Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kek Lo Si Review

The Kek Lok Si Temple 极乐寺 or 極樂寺
(Penang Hokkien for "Temple of Supreme Bliss" )

Located at Air Itam in Penang and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia.

The temple is heavily commercialised with shops at every level and inside the main temple complexes.

Generous donations from the affluent Chinese community allow the construction of additional buildings. Today, there is a new goddess of mercy statue on the top of the hill and it is almost done and the whole construction is pretty impressive.

Getting up there.

Kek Lo si is accessible by car and bus and it can be easily summarized as 3 stages.

Stage 1:

There are a lot of businesses at the bottom of the temple, selling all sorts of local products ranging from shirts, to plants to food. The lower level is ALL shops and there is a flight of stairs from the base of the hill up.

Stage 2:

To get to stage 2, you can climb the stairs through the winy passages covered with shops. It is really an interesting experience and when you want to buy things, remember to haggle the price as it is part of the experience.

If you have people who cannot travel well, you can take a taxi or drive up to stage 2. This will bypass all the shops.

At Stage 2, there are many temples and spots for taking photos. The temple itself consists of several large halls for assembly and prayer, here, statues of Buddha, various Bodhisattvas as well as Chinese gods are being venerated. Intricate woodwork, often brightly painted and a plethora of lanterns add to the visual impression.

There is an inclined lift to carry pilgrims and visitors further uphill. On the elevated platform, you can find a pond filled with Koi and the towering statue of Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, which can also be regarded as Avalokitheshvara, Bodhisattva of Universal Compassion.

Stage 3:

This is the top level of Kek Lo si. There is a tram service from the middle level to bring you to the top of the hill. Or you can drive up. Entry for the car is RM$2.

At the top of the hill, there is a HUGE statue of the Goddess of Mercy built since 2002 and the pagoda around her is near completion. There are also several other temples and a Koi Pond and many interesting statues. The temperature on top is lower than below and the top is constantly windy. You get to see a large part of Penang here and the view is very interesting.

The temple is a focal point of festivals of the Chinese community in Penang. The Chinese New Year celebrations are particularly impressive. For 30 days following Chinese New Year, the temple remains open until late at night whilst thousands of lights turn the scenery into a sea of light.

Since my last visit, there are many improvements made and there is constant donations and more buildings to come. If you visit Penang, this temple is probably a must to come.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Marina Barrage - Gardens Connector Preview

I recently went to the Marina Barrage and saw many parts of the Gardens by the Bay slowly getting completed.

Currently, the new walkway is open that connects to Tanjong Rhu which leads under the Shears Bridge. The walk is pretty long, as there is no turn around near Shears Bridge, and you have to walk to Tanjong Rhu or the Indoor Stadium for the MRT.

I started a leisure walk at 6:30pm to shoot some photos of people flying kites and kids playing with water and it took me at least 3 hours to walk to the indoor stadium.

I did stop for a bit to shoot the laser light show of Marina Bay Sands.

It is a very nice and scenic walk, no mosquitoes at all!

Check it out!

-- Robin Low

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Simon Tay's Analysis on Deaths in Singapore.

Recently, Singapore has a series of bodies found.

Here is Simon Tay's Sound Advice:

Simon Tay
Another suspicious case of death

1. Found in the rubbish chute with legs up head down

2. A friend of the deceased, Tng, speculated that he could have been trying to climb his way home through the rubbish chute in the early morning hours because he had left his keys and mobile phone in his house, reported The New Paper.

3. Others claimed that the couple does quarrel often while the wife claimed they are a happy couple.

Firstly, the body was found head first with legs sticking out meaning it's possible that the body was dropped in head first instead of him falling down by climbing up the chute.

Secondly, he left his keys & mobile phone in his house...give high chance of him IN THE HOUSE during the possible murder.

Third, who in the right mind will climb up the rubbish chute to go home which is on the 13th floor!?

Wife sleeping when police came......who can confirm?'s possible she is very scared to even open the door when the police came....

So, now comes the possible actions the police can take.

1. Check if there's any finger prints at the bottom door of the chute and if it belongs to the decease.

2. Find out if the decease have been drinking, or have any chemicals that makes him unconscious

3. Ask if the wife can carry a load with the same weight as his deceased husband.

4. Check the house's rubbish chute if there's any other people finger prints...or lack of ANY see it had been wiped purposely as normally it's not cleaned after using.

5. Check the finance of the decease & wife to see if there's any weird discrepancies...

6. Identify possible motivation of murder if any.

7. If the possible murderer is/are more then one person...

8. Interview the children, especially from the wife's previous relationship.

Man found dead in rubbish chute had not been home

Man found under CTE flyover was murdered: Police

2 women found dead at Aloha Changi chalet

Here is Simon Tay's Sound Advice:

I got a suspicion about the death of the 2 women found at Changi Chalet...that it's not foul play however without much to go on other then the news article it's tough to determine if it's really foul play.

However, it's rather strange that it happened the way it probably the police can investigate it further.

I find the fact that both women found at the toilet floor beside two containers that had ashes inside pretty weird.

That Changi Chalet have air-con rooms with air tight windows, if you want to commit suicide...why choose the toilet instead of the comfortable bed?

The doors & windows are locked when the police found them, however if this is a murder investigation...can someone lock them in before getting out of the chalet & lock the door? (hmm suspicion only no proof)

Now if I'm investigating the case, I will do the following

1. Find out if there are evidence of other chemicals in or near the deceased to cause fainting or loss of consciousness

2. Find out If there's a third party in the chalet at that time by looking at CCTV footage, mobile phone messages, social network, photograph taken.

3. Find out probable suicide key stuffs like suicide notes, mental illness, evidence of depression, family knowledge.

4. Who else have the key to the chalet and where is the key when they are found. Who have spare key?

5. What's the relationship between the two deceased? Is it against the family wishes?

6. What is the possible motivation if any to murder someone if this is a murder investigation...and fake suicide by using easily accessible items like bucket & charcoal & fire it's a chalet after all.

So, after much thinking...that's all I can think of if it's a murder investigation but more can be done.

Unidentified body found in Bedok Reservoir

Are there more murders in Singapore, and will Singapore classify them as suicides or call them unnatural deaths?

Will these murders be solved?

Will these murders be considered a serious crime statistic?

Only time will tell.

Perhaps the Police can hire Simon Tay as a consultant as he seems to have a sound investigation plan going.

-- Robin Low