JANUARY 2019 | ISSUE 32
FOR YOUR YEAR
IN MALAYSIA ARTS
6 ON THE RADAR
10 OUT & ABOUT
Restaurants in Ho Chi
Your Travel Path for
A Thaipusam Tribute
Sakon Nakhon, Thailand
Miniaturists of Malaysia
32 LOST & FOUND
COVER DESIGN BY
GROUP HEAD & BRANDS
FRANCIS YIP & ANGELA GOH
JESSY WONG & IMRAN SUKRI
SALES & MARKETING
YONG WANG CHING
COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP
PUBLISHCOM ASIA SDN. BHD.
NO. 83–1, JALAN MEDANG SERAI, BUKIT BANDARAYA,
59100 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.
PERCETAKAN TURBO SDN. BHD.
NO. 8, JALAN SEKINCAN 26/9,
SECTION 26, SHAH ALAM 40000, MALAYSIA.
The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those
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taken in compiling the magazine, the publisher shall not be held liable for
any omission, error or inaccuracy. Please notify the publisher in writing of
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WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 3
2018 has come and gone in a blink of an eye.
Especially among us, some resolutions have
yet to be fulfilled but fret not as I believe that
being affirmed in our past will give us the strength
and courage to hope for the future.
To me, new year always pave out a few things that
we can all appreciate in Malaysia. No matter where
I go, the peace and cultural diversity in the country
makes me proud and grateful to call this place home.
This January, Thaipusam is celebrated among the
Malaysian Indian community across the country and
see how you can be part of the religious and cultural
festivity on page 8.
While we observe the festivity of self-humility
and penance, it is also a good chance to learn more
about ourselves through metaphysics. Numerology
specialist Mitra Chen explains what 2019 can bring
to our personal destinies on page 16 and from there,
I hope you’ll have fun finding out your own Life Path
number to decide on your travel path for this year.
Make every day count and may your new year be
fruitful and adventurous!
A DROWNING PLEA
My kingdom extends far and wide and I govern most lives on the planet; from the floor of
the sea to the peak of the sky. As the king, I provide a living for millions of creature but I
no longer have the power to protect them.
The army of streams like river to canals are endlessly under attack. Solid wastes and
leaking oil are our enemies that have invaded our space; degrading our health, threatening
our lives and ecosystem.
My residential fishes, marine mammals and corals alongside our tourists, the seabirds,
are dying from my polluted kingdom. Likewise, the acidification is bleaching my beloved
reefs and killing shellfishes.
Another vexing reality lies on the surface where unwanted garbage became neglected
islands on my territory. To date, numerous endangered turtles and vulnerable whales have
succumbed to the pollutants.
The fate of my kingdom is now up to you to restore what was once beautiful and
healthy. Reducing plastic consumption, proper waste disposal and community clean ups
could be one’s solution to this destructive war.
Read our magazine
exclusively in Aerobus
airport shuttles or
bring home a copy of
GOASIAPLUS with you at
these pick-up points below:
INFORMATION COUNTER AT
DEPARTURE MAIN TERMINAL
& SATELLITE BUILDING
SATELLITE BUILDING &
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ON THE RADAR
GET UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HAPPENINGS ON
TRAVEL, HOTEL OPENINGS, FOOD OFFERS AND
TRENDING FASHION AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA
in Southern China’s
welcomes the first
Grand Mercure Foshan
Country Garden–in the
city. Inspired by the
historical Shabei Village,
the hotel’s interior
reflect the local culture
with ceramic art and
offers a mountainous
view of Xunfeng
Mountain. Opening rates
starts from RMB429 nett
HONG KONG WELCOMES
Tokyo’s top wagyu specialist restaurant,
Wagyumafia debuts its first overseas
branch at Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Known
for their unique fat-marbling and
authentic Japanese-reared premium
beef, this exclusive restaurant
will include their world-famous
Cutlet Sandwich to yakiniku and
shabu shabu of the Kobe beef.
Dinner are available through
reservations on Tock only.
32 Oi Kwan Road,
BEWARE OF THE DANGER SERIES
Yoke & Theam relaunched its anticipated
signature design from 2015. Adding more
variations to the local brand’s collection
sees best-seller Ace sandals redone
in mesh or microfiber material while
Picabo sandals comes in matt or glossy
leather. Both sandals are loved for their
inner cushion and comfortable insole for
MRS JONES’ MAGIC POTION
Taste specially crafted drinks at Petaling Jaya’s
new homely hangout spot at Mrs Jones’ Parlour
that serves exclusive cocktails, a selection of wines
and unrivalled in-house gin and tonic in a rather
nostalgic ambience of a 70s residence. The bar and
dinner place opens from 5pm till 1am daily.
617A, Jalan 17/10, Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya
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HAVE A HAPPY JOURNEY!
ATELIER COLOGNE DEBUT IN KLIA
Inspired by its boutiques worldwide, the
Parisian brand marks its first Southeast
Asia airport pop-up concept for travellers.
One can venture into the scents and
fragrances of Atelier Cologne and
purchase personalised leather case for
fragrance bottles with engraved name or
initials. The pop-up is available from now
until end of February 2019.
Satellite Building, Kuala Lumpur
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL IN
Travellers to Singapore can feel and
experience the local roots through
the new experiential local tour
and workshops hosted by Grand
Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.
Exclusive for in-house guests, they
can embark on a complimentary
half-day heritage tour at Tiong Bahru
neighbourhood on every Saturday.
The campaign runs from now until 31
FIRST HALAL CUISINE IN
ASIA’S CRUISE SHIP
Dream Cruises is the only cruise ship
in the Asia to be certified Halal in its
line of food and beverages on board
at The Lido restaurant in Genting
Dream cruise ship. Genting Dream
deploys from Singapore to exciting
venues in Penang, Phuket, Surabaya,
North Bali and others all year round.
Go crazy with Sony’s new Bluetooth
noise cancelling headphones. The
innovative WI-C600N lightweight
neckband eliminates loud
distractions and let you switch to
surrounding ambient sound easily
by pushing a button. The built-in
microphone is also compatible
with Google Assistant and Siri for
listening to music and making calls
Available in Sony Stores and
authorised retailers in Malaysia
8 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
OUT & ABOUT
LOOK OUT FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF
THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND
STORY PARTY MALAYSIA
A live storytelling show put professional storytellers
in the limelight sharing true experiences in dating
whether it is good or bad ugly dating stories. The Story
Party world tour even won an award of “Online Dating
Alternative” playing to sold out audiences in more than
60 countries across the world.
PJ Live Arts, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Join the Ponggal festival in Penang
surrounded by a sacred atmosphere
at the local temple featuring various
cultural presentations. Ponggal is a
harvest festival observed by Tamils to
give thanks to the Sun God in hope
for a successful harvest. Enjoy the traditional
sweet Ponggal dish to complete the experience.
Kuil Dewi Sree Veerapathra Maha Kaliamman,
Bagan Ajam, Butterworth
BTS WORLD TOUR LOVE YOURSELF
They are the first South Korean band/artists
to top the Billboard 200 chart consecutively
with their music and cultivating an awardwinning
social media presence. Also
known as Bangtan Boys or Bulletproof Boy
Scouts, the band will be promoting the
‘Love Yourself’ album series in their third
National Stadium, Singapore
THE FAIRY DOLL
Brought to you by Asia
Ballet Academy, The
Fairy Doll brings you
through a journey of
dreams and adventure
in toy forms. Among tin
soldiers, bunny, music
box and many other, The
Fairy Doll is the most
beautiful toy of all with
her magic powers that
encourages love and
LONDON’S WEST END MEN IN CONCERT
Along with the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, a cast of talented musicians
and actors are performing together on the prestigious platform. West End’s top
musicians such as Daniel Koek, Hugh Maynard and Oliver Tompsett will be joined
by Harriet Jones, the lead in Phantom of the Opera as a special guest.
Thailand Cultural Centre, Bangkok, Thailand
10 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
OTHER THAN A SURPRISE PROPOSAL, THERE
SHOULD BE NO CAUSE FOR HAVING WEAK KNEES
ALL THE TIME. CONSTANT BACK ACHE AND JOINT
DISCOMFORT MIGHT WARRANT SYMPTOMS OF
ORTHOPAEDIC PROBLEMS. SO, BE INFORMED AS
ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON, DR KUNASELAN, GETS TO
THE BASIS OF BONE CARE AND OTHER PRECAUTIONS.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ORTHOPAEDIC
PROBLEMS IN OUR LIFESTYLE TODAY?
Compared to 30 years ago, there are more
outdoor engagements in the society. These days,
people spend most of their time indoors, sitting in
a confined area that limits their movements. This
eventually leads to frequent neck, shoulder and
hand pain. Besides, not having enough exposure
to sunlight can affect the bone density in a long
run. Sunlight is the top natural source of vitamin
D to improve bone health so do take some time
off to be outside on a sunny day.
CAN PHYSICAL FITNESS PREVENT
Practicing a simple active lifestyle can reduce the
risk of orthopaedic diseases. Make it a habit and
instill daily physical activities by walking more and
taking the stairs instead of elevators. For people
who sits in a prolonged time, it is recommended to
spend time in between to walk as an exercise.
HOW DOES YOUNG PEOPLE COMMONLY
SUFFER FROM ORTHOPAEDIC ISSUES?
Presently, most young adults get joint injuries
from sports. It is essential to warm up your body
properly before engaging in physical activities. Also,
there are higher tendencies of getting injuries from
playing indoor sports like futsal as there are no
shock absorptions on hard surfaces as compared to
playing on fields.
IF ONE SUFFER FROM A SPRAIN WHILE
TRAVELLING, WHAT ARE THE QUICK
WAYS TO ALLEVIATE THE PAIN?
For immediate action, use ice on the affected area
to reduce swelling. Otherwise, menthol oil that
consist methyl salicylate gives cool soothing effect
to the injured area.
IN LONG FLIGHTS, HOW CAN ONE
STAY COMFORTABLE AND AVOID
It is advisable to pick aisle seats for elderly
people for more convenience to stretch.
Constant movement of limbs can avoid deep vein
thrombosis, blood clot in veins for older patients.
There is also a high vulnerability for older people
to get fractures or back ache from bad
turbulence so use additional supports like
back and neck pillows for comfort.
1, Jalan 1/96A, Taman Cheras Makmur,
56100 Kuala Lumpur
SCAN FOR SPECIAL
Dr Kunaselan Muthiah
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
IN HO CHI
YOUR CULINARY ADVENTURE CAN BE
IMMENSELY IMMERSIVE, DINING IN
OUTLETS DRIVEN BY PHILANTHROPIC
AIMS IN HO CHI MINH CITY.
Text ANGELA GOH Photos NOIR, BLANC & KOTO SAIGON
Some dining experiences can take on a
whole new meaning. Dedicated to uplifting
the lives of disadvantaged groups, these
social enterprise outfits employ and provide
culinary-hospitality training to street children,
orphans and those with disabilities. Here are
several inspiring restaurants which serve good
food for good causes.
Blanc, occupying the same beautifully restored
French colonial-era building which houses
Noir, is staffed by a team of 11 dedicated and
enthusiastic staff who are hearing-impaired.
“We had extra dining rooms and like the idea
of a restaurant in the ‘light’. Also, with several
deaf people working at Noir, we thought why not
give them their own restaurant?” says Germ, cofounder
of Blanc, which opened in 2017.
The hearing-impaired in Vietnam face a high
rate of unemployment, while those who work are
often relegated to poorly-paid, unskilled jobs,
Germ explains. A portion of Blanc’s profits are
channelled to charities working with the hearingimpaired,
including those which provide hearing
aids to children who are hearing-impaired.
How the dining works:
Diners are encouraged
to communicate in sign
language to help get
you acquainted with the
“new” language. Fret not;
there are pictographs of
Vietnamese sign language
on the menu. But feel free
to order with pen and
paper or just point to the
Beef soup and Norwegian
Hai Ba Trung Street,
Da Kao Ward, District 1.
+84 28 6266 3535
12 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Food Guide who will serve the
food and drinks, and is available to
answer questions. After the meal is
completed, diners will be led back
to the lounge where the mystery
of their meal will be uncovered as
they are informed about the kind of
dishes they had been served.
NOIR – DINING IN THE DARK
If you want to take dining to a higher sensory level,
try it in the realm of darkness. Deprived of the sense
of sight or blind tasting, diners at Noir embark on a
culinary journey heightened by other senses - taste,
smell, touch and sound.
Founded in 2014, Noir aims not only for diners to
fully appreciate a sense that so many of us take for
granted, but create job opportunities and promote
awareness about the visually impaired in Vietnam.
“Just like other people with disabilities, they
often live on the margins of society. In Noir, we turn
this around by putting them in charge,” says Germ,
referring to the team of 11 visually impaired servers.
How the dining works:
This unique gastronomic journey
begins at the lounge where welcome
drinks are served and diners can
select from one of three mystery
menus (each is a three-course meal
where the dishes are undisclosed).
The menu from the East is
Asian/Vietnamese while the menu
from the West is international/
European, both of which change
every four months. The vegetarian
menu changes twice a year. As you
can guess, wine pairing is also a
mystery. Diners then play with a
game to heighten their sense of
touch. After that, they are led to the
darkened dining room by a blind
Contemporary Asian and Western.
The current menu is, literally, kept
in the dark, so a glimpse of its
past menu will give an idea of the
dishes served. Aimed at delighting
the senses, the items range from
the familiar to the exotic – prawn
tomyum soup, vegetable lasagne,
pan-fried seabass, slow-roasted
marinated duck breast and basil
178 Hai Ba Trung District 1
+84 8 6263 2525 / +84 9 8663 2525
KOTO SAIGON - A TRAINING RESTAURANT
Founder Jimmy Pham, a Vietnamese-Australian on his
first visit to Vietnam in 1996, was struck by the plight
of street children. He set out to ask some of them what
they wanted out of life, to which they replied: “We need
skills so we can find stable jobs.”
That sparked his concept for Koto (“Know One,
Teach One”), a not-for-profit social enterprise aimed
at transforming the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged
youths through a holistic training programme. Students
learn English, culinary and hospitality management and
life skills (healthy living, personal financing, first aid,
communication and among many others).
Koto started in Hanoi as a small sandwich shop with
only nine trainees in 1999; the first restaurant opened a
year later, and another in Saigon in 2010.
Almost a thousand young
people have graduated from
Koto, with about 200 in training.
Both training restaurants which
serve as venues for trainees
to practice their hospitality
skills also partially sponsors
the training programme. Every
six months, 40 disadvantaged
youths (16-22 years old) are
recruited and after graduating
from two years of training, they
are able to work in five-star
hotels, resorts and restaurants in
Vietnam and overseas.
Southeast Asian and Western.
The Set Met is a crowd-pleaser
for a two-person date. It
comprises of seven dishes:
stuffed pork, beef roll, green
mango salad, crispy duck
wontons, salt and pepper frogs,
pork satay, and lotus fried rice.
A three-course set lunch is priced at
98,000 Vietnamese dong.
19 Nguyen Dinh Chieu,
Da Kao Ward, District 1.
+84 28 3822 9357
It is a non-profit restaurant that
provides culinary training for
orphaned and disadvantaged
children around Vietnam
operated by Aid for Children
Without Parents at Ward Dakao,
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 13
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PATH FOR 2019
ACCORDING TO NUMEROLOGY, EVERYONE HAS A LIFE
PATH NUMBER. METAPHYSICS PROFESSIONAL MITRA
CHEN SHARES THE WAY TO KNOW YOUR OWN MASTER
NUMBER AND LEARN HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR TRAVEL
PATTERN FOR THE NEW YEAR.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos ADOBE STOCK, GETTY IMAGES & AIRASIAGO
16 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Everything in life has a meaning. Down to the
date of our births. Birthday is not just a mere
age indicator as the numbers that welcomed
us to the world can say a lot about us. Thus, we sat
down with Mitra Chen, a metaphysics professional,
to let you discover your individuality and pave your
journey for this new year.
Based on numerology and metaphysics beliefs,
the core of each personality is found in the Life Path
number. It can also influence the energy around you
and lay out the course of your life.
However, the effect of your Life Path number is
set to transform every year. For example, one’s Life
Path number is 2 but for 2019, her Personal Year
number equals to 6. Mitra explained that each year
can bring a unique theme to each individual.
3HOW TO GET STARTED
F Life Path Number
Add all the numbers of your date of birth until you get a single digit number.
Eg: 16 December 1997
(1+6) + (1+2) + (1+9) + (9+7)
7 + 3 + 10 + 16 = 36
3 + 6 = 9
F Personal Year Number
Replace your year of birth with the current year of 2019
Eg: 16 March 2019
(1+6) + (0+3) + (2+0) + (1+9)
7 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 13
1 + 3 = 4
Always add any two digits number singularly as a body of its own.
To simply put it, Life Path number reflects your
lifelong character but Personal Year number will lay
out what you may experience in the coming year.
Numerology is a good way to find out your true
weaknesses and strength through Life Path number
and let you decide your own path in every Personal
Have fun finding out what 2019 may bring to
your lot! Be prepared either it is a new experience,
obstacles or opportunities, there are always
something to learn by the end of the day. As Mitra
believes it, everyone’s life destiny is in our hands and
it will always be up to us to design it.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 17
F Life Path:
As a leader, you are
independent and trust
yourself more than
could be domineering
in a group so be
mindful when you
GUIDE TO TRAVEL
F Personal Year:
The intensity of
it perfect for solo
travelling to feed your
Backpacking is a good
opportunity for you to
plan and prepare your
own travel itinerary.
GAP Suggests: Osaka, Japan
Osaka is probably the best place to start your
footprints in Japan. Enveloped by Kyoto and Nara,
one may effectively travel around the Kansai region
on railway lines without breaking your wallet; making
it possible to experience the modern Japanese city in
all its entirety in a budgeted solo trip.
F Life Path:
companionship and be
of service to others.
With your sensitivity
and big heart, you
normally act as a
mediator in your
to create harmony.
Sometimes, you can
be overly dependent.
F Personal Year:
The need to feel
loved and valued is
strong so this engage
in romantic retreats
or activities this year
to closely grow and
with your spouse
F Life Path:
As a master of selfexpression,
life in pure joy and
optimism that enjoys
cultural and artful
things. You are playful
but when needed, you
are focused in your
tasks and sometimes
may feel impatient
F Personal Year:
Remaining in your
will make you will
feel restless. Be it in
or spending the day
out, travelling is a way
to quench your thirst
and create chances to
meet new people.
GAP Suggests: Andaman and Nicobar, India
Havelock island is the idyllic place to go with skycovered
palm trees, bronzed tan and tropical vibes
for romance to sizzle. The picturesque and peaceful
place boasts of exotic snorkelling and scuba diving
for couples to undertake. One might even go for a
midnight bath in the coastal waters.
GAP Suggests: Bangkok, Thailand
Meet and mingle with people in one of Asia’s most
metropolitan scene. Pick from sophisticated clubs,
rooftop bars to partying at the streets, you may find
something to feed the party spirit at your natural
playground. To name a few, Khao San Road and
Thonglor Soi 10 are the hot millenials’ spots.
18 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
F Life Path:
Among your family and
friends, you are the one
they depend on. You are
a well-organised planner
and are keen to share
with others. Others may
perceive your strong will
as a trait of stubbornness.
F Personal Year:
Your rationality makes
you grounded with
things that are good
for you or the society.
your determination to
do social work while
travelling can be a great
personal mission and
show support for the
F Life Path:
You are all about
world with innate
big changes to
small actions, you
are fearless to see
what the world can
offer. The love of
freedom may cause
you to lose focus of
F Personal Year:
spirit is strong
and will make you
want to explore out
of your common
As long as you
it can get your
GAP Suggests: Siem Reap, Cambodia
There are many ways to contribute in Cambodia.
Profits from Charity Tours Cambodia go to community
developments projects and shopping Khmer silks at
Artisans D’Angkor help to support the local artisans. You
may also learn something from the Elephant Valley Project
that promote elephant conservation.
GAP Suggests: Cebu, Philippines
Cebu is an extraordinary island for various
exploration. Risk-takers can dive with sharks and
sea turtles at Moalboal diving spot, trek the path
at Osmena Peak, the highest point in the island
or go canyoning at the popular waterfall sites. For
a break, taste fresh Philippines seafood by the
clear waters and white beaches.
F Life Path:
Family is everything
to you. Besides,
you are driven to
manage and help
you know how
to balance your
are more likely to
be your own boss.
F Personal Year:
around you to be
You are more likely
to splurge on your
family so family
trips and gatherings
can bring the best
out of you.
GAP Suggests: Jakarta, Indonesia
City travel has much to offer for every
generation in the family. There are cultural
engagements, local markets and delicious fares
to bond over with. Family-friendly activities
include catching a show at Jakarta Arts Theatre
and kids will delight in a trip to Taman Safari,
the wildlife park.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19
F Life Path:
You are both a thinker and a
seeker. You live a lot in your
head to do self-reflection and
directing the intuitive side in
you. By doing that, you may
feel that others do not see
the world in the same way
F Personal Year:
Self-exploration is an
excellent theme for travelling
to be on a personal, eat pray
love kind of journey. The
urge to seek for your true self
and inner peace will allow
you to develop internally.
GAP Suggests: South Jeolla Province, South Korea
Away from the cityscape, Chungnyeongsan Mountain in Jangseong
County is a cypress forest covered landscape. It is also known as
the ‘healing forest’ for trekkers to undergo a retreat of senses.
Meditating in the scenic forest can rejuvenate one’s body and mind
in the refreshing cypress-scent air.
F Life Path:
world is in your
hands if you
know your power.
With the right
and learning path,
you can succeed
in your goals and
F Personal Year:
One may face
stress and be
their goals to meet
material needs so
going away from
the earthly calls
can be a pleasant
change to find
GAP Suggests: Sarawak, Malaysia
Embrace the local culture at the country’s
most diverse indigenous state at Sarawak
Cultural Village. The award-winning interactive
museum has a lot to offer about its ethnic
groups through traditional dances, costume
galleries, cultural food and lifesize replicas
of longhouses for one to truly experience its
F Life Path:
Passion is your
to achieve anything
you want. You are
wise and creative in
reaching your goal
to boot, you are
charitable and are
happy to lend your
hand to others.
F Personal Year:
Feel a heightened
pilgrim travel. By
you can learn to let
go things of the past.
GAP Suggests: Lhasa, Tibet
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to be impressed
by Tibet’s breathtaking landscapes, the pilgrims’
faith and holy sites. Lhasa literally means ‘place
of the Gods’. The colourful townscape in peaceful
surroundings can easily move anyone. Note that
independent travel in Tibet is not allowed so do
prearrange a tour.
MORE ON METAPHYSICS
Mitra Chen is a metaphysics professional with specialities in bazi, qimen dunjia, fensghui, date selection and numerology. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she is also the
founder of Joy Mitra Resources that provides freelance personalised consultation to individuals and corporate clients. Contact Mitra at email@example.com
or call +6014-3301569 for personal analysis.
20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
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THAIPUSAM IS ONE OF THE MAIN HINDU CELEBRATIONS
IN MALAYSIA AND IS THE BIGGEST FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD
DEDICATED TO THE HINDU GOD MURUGAN. A DAY OF
PRAYERS AND PENANCE, THAIPUSAM IS ALSO A FESTIVAL
OF THANKSGIVING TO MURUGAN FOR VOWS FULFILLED.
Text ANGELA GOH • Photos ADOBE STOCK
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Thaipusam is not Murugan’s birthday. Vaikhasi
Vishakam, which falls in either May or June, is
F How It Is Celebrated
Thaipusam festivities take place over three days.
48 Days Prior
Devotees exercise abstinence leading up to the
festival, forgoing any manner of gluttony, luxury and
desire. They observe complete fasting or eat a simple
vegetarian meal or some fruit and milk once a day.
They observe strict celibacy and refrain from
alcohol, smoking, vulgarity and even entertainment.
They sleep on the floor, wake before sunrise for
meditation and chants and take a customary
Thaipusam is celebrated during a full moon in
the Tamil month of “Thai” (the 10th month in
the Tamil calendar, coinciding with January or
February). “Pusam” means “when the star is at
Thaipusam festival commemorates the occasion
when Parvati Devi gave her son Murugan (also
known as Subramaniam) a spear or Vel, so he could
vanquish a demon.
Besides representing virtue, youth and power,
Hindus also believe Murugan is the universal
dispenser of favours. Some who have made vows
and pledges to Murugan show their gratitude by
undergoing self-mortification on Thaipusam day.
They often perform acts of self-sacrifice, piercing
their skin with silver skewers that symbolise the Vel
or with hooks from which they hang fruits or bowls
On The Eve
After completing the 48 days of abstinence, the
devotees must observe a 24-hour fast. Some may also
observe a vow of silence.
The procession with Murugan’s chariot goes from
one temple to another main temple. Clad in yellow
and saffron (Murugan’s colours) with clean-shaven
heads (symbol of humility and atonement), devotees
walk barefoot to a temple of Murugan carrying the
kavadi or milk pots.
On reaching the end of the route, the kavadi is
laid down and the hooks which have been attached
to the skin of the devotee’s body are removed while
a priest chants amid an elaborate ceremony with
drumming and music. The wounds are treated with
The chariot returns to the temple.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23
F Climbing Steps
All Murugan temples are situated on top of a hill as
Siva ordered him to be situated atop Mount Palani
in south India. Following this, devotees are required
to hike up to the temples carrying the kavadi and
offerings to Murugan.
Kavadi derives from the words “kaavu” and “tadi”
which means a pole to carry things. It is believed
that the burden in the life of a devotee who carries
a kavadi is lessened by Murugan. A kavadi consists
of a short wooden pole topped with a wooden arch,
decorated with peacock feathers (Murugan’s mascot
is the peacock), margosa leaves and other materials.
F Milk Pot (Paal Kudam)
Most women devotees carry a pot of milk which is
poured over the statue of Murugan at the end of the
procession. It is believed that when devotees pour
milk onto a deity, elixir is extracted from it.
Tongue and cheek piercing symbolise the sacrifice
of giving up speech and talking (to fully focus on the
F Shaving of Heads
This is to remove ego and vanity.
Another spectacle that you will witness during the
Thaipusam celebration is the breaking of coconuts.
This is an act of purification and humility upon
attaining wisdom. In Malaysia, even non-Hindu
devotees are sometimes seen breaking coconuts to
fulfil their vows.
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WHERE IN MALAYSIA
F Kuala Lumpur
The night before Thaipusam, devotees gather at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
along Jalan Tun HS Lee (Chinatown/Petaling Street area). From there, they
leave around midnight on a 15-km (8-hour) walk to Batu Caves, arriving the next
morning. The long trip culminates in the flight of 272 steps to the cave entrance.
On Thaipusam day, various types of colourful kavadis would be carried up 248
steps to reach the Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple or the Penang Waterfall
Hilltop Temple at Jalan Kebun Bunga. The main road that leads to the hilltop will
be decorated with cultural motifs called kolam.
The chariot procession starts from Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Sungai
Pari to the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunong Cheroh, Ipoh, Perak.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Devotees who carry kavadi for Thaipusam are recommended to fast from sunrise
to sunset, or observe vegetarianism. Breaking of fast with a satvic meal involves
eating fruit and nuts in the morning and having a light meal of idli and thosai
at sunset. This is part of the cleansing process to keep the body light for the
procession and arduous climb ahead. Devoid of stimulants, such as caffeine and
chocolate, this diet is believed to lead to clarity of mind and physical health.
1 Lord Murugan Statue at Batu Caves is also the tallest statue
in Malaysia 2 Thaipusam ceremony at Batu Caves 3 Religious
Indian praying rituals 4 Fruits and flowers offering for the
festival 5 A devotee with shaved head 6 Male kavadi bearer with
piercings 7 Smashing of coconuts to attain wisdom 8 A colourful
temple in limestone hill
• On top of fasting, devotees sleep on the floor
without pillows throughout the 48 days
• The task of carrying a kavadi is considered
very sacred and it is believed that this can
only be done when one’s mind and body are
free from earthly pleasures. Kavadi bearers
who have been pierced are said to feel no pain
• While male devotees carry kavadi, female
devotees often carry milk pots. Both genders
however, can subject themselves to body
piercings should they wish.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 25
ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
BUILT IN THE 11TH CENTURY, THE ANCIENT
CITY OF THAILAND LEADS A SACRED
BUDDHIST SOCIETY NOTABLE FOR THEIR
TRADITIONS, VARIOUS FOREST TEMPLE
MEDITATION RETREATS, ROYAL SITES AND
Text JESSY WONG
Photos ADOBE STOCK & CHUAN THANAPANYA RESORT
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Bangkok and transit at Don Mueang
International Airport as AirAsia has daily direct
flight to Sakon Nakhon Airport. Otherwise,
budget travellers can go there by bus from
Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal or take a train to
neighbouring town at Udon Thani and continue the
journey via bus.
WHERE TO STAY
Seekers of local and traditional touch to their stay
may consider Chuan Thanapanya Resort made of
wooden and brick houses. It may be out of town but
guests may enjoy additional perks at the resort’s hot
tubs, gardens, karaoke and hot spring bath.
WHERE TO EAT
Sakon Nakhon main produce are rice and fishes so do
expect these in most its local Thai dishes. If you dare,
try their local delicacy of deep-fried insects, bird
meat and snakes at their markets. International fares
and French cuisine can also be found in Ban Fa Prong
Coffee & Bakery and Buckstawk Coffee House.
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WHAT TO DO
Embrace the calm and sacred surroundings at
Wat Phra That Cherng Chum, a local temple
at the city that features the footprints of four
Buddhas. For a cultural experience, visit Sakon
Nakhon Cultural Centre or go for a tour at Ban
Non Rua village famously known for their perfect
art of indigo-dyed fabrics made from kram plants.
Take a boat ride at Thailand’s second largest
lake, Nong Han, to reach its offshore isle of
Don Sawan. Phu Phan National Park is another
great place of interest for outdoor explorers.
Be enveloped with limestone mountains and
savannahs while you spend the day at waterfalls,
flower plain and camping with wildlife.
Sakon Nakhon Wax
Castle Festival is
an art and cultural
in October every
castles are paraded
along the streets.
A handwoven fabric
with natural bark
dye made with
weaving would be
The monument in
Wat Phra That
temple is the face
of Thailand’s tensatang
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SOMETIMES, GREAT THINGS COMES IN SMALL SIZES. LOVE IT AS AN
ART DISPLAY OR FLAUNT IT AS AN ACCESSORY, THESE ARTISTS HAVE
MASTERED THE KNACK OF MAKING EVERY INCH COUNTS.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos DIORAMA, PICOWORM & TINYPINC
A piece of miniature art is basically anything
that can be held in the palm of the hand.
These small sculptures or objects are more
often than not a replica of the reality, scaled down to
the smallest size imaginable.
Dating back millenniums ago, miniature art
or painting can be traced as a collector’s hobby to
gather miniature paintings, drawings and sculptures.
Although it is not common, the miniature trend has
been timeless. Perhaps, the most popular miniature
art that the masses can relate to is a dollhouse.
Well that, is about to change. Contemporary
miniaturists of Malaysia show their love for the
country by remaking their favourite childhood
memories, creating culture, forming foods and
constructing buildings. They never missed anything
down to the tiny little bits of details and it will make
one to fall in love with all things Malaysian, again.
A veteran artist on Malaysian grounds, Eddie Putera,
is an expert in the business of art from painting,
sculpting and photography for as long as 20 years.
Pre-armed with skills and natural talent., he ventured
into diorama and miniature art that he calls “an
extension of my visual stories from 2D to 3D”.
Eddie’s work resonates with most Malaysians
as he is keen to built based on memories of things
from the past. He wishes his art could be a historical
archive for the future generations. “I try to replicate
the materials and the effect of weather on buildings,
vehicle and landscape so that they be as realistic as
possible. That is why [my creation has] the rust and
Also a frequent traveller, Eddie takes his
references from his collection of pictures as an
inspiration to create. “It takes from 4-8 weeks for me
to complete my projects. And I could be working on
3-4 projects at the same time.” His proudest project
so far is a diorama he did on the story of successful
people from Malaysia; which was filmed into a
3-minute short movie for Independence Day.
Eddie works on commission basis and his
collection are also available purchase on his website.
GET IT ONLINE AT G
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 29
Just in her twenties, Lim Pui Wan artfully evokes
nostalgia and memories with PicoWorm. It is a dream
come true for her to become a miniature artist. From
saving money through part-time jobs to buy her first
supplies and tools, Pui Wan has accomplished more
than what she humbly aspires today–tugging the
hearts of many with PicoWorm’s miniatures.
‘PicoWorm’ exhibits someone who loves and
devotes her time in making miniatures. To break it
down for you, ‘Pico’ is a small unit in metric system
and ‘Worm’ is derived from the word, bookworm as
someone who loves to read. Besides, P.W. can also
stand as her initials!
As an artist, Pui Wan turns anything she saw or
experienced into her artwork in detail. Inspired by
her grandmother, her famous Nanyang Kitchen set
took her 5 months to complete. Another personal
collection is the Ban Fong Provision Shop that
serves as a remembrance of her childhood. “Realistic
miniatures can reminisce their past memories, and
the feeling of missing the old days.” Pui Wan shares.
PicoWorm miniatures are normally made to order
and if you’re lucky, she also sells limited pieces of her
GET IT ONLINE AT G
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“The tiny little bits
of details will make
one to fall in love with
all things Malaysian,
According to the founder, ‘TinyPinc’ is a play of words:
Tiny for small, Pinc is supposedly the colour of pink
which reflects something cute. Ling Hooi Yin, preferably
known as Ling, used to spend hours on Youtube learning
how to make things with polymer clay. It is a hobby to
de-stress from college. Fast forward to 9 years later,
TinyPinc is noted for making miniatures into accessories
like stud earrings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces.
Malaysians take their food seriously and Ling takes
the extra step of turning Malaysian food into miniatures
to wear. Ling cheerfully adds, “people buy for their
friends and family who couldn't eat Malaysian food for
years. That makes me happy because they get to own a
little piece of Malaysia.”
Ling shares that her famous durian art took her 10
hours to complete the husk as she meticulously shaped
each thorn. Sincerely handmade, one may find their
favourite smaller-than-bite-sized nasi lemak, char kway
teow, traditional kuih (desserts), sweets and even plastic
bag drinks to accessorize with.
You may also try your hand in making miniatures
with Ling. TinyPinc organises workshops from time
to time. TinyPinc miniatures are available on sale in
selected stores in Malaysia and Singapore and Ling also
accepts customised orders.
GET IT ONLINE AT G
Go to our website to read the artists’
full interviews online.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 31
LOST & FOUND
Text and photos
Language is the soul of a nation. As a multiracial
nation, Malaysia has speakers of over 137
living languages with 41 of them are found in
Peninsular Malaysia.* Malaysia practices the freedom
of languages. We have Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban,
Dusunic or Kadazan languages, and our official
language is the Malay language.
Over the decades, languages have evolved so
much. Technology terminology made their way
into some languages, enriching it further. However,
some are facing extinction as speakers of the native
languages prefer to use other main languages.
In fact, Etnologue Report, a database of the
world’s 7,000-plus languages claimed some 80
percent of 137 languages in Malaysia are considered
“endangered” in which the speakers are mainly the
LOST IN WORDS
My niece couldn’t speak any Chinese dialect. Like
most Chinese Malaysian children today, she was
raised to communicate in Mandarin and English
although Cantonese is my brother’s mother tongue.
The declining state of Chinese dialects as mother
tongue, like Penang Hokkien is not surprising.
Chinese independent schools emphasise on
Mandarin over other dialects while national schools
focus on Malay and English language.
The state of ethnic languages in other parts
of Malaysia also saw a decline. For the Melaka’s
Portuguese Eurasian community, those aged below 45
are less fluent in their Cristang or Creole language..
And most younger generation of Lun Dayeh, a
minority ethnic group in north-eastern Sabah and
Lun Bawang, Sarawak speak Malay at home because
of mixed marriages and school.
I remember my grandma used to speak Toi
Shanese language, which originated from Taishan, the
city in southwest of Guangdong, China. The Toi Shan
community used to be a close-knit community in
King Street, George Town, Penang. Today, this dialect
is less spoken among the community.
On a brighter note, linguists have recently
found a language, Jedek which is spoken by about
280 people of the community which once foraged
along the Pergau River. Jedek speakers now live in
resettlement area in northern Malaysia. The language
is recognised as unique by Swedish linguists from
Malaysian English is perhaps the most widely
spoken among Malaysians. We sometimes call it
Bahasa Rojak because the English language mixes
with other languages, from Malay, Chinese to Indian
languages. Talk to any Malaysian, and you will bound
to come across the word “lah” spoken along with
many sentences. For instance, “I have eaten lah” or
“gostan” to be “go astern”.
Realising their languages are in the decline, some
communities have stepped up efforts to promote
their languages. This include the making of Malaysia’s
first Penang Hokkien language movie, “You Mean the
World to Me” which has received rave reviews and
set the pace to more ethnic language movies.
Dictionaries of their mother tongue languages
like Penang Hokkien, Cristang and Lun Dayah were
published by individuals and associations. Some
have even created tutorials and podcasts of these
languages or a website like www.penanghokkien.com
All in all, we should preserve our languages. After
all, the more languages you know, the more you will
be in demand.
FRANCIS YIP always loses himself but somehow, finds his way back with lots of juicy stories to share. Forgive him if he sparks a debate.
Love him if he unlocks hidden jewels. So heavenly, so travelicious with him!
www.franciswriter.com franciswriterAd franciswriter
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