I once believed that South East Asia (which I recently learned during world studies is also called the Asian Maritime) was a place filled with densely populated cities and contained a humidity unknown to most of the Western World. These common beliefs, among others may not have been 100% accurate, but they did carry a bit of weight while I packed my bags earlier last month. Regardless of how much information humans may acquire, generally our introduction to a new topic stays with us. Whether it is a driving force behind our actions or an inkling of a time long past, the “facts” remains.
Example: I know the Skydome is the Roger’s Centre now as much I begrudgingly mutter it. Just as I learned Pluto was a planet, but it is now a dwarf planet (how is Sailor Moon going to explain that one?). Information changes but previous knowledge doesn’t just disappear!
Malaysia is hot though, although not as hot as Tokyo circa 2009, and my hair can reassure you of the humidity. So there is some truth I suppose. Actually; through my own folly in fact, I definitely experienced the heat – and then some!
Story time folks!
The morning of the Batu Caves, I, being the smart teacher I am, decided to wear a jacket on my trek up 272 steps of painted concrete. The day was beautiful, hot; warm enough for me to turn on the air con, and the sky was clear! A truly perfect day.
Normally, wearing something with sleeves would not be an issue. The thing about this jacket was that it was made of leather – undoubtedly the most impractical material – and needless to say, it was incredibly difficult getting my arms out of the sleeves once I was far enough away from the holy site.
Which probably brings light to a now burning question: Silly Sam, why wouldn’t you just remove your jacket? Well because I wanted to respect the place of worship and I highly doubted my backless jumper would do. Particularly because I had joined the prayer line and even knelt in front of the auspicious Hindu God. I could only imagine what the Swami, who was already barking orders at the few and far rude guests that were walking onto the shrine with shoes, would do.
Regardless, wow. What a great experience!
I have been into a few Hindu temples in my twenty-two years of life, but I have never partook in any ceremonies. To be blessed and handed a necklace of flowers, treated to homemade sweets by guests and being able to experience such a place of reverence for so many was truly amazing.
I have to also say a huge thank you to Pyen who took me around the whole day! I am so incredibly grateful for both what she has done since my arrival here and for being the inspiration that she is. So thank you.
Next stop is Thean Hou Temple!