As usual I was in Penang for the Penang Thaipusam Festival on Feb 7 which was a fantastic event this year.
The crowd just keeps on increasing every year.
There were Hindus from other states who poured in numbers to fulfill their vows to Lord Murugan, not forgetting tourists from other countries and foreign photographers like Gavin Gough and Matt Brandon who attend every year.
The thaneer panthals (stalls) were specially decorated and they served food and drinks to devotees, general public and tourists.
It was good to note the thaneer panthal operators played devotional songs as they were able to set up their own sound systems except for one or two who broke the guidelines.
It would have been better if other thaneer panthal operators from Waterfall Temple to Macalister Road were also allowed to set up their own sound systems.
The new PHEB Board and the Waterfall Temple Management should remove the practice of centralised sound systems in future.
The Police Force, MPPP Enforcement , Customs, Rela and the other enforcement authorities should all be commended for their good work despite a few unforeseen incidents.
The PHEB and Muniswara Temple Management at Gottlieb Road provided services to devotees who were carrying Pal Kudams and Pal Kavadis, by providing space behind the temple.
However, some of the devotees who did not value the services provided and just left behind their offerings after the prayers. The PHEB and the Muniswarar Temple Management should inform the devotees of their responsibilities next year.
Also, it was chaotic as I was also making my way up to the Thaneer Malai Waterfall Temple with other devotees, including children and elderly people. They were kept waiting on the steps leading up to the temple.
There were many devotees and children who fainted because of the crowd pushing their way up but were held from going up.
It was made known that the Temple Chairman Govindaraju and a others were doing rituals for VIPs and this disrupted the flow of devotees carrying Pal Kudams and Pal Kavadis up to the temple for about an hour and as the crowd started building up on the steps, things were going haywire.
This should not have been done by the temple chairman and his committee. Why can't they organise these special rituals a day before Thaipusam or on the following day of Thaipusam?
This is absolutely unfair to the devotees and public going up to fulfill their vows with children and elderly people all caught in the hot sun.
Lastly, The Thaipusam Annual Walk was another grand occasion as Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Deputy Chief Minister 2, P Ramasamy, made their way from the beginning of Macalister Road to Western Road along to the Waterfall Temple meeting Thaneer Panthal operators who garlanded them with flowers.
Guan Eng had his usual bodyguard following him. However Ramasamy was accompanied by anonymous characters, whom, I am told, have underworld connections. It is mind boggling why the DCM is associating with these people.
It is alleged by a devotee that recently one of them was leased the land at the Butterworth Temple under the PHEB and other projects.
A deputy chief minister must always maintain his status and it is important that Guan Eng investigate this serious matter as as it reflects on DAP Penang and the Pakatan state government.
It must be remembered that the general election is nearing.