Nine Heavenly Kings
I just got back from Bkt. Mertajam with my mum. I went there to help with some stuff with our Buddhist group for the Jiu Wang Ye or loosely translated as the arrival of the Nine Heavenly Kings. It's a annual Buddhist event that takes place around this time of year, and those who follow it observe a vegetarian diet for slightly over a week. Some for a week, and some take up to 12 days (correct me if I'm wrong).
Few things of interest: One, it was my first ever visit to Bukit Mertajam (which is a part of Pulau Pinang state, for those of your geographically challenged). It's a fairly small township that occupies a large space. So you'd expect your fair share of small (2-lane) roads, that they also share with a train track (in KL, all the train tracks are under flyovers), and you'll have those train track bells ringing when there's going to be a train passing (remember those things in the 80s, early 90s?).
Two, there are a lot of vegetarian restaurants within a 10km radius of Bukit Mertajam town! From small stalls to restaurants, there's also a large variety of vege food there. Other than the usual economy rice, there's a lot of local styled food, from the jawa mee, to their own style of hokkien mee (over here, it's like prawn mee), and their large variety of pau (steamed bread). From the usual char siew pau to even flavored ones like coffee pau, pumpkin pau, and others. There's also a wide variety of local fried dumplings available. Let's just say, before we drove back home, we bought enough of local specialty dumplings to feed an army! Ahahha..
Three, during my last day in the hawker stall (Wednesday), there was a procession from the nearby Nine Heavenly Kings temple, where there was a procession that passes through the whole town. You basically have nine temple devotees dressed in the form of the Nine Heavenly Kings walking through the whole town escorted by other devotees. One of the more interesting aspects of the whole thing was how beautiful they decorated their procession vehicles, and also how they dressed up as those deities.
But the most interesting thing, was when the moment the "deities" passed through, it started to rain!!! According to my mom it always happens. Funny thing, it wasn't raining the whole of the day, until the procession passed through. And it went off, and came back a short while, and then it stopped raining. It was such an amazing sight to watch and experience.
I don't know if you're superstitious. I'm not. But I do acknowledge that there are things which the human eye cannot see, but it is there. Things we cannot explain by pure science. Science can explain most things on HOW things work, but it cannot tell WHY it works. Call it supernatural or paranormal if you will. To me it's just part and parcel of nature. But I'm open minded enough to know that it's there.
He runs into marriage-hood...
A runner friend of mine has just gotten hitched. Although he's already officially married, but the dinner's this Saturday. Another married friend of mine, Jamie (also a runner) offers his advice to him with running analogies, and it's a great read.
Congratulations, Justin Lee a.k.a pm19!!! See you Saturday.