Friday, October 17th, 2003 – Day 241 to Saturday, October 18th, 2003 – Day 242

Friday, October 17th, 2003 – Day 241

I was up around 10.00am and had a shower. Relaxed for a while as it was the first time I have had a window to look out at. Spent the morning wandering around the Dozens of temples here from mosques, to Buddhist to Hindu temples. I spent two hours looking for an Atm. I tried about 5 banks to no avial. I was at last pointed out to a Mabank Branch that took it. It was hard to find and they ahve only one branch here. there must have been 30 people queing for 4 machines. i had visions of selling my stuff in order to buy a ticket abck to KL.

I paid 5 R to enter the ornate Khoo Khongsi temple.

The Chinese who migrated to Southeast Asia created clan associations in their new homes. Based on common heritage, these social groups formed the core of Chinese life in the new homelands. The Khoo clan, who immigrated from Hokkien province in China, acquired this spot in 1851 and set to work building row houses, administrative buildings, and a clan temple around a large square. The temple here now was actually built in 1906 after a fire destroyed its predecessor. It was believed the original was too ornate, provoking the wrath of the gods. One look at the current temple, a Chinese baroque masterpiece, and you’ll wonder how that could possibly be. Come here in August for Chinese operas.

There is also a museum there where the hisitoy of Penang is mentioned. It seems that the different Chinese clans don’t like each other much.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Penang – Roof of Temple. (17-10-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Penang – Khoo Khongsi. (17-10-2003)

From here

The Penang Riots of 1867, was a confrontation within the Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnic groups to the exclusion of the colonial government. The marginalisation of colonial residents was a gesture of defiance, just as the embattled urban space was a challenge to the authority of Empire. Prior to the historic outbreak of 1867, the Chinese secret societies in Penang had waged war against each other in 1858 and in 1864, revealing two major groups of contenders (CO 273-3: 421). It appeared that the Ghee Hin and Tua Pek Kong societies were fighting for territorial dominance and controlling the smaller Associations in the settlement.

The Penang Riots was an eye-opener to the British Government. It was convinced that what started as a quarrel between the Red and White Flag societies during the Awal Muharram (Muslim New Year) festival in 1867 was transformed by their Chinese allies into a full-scale, armed fight pitting 4,000 Red Flag and Tua Pek Kong members against 32,000 of the White Flag and the Ghee Hin. These riots were described as horrible scenes of slaughter and violence that affected not only the town but also outlying areas.

A nice part of the clan temple is that people who receive educational degrees get a name plaque in one of the buildings. You must be male! It seems students work hard not just for themselves but for their family, clan and ancestors. No wonder, the Chinese work for hard. They have the expectations of their fore fathers to push them.

I walked down to the bus station to buy a ticket to Melkaka for tomorrow night. Its a 7 hour bus journey.

A senior Malaysian official Friday defended Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s assertion at an Islamic summit that Jews rule the world. The Malaysian prime minister told leaders of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world’s largest Muslim grouping, that “Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.” Jews, said the Malaysian prime minister, had “invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy” to avoid persecution and gain control of the most powerful countries.

Nothing else of interest to report tonight. It rained a lot! No kidding!

I called into a pub around 11.30. It was quiet and I had a large bottle of Carlsberg for 10 R. I watched 40 Days and 40 Nights which was fun but had nothing to say for itself and Transporter which was pop corn fun but predictable. I like Jason Statham from Snatch though.

I was in bed by 2.00am. It was funny walking home as there were lady boys in the shadows. I could walk around a corner and see some bloke in a mini skirt smoking a fag going hiss, hiss. I walked past 2 on a corner and they gave me a fright. I walked in the middle of the road the rest of the way home 🙁

Saturday, October 18th, 2003 – Day 242

I see Bolivia’s Vice President was sworn in to take over the presidency on Friday after the resignation of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada following a deadly popular revolt in South America’s poorest nation.

Sanchez de Lozada, a free marketeer and key U.S. ally in the anti-drug war, resigned after a month-long revolt by Bolivia’s Indian majority in which more than 70 people died.

I really like that country. Still. The Indian majority were not been represented by there government in issues like coca cultivation, mining, gas exports etc.

This Blog has made a liar out of me. Recently (3/4 days ago) I said the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the world’s highest. It seems Taiwan will have the tallest building in a few days.

The world’s tallest skyscraper was completed in Taiwan on Friday when workmen fitted the pinnacle on to the 508-metre-tall (1,676 ft) Taipei 101 building. The 91-storey structure, in the business district of the capital Taipei, is scheduled to open formally next year. The office building is more than 50 metres (165 ft) taller than the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – formerly the world’s highest skyscraper.

But Taipei 101 is not expected to hold the tallest building title for long.

In China, developers say the Shanghai World Financial Centre will be even higher when it is completed in 2007.

In Malaysia, Prime minister Mahathir said “They have one very tall building, taller than ours, but we have two. We have the distinction of having the tallest twin towers in the world. No one else has that yet,” Mahathir told journalists at a summit of Islamic nations.

In Irish News, Ireland has experienced a massive rise in the number of children born to foreign nationals in recent years. Ireland is the only European Union country that grants automatic citizenship to babies born within its borders.

In 1999, only 2% of babies were born to non-nationals. This year the figure will be almost 20%.

“Most of these women, 70%, are coming from sub-Saharan Africa and the majority of those from Nigeria,” Dr Keane told Ireland’s RTE radio.

I did little today. My bus was t 10.00pm tonight.I spend some time in Kompar shopping mall looking at DVD’s. Its a crazy place. There are 4/5 Shopping plazas all linked together by cross street walk ways. You never know which one you are in. The bus station is located under one of these centres in the dark.

I see Guinness here is labeled FOREIGN EXTRA and is 8% alcohol. That is very high.

I found out the reason why authorities have cracked down on VCD and pirate DVD’s. An employee of Malaysian Airlines (MAS) made a porn movie of his cabin crew colleagues. It went public and the whole country bought it on VCD causing national outrage. The authorities cracked down all (porn) VCD’s. The authorities will now search private homes if they receive tip-offs about people with pornographic VCDs.

“We are just waiting for any information from the public and we have ways to investigate these claims before applying for a warrant to move into these premises,” Home Ministry spokesman Mamat Ibrahim was quoted as saying by the Star.

In penang, copying is at a semi-industrial level. The main shops openly sell them, even in the poshest malls. They all have stock taking software in order to reorder popular titles. They even have loyalty schemes. They had box sets (4 DVd’s) of 3 seasons of the Sopranos, boxsets of sex and the city and buffy and band of brothers. wow. A 4 DVD set of the Sopranos was 60 R. (13 Euro) vs 75 Euro at home (via www.blackstar.co.uk). Even more popular are pirate games and software.

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Penang – Herbal Medicine. (17-10-2003)

I headed down to the bus station at 9.00pm. The bus left on time at 10.00pm even 14 people. It was a normal 52 seater but the air-con was bloody, bloody cold.

We were meant to arrive at 5.00am but did not arrive until 9.00am. It was a cold and uncomfortable ride. The sets did not recline, it was cold inside (warm outside), people were snoring, we had to change buses TWICE. It was also hard to get any information as to when we would get there. The driving skills are not great and we braked nearly dozens of times during the night. At least the roads are in good nick.