Nine Emperor Gods On A Rainy Night

Devotees Forming The Procession

8th October, the eve of the 1st day in the 9th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and the beginning of the 2018 Nine Emperor Gods celebrations at a number of Chinese temples in Malaysia. This time of the year also signals the start of the north west monsoon, which brings its share of heavy thunderstorms and rainfall in the coming days until early part of next year. Over in Ampang at the Ong Kau Yah Temple, it was pouring heavily on the night when preparations were afoot to usher the nine emperor gods to the temple and commence with the 9-day celebration program.

Ushering The Gods To The Temple

The gods are there to be received on the day, and regardless of the rain, the procession to receive and usher the gods back to the temple must proceed as planned and scheduled. In fact, having the rain during the welcoming ceremony may just bring more luck and good fortune! The procession started a little later than scheduled for the rain to abate and gradually proceeded through its journey along Jalan Merdeka, then working its way into Jalan Besar Ampang, and ending at the end of the road before turning round for the return trip to the temple after a 40min stop. I am told back in the days when there was less development in the surrounding area, and traffic was manageable, the procession actually goes all the way to the nearby river where the gods are received, nowadays only the chief priests and a limited entourage does that and rejoin the procession with the gods in tow.

Brolly Happy

Devotees and spectators, from near and far, in raincoats or with brollies lined the road shoulders to pray or to spectate. Others without rain protection find cover at the sheltered five foot way, albeit with a less engaging view. Some just braved the rain without a care.

A Brolly Buggy Ride

Fellow associations and temples contribute to the gaiety of the procession with nicely decorated illuminated floats and staple performances like ‘lion dance’ and ‘dragon dance’ to entertain and thrill the crowd. The kids just love the floats and the lion and dragon dances.

Dragon Dancing In The Rain

Shop owners, business owners and homes who are devout Taoist set up makeshift altars complete with all the usual praying paraphernalia to welcome the gods. This is an important and big day in the Taoist celebrations calendar and business can afford to wait while they pay their respects to the gods and pray for good health, fortune, success etc. etc.

Business Takes A Back Seat

Family And Friends Prayer Group

The priests in a trance took turns to ‘visit’ the makeshift altars and offer blessings, at the same time amazing the crowd with their display of self-mutilation feats without causing harm to themselves. It amazes me every time I see this performed, the spiritual forces which is at work making these incredible feats possible.

Priest In A Trance (Medium To The Gods) Visiting And Blessing A Group Of Devotees

A ‘I Don’t Believe I Am Seeing This …’ Moment

It’s a labour of devotion, and an honour ferrying the gods to the temple in the ornate and quaint looking sedans, which I gather is quite a heavy load as the sedans look very robust and well made.

Ferrying The Deities To The Temple

RELA girls and boys were in full attendance to keep the crowd in check and ensure all goes well without mishaps. From my experience attending the event in recent years, I find they do a great job of keeping things in order and under control, at times even under difficult situations, kudos to the RELA girls and boys!

RELA Girls Crowd Control

And it comes together and makes it all worthwhile shooting on a rainy night like this when you get to capture warm candle lit moments like this one … love it :).

Warm Candle Lit Smile

 

Game Stalls Fun

Merry Go Round (Flying Horses), A Classic Ride And Attraction In Any Fun Park

The Euro Fun Park comes to town every year around October time frame at the Stadium Shah Alam car parking area. For a month, its colourful brightly lit ferris wheel and searchlight continuously searching the night sky signals its presence and attract visitors. As a traveling fun park, it’s not an extensive set-up; nevertheless, it still features quite a number of interesting fun rides and game stalls; something for everyone, for an evening of amusement and fun. On my way to the games stalls, this guy beckoned me for a frightening nightmare at his abode … sorry, not tonight, bro, I have a weak heart.

Over at the bingo game stall, a tense moment as the winning numbers were announced, ‘Be Happy’, Bingo …

Be Happy, Play Bingo

It’s not just the product, but how you sell it, this guy was certainly doing a great sales job over at the Neptune Darby, pulling in the crowd …

Come One, Come All, Join Me For A Game Of Neptune Darby

And in comparison with this friendly but less sales oriented guy, the difference is apparent …

Skill, luck and patience is a virtue, when you are fishing for the grand prize Doraemon …

Fishing For Doraemon

All  eyes on where the loop is going to land for a Mickey or Minnie …

Loop A Bottle And Win A Mickey Or A Minnie For The Loved One

The sharpshooter … the stance and handling tells it all, guess how many plush toys he walked away with that night 🙂

The Sharpshooter

Love, your giant teddy bear is on iiiiiiiiits way …

I Can Almost Hear The Cans Crashing

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm 1.4 & XF 23mm 1.4

Hopes And Fears

Duo Busking Along A Busy Street In Downtown Shanghai While A Cyclist Nonchalantly Cycles Pass

These two lads were diligently setting up their gear on a pedestrian walkway next to the junction of Jiujiang Road and Xi Zang Middle Road, downtown Shanghai. It was coming up to 10pm, the roads still busy with traffic and most people making their way home after spending the evening out at the nearby attractions. It was already quite late and I couldn’t work out why they were only setting up shop and performing at such a late hour. One was setting up his drum kit while the other fine tuned his guitar and kicked off with a song while waiting for his buddy get his drum kit ready. These lads certainly spare no effort in getting their sound right, with a full drum kit and commendable sound system in tow to support their performance.

When the drummer was ready, surprise, surprise, they swapped instruments, and kicked off their second song. The guitarist/vocalist now sang a sentimental song, within three four verses into the song, I was impressed, he sounded great, and the drum and guitar arrangement just right, at least to my ears, anyway. I recorded part of their third and forth song that night, hoping to share them with you here, but alas, WP does not allow .wav file uploads with my basic WP subscription. The odd thing was, there wasn’t much of a crowd listening to them the time I was there, maybe their timing was bad or there is too much good talent in Shanghai; I felt sorry for them, they sounded good, and by the looks of it, made a great effort to put up a good show.  After the fourth song, I hesitantly took leave as I did not want to miss the train as it was getting late and I wasn’t sure when’s the last train service.

On the train ride ride, I reflected on the boys performance and wondered what hopes they harbour in their minds, motivating and spurring them on from one performance to the next, with the hope of making it big some day, tempered by fears of what if all their efforts and aspirations were only a dream in vain? From what I saw and heard that night, I certainly wish them the best of luck and every success in realizing their dreams. Godspeed.

Photo: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm