Kampung Hakka Mantin – Part 8

Kampung Hakka Mantin – Part 8

But apparently not. Almost every house has a Taoist symbol at the door or front entrance that repudiates the theory.

A small altar dedicated to the Chinese Ti Kong or the Jade Emperor God can be seen everywhere.. It is seen here as a metal fixture on the wall to the extreme right of the pic. The bright red altars have all faded like the memories of the generations who lived here.

Where is Kampung Hakka Mantin? Map and directions at MyCen Maps: http://www.mycen.my/kampung-hakka-mantin/

Asus Zenfone 3, IS 50, f2 , 1/1250 sec.

#streetphototography #mantin #village #hakka #urbex #abandoned #dilapidated #derelict #urbex #urbandecay #documentary #kampunghakka #taoism #altar #asus

Nine Emperor Gods Festival Procession In Jinjang – Part 6

For a moment, I thought it was my friend Emily Lowe. The Ipoh journalist and Ipoh-centric blogger is also the webmaster of the Nine Empeor Gods’ Kew Ong Tai Tay Temple in Ipoh.

Jeez! What are the requirements for a webmaster these days? As it turned out, it wasn’t Emily for she is fearful of a pin prick.

Funny thing is that I was playing with her metal spike laid out on a table earlier. Surprised they didn’t do any form of sterilization except to pour liberal doses of cold water when the spikes, knives and spears are inserted into the cheek. Anybody knows why cold water is used, except maybe to numb the skin?

The original Ampang Temple is like a modern day Mega Church. Apart from donations and other forms of temple tax, everything from parking to hawker space is monetized.

I have been writing about this unusual mix of religion and commerce for years. Their mega success in becoming a mega cash cow inspired many similarly-themed temples in many other towns and areas.

Think of the original temple as the popular Line Clear and Nasi Vanggey nasi kandar restauants. They spawned many unofficial and unsanctioned outlets elsewhere, all hoping to cash in.

It is not an easy act to follow though. The Ampang temple plough back some of their revenue into charitable acts such as a public kidney dialysis centre, old folk homes and donations to schools.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 2500, f4, 1/80 sec.

Nine Emperor Gods Festival Procession In Jinjang – Part 2

The problem with educating kids is that no college or university graduate wants to make a career out of some horrific bondage practice that makes one become like a slab of meat hooked and hung in a cold room.

Mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with spears is now practised mainly in Thailand Phuket’s Chinese community celebration of the festival. The bizarre ritual attracts a large number of tourists.

It is no gentle hipster piercings such as those on lip, tongue, nose, nipple, navel and genitals. So what do the temple in Jinjang do to keep the practice and tradition alive?

They import a bunch of male and female expatriate mediums or trance specialists from Thailand. They are pierced in front of the public (including children), who strangely applaud each successful painful piercing with shouts of “Huat” (or prosper). Prosperity is a Hokkien thing.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1000, f4, 1/50 sec.

Portrait Of The Chief

I don’t know who this man is but he seemed to be the chief among the mediums at the Jinjang Temple. He can speak Thai and Hokkien. He reminded the RELA and temple security personnel that photographers must be given close access.

For that, I reward him with an intimate portrait which I hope to present him later as a print. He is probably a former ‘taikor’ (chieftain of the gangs).

I know some of you feel squeamish about the violent but voluntary rituals. Conversion to black and white hides the blood.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 2500, f4, 1/80 sec.

Nine Emperor Gods Festival Procession In Jinjang – Part 3.

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.