Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

Cable car not feasible for Batu Caves Temple

July 10th, 2014
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to poobalan.com by Email


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/

DNA tests reveal interesting news on caste system

August 30th, 2013
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to poobalan.com by Email


To quote the important statements:

Their finding, recently published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, made waves when it was revealed that genetic mixing ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts. The Manusmriti, which forbade intermarriage between castes, was written in the same period, give or take a century.

Thangaraj says the study shows only a correlation between the early caste system and the divergence of bloodlines, and whether one caused the other is a debate better left to historians. Nonetheless, it puts a stake in the ground, marking the moment when the belief that one should marry within one’s own group developed into an active practice.

He also doesn’t want the early signs of a caste system to overshadow another finding of his study — how completely the population mixed 2,000 years ago. He points to the Paliyar tribe in the foothills of southern India. Their villages are inaccessible by car, and outsiders cannot visit them without a government permit. “They’re still in the forest,” says Thangaraj, “but still they have some affinities with other groups. At some point in time, everybody was mixed.”

Regardless of the manusmriti, its interesting to note that genetic mixing was prevalent till 1,900 years ago in India, and it originates from two main bloodline groups: Africa and Eurasia. As mentioned, nearly every Indian can be traced to genetic mix of these two groups. Full article below.

 

India caste

Dr. Kumarasamy ThangarajKumarasamy Thangaraj takes a blood sample from an Andaman islander, as part of his research into the genetics of India’s castes

Kumarasamy Thangaraj traveled 840 miles (1,350 km) off of the eastern coast of India by plane, then ship, then six hours by car, then ship again to collect blood samples from an isolated tribe of hunter-gatherers on the Andaman Islands. Their blood, he explained through an interpreter, would help him understand a pivotal moment in India’s genetic history. The tribesmen had never heard of a gene before or an academic study for that matter, and the whole pitch struck them as an interesting diversion from their usual routine of spearfishing.

“They mostly laughed,” Thangaraj says, before they offered up their arms in exchange for food. A few needle pricks later, they returned to their boats to fling short wooden spears into the water with uncanny aim, while Thangaraj made the long journey home to Hyderabad. He deposited the latest samples into a blood bank, alongside another 32,000 samples from his countrymen.

The collective bloodlines at the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, India’s leading genetic-research institute, pose a unique riddle for researchers. On the one hand, geneticists can trace nearly all bloodlines back to two ancestral groups, one hailing from Africa, the other from Eurasia. These groups mingled, married and swapped genes. A mixture of their genetic material can be found in nearly every person on the subcontinent today.

But at some mysterious point in history, these braided bloodlines began to fray. The population divided along linguistic, religious and tribal lines, to the point where it separated into 4,635 distinct genetic groups. Europe and Asia look positively homogeneous in comparison, says Thangaraj. He and his collaborators at Harvard Medical School wanted to know when exactly the Indian melting pot stopped melting.

Their finding, recently published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, made waves when it was revealed that genetic mixing ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts. The Manusmriti, which forbade intermarriage between castes, was written in the same period, give or take a century.

Thangaraj says the study shows only a correlation between the early caste system and the divergence of bloodlines, and whether one caused the other is a debate better left to historians. Nonetheless, it puts a stake in the ground, marking the moment when the belief that one should marry within one’s own group developed into an active practice.

He also doesn’t want the early signs of a caste system to overshadow another finding of his study — how completely the population mixed 2,000 years ago. He points to the Paliyar tribe in the foothills of southern India. Their villages are inaccessible by car, and outsiders cannot visit them without a government permit. “They’re still in the forest,” says Thangaraj, “but still they have some affinities with other groups. At some point in time, everybody was mixed.”

It’s a point that he stresses to anyone who wants to turn bloodlines into battle lines. On Aug. 15, on India’s independence day, a mob from the Rajput community in Biharattacked men, women and children in the Dalit community. They beat them with rods, killing one and injuring 54. “Look, we were all brothers and sisters 2,000 years back,” Thangaraj says of this sort of violence, “why are you fighting now?” Although he did observe one notable outlier from the extended family: the spear-wielding fishermen of the Andaman Islands have no trace of the genetic mix that pervades the mainland. Proof that the only the thing that really could have stopped India’s ancestral populations from mixing was an 840-mile schlep to a remote tropical island.

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/08/27/what-dna-testing-reveals-about-indias-caste-system/#ixzz2dQiYOQ2x

12th International Tamil Internet Conference

August 14th, 2013
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to poobalan.com by Email


 

infitt2013

 

 

Anyone interested to attend? It starts tomorrow and ends on 18th August. Venue: Universiti Malaya.

Their official website: http://ti2013.infitt.org/my/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/infitt

Largest Ponggal Pot at Batu Caves

January 15th, 2013
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to poobalan.com by Email


Ponggal at Batu Caves took an unique look as a large 3 metre tall pot was used to cook the ponggal. An estimated 18,500 litres of milk were used. The ponggal was then used for offering and also distributed to the devotees. Its an entry in Malaysian Book of Records, and probably in the world records as well.  Government allocated RM80k via Culture Ministry

Yeah, its a tourist attraction and a chance to highlight the culture. Perhaps they should have also held a community ponggal session for those interested to cook their own ponggal as well.  That would have provided extra kick for tourists and visitors.

PS: I wonder with all the prominence given to Ponggal nowadays, got any chance of making it a public holiday ka? 🙂

 

Ponggal Batu Caves Milk Pot

image source: http://www.nst.com.my/streets/central/batu-caves-cable-cars-ready-by-2014-1.199127

 

It was a record-breaking Ponggal at Batu Caves last night when a 3m-tall pot was used to boil milk, making it the largest pot to be used for the festival in Malaysia.

The pot, which has a volume of 18,500 litres and weighs 700kg, entered the Malaysia Book Of Records as the largest pot used for Ponggal.

Onlookers, who were amused and amazed by the large pot, were seen taking photographs of it.

The pot was powered by several gas tanks and the milk inside had to be constantly stirred by two men.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who attended the Ponggal celebration at Batu Caves last night, took the opportunity to add milk to the pot to mark the momentous occasion.

“I’ve never seen a bigger milk pot in my life. I was told by Malaysia Book Of Records founder (Datuk Danny Ooi) that this pot, together with its stainless steel heating, is 2.7m in diameter, making it the world’s largest area to boil milk,” he said at the event last night.

Amazed: Visitors admiring the pot during the Ponggal celebration at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur.
Amazed: Visitors admiring the pot during the Ponggal celebration at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur.

He urged Malaysians to love the country for what it was and ignore what critics might say about the nation.

“Let us regard the Ponggal celebration as a sign that we are united. The ministry will always support the community in making this festival a success,” he said.

Sri Maha Mariamman Devasathanam temple committee chairman Datuk R. Nadarajah said he wanted to celebrate the festival with a large pot as a way of encouraging people to participate in cultural celebrations such as Ponggal.

“Our intention is to promote the arts and culture of the Tamil community,” he said.

On another matter, Dr Rais said the ministry was working towards having Batu Caves gazetted as a world heritage site by the United Nations by 2015.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/1/15/nation/12577037&sec=nation

The Case of The Crystal Crown Hotel Halal Signboard

January 10th, 2013
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to poobalan.com by Email


This a good example of  how things will turn out in future. When clashes like this occur, the “non-halal” group will have to give way, due to economic reasons. The owner won’t want to lose licensing and risk losing revenue from those customers. On the other hand, the non-halal industry will see lesser customer base due to smaller population and armtwisting measures such as this. In may not be viable in the long run to operate such businesses. So, only pockets of such non-halal eateries will exist, that too in areas with significant non-muslim population.

I thought if the goods are properly packed and sealed, it should not be an issue. Maybe the non-halal items are carried in plastic bags and with some liquid dripping on the floors will contaminate the halal products. Whatever the reason, the non-halal operator will suffer.

I wonder if in future will have separate lifts for people, you know, in case a non-halal food consumer burps or brings such food with him. Separate lifts (or worse asked to use stairs!), taxis, buses, office areas? As it is, school students are not allowed to bring non-halal food to school and canteen also can’t sell them.

So, in the future, you may have to travel some distance to get that bowl of bak kut teh or wan tan mee (for example, look at areas like Shah Alam, Bangi, or Putrajaya). Extra cost and time for you. I wonder if this can be some form of racial segregation since eateries of different races will be separated.

Its easy to say that implementing some laws or rules won’t affect others, but in reality, you will be affected.  Be it halal or syariah or hudud or even use of certain “words”, you can’t run away from being involved because the ones interpreting and executing those laws are humans, not God.

 

PETALING JAYA: The controversial signboards beside three elevators at the Crystal Crown hotel here were put up to comply with the requirements stipulated by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) regarding the transportation of non-halal food.

Crystal Crown’s chief operating officer Khoo Hui Keam said: “Our ‘halal’ licence expired last June and Jakim had new requirements which stated that we [Crystal Crown] could not renew it because we had a Chinese eatery within the hotel which served pork.”

She added that the hotel management tried speaking to the Chinese eatery to stop serving food which contained pork.

“The owner of the restaurant turned back at us and said: ‘If you guys want us to stop serving pork, it is as good enough as asking us to leave’,” she told FMT.

However, Khoo said that the management was reluctant to vacate the Chinese eatery as they had been long-serving customers of the hotel and were good “pay masters” for rental.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) got involved as well, according to Khoo, and they offered to appeal for the hotel to get its certification renewed if they separated the passage through which “halal” and “non-halal” food were transported.

Crystal Crown’s management decided to go ahead with the JAIS’ recommendation and the signboards at levels B1, B2, and B3 were erected to notify food suppliers that only “halal” food could be transported using those elevators.

FMT understands that food suppliers to the Chinese restaurant have to use the staircase to transport their “non-halal” goods.

Asked if there was any monitoring of the goods that go in the lifts, Khoo said: “There are security personnel at all three floors and the lifts have video surveillance as well.”

New sign soon

Referring to the signboards, Khoo added that both Jais and Jakim visited the hotel premises last week and were not pleased.

“They said that it [signboards] were ‘too high’ and wanted them lowered to eye-level. They also complained that the signboards are not striking enough,” she said.

Due to their complaints, Khoo said a new sign was to be put up soon with a brighter colour so suppliers were well aware that only “halal” goods could pass through the lifts.

FMT discovered that 20% to 30% of the hotel’s patrons were from government bodies and if Crystal Crown was to lose its halal certification, it would lose all the customers from this target group.

Quizzed whether other hotels were practising the same, Khoo said many do not because their licence was still valid and not up for renewal.

“Once their licence has lapsed, then they will have to comply with Jakim and Jais’ requirements if they are to keep their certificate,” she added.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/01/10/hotel-explains-halal-signboards/