Penang Perspective: Jade Emperor Temple at Ayer Itam

Today marks the 9th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which is also a big celebration of the Chinese Hokkien to express their gratitude to the Jade Emperor. It is also known as the Hokkien people’s new year, and in Penang where the majority of Chinese are Hokkiens, it is usually celebrated more widely (and ‘loudly’) than the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year.

It was said that during the Song Dynasty, Chinese Hokkien refugees were saved from being caught and killed by the Mongols on the same day of the Jade Emperor’s birthday after hiding in a sugarcane farm for nine consecutive days.

Hence, as a gratitude and believing that the Jade Emperor had blessed and saved them, the Hokkiens celebrated this occasion by offering prayers (usually including sugarcane too) to the Jade Emperor.

Kek Lok Si Virtual Lighting Ceremony 2021

Kek Lok Si Temple, for the first time, will be broadcasting its lighting ceremony virtually today via Facebook for the coming Chinese New Year. This is due to the current Movement Control Order which is put in place across the country till 18 February, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual ceremony will start at 7pm today (GMT+8, 7 February) and those interested, can watch the virtual ceremony here: LINK

Bukit Mertajam: The New Mengkuang Dam

The Mengkuang Dam finally re-opened to the public in December 2020 after six years of upgrading and expansion works. Unlike the old dam which had more trees and shades, the new expanded dam provides a wider space for recreational activities (but the area can be very hot during the noon).

The dam is accessible freely to the public from 7am to 7pm daily. Note: there will be crowd control during movement control order. Google Map link – click here.

Here are some scenic views of the newly upgraded dam: