Thaipusam Quiz

/* January 27th, 2016 by poobalan | View blog reactions No comments »
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Thaipusam is just over. Many Hindus would have visited Lord Muruga’s abode, and quite a number would have fulfilled their vows, be it carrying paal kudam or kavadi. This is evident from the many photos shared in mainstream media and social media platforms.

I was listening to radio during Thaipusam and there were some talk shows on the religious significance of Thaipusam, the do’s and don’ts, etc.

Do you know what Thaipusam is all about? Take the challenge below and try answer the questions

 

  1. What does “Thaipusam” mean?
  2. Why is Thaipusam celebrated?
  3. Why do devotees carry paal kudam or kavadi?
  4. Who is Edumban?
  5. Why do the devotees wear yellow?
  6. Why do some devotees break coconuts?
  7. Why do devotees fast 48 days prior to fulfilling their vows?
  8. How long is Thaipusam celebrated?
  9. What happens to the milk carried by devotees?
  10. Can devotee fulfill his/her vow at any Murugan temple?

Leave your answers in the comments, or better still, let it be in your thoughts, always.

Mechanised paal abhishegam

/* January 28th, 2015 by poobalan | View blog reactions No comments »
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Video source from The Rakyat Post:

Automated milk abishegam at Batu Caves

Picture source from The Rakyat Post

So, this year Thaipusam brings a new controversy at Batu Caves. The temple management introduced an mechanised method to conduct paal (milk) abhishegam (offering) for Lord Muruga. Usually, Hindus will do penance of carrying the paal kudam (silver container) for a distance and pouring it on Lord Muruga statue as way of fulfilling their vows, be it good results in exams, better job, recovery from illness, etc etc.

Fulfilling a vow is not just limited to the carrying and pouring of the milk. The person has to be in penance, like fast for certain amount of days, refrain from worldly activities as much as possible, be vegetarian and so on. The whole process is to reflect the hardship one is willing to go through in order to fulfill his/her part of the vow. And it ends as you offer your gift to Lord Muruga.

However due to very large number of devotees doing paal abhishegam at Batu Caves, the temple management find it hard to please those coming to pray who get blocked by the act of pouring milk non-stop. Imagine, even though Thaipusam is a week away, devotees had started fulfilling vows about a week earlier (since start of the month of Thai). Thaipusam falls on specific days, so I’m not sure if their vow is to do paal abishegam during Thai month or during Thaipusam day (but that’s another story for another day).

But this didn’t go down well those who intended to fulfill the vow and also many otherr Hindus. The general feeling is that the pouring of milk should done physically by the person or the priest.

The Hindu Sangam via its president also issued a statement (though I’m not sure why the statement is saying Dato Mohan Shan “vendukol” – request instead of Hindu Sangam “arivippu” – notice or “arikai” -statement).

Basically what the notice above states is that the practise of using mechanised method is not according Hindu agamas (scriptures dealing with temples, rituals, yoga, etc) as the items for abhishegam which is intended for Lord Muruga should not be poured into another container first. The excuse given that there’s lack of volunteers and priests to assist in the manual process should be tackled in other ways.

I’m not sure how the Mariamman Devasthanam can implement such decision without consulting the main Hinduism body in the country. Does this show some conflict or ego? Or lack of belief in MHS?

As for me, I would say, devotee need to be clear on what they vowed. There are many Murugan temples in Malaysia, so perhaps in future can vow in different temple. One can say, its the thought that counts, while another will say must do it as vowed. Each to his own, as we can’t know how God decides. This may be part of your Karma, for all we know.

Perhaps in future Batu Caves temple can issue limited place for paal abhishegam. Let’s say 500,000 and divided into different time shifts on the day. Same goes for kavadi bearers. So before you do the vow, you will need to buy the “voucher” earlier. Voucher should be non-transferable and sold in a transparent manner. Just my two cents.

Below is comment from Hindraf regarding the move by Batu Caves temple management.

Article from Rakyat Post:

For Hindus, paying penance to their deities by carrying milk pots is a common practice, especially during the annual Thaipusam festival.
This year, the Batu Caves Murugan temple management will be implementing a new system to ease congestion.
A spokesman said the temple would be using an automated system for the first four days of Thaipusam, which would see devotees emptying their milk pots into a drum.
The drum would then channel the liquid via hoses, to a pot attached to a machine inside the main temple, where the milk offering ritual is done.
Typically, the milk pots carried by devotees are passed to the temple’s priests, who will then shower the deities’ statues with milk while uttering mantras as a form of blessing.
“We just want to ease congestion during this festive period. We expect a huge crowd this time around,” said the spokesman.

This system, which has been in the testing stage the last two days, will only be used on the first four days of Thaipusam, which falls on Feb 3. It is not known how much the system costs.

Meanwhile, Hindraf has lambasted the temple management over the system’s implementation.
“Hindraf is totally mystified by the committee’s attitude in pursuing the system as it clearly desecrates the Hindu rites and practices.
“It appears that the committee has no regard for the feelings of thousands of devotees who have undertaken severe penance to participate in showering their Paal Kodam (milk pots) in the final ritual known as abishekam during the Thaipusam festival,” Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy said in a statement.
He added it was widely believed that the practice of showering milk on the deity was a process of cleansing oneself of one’s sins.
“Such practice is conducted worldwide in India, Fiji, Sri Lanka, USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore during the Thaipusam month.
“Even in India, millions of people who bring their milk pots have the satisfaction of their milk being showered individually by priests, who normally chant mantras, as opposed to the motorised method intended to be practised in Batu Caves.
Waytha said motorising a “personal and spiritual” ritual not only desecrated Hindu rites, but also insulted individual devotees who had painstakingly undertaken severe penance to fulfil their devotion to the deity.
He called on the temple management to review the use of the machine, failing which he urged devotees to forgo Batu Caves and pay their penance elsewhere.

Ustaz mocks Hinduism

/* July 30th, 2014 by poobalan | View blog reactions 1 comment »
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This guy who has an police report against him for assault (refer http://suara1umno.blogspot.com/2012/02/surat-laporan-serangan-ustaz-shahul.html ) courts controversy by providing false facts about another religion. Refer video below:

The video above is part of a 1.5 hour speech which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAZlpwbs7V0&feature=youtu.be

Preaching is common among religion, but need to be careful on how its done. Not at expense of insulting other religion, or worse still providing wrong information. He is also in danger of being sued by those companies mentioned here for defamation, and even by JAKIM for questioning its halal status.

The crux of his speech is basically saying must support Muslim products and businesses to best of ability, as doing otherwise may be haram; directly/indirectly supporting non-Muslims; stifling Muslim business. Not sure if this strict view is their religious teaching or just a liberal interpretation.

Since MIC had its protest today and many police reports has been lodged, this guy now made an apology. Video below from his FB:

Among his points in the apology video:

1. the speech was in a closed function, for muslim only. [maybe acceptable in the pre-internet era. however God still exists in closed areas right?]

2. was uploaded without his consent, maybe (“mungkin”) with bad intention. [or maybe with good intentions to share his superb speech with other followers. Pls dont pre-judge the uploader and qualify it with “mungkin”].

3.  his speech based on his knowledge [well, this is unacceptable. if not sure, then can check with authorities or the people concerned. Why deity got tongue sticking out? go ask Hindu Sangam…or would that shake your belief? or you think its perfectly acceptable to make a joke of it?]

4. some words maybe (“mungkin”) cause unhappiness among Indian community. [ yeah right, maybe will create unhappiness.]

5. Hopes this issue is not prolonged. [of course, you are busy person, got many speech sessions to do, souls to save.]

6. will ensure this thing won’t be repeated. [what “thing” won’t be repeated? recording and uploading of speeches or insulting other religions?]

According to this FB page, he is also running a religious school and is known for giving speeches, so imagine how many “majlis tertutup” would have been conducted, spreading lies and hatred.  “Mungkin” kan. Need to also investigate his school. “Mungkin” got training for creating terrorists.  See, I also can use “mungkin”.

Let’s see how the police investigation turns out.

If you think this is first time incident, then refer to this video:

So how do you treat repeat offender? Should send him for some course on how to give speech without touching other religions or spreading lies?

PS: Hindu Sangam still drafting its press statement?

Cable car not feasible for Batu Caves Temple

/* July 10th, 2014 by poobalan | View blog reactions No comments »
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So looks like no go for the Cable Car project. Safety is important. No point saying God will take care if we ourselves purposely ignore safety issues.

The committee should look at other alternatives. Lifts maybe? Rail car? Or alternative route specifically for the elderly, infirmed and disabled? Or get litter/palanquins with enough manpower to serve these folks?

 

THE RM10mil Batu Caves Cable Car project will most likely be scrapped as soil studies carried out by experts failed to confirm its feasibility.

According to the detailed soil stability report, the upper parts of the limestone karsts of the hilltop caves have been zoned as “high risk”, putting a stop to any possibility of development on the 400mil-year-old limestone caves.

A reliable source from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam committee has accepted the fact that the cable car project may not be feasible and will no longer push for it.

This was further confirmed when StarMetro visited the project site recently and found it to be cleared of construction equipment. The area had been resurfaced with tar and is now a carpark.

 The 130-page report was prepared by two academicians from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). It proved that parts of the area were unstable and highly vulnerable to damage, especially to the fragile karst.

Construction of Batu Caves cable car came to a halt as structures within the temple has allegedly been built without necessary documents.

A file photo showing the cable car project site.

The report was divided into two parts — Parcel 1 covered the Batu Caves reserve and Parcel 2 the Gombak Indah area. It presents the findings in a map format and highlights areas as low, medium and high risk.

Last year, a team of state-appointed experts presented the first phase of the findings following a soil stability study for the Batu Caves reserve area to the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES).

Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said the academicians report confirmed the team’s initial findings that the upper parts of Batu Caves, where the Sri Subramaniar Temple is, were unfit to support the cable car project.

The Sri Subramaniar Temple is also a national heritage site.

“While the lower part poses no risk, the upper part poses ‘extreme’ risk, offering little or no possibility of development being carried out at the hill top area,”

“The temple committee was informed of the risks involved and we even asked them to sign a declaration undertaking responsibility for any future incident, thus indemnifying MPS against liability.”

Since then, the area has been tiled over to function again as a carpark, with nary a trace of the former hoardings and cleared ground visible.

Now, the area has been tiled over to serve as a carpark.

“Mitigating the risk is not going to be easy even if they want to have a cable car service, and I seriously doubt their engineers would want to take that kind of risk anyway,” he added.

He also added that the temple management had to ensure that all 10 structures in the temple were legalised, including obtaining safety certifications from the Fire and Rescue Department.

Mohd Azizi reiterated that safety was, and would always be, the council’s top priority, outweighing any other consideration.

Proponents of the cable car line argued that the system would benefit the disabled, senior citiziens, and people with health problems. The temple management have, for decades, been trying to build a cable car service at the iconic landmark.

Attempts were made in 1997, 1999 and 2007 but the project did not materialise.

In 2012, the temple management signed a deal with a company from India, to build a cable car system.

The cars would run from the cave temple complex to the carpark using a 150m cable.

The cable car line was to comprise a lower station near the foot of the temple staircase and an upper station near the hilltop temple. The project was supposed to be completed in 2014.

The development order for the cable-car project was approved by MPS in late 2011, but a stop-work order was issued in 2013 to compel the temple management to submit their documents to legalise the other existing structures on the premises.

MPS also asked the state government to allow for the soil study in the Batu Caves temple site to be completed to ensure the project was safe.

But, in July of the same year, the temple committee defied the local authority’s order and proceeded with soil piling work resulting in enforcement officers sealing off the project site after being tipped off that construction work that had resumed.

The Batu Caves temple management was also slapped with two compound notices totalling RM26,000.

Batu Caves, touted as a national treasure, draws millions of people from all over the world each year especially during the annual Thaipusam festival.

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2014/07/10/No-go-for-cable-car-Parts-of-Batu-Caves-vulnerable-to-damage-say-academicians/

We got Federal level Hindu Endowment Board?

/* July 3rd, 2014 by poobalan | View blog reactions No comments »
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I was quite surprised to read that one the portfolio to be handled by newly minted Minister in PM Department, (Gerakan President and recently elected Teluk Intan MP) Mah Siew Keong is overseeing the Hindu Endowment Board.

Mah, who is Gerakan president, also has the responsibility of overseeing the Hindu Endowment Board, which administers endowments such as land, property, burial grounds or funds given for the benefit of the Hindu community.

source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/07/02/Mah-portfolio-minister-pm-dept/

I asked MIC via tweet, but as usual, no response. I think asking the party office bearers also would be get same results.

Google search also didn’t reveal anything other than the Penang Hindu Endowment Board.

If such a board exists, who are its members? When was it established? Where’s the accounts? Why no info about it on PM Dept (JPM) website? How to contact the board? What does it administer and how? Added: Doesn’t creation of a board requires an Act of Law?

How many Hindus in Malaysia are aware such a board exists?

BTW, a frivalous question, is Mah a Hindu?

 

UPDATE 10/7: According to futher clarifications, the HEB referred to Mah’s portfolio is the Penang HEB of which chairman is currently Penang DCM Dr Rama. Mah’s job is to oversee the board which basically consists of presenting the board’s accounts in cabinet (sort of overglorified report presenter). That’s all. He has no power in running the board since Penang HEB is under Penang HEB Ordinance. A bit of history, the British created a Mohammedan and Hindu Endowment Board Act in 1906 to centralise and organise funds for these two religions (Islam and Hinduism). The Act was for straits settlement states (Penang, Malacca and Singapore). Prior to Malaya’s independence in 1957, the laws were streamlined, and all concerning Islam went into respective state jurisdiction. Only Penang enacted the Penang HEB Ordinance to maintain its board at state level. Singapore after splitting from Malaysia also maintained its Act. Thus there is not Act nor Ordinance (except in Penang) in Malaysia for establishment of any HEB.