Sunday – the final day of the week

Sunday – the final day of the week – This title is a little misleading since on our calendars it is the first day.  However it is the final day of my goal for recording every day for a week.  

At around 4:00am I was awaken by the thunder.  It was really loud.  Then I could hear the rain hitting the roof.  It was really coming down.  There was a lot of lighting and thunder.  However we didn’t really see the lighting directly, it would just light up our bedroom and then a little later we would hear the thunder.  It seem that when the lighting is out over the water, the thunder rolls on for a few seconds.  However when it is closer in the city, the thunder is loud but short.  This storm lasted until some time after 6:00am.  This is the rainy season so I am glad that the storm was at night instead of during the day.

We got up at around 7:00am and bathed, ate, and studied.  We then attended the services in the Clementi Ward at 9:00am.  That is real nice because it is only about a 50 foot walk to the building.  During sacrament service, Sister Kor Shau Juan was confirmed a member of the church.  She has such a sweet spirit about her.  I really was feeling the spirit of love and appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I really love this ward.  I love watching their little children and it is all I can do not to pick them up and hold them.  I am looking forward to being able to do that with our grandchildren.  The members are great and I have a great deal of respect for them and what they do.  They are very capable people and carry out their responsibilities.  It is a great feeling to see the people who have joined the church come, be accepted and integrated into the ward, and grow in their testimonies.  We have quite a few young converts in their 20’s.  They really are examples to me.  Today Sister Connie Wua gave me the Book about the Church in Singapore.  I had read it and told her how much I had enjoyed it.  She said she had an extra copy and that she would give it to me.

Well it is shortly after 1:00pm and I am writing this blog.  We have eaten lunch.  I had a hot dog and sister Palmer had some soup.  Our meals are generally not very elaborate.  We will read, work on the computer, and nap for most of the rest of the day.  It is nice to have this day to rest and relax.  However the upcoming week doesn’t seem like it will be as busy as the past week.  We don’t have much scheduled other then a Senior Couple arriving from Provo MTC on Tuesday, a welcome dinner on Wednesday, and I have a dentist appointment Tuesday afternoon.  Sister Palmer will have a lot of baptism records to enter and I will have bills to pay and petty cash funds to deal with.  I still have to finalize the rental of the apartment in Joho Bahru, West Malaysia.

Well I accomplished my goal of recording our activities for a week.  I don’t plan on being that regular in the future.  I will try to write when things of interest or significance occur.

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Trip to the tip of Borneo – March 2, 2009

On Sunday March 1, Weston and Erin and Dan And Heidi arrived in Singapore.  We attended church in the Clementi Ward so they could meet the members that we associate with.  Then at 2:00pm, we had a taxi come and pick us up and take us to the Johor Bahru Airport.  It took about 90 minutes and cost 60 Singapore dollars.  We arrived in Kota Kinabalu at 8:50pm and took a taxi to the hotel.  We went out to get some dinner.  Here we are.



The next day, March 2, we went in three directions.  Dan Tyler left at 5:30am to hike up to the top of Mt, Kinabalu. LaMont, Sandi, and Heidi Tyler took the tour to the tip of Borneo Island, and Weston and Erin went to the islands near by to do some snorkeling.  We all had a great time. I will include some of the pictures I took on the way to the Tip of Borneo Island where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea. 

They suggest that you should probably use a four wheel drive, but I thought the roads for the most part were very good.  Here is an example of the road.  Notice the jungle/rain forest on both sides of the road.  It even rained a little on this trip.


On the way to the Tip, we visited three different villages.  Each village is tasked to produce a product.  One village produced honey from their Bee Farm, the second village was a Gong Factory. 

The picture below is the village with the bees.  At the end of the pavement is where the bee hives started.


Below is a picture of the beekeeper working with the hive.  In this village the women are responsible to the hives.  The men do the farming.  Notice that they don’t wear any protective gear.  They use a can with a bellows attached to it that has bark burning in it .  They can pump the bellows to blow out the smoke.  Here she is smoking out the bees.  She is going to open the hive and show us the honey comb.  There were a few bees flying around, but I guess because of the smoke they were too energic.  


On the way to the next village, we came across a rubber tree plantation.  The rubber is collected in the same manner as maple syrup.  They cut the bark at an angle and the sap (i.e. rubber) runs into the container.  In this case a tin can.  Malaysia prior to Word War II was a mian producer of rubber.  However they have torned up most of the rubber tree plantations and replaced them with palm trees.  They collect the fruit from these palm trees to make Palm Oil.  collecting-rubber-from-tree-large-web-view

Below is a picture of a grove of rubber trees.  You can see the grooves that have been cut in the trees to collect the rubber.  The rubber is white and fwhen you touch it, it feels a lot like the silicon used to seal around the bathtub.


 From here our next stop was the village with the Gong Factory.  It isn’t really a gong factory, but cottage industry because each gong is made by an individual at their home.  It was quite interesting to see them make the gongs.  At one house, they played the gongs for us.  It sounded a lot like a xylophone.  Gongs can be made in all sizes.


From here we drove to a village that consisted of a Long House.  A long house is a lot like an apartment complex.  .  This first picture is the outside of the long house.  Some of them can be longer than a football field.


Here is a picture of the hall on the inside of the long house.  Each longhouse we have seen is different.  This long house used lumber for its hall way.  We have see one that the hallway was made out of bamboo


From here we drove on to the Tip of Borneo.  It is the most northeast part of Borneo Island.  East Malaysia and Indonesia both have part of their country located on Borneo Island.  However, Indonesia doesn’t seem to really do much with their part.  The following picture shows Heidi and Sandi with the Tip of Borneo (i.e rocks below) in the background.


Here is the moument telling you that you are at the tip of Borneo.


It was a very interesting day, but a long one.  We left our hotel at 8:00am and arrived back the hotel at around 5:30pm.

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Lunar New Year In Singapore

It is Chinese New Year time again and Singapore again lighted up ChinaTown with up street lights.  The lights stretch 2 kilometers from South Bridge Road to Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road.  They will be up from 11 January to 15 February 2009.  Chinese New Year is 26 & 27 January 2009.  They do everything they can to bring crowds to Chinatown from lights, discounts on everthing, and various events. 

On the 14 January, we went to Chinatown to see what it was all about.  The crowds were quite large even though it was the middle of the week.  The following are some of the sights we saw.


Guess who.  Sandi is the life of the shopping crowd.  Note all the red decorations and the people.


I think this is New Bridge Road.  For Christmas there was only one road decordated but it was a long road.  Here only the part of the street that is in Chinatown is decorated.


This is one of the stalls that was selling flowers.  Notice the varity and color of the flowers.


This man was working in one of the stalls and I asked him if I could take his picture.   I think he was pleased to have his picture taken.


This is looking up at one of the corners of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown.  This is one of my experimental shots.


This character can be found at most Buddha Temples.  I think his rote is to protect the temple.  He looks kind of sinister doesn’t he.  I really like the way this picture turned out.


Each night, they have various chinese plays, singing, and etc.  I really didn’t know what this was all about but those that could understand chinese seem to enjoy it.


Another stall with flowers.  There seemed to a lot of shops selling the same thing.  It was crowded and the colors were various shades of red.


Another picture of a lighted street with Singapore skyline in the background.

We had a wonderful time, but I don’t like crowds so I will only do it once probably.

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Christmas Lights in Singapore



This is the welcoming sign of Christmas in Singapore.  This is right at the corner of Scott Road and Orchard Road.  Each morning as we go to the office we see this sign.  Of course it isn’t lighted, but it still is a welcome sight.  Each year, Singapore decorates Orchard Road for Christmas.  It is decorated the complete distance, quite a few kilometers.  I have been told that each year, they decorate a different street for the India’s Festival of Lights, and another one for the Chinese New Year and still another one for a Muslim Holiday.   So far I have only seen the lights at Christmas and Deepavali (Festival of Lights).  Last year I was too sick to go out during Chinese New Year.

On December 9, a tuesday, Sister Palmer and I decided to go to Orchard Road so we could take some pictures.  We were suprised by the number of people that were out taking pictures and just strolling around.  Christmas is a big holiday here, not because of the Birth of Christ, but because it is great time to sell goods.  Here  there is no problem with saying Merry Christmas.  No one is offended.  Here the government is religion neutral, where as in the US, they are anti-christian.  

sandi-in-from-of-centre-pointI bought a new camera when we went to Penang.  It is a Canon Rebel XSi and I am sure enjoying it.  I can take pictures a lot more places especially at night.  So I had a lot of fun walking along Orchard Road and taking pictures.

Here is sister Palmer standing next to a column that is decorated with lights.  We walked from Dhoby Ghaut all the way to the corner of Scott and Orchard Road.  That was quite a distance.  The air was comfortable and everything was so Beautiful.  We spent a couple of hours just walking.

 As you can see in these picture, they have red bows that are outlined with lights on the trees.  Orchard Road is a street that is lined on both sides with trees.  Singapore has gone great lengths to preserve the trees so there are lots of them even downtown. red-christmas-bowred-christmas-bows

I think they put lights just about everywhere they could think of.  Notice the crowds on the sidewalks in this picture.


Here is a picture of an Indian family enjoying the evening and getting their picture taken.  This was not an unusual sight

family-picture-on-orchardI found it amazing to look down the street and as far as I could see, the street had lights.  They have lights hanging from the trees.  They have banners strung across the street that are lite.  Many stores have lite the front of their store.   

lights-hanging-from-a-treeAs I look at all these decorations I wonder, where do they store these?  These are not the same decorations that they used last year, so I wonder how many different sets of decorations do they have?  



Notice the colors.  To me, they really aren’t what I think of as Christmas colors (i.e. red and green).  But they are pretty and colorful.  

 With rare exception you don’t see anything relating to Christ, or for that matter Santa Claus.   Just a lot of stars, hearts, and bows. 

Granted on the entrance display, they have christmas trees.  For example here is a picture of one of them.


 This is a beautiful Christmas wreath.  Notice the characters in the center.  They look like Lego

 This is a picture of the decorations on one of the stores in Centre Point Plaza I think.  Just think of all the effort it took to make this. They seem to really love blinking and chasing lights.  This display had lots of those. store-lights-on-orchard-road







This is a picture of the inside of the Centre Point Plaza.  In Singapore there are many shopping plazas like this.  They are 5 or 6 stories high with usually 2 basement levels.  In addition to the shopping areas, most of these Plaza or shopping malls have large parking garages.

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Tow Boo Kong Temple in Butterworth

Today is the last day of our visa run.  We are flying back to Singapore after one o’clock.  The Waltons came by and picked us up at 10:30am.  They took us by the Tow Boo Kong Temple in Butterworth.  It looks like it is just completed.  It is a beautiful temple.  I have a pamphlet we got there so I will included some information from it.  I have found that it is more interesting when you know something about the picture you are looking at. 


THe Nine Emperor Gods Temple of Butterworth began as a attap (I don’t know what this word means.) Shed on a rented plot of land in 1970, in 1974, a piece of land was purchased to build a small temple.  It was completed in the same year and was officially used as a place of worship.

In 1994, the temple committee decided to rebuild a new Nine Emperor Gods Temple consisting of three sections; namely, the Front Prayer Hall, the Sacred Prayer Room and Dou Mu Prayer Hall.  There is an Inner Courtyard located behind the Sacred Prayer Room and a Conference Room Situated at the basement of the temple.  The temple was started on 26 April 2000, the temple with a total land area of 40,000 square feet, was officially completed at a cost of RM7 million (about $1.7 million).   Here is a picture of Sister Palmer, Elder Palmer, and Elder Walton standing in front of the temple.



The temple, its rooms, and courtyards are beautiful, however the sun was bright and most of the pictures were shooting towards the sun so they don’t do justice to the color and beauty of the items being photographed.  This is a side view of the temple.  The carvings on the top had some very vivid blues but due to the sun they didn’t come out to bright.tow-boo-kong-temple-side



This is a picture of the Front Prayer Hall.  The view that you are looking at shows Dou Mu, the mother in the Taoist Pantheon, setting in the center of the hall altar while the Nine Emperor Gods are seated below the goddess on the same altar.  On the right and left hand side of the altar are deities like Tai Chu, Seong Tay Kong, Tai Sui, and Tai Sen Yah, just to name a few.


Here is a picture of the Dou Mu Prayer Hall.  dou-mu-prayer-hallDou Mu Niang Niantg or Tow Boo Neo Neo sits in the deepest and most revered place of the temple.  Two other deities are also placed in this prayer hall; they are Deity Lam SIn and Deity Pak Tao.





Here are a couple of interesting picutes of items in and around the temple.








This panel is carved out of granite I think.craved-panel-with-gold


 This panel is carved out of wood and then overlaid with gold I think.



craved-stone-columnNote the dragons that are carved into this stone column.





The worship of the Nine Emperor Gods (known as Kew Ong Yah in Hokkien, and Kow Wong Yeh in Cantonese) is very prevalent in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

Every year, the Nine Emperor Gods Festival is held for nine days, from the first day to the ninth day of the 9th lunar month.  This is when the spirits of the Nine Emperor Gods which are believed to dwell in the stars, descend to earth and possess the spirit mediums, putting them in a trance.  During the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, many devotees will go on a vegtetarian diet.  Stalls are set up to sell vegetarian rfood, vegetarian cakes and goodies.  An opera show will also be performed as a mark of respect to the Gods.

During these 9 days, you would be able to witness a variety of events like the Spear Skewing Ceremony, the Makintg of Herbal Medicine, and the Fire Walking ceremony.

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Another day in Penang

This promised to be a full and exciting day.  We left the apartment at 9:00am.  It was a 15 minute walk to the ferry, so we were able to smell the aromas that were in the area.  Those smells would take a lot to getting used to.  There were no sidewalks or crosswalks on the streets we took, so we had to watch the fishing-boatstraffic very carefully.  There were a lot of dogs, but they were just lazy and mangy looking.  They didn’t even take the time to look our direction, for which I was grateful.  Once we got to the Ferry Terminal we had to get some coins to put in the coin machine that lets you into the boarding area for the ferry.  From there it was a 15 minute wait and then a 15 minute ride to the island of Penang.  Once the ferry had docked and we had gotten off, we started walking toward the taxi stand where we thought we would be meeting Yong and May Ling.  However they met us before we got there which was nice.

 leong-san-tong-khoo-kogsiThe first place they took us was to Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi.  The history of Khoo Kongsi spans more than 70 years.  It is considered the most beautiful temple in Penang.  Its carved beams are made of the finest wood and the architectural design never fail to awe visitors.  It is everthing people said it was.  A Kongsi is a temple dedicated to a particular klan (i.e. family and their descendants)  In this case the Klan is the Khoo klan.  I have included a few pictures so that you can get a feel for how ornate and beautiful it is. front-porch-with-columns



This is a picture on the front looking along the carved columns.  They are solid granite and they have all kinds of carvings made in them.  It really is amazing.




 This is the inside of the temple. Notice the heavy ornate carvings everywhere.  It is really a remarkable building.  I think it is one of the most beautiful temples we have seen so far.






Here is a picture of one of the carved panels.  It is carved in granite.  There are many of them.  The workmanship is marvelous.






Here is a closeup of the carvings on the roof of the temple.  The colors are very vivid and bright.  They don’t show up so good because it was a overcast day and I was shooting into the sun.

 From here, we walked around a mosque and some of the streets in the older part of town.  Here is an example of some of the buildings on the street.

This is a typical street scene.  Mototcycles are the most common mode of travel here it seems.street-scene

Here is an usual sight.  Notice the doors.  These are full length doors.  You just have to step down as soon as you enter the house. 











We next went to Fort Cornwallis.  It was built t1786 to protect the early settlers.  It was first built of wood and then within a few years it was replaced with concret and brick.  I think they had the bricks bought in from India.  It cost them 80,000 dollars to build this fort.  


The fort was built in a star shape.  Here are a couple of the cannons facing out to sea.  If I remember right, they never had to use the fort as a defense.  They had a lot of building inside when the fort was functioning but now it only has the small church and some rooms along one wall. 

From Fort Cornwallis, we went to Kek Lok Si Temple.  The Kek Lok Si temple is a major landmark in Penang.  It is built on the side of a mountain and can be seen from far away.  It was build in 1886 and they are still adding things to the temple compound.  It is one of the largest and the grandest Buddhist Temples in South East Asia.  In the temple compound is a 30 meter seven-story tall pagoda.  view-of-kek-lok-si-temple-complex

Cultures from three countries , namely China, Thailand and Burma are reflected in the Pagoda.  Sorry to say we really did see much of the pagoda.  We climbed the mountain.  By climb, I meant that we walked up a path with stalls on each side and a roof so all we saw was what people were trying to sell.  





At the top of the mountain they have a Buddha (a female) that will be enclosed in some kind of structure which is in the process of being built. 







Here are some turtles.  Someone said that when a farmer found a turtle in the field, they didn’t know what to do with them, so they bought to the temple and put it in the pond.  We also saw turtles in the ponds in Japan. 


 Here is a common figure that I have seen at a lot of Buddhist temples.   

I think he is some kind of protecting angel.  I think it would be much more interesting if I understood the purpose of everything in these temple.  It might make a little more sense.

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Away to Penang

Today is the beginning of our last visa run.  We are going to Penang which is located on the north west corner of Peninsular Malaysia.  In 1786, Captain Francis Light, on behalf of the East India Company acquired possession of Penang (Betel nut) Island from the local sultan in return for protection.  He renamed the island Prince of Wales Island.  It is said that he loaded his ship’s cannons with silver dollars  and fired them into the jungle to encourage his labours to hack back the underground.  Whatever the truth, he soon established the small town of Georgetown.  There are now over 1 million people on the island.  People from all over the world come to Penang.  It is quite a tourist place.  It is also very chinese with lots of temples and Chinese people living here.

We arrived in Penang at 12:20pm where we were met by Elder and Sister Walton.  They are humanitarian missionaries assigned to Butterworth.  Also they brought a member couple name Yong and May Ling.  They were going to show us around Penang. 


Here is a picture of them.  From left to right you see May Ling, Elder Walton, Sister Palmer, Sister Walton, and Yong.  Yong is their family name and they generally go by that.  The men seems to go by the family name whereas the women goes by her  given name or selected english name. 


The first place we went was to St George Church.  It was builtst-george-church in 1818 and is the oldest Anglican Church in South-East Asia.  This church has a marble floor and a towering spire.  It was built with convict labour. 



From there we went to the St George Cemetery.  This is where the early british adminstrators gravesand their families were buried.  As you read the tombstones, you are reminded that it was a tough life and most of them died at a early age.  Many of them died of jungle fever.  There were a couple of tombstones that mentioned that both parents and a child died within days of each other. This cemetery reminded us of some horror movies scenes.  Especially if it had been dark and had fog rolling through


  Next we went to the Botanical gardens of Penang.  It is located at the base of Penang Hill.   It had a small waterfall and many monkeys.  While there, I must of done something to irritate the monkeys because a couple of them bared their teeth, started hissing and moving toward me.  Luckily there was a Chinese lady near and she took her umbrella and scared them off.  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen because the hissing had gotten the other monkeys interested and they also we looking toward me.


Here is a mother monkey carrying her baby under her.  If you look carefully you can see the baby monkey.



THere were quite a few interesting trees.  I think this one is quite pretty but I can’t remember what kind of tree it is.


From the following picture you can get an idea of how dense the jungle is.



In the picture below notice the small bananas.  It looks like they are just starting to grow.


Many of the pictures were taken by Sister Palmer.  She is getting to be a pretty good photographer.  here is another one of her pictures.  This is an old three wheel truck on display in front of the Penanag Museum.  We couldn’t take pictures inside.


From here we took a ferry to the Butterworth on the mainland where we were going to stay.



That all for now.

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