I’m happy because this is a four day workweek. I get Thursday off. Malaysia is a multi-cultural country that reminds me a lot of Canada. I get all these awesome holidays. This week Thaipusam and just over two weeks from now it’s Chinese New Year.
Anyways, I thought I’d post some pictures about what makes this holiday so special. Unfortunately, I won’t be going because I don’t enjoy being in large crowds. It seems like it would be pretty cool to see though. Please read my cut and paste job below.
The Thaipusam festival.Every year, on Thaipusam, as many as 800,000 devotees and other visitors may throng the caves. As a form of penance or sacrifice, many of them carry kavadis (literally, "burden," such as a pitcher or jug). These are large, brightly decorated frameworks, usually combined with various metal hooks and skewers which are used to pierce the skin, cheeks and tongue. By doing this penance they expect some favours from their Gods.The festival is held in the tenth month of the Hindu calendar (mostly the end of January).
The procession starts on the evening before the Thaipusam festival at the Sri Mariamman Temple in the town centre of Kuala Lumpur.By doing penance they want to extort some favours from the Gods. The kavadis is placed on the shoulders of the devotee. The kavadis represents a miniature shrine.Women carry a silver jug full of milk on their heads, some are pierced through their cheeks and tongues and others not. Chains are dropped from the central body of the kavadis and hooked onto the flesh of the bearer. The length of the spears had to be limited to a metre in consideration for other devotees. Others hook limes, oranges or coconuts onto their bodies. They are always accompanied by an entourage of relatives and friends to make them enthusiastic with dance parades, songs, musicians playing the drums and the flutes.As they arrive at the shrine at the Batu Caves, the Swami removes the hooks, spears etc. The vow is finally fulfilled. Thaipusam is celebrated at Peninsular of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and on PenangThe procession on Penang starts on the eve before the Thaipusam festival at the Chettiar Temple in Penang Street.
Yes, I know that I haven't posted in a long time, but I think I have a good excuse. I may be in the deepest stage of culture shock right now. Either that or I'm just really bored. I should be golfing and travelling every weekend, but instead I find myself sitting in my apartment doing nothing. I think that a major factor has been the lack of internet access here. Sandra bought me an I-Pod for no reason (dowry) when she came to visit me and I haven't even been able to download I-Tunes on my computer. I know the key is to get out and do stuff, but I find it hard to do.
The internet has just been sucking since around Christmas, so I haven't been bothered to post anything. Sadly, after all this time I still have nothing to blog about. I got four sections of International Business again, which is great because I have all of the lessons prepped. Some of the students here are quite entrepreneurial. When they sell their used textbooks, they include the notes and case studies from last semester. I'm proud of them, but they have made more work for me. When I first looked at my class lists, I was very happy because my classes seemed smaller than last semester. Period two had only 20 students in it. Well, after the first few days period two has exploded to 33 students. None of my classes has less than 31 students. The marking treadmill is currently off, but it should be on full speed by Chinese New Year. I’ll probably have to bring some tests with me to Hanoi. Aiyo!