caves if it regains power in Selangor.

In making this promise, the Prime Minister said Batu Caves is a revered and respected site among the Hindu community in the country and worldwide. “I give you my assurance that if Barisan takes over Selangor, we will cancel this project.

“We do not want development of the surrounding area to pose a threat to this place,” he said at the MIC Deepavali open house held at the Batu Caves temple complex. The Prime Minister also said the Cabinet had decided to submit an application to Unesco for Batu Caves to be considered a World Heritage Site.

(Source)

Of course, during this chaos, the so-called community champions will conveniently forget some key questions – why no demonstration and objections when the development was approved back in 2007? It was not like they were kept in the dark. Why nothing was done in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011? Why nothing was done in the first few months of 2012? Why only now the Federal Government has plans to apply Unesco World Heritage Site status despite for donkey odd years BN ruled Selangor? Why only now Batu Caves is “deemed” a revered and respected site among the Hindu community in the country and worldwide? And doesn’t the World Heritage Site status irrespective of who govern the State is good for Malaysia (and the Indian community) as whole?

Of course, none of these questions would be made and heavily discussed in public by the same champions but the condemnation and accusations against the Pakatan led State Government will continue, hoping the Indian community will fail to see the bigger picture and will swallow whatever that is dished out by the crusaders of the community as the gospel truth.

Apparently God has been watching this for some time now and decided that the whack way back in 2008 was not enough. Nothing much has changed since then, nothing much is likely to change in the near future. He decided to throw in the spanner into the woodwork – just for the fun of it.

Its official – all 19 members who attended the full board meeting of the Selayang Municipal Council voted in favour of approving the Dolomite Avenue Park project in Batu Caves in 2007. Despite earlier denials and assertions by some councillors that they were neither party nor privy to the approval process, minutes of the meeting held on Nov 29, 2007 – obtained by theSun – show otherwise.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk A. Kohilan Pillai, who was a councillor between 1997 and 2008, had voted in favour of the project. So did the three councillors from the MIC – Rajakupal Sinnathamby, Jayakumaran Govindasamy and Rajandran Muniandy.

(Source)

Wonder who is having the last laugh now? It was interesting to see how the same crusaders and the 300 odd demonstrators are going to spin themselves out of this new found truth. Many thanks to good sensible journalism by theSun, we now know that out of the 19 fellows who approved the development way back in 2007 (before Pakatan came in power),  THREE were MIC councillors and also included Gerakan’s Kohilan Pillai.

As much as Kohilan must be given a chance to give his side of the story, equally important is that he gives plausible explanations.

Are we to assume that the Selayang council at one time or the other operated like a “secret society” keeping vital information away from the residents? Are we to assume that minutes are not recorded accurately? Are we to assume that the minute-taker took it upon himself or herself to “censor” the proceedings and only showed the “good side” of the council reflecting the buddy-buddy working relationship of councillors with no dissent? Are we to assume minutes of council meetings are nothing but pieces of formalities to record what had been previously agreed upon?

Something is certainly fishy. So many questions remain unanswered. The most important is: Why did the council, including its president and the councillors, defy the views of the Department of Environment which stated that development would cause imminent danger to the nearby limestone hills? Enough of pussy-footing. Let’s have some straight answers.

(Source)

In the end this is a story of how some people screwed themselves left, right and center. In the meantime, enjoy the up-coming wayang kulits and a string of memory lapses as the Pakatan State Government gets their hands into the mess left behind by the same community crusaders. Happy holidays to all.

1Malaysia Deepavali?


This year, I “celebrated” my Deepavali overseas again due to work assignment – I am kind of getting used it (that is worrying).

(Still the best Deepavali ad ever! It was funny, direct to the point and made us think for a second on the meaning of Deepavali)

An interesting letter on this year’s Deepavali’s ads:-

The TV advertisement of 1Malaysia promotion by Finas in RTM/TV3/Astro during Deepavali this year is inundated with encouraging religious conversion of Hindus to Islam. It shows how a Hindu youth married to Muslim girl can still celebrate Deepavali with his parents.

The boy’s family is initially hostile to his Muslim conversion but accepts him after the birth of his children. Anyone who marries a Muslim in Malaysia must convert to Islam and this fact is hidden in this advertisement. This deliberately hiding of facts is mischievous and misleading to the Hindu viewers.

It leads the viewers into the belief that religious conversion may be hostile in the beginning but will be accepted upon the birth of children into the family. Finas is silently misleading Hindu youths into religious conversion as part of the 1Malaysia campaign.

The girl who is married to this convert refuses to eat food cooked by Hindu family until she is assured that the food is cooked by another Muslim. This episode only depicts that the Hindus are inferior to Muslims that they can’t eat food cooked by Hindus… not halal I suppose.

(Source)

I did not have the chance of seeing Deepavali ads over our local TV until I saw one from Finas that shows the above mentioned ad on the night I came back to Malaysia.

At first I thought Finas was doing a fast “Yasmin Ahmad” like ad (we miss her a lot) but in the end, I did not understand the message that the ad was trying to portray. Perhaps to show that the neighbour is kind enough to come to the rescue by making “halal” breakfast for the Indian family on Deepavali first morning? Perhaps it is a message of understanding and forgiveness – after all, the family is “reunited” after the birth of the first grandchildren? Perhaps it is a new concept of movie making in 1Malaysia and that is why I am a bit lost on this (perhaps it was the jet-lag too).

Seriously whilst I am all out for Bangsa Malaysia and don’t mind on the issue of a convert wanting to be with the family for Deepavali (ya, forget that the conversion issue is in a big mess in Malaysia but seriously, in the ad, it was touching), the ad could be done with better storyline .

Why show that the girl refuses to eat until it was assured that it was not cooked by the in-laws? What happen to the concept of open house in Malaysia? What happened to trusting each other? No one brought their own food to open house before. Instead of being an ad with a good message, it ended up as being an insensitive, message between the lines ad.

I just wonder, don’t we have any better story for Deepavali ads? Or whatever talent we had, died with the demise of the late Yassim Ahmad?

Read Also

10 Reasons to Celebrate Deepavali

Temple Fiasco Revisited


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:-

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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!

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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

Step 6

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:-

Temples1

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.

temple2

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.

Cow Head & Racial Harmony


(Image source: http://www.malaysiakini.com)

When I first saw the image on the net, my initial thoughts was ‘Oh God, don’t tell me that this happened in Malaysia – what these jokers are trying to prove?”

Peaceful protest is good and healthy but these guys got their methods of protest all wrong – there is no need to mess up the area with poor cow’s blood!

But interestingly, seeing a group of people marching in protest with a decapitated cow’s head did not create the “racial” tension that “someone” perhaps had wanted to provoke. Sure politicians from both side joined in the condemnation of the act which and such protests if wrongly interpreted and not controlled can ballooned to a bigger mess (given the right rub by the hidden hands, of course).

And with the BN politicians lead by the PM himself, not hiding their “intentions” to wrestle back the state of Selangor, one can see where this “cow head” protest is coming at.

At the same token, considering that we have recently ‘celebrated’ 52 years of Independence, it is rather frightening read statements that the temple should not be relocated because the Hindus are not the “majority” in the area.

Considering that the non-Malays are already the minorities in many parts of the country, such statements have serious implications and questions such as:-

1. Should the government hunt high and low for areas where non-Malays are the majority and then gazette them so that temples and other items can be relocated without any effect on the majority’s feelings?

2. If there are no areas where non-Malays can claim to have a majority, then what happens to their freedom to practice their own religion and culture? Should their rights be wiped off and be forced to adhere to the needs of the majority?

3. Does this means the country is going to be spilt into controlled areas where minority from one group cannot overlap the majority from another group? Are we going to slice up Malaysia like a cake and divide the country even more?

With such rationale and narrow minded thinking, it will be impossible to unite the country and its people.

But considering what had happened, the question that remains is what will be the next step in the recent ‘cow head’ protest?

1. Enforcement of law and get those will involved (and those hidden hands) arrested and charged with the relevant law for the extreme protest?

I don’t think so – the Home Ministry is already quick to say that the protestors are not to be blamed (he blames the opposition and blogs) and already there are claims that the protest has been hijacked by certain groups claiming to represent the residents

2. Revamp the idea of relocation the existing temple to Section 23 and relook into the whole relocation issue?

Plausible but that would mean the ‘old’ problem at Section 19 will remain unresolved.

Or

3. Continue with the relocation but come up with more guidelines and rules to ensure that the sensitivity of the residents in Section 23 is taken care.

The PR led state government has stated their case on this.

Religion has always been one of the sensitive area in Malaysia and thus, it need to be handled with care.

I for one strongly support the consolidation of Hindu temples in the state and relocate them to a more feasible area. There are way too many temples and given the current sorry state of temples, there is a serious problem that the PR Government needs to look and resolve it without any further delays.

Having too many temples within the same area is also a headache for us Hindus whilst temple committee members continue to stay ignorant of the law and surrounding developments.

At this point, one need to read YB Khalid Samad, the MP for Shah Alam and a PAS member has to say about the issue here and his follow up response to the readers’ comments to the earlier post here.

Protesters who have broken the rules need to be booked under the law but at the same time, let the merits of the protests be heard and a win-win decisions is made to satisfy all parties.

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Hindu Temple Architecture


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(Image source: http://www.britannica.com)

The architecture of Hindu temples evolved over a period of more than 2,000 years and there is a great variety in this architecture.

Hindu temples are of different shapes and sizes – rectangular, octagonal, semi circular – with different types of domes and gates. Temples in southern India have a different style than those in northern India. Although the architecture of Hindu temples is varied, they mainly have many things in common.

The 6 parts of a Hindu Temple:

1. The Dome and Steeple: The steeple of the dome is called ‘shikhara’ (summit) that represents the mythological ‘Meru’ or the highest mountain peak. The shape of the dome varies from region to region and the steeple is often in the form of the trident of Shiva.

2. The Inner Chamber: The inner chamber of the temple called ‘garbhagriha’ or ‘womb-chamber’ is where the image or idol of the deity (‘murti’) is placed. In most temples, the visitors cannot enter the garbhagriha, and only the temple priests are allowed inside.

3. The Temple Hall: Most large temples have a hall meant for the audience to sit. This is also called the ‘nata-mandira’ (hall for temple-dancing) where, in days of yore, women dancers or ‘devadasis’ used to perform dance rituals. Devotees use the hall to sit, meditate, pray, chant or watch the priests perform the rituals. The hall is usually decorated with paintings of gods and goddesses.

4. The Front Porch: This area of the temples usually has a big metallic bell that hangs from the ceiling. Devotees entering and leaving the porch ring this bell to declare their arrival and departure.

5. The Reservoir: If the temple is not in the vicinity of a natural water body, a reservoir of fresh water is built on the temple premises. The water is used for rituals as well as to keep the temple floor clean or even for a ritual bath before entering the holy abode.

6. The Walkway: Most temples have a walkway around the walls of the inner chamber for circum-ambulation by devotees around the deity as a mark of respect to the temples god or goddess.