Around the World Pic of the Day: Daoist Temple in Malaysia

Me at a Daoist temple in Malaysia

Nearly two years ago Eszter studied abroad in Hong Kong. She did more cultural studies than book studying, though, not remaining in Hong Kong for more than one or two of her five day weekends (yes, she’d put all of her classes into two days to travel around South East Asia more effectively). I went to visit her for 10 days or so and since I was coming from Israel, I had to fly Air France through Paris: the service was quality but I must say, Charles deGaulle airport is perhaps one of the worst on the planet. Seven dollars (5+ Euro) for a goddamn Coke? Are you kidding me? Anyhoo, the rest of the trip was definitely better than that airport so don’t worry.

We spent three days in Hong Kong, which is not my favorite city because all of their historical sites have been replaced by steel buildings. It’s like New York with a lot more Asian people. The view from the highest point is beautiful (the picture on About the Author at www.thezenofsouthpark.com is from there) and if you like to shop it’s the city for you, but I was glad when we left for Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur was amazing. Every meal should be eaten from the food stalls on the street. You get the craziest things like shark-fin dumplings. Really an incredible city. After a day there (we would spend another day there on the back-end of our trip) we took a bus to the coast and from there believed we had reservations on an island. As it turns out, we didn’t, but at a place that claimed to be on the island – a resort facing it. Was it providence that booked us the reservation we hadn’t wanted or planned on (the answer I’m looking for is “no”) but I’ll sure say that it was fortunate. From our room in this resort not on the fantasy island we’d envisioned we watched two days of storm fall nonstop on the island across the way while we had great weather on the mainland. For our last day it stopped raining and we went over to explore the island. The picture above is a Daoist Temple on the island.

I love Daoism, its emphasis on harmony and nature, its attitude and approach towards life. This Temple was interesting, primarily because its colors shocked me. I expected more of a Zen garden (though I know that’s Buddhist) than a colorful temple but here I was. Winding paths brought you high above the shanty town that was next to this Temple and overlooking the sea. It was quite beautiful and a lovely experience. This is the first section of the Tao Te Ching, the Daoist text allegedly said by Lao Tzu:

The Two that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.

The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.

Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.

These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.

Darkness born from darkness.

The beginning of all understanding.

Have you ever been to Malaysia or Hong Kong? What did you think? Did you visit any temples? Send me your pictures, please!

South Park tonight: “Bebe’s Boobs Destroy Society” is a great episode about growing up and not letting women come between friends. “Toilet Paper” has a great part where Butters has confessed to the boys’ crime of teepeeing a teacher’s house and Cartman calls his confession a gift from God, an early Easter present all wrapped up from Jesus himself with a little bow. Wow? I mean, I know God likes to punish one guy for everybody else’s sins but that seems a little extreme – more extreme than anything He had done before, right?

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3 Responses

  1. I’ve thought often about becoming a Daoist (Taoist?) because I also believe in the power of non-action. I believe strongly that running 90 miles an hour in the wrong direction for the sake of movement to be a bad thing. But Hinduism calls me also because of the belief that we are all divine- it feeds my egotism.

  2. Oh! And tomorrow has been named the happiest day of the year – I heard that on WSB radio today.

  3. Hmmm. I didn’t do a very good job of showing Jay Hong Kong’s amazing history and culture, if he thinks the city to be only hypermodern. New York and Hong Kong – that is an interesting comparison: both cities are extremely diverse in their population and mix of cultures. Other thoughts on this?

    Anyway, Malaysia was lively and beautiful, simply magical.

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