Monday, February 6, 2012

Wangkang Festival


Photos by Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

This evening in Malacca, a unique and unusual event has taken place. It is the Wangkang Festival and it does not happen every year. In fact, 2012 is only the fifth time since the first Wangkang procession started more than 150 years ago. The exact date was not known, but the last three Wangkang observances were in 1919, 1933 and 2001.

It is also known as the Royal Barge Festival and according to the 2012 Wangkang organizing chairperson Lai Poon Pen, the idea is to parade a wooden boat through the streets of Malacca “to collect evil spirits, wandering souls and other negative elements”. Thereafter, the RM80,000 barge – measuring 5.8m in length, 2.4m in width and 2.0m in height – will be set ablaze in a bonfire, signifying the sending away of malevolent forces. Thus, good health, peace and happiness will reign in Malacca. To get all the details, kindly refer to the Yong Chuan Tian Temple webpage at
http://www.yongchuantian.com/main/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1.

By the way, the Wangkang festival is a Hokkien tradition and it is organized by the Chinese Peranakan whose ancestors migrated to Malacca and other parts of South-East Asia from China’s Fujian province during the 17th century.

I wished I was in Malacca to witness the above but instead I was at the Money & You Toastmasters meeting in KL’s Old Klang Road. I delivered my third speech from the “Speaking to Inform” manual and I was voted Best Project Speaker. I was also pushed to speak during the Table Topics session and again, I was voted Best Table Topics Speaker. For my efforts, I received six kisses! Yes, it’s true – Hershey’s Kisses that is! As always a good meeting and I would give it a score of a 7 out of a 10. Oh! I must mention that I liked How Yee’s maiden effort as a Toastmaster-of-the-Evening – the only suggestion I would make is that she needs to smile more!

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