Archive for the ‘Events’ category

Maha Mariamman Temple Batu 14 Puchong Kumbabhishegam

June 15th, 2010
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From Maha Mariamman Temple Batu 14 Puchong Kumbhabishegam

The 105 year old Maha Mariamman temple Batu 14 Puchong had its Maha Kumbhabhishegam last month (23rd May). The event was from 10am onwards, but we went a bit early. About 20,000 people were expected, but I don’t think it was more than 5000 during the day.

I noticed that quite a number of youths were involved in the crowd control and miscellaneous work, something seldom seen in other temples. In fact, crowd control was quite good.

Highlight of the day was the helicopter which showered flowers on the devotees.

From Maha Mariamman Temple Batu 14 Puchong Kumbhabishegam

The interior was quite spacious and nicely designed.

From Maha Mariamman Temple Batu 14 Puchong Kumbhabishegam

The kodi maram had glass panels on the ceiling to allow sunlight to enter. Similar to Bala Thandayuthapani temple in Seremban.

From Maha Mariamman Temple Batu 14 Puchong Kumbhabishegam

Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL State 2010

May 7th, 2010
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NOTE: Photos are at Picasa.

For last two years, I missed out on the Science Fair program organised by Tamil Foundation. This year, I was in danger of missing out again due to lack of time. So, I decided to help out as volunteer on the event day itself. It felt weird being a volunteer after being in organizing  capacity in recent years for various events. Anyway, being a volunteer is about following orders, so hopefully I did OK. I was handed an awkward task of monitoring booths 11 to 20 on that day. Awkward in the sense that booths 11 to 16 were on one end, while booths 17 to 20 were on the opposite end of adjacent rows. In the end, it turned out OK because the participants handled most of the problems themselves, barring the odd requests for extra tables, problem with power supply, and problem with exhibit materials falling down 🙂  Oh yeah, I also took the liberty to go around snapping pictures (more than 200 shots!) 🙂

OK, enough of me talking about me. let’s move to the event.

From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010

Science Fair started in 2007 on a smaller scale. It is now in its fourth year, and is organised at both state and national levels. The one I attended is Selangor and KL state (combined). It was held at TNB Hall in Bangsar (Jalan Bukit Pantai). The event is open to all Tamil schools in Selangor and KL. I think there are about 97 schools in Selangor and 15 in KL. But a total of 72 schools confirmed to take part this, and eventually 70 turned up. The schools were given topics to choose and they were then expected to come out with experiments that showcase the particular topic. There were few recurring topics during the event. Actually, Tamil Foundation sends facilitators to each school to guide and monitor the progress of the participating teams. The students have to prepare a log book of their activities as well. So, its quite an elaborate and time consuming program (hats off to the organizers and  facilitators!)

From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010

The event began around 7.30am (but I was uncharacteristically late!). I arrived around 8.10am at the hall, and most of participants were busy setting up their booths. A team consists of 5 students and two teachers, but I saw many booths having more than two teacher, while some even imported “help” from outsider (advice, setting up etc.). Talked to two of my friends who were there in the capacity as free “consultants” for their respective schools. I was simply amazed at the effort put in by teachers and students in most of the booths. Some really looked expensive and professionally done. Even the students were smartly dressed in some instances.

From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010

After about 1.5 hours (9.10am) ,the judging began. At this point, only students were allowed to be present at the booths. The rest of the “supporters” were seated around the hall. Judges, in teams of three, went around evaluating between 5 to 6 booths each. I noticed some familiar faces like Ponnusamy, Logeswaran, Kamalendran, Kannan, Karthe, and Velavan among the panel of judges. It was interesting to watch the students trying their best to do their presentation and also answer questions from the judges. Their command of English was quite good as well! Maybe the chosen students were among the best students in their respective schools.

From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010

The evaluation ended around 12pm, after which the judges retired to their judges room to reconcile marks. The hall was now open to public, and boy, the public just swarmed the place! Teachers, parents, students..all flocked to view their booths. Proud parents stood beaming as they watched their kids explain to visitors about their experiments. Teachers were busy adjusting things and exchanging notes among themselves. It was hectic, and yet at the same time, there was an air of accomplishment. I just felt proud seeing these kids.

From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010
From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010

The fair ended around 3pm, and it was time for closing ceremony. At this point there were some confusing on seating arrangements, which I think should have not occurred in the first place. After some sorting out, and apologies to the audience, the closing ceremony started. There were 6 speeches – program coordinator, program director, Tamil Foundation president, chief judge (I was  amazed to see my ex-school teacher, Mr VKS Shanmugam up on stage!) , VIP – director of National Science Center Associate Professor Dr Irmawati, and VIP Selangor State EXCO Dr Xavier Jayakumar. Maybe should reduce the speeches to just 3 in future. But I appreciate the speakers who kept their speech to minimal.

From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010

After the speeches, it was prize giving time. Even though the event is a expo, but there’s an element of competition to spur the students. Thus various awards were given out. Unfortunately, the description or purpose of the awards were not mentioned, and this kind of defeats the purpose of giving awards in the first place. The movement of students on stage and also arrangement for photography on stage was also not planned properly, resulting in impromptu arrangements. Something to be improved in the next edition, I guess.  Perhaps the organisers need to do a simple rehearsal next year to avoid such hiccups.

Finally, the proper winners were announced. The initial prize included cash amount of RM500, RM300, and RM200 respectively for top three winners. But EWRF president agreed to top up RM500 for each of the top three winners for both states. (So, its RM1000, RM800 and RM700 respectively). For KL state, top three schools were chosen while five schools were chosen in Selangor. I didn’t have time to jot down all the winners since was controlling students on one end of the stage. Among the winners which I remember are:

Selangor:

1st: SJKT Methodist Kapar

2nd: SJKT Taman Permata

3rd: SJKT Teluk Merbau

4th: SJKT Kajang

5th: SJKT Batu Ampat

KL:

1st: SJKT San Peng

2nd: SJKT Segambut

3rd: SJKT Edinburgh

From Science Fair for Young Children Selangor and KL 2010

I was touched to see tears of joy from some of the students and even teachers. It goes to show how much they appreciate getting some award or recognition from others. This kind of program can spur students and teachers alike to perform better, not only in education, but in their daily life.

The program ended around 5.30pm. We helped to clean the hall, but I had to leave by 8pm due to other commitments. Not sure what time the rest of them went home.

In summary, it was a good program, an eye-opener for some sections of the community. Its an event that should be given more prominence and support. As for improvements, I think it needs more publicity and funding. Secondly, schools and parents should be encouraged to send their students to attend the fair, apart from just sending few students to take part. As for the organising part, a rehearsal or two will tie up the loose ends.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the organisers, facilitators, judges, volunteers, schools, teachers, parents and students for a job well done.

I hope to contribute again in the National level event later this year.

3 years and still running…

February 17th, 2010
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Time really flies! I barely noticed that poobalan.com has been running for 3 years and 8 days now, from the day the first article was posted on 8th February 2007.  Its great to note that there’s 2,916 posts (minus this) and 5,738 comments till date.

I hope to carry on for as long as possible, and hope that it benefits readers in one way or another.

Thank you guys for the support all this while.

Let the voyage continue…

Thaipusam 2010 at Batu Caves

January 30th, 2010
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From Thaipusam 2010

Its Thaipusam, the religious festival to celebrate Lord Muruga!

Like most of the previous year, we planned to visit Batu Caves. We left home at 6.10am and arrived at Bat Caves at around 6.40am. Parking took another few minutes and there traffic jam was after taking the roundabout from Jalan Kuching.

While driving past the entrance (on MRR2), we can see that the crowd was more than last year, since we usually go to Batu Caves early morning around the same time. In fact the stairs were packed with people.

From Thaipusam 2010

An ugly sight greeted me as I was looking for parking. Few youths and adults were chatting with beer bottles in the hands while waiting near their car.

Parked car on the flyover. The slip road leading to Petronas after Batu Caves was closed.

The stalls were located below the new dedicated ramp which crosses the river and railway track. The ramp was closed to vehicles to allow the kavadi and kudam bearers walk through. If not, the devotees have to take a risky (but shorter) route crossing the railway track.

The venue where Brahma Kumaris and Nestle stalls were usually located was replaced with the cancelled state government’s Fiesta Deepavali banners. Brahma Kumaris stall is now located beneath the ramp.

Did the mudi kanikai at one of the stall below the new ramp, and proceeded to walk back to the temple compound.

From Thaipusam 2010

Lots of nursing colleges set up booths, providing eye candy for the youths. I saw Winfield, Nirwana (with Putera MIC), MAHSA and MAsterskill (if I’m not mistaken).

We started walking into the temple compound at 7.35am. Compared to last year, there were not ropes to demarcate the lines. So, it was a bit of free flow.

Lots of rubbish around and its not even 8am! All rubbish bins were overloaded.

Police moved in groups of 2,3 and 4. But I don’t think there were 1000 policemen there. There were also RELA and FRU, apart from the St John members and temple volunteers.

Took us 40 minutes from compound entrance till the top of the stairs. The middle lane was allocated for kavadis, while the left lane for people going up. However, since the top was crowded, many people were coming down using left lane, thus making the journey more difficult.

The signboards for Paal Kudam, Archanai, and Kavadi were only found at about 50 metres in the cave. And the paal kudam queue was long! It would have been better if the notices were put up earlier along the cave or even from the compound itself so that the crowd could be segregated earlier.

From Thaipusam 2010

We prayed for around 30 minutes or so and made our way down. The trip down was slow since the crowd was huge and lots of kavadis were going down the stairs after fulfilling their penance.

From Thaipusam 2010

Something else that’s make a comeback this time is beggars. I saw a family that looked like foreigners sitting near the cave entrance.

Read the bottom of the stairs at around 9.15am. We spent another 15 minutes taking some shots and watching the kavadis. It was getting hot, and as usual, we didn’t waste time milling around the stalls.

From Thaipusam 2010

Left Batu caves around 10am, using MRR2 towards Sentul/Gombak. The other side of the highway was jammed. There’s the new DUKE highway along MRR2 that gives you access to Jalan Duta, Jalan Kuching etc (Toll is RM2). Reached Puchong within 40 minutes.

BTW, the management office looks new (and expensive). I wonder if its really necessary. Maybe the money could have been put to better use, like giant LCD display screens, proper signages and more dustbins.

From Thaipusam 2010

And quite a few banners mentioning Nadarajah’s name in a weird way. It kind of separates him (as the chairman) from the committee. Looks like exercise in self-promotion.

News coverage on Tv2 (Tamil news) and Tv3 (Buletin) showed the visitors quite happy with the improvements done this year. Those interviewed said that it was easier to fulfill their vows.

Read about last year’s Thaipusam article here: 2009.

Help to clean up Batu Caves

January 19th, 2010
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Remember Sampah Masyarakat? They started the trend by helping to clean up Batu Caves after Thaipusam last year. They are planning the same this year, so if you are free on 31st January (Sunday), make a beeline to Batu Caves.

Visit their Facebook Event for more details.