Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nine Emperor Gods Festival

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is over. Yearly, it lasts for 9 days in the 9the month of the Lunar calendar.
This year, October 4th was the start of the festival. Enakkers of the MCG did not miss the opportunity to be among the devotees and visitors to soak in the atmosphere of the Taoist festival, and be there to have a vegetarian lunch right in the temple premises.

In the late morning, we met at one of the stalls. I'm no stranger to vegetarian dishes as Indian types do feature in my diet. I found the dishes blander and different; the  Indian dishes being aromatic and spicy. Most of the dishes has soya as one of the main ingredients - as in bean paste, bean curd etc.

Besides eating, we took the opportunity to catch glimpses of the goings-on. Really, it is worth witnessing  this festive aspect of Taoism. Below are some pictures taken as we moved about the temple. Certainly, the carnival - like atmosphere can carry one away in the actvities that surround us.

Sampling the vegetarian dishes as they came.
Look up the ceiling .
Joss sticks of different sizes , bunched to offer prayers for prosperity, longevity etc.
Anyone can ask for fortune to be told.
Keeping  the fires burning  as long as the cooks are at work.
Tortoises, big and small - brightly coloured and doughy
Chinese altar decorative cloth depicting gods and goddesses
All ready for the big, big wok.
Not for the faint-hearted. Got muscle, stamina  and ready to sweat it out??
Take a quick count . 
Devotees, all dressed in white. Never a grumble.
Smoke gets in your eyes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Skipping Far and Near with Rotary

What do Rotarians do with skipping ropes? Thankfully, many of us can still skip and that deserves a pat on our shoulders. It says you are still agile and your stamina is quite intact!

With the launch of 100,000 skipping ropes: Promote Healthy Lifestyle - Skipping for Health by the Health Minister, Dato Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Rotary Kelab di Raja KL, many clubs  were given these ropes to spread the message of well-being among youths.

Before long, we found the humble skipping  rope can be anyone's good companion. From the heaps of ropes delivered in boxes into the hands of children, the limp rope transforms an inactive child into a burst of energy, his legs springing  off the ground  much to the  excitement of his peers .

The EEP ( Economic Empowerment Programme) students of Selangor Cheshire Home were thrilled when I brought 30 to them. The morning lethargy disappeared fast and the boys and girls were suddenly united in playing together. Beads of sweat just pushed them on as they were stirred into energetic souls.

At the Special Children's Home Ampaang, it was a matter of swinging the rope over and above  their heads. When shown by their caregivers, it promised fun, just like the trampoline nearby.

 I visited the Rotary Club Kota Bahru  with   rice soy meals in packets and  school shoes for their community visits.Also I brought 50 skipping ropes ready to distribute to the schoolchildren of SK Sultan Ismail 2. With Rotarian Kian Meng, we were warmly greeted by Penolong Kanan, En. Shaidi , teachers and the school children. Full marks to Kian Meng for translating  in Bahasa Melayu what I delivered in English on the benefits of skipping.  Sportingly he  skipped when I sprung a surprise on him , much to the applause of the audience. Kudos to En Shaidi who gamely skipped and sweated. His enjoyment  encouraged the children to join him. That's leading by example! So, in the mid-morning sun the children skipped away.

Nearer home, in Kajang, Rotarians from Pantai Valley with the Altruistic Youths  reached out to Persatuan Kebajikan Kanak Kanak . Besides some provisions for 2 poorly disadvantaged homes, we presented  'goodies' of  rice soy packets, school  shoes and skipping ropes. Everything fell into place . The kids age 5 - 15  watched a video on  the different variations of skipping. Then the real experience got them going. Once started, they could not resist the powerhouse of fun latent in a skipping rope. So, skip away - just carry your exercise aid in your pocket!

All  focused on skipping variations on video.

Ready to spring off and skip.
The fun has begun!
A mid-morning exercise.
Happy with an unexpected gift of skipping ropes.
A different way to enjoy.
Fun in the sun!
Watch the fun.
Skipping in the school hall.
Ready to hear  how to get fun out of a skipping rope.
Let the skipping rope be your health companion!