Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Restoring Sri Maha Mariamman Temple In Port Dickson

Indians comprise about 29 percent of Port Dickson's population and they have a large temple in the city. Currently, it's being restored to its former glory, a glory that stretches back more than 100 years. How's the restoration going?

Outside, the covered gopuram still has a presence.

Inside the compound, all sorts of work in progress. 

Displaced sculptures, patiently waiting to be returned to their place in the temple.

Elaborate new painting, with english subtitles. Another look at the renovation.

Icon, looking wistfully at the work.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Port Dickson, Malaysia

About an hour and a half south of Kuala Lumpur, on the straits of Malacca, sits the small town of Port Dickson. It's kind of a gritty place, an old port town that's been spun into a cheap beach resort.

Leisure and commerce, mingling.

Plenty of concrete block hotels with their resort pools.

Coast view from a seaside restaurant. Oil processing is the main industry these days, with a large pier in place for offloading oil tankers.

The tropical fantasy, emblazoned on various surfaces around town. 

Beach view.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Pool Hall, Alor Setar

James stumbled into an old pool hall in Alor Setar, oozing with noir style. It was early afternoon, deserted. Looking at the following images, you can imagine the place smoked filled, characters hidden in the corners. Or just some Chinese housewives looking to shoot some pool on a Tuesday night.

The hall, channeling a little Van Gogh.

Board behind the front counter.

Rack 'em. Channeling William Eggleston.

Potential sea of green?

Royal, political portraits on the way to the bathroom. No matter what type of establishment you visit in Malaysia, there's a good chance you'll spot a set of these type of portraits somewhere in the building. Why should a dingy pool hall be exempt?

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Alor Setar Portraits

A handful of fine folks from the Malaysian city of Alor Setar.

Woman working at a family planning clinic.

Co-worker at the clinic. Petitioner.

NGO worker. He was checking on tree trimming.

Tailor. Drink cart salesman.

Restaurant worker.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Tipping It At The Scales Shops

In a one block section of Chinatown in Alor Setar, you can find at least three scales shops. Not hardware stores that have a section of scales, full blown shops that sell and repair nothing but scales. If you go to that neighborhood looking for a scale and leave empty-handed, you didn't weigh your decision correctly.

Come in, check your balance.

You can get old school analogue or go all hi-tech digital.

James asked this vendor to look at the lens. He should keep his day job.

How does the snow plow driver get to the snow plow? How do you check scale accuracy? Bring on the dead lead. One shop tipped its hat a bit to scale selling history, with a section of a case devoted to some of the stuff it sold many, many years ago.

Beyond the neighborhood, a scale spotted in action.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Paying Respects At Wat Nikrodharam

In addition to coming to pray at the main temple, one of the busier activities at Wat Nikrodharam is honoring loved ones who have died. There's a mausoleum with a large area of tables out front. Pay your respects inside, bring a big feast as an offering and have a little ceremony.

The mausoleum.

Most people have pictures on their space. It's a fast ID to place the age of the person who died and when. A lot of young people are included. On the left, a young woman in her vintage '60's finest look. On the right, tragedy, a child. The juice box offering makes it even sadder.

Prayers at the front of the mausoleum.

The place is busy. Families gather, put out a big spread and pray.

Some of the mausoleum spaces are see-through, showing an urn and other cherished items.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Seeing The Shrines At Wat Nikrodharam

The main temple is impressive, all done up in regal paint, a big Buddha to stare down on you. For something more intimate and arguably more impressive, head around back to a small room crammed with icons. Many months after seeing the place, you may "wax" nostalgic.

The shrine, looking a little like the setup for a team picture.

The monks are are done in wax, so well executed, Madame Tussauds would be jealous. Reclining Buddha, practically a requirement for any legitimate temple.

Dalai Lama?

Give some props to the ladies. There's also a big case nearby, full of little religious trinkets to purchase. In the upper right corner, wood phallus icons. We've seen that theme before.

Last look at a wax buddhist monk, super impressive.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Wat Nikrodharam

The Malaysian city of Alor Setar has a great temple to trek to, Wat Nikrodharam. It was built in 1968 in the regal Thai style, dripping in golden curves and rich illustration. No surprise at the influence, the temple is up north, near the border with Thailand.

The temple complex mostly serves the Chinese Buddhist community, with a sprinkling of Thais and Indians.

The main temple.


Getting creative in depicting the natural world, including 3D trees slithering along the wall painting.

Definitely a place for relaxed contemplation.

More details, a Wall Of Important People and the Big Buddha.

Detail from another shrine in the complex.