Nine Emperor Gods Festival Procession In Jinjang – Part 1

The roads here are a maze so I had no idea of the route the parade will cover. Heck. I don’t even know where my car was parked but I did bread crumb my tracks with a pic on my phone camera at every junction or turn during the walk.

Jinjang was a Chinese village notorious for gangsterism and triads many years ago. At one time, no taxis will send passengers in for fear of ambush by the gangs.

The gangs are gone or are silver haired now. The Chinese community solved the gangsterism and associated social problems by sending their kids to college. This broke the vicious cycle but it is to have another impact on the festival which I shall discuss in the next post.

As a photographer, my attitude was to cross the bridge when I get there, prepared to face all eventualities since it is my first time at their parade. There’s smoke, there’s fire and the Pak Thian Kiong temple is beautifully lit tonight. Am loving it but wished they started during the magic hour.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 400, f4, 1/80 sec.

Bak Chang

Today is Duanwu ( 端午节) or the Dragon Boat Festival or the Chang Festival for Chinese. It falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar and as such is also known as the Fifth Month Festival in Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

The festival commemorates the life and death of ancient Chinese scholar and poet Qu Yuan. He committed suicide by drowning to protest against the corrupt and dictatorial regime that ruled.

Legend has it that people threw rice into the river both as a food offering to Qu Yuan’s spirit and also to deter fish from eating his body.

Today, symbolic glutinous rice or sticky rice dumplings known as zongzi (粽子) are eaten to mark the occasion. It is a public holiday in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Locally, the bamboo leaf-wrapped dumplings are known as bak chang (Hokkien) or choong (Cantonese).

Interestingly; the Chinese in Indonesia refer to the festival as ‘Peh Cun’ and it is known as ‘Festividade do Barco-Dragão’ in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. The dumplings are known as ‘Machang’ among Chinese Filipinos.

I like this simple dumpling from a roadside seller in Kampung Cempaka. It has salted duck egg yolk, fatty meat, dried shrimps (heh bee), mushroom and importantly for me; no mung beans.

The humble kiosk provides a no-bean option. Freedom of choice: Something which Qu Yuan stood for.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 2500, f6.3, 1/250 sec.