Back to The City

Trip Start Feb 20, 2012
Trip End Oct 22, 2012

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Friday, March 2, 2012

Penang Island, Geogetown, the first British Colony on an Island in this area, end of the XVIII Century. We stop here just two nights and three days but it is sufficient to enjoy some of the most beautiful visits of the trip up to now. Khoo Kongsi, the house of the Khoo family, what would be a Clan Club in Europe probably. The Khoo are one of the more powerful family of the City since many many years (would say that while the British arrived and left, the Khoo arrived and became part of the society). The House, is actually a series of buildings among which a really beautiful temple to the Ancient. The Idea of the Family is something really strong, the common roots were pushing this entrepreneurs to pay each three years for a complete study of the the genealogical tree (quite impressive work considering that the family spread all over south east Asia from the south of China to Indonesia. The temple to the ancient is really really beautiful, i can not describe with words how impressed I was.
The Khoo Kongsi is not far away from the Kuang Yin Teng Temple (Temple of Mercy). I'm not a believer, I've never really trusted much in religions having both in Italy and Iran two outstanding examples of how religion can be used against human beings. Based on this background temples, churches, and mosques have fascinated me mostly from the architectural point of view (especially when really big ;-) ) but not really from the spiritual point of view, with few rare exceptions. This is one of them. It is a small temple, nothing specifically rich or beautiful (even if the structure itself is a nice Cantonese temple). Seating outside however gave me a taste of a never changing representation of human life. Three kids begging, hiding from the cameras till the coins haven't tinkled in their plastic glasses. La cour des miracles, just on the other side of the place, under a tree, one of those tree that exist only in the tropical areas: big and explosive in its green. 20, may be 30 people, just waiting under the tree for the food of the temple that is regularly redistributed to them. The devotes walking in and out, offering food and oil and incense to the sacred figures. A Chinese woman comes out from a big new car, her servants start to give first food and then money to the "cour". Few minutes after she comes back and goes away with the car. Haven't even seen the face of the people that she fed (isn't really the face important for saving your soul, isn't it? better to just have someone taking care of distributing her mercy). Less rich devotes come in and go out, each of them stays couple of minutes in front of the temple moving up and down the incense. Each of them asking for a better life or thanking for having it, and praying for having it preserved. Between that tree and the temple thousands (may be millions) of people have walked, with their needs and desires, sorrows and happiness. It seems that each of them have left a peace of that in this place. And if you seat long enough, not rush just to the next temple, you can have a feeling of what i would call a spiritual presence. May be just a stupid thought of a non-believer.
Luckily just few meters later there is a Chinese restaurant (Peace and Joy Cafe), that serve Curry Mee, the best food I had in Malaysia, served with an ice cold glass of apple\lime juice with a small dried plum sinking in. Amazingly good food! Not to miss if you will ever happen to pass by this corner of world (it is in little India, where you can also have some good Roti and Chai served in the perfect Indian style). Food sometimes could be good not only for the body, but also for the soul! (would say always!)

PS Have you noticed something? It is all about the Chinese community, also the old mansions (the Cheong Fatt Tze one has to bi visited! The guided tour is really interesting!) They are influencing the region  since 3\4 hundreds years! And we talk about the rising power, guys this power is rising and spreading since long long time!!!
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