I have seen many strange things in my life but it was still startling to see a Malay or Muslim-looking guy taking part in a Taoist parade. Baffled, I walked alongside him and started a conversation.
Me: Selamat berpesta, bro. (Happy festival, bro)
Guy: Sama sama (likewise).
Me: Boleh tanya, hang in mewakili dewa yang mana satu? (if I may ask dude, which deity do you represent?)
Guy: You bukan Melayu? Saya pun. (You not Malay? Me neither).
Me: Kanasai (like shit in Hokkien).
Guy: Saya Latuk Kong, bro [after which he gave me a fist bump]
Latuk Kong or Natuk Kong is the roadside deity with roots in pseudoreligion and animism.
The deity’s most ardent followers are lottery punters who will kneel before the familiar red wooden shack under a tree to request for a lucky number.
Those fans who strike the at the lotteries will repay the deity’s kindness by building a concrete hut and offer more bananas and other fruits.
Latuk Kongism was recently elevated to major religion status when Pokemon Go designated the shrines as Pokestops in Malaysia.
Latuk Kong: Do you have a light, bro?
Me: No! I am hoping you won’t smoke because your crazy entourage is already choking everyone with excessive kemenyan (benzoin) smoke.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1000, f4, 1/80 sec.