Postcard Perfect 054: Kek Lok Si, the Temple of Supreme Bliss

Postcard Perfect New

I hope Willa forgives me for being forgetful about the Postcard Perfect meme. This week is no exception. The recent news of the tragic demise of a fellow Nagueno, Philippine Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo left me in sadness and without motivation to do anything. Running errands to pick up the translucent plastic business cards  that my husband took to the printers  three days ago had to be scheduled the next day at my request because I am just too not in the mood to go out.

Anyways, today I felt that I need to post lest I lose my visitors (ahem, just imagining I have). Here is a postcard from Malaysia:

Kek Lok Si Temple at night. Penang, Malaysia.
The Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the best known Buddhist temple sitting on a hilltop in Penang, Malaysia. It consists of a series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples, and landscaped gardens.

Founded more than 100 years ago by benevolence Beow Lean, a devout Buddhist from Fujian province, the temple was once given the name of “Huock San” (Crane hill) due to the hills resemblance of crane spreading its wings. – Source

Penang is one of the states of Malaysia and its capital town of Georgetown is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

 

 

 

This is another postcard from Botswana from the same sender mentioned in my previous posts. Okay, ladies and gents, just pretend we are on a safari…  So take out  your bushnell binoculars and ready your cameras because here is an amazing wildlife postcard…

ChobeNP, BotswanaFrom left to right: Chacma babboon; Puku; White-fronted Bee-eater; Kudu; Hippo with calf; Lion; buffalo herd; Elephant herd.

The Chobe National Park is one of Botswana’s finest wildlife areas boasting large herds of elephant and buffalo as well as numerous other animal species in a wild, unspoilt habitat.

  

Long before my sister was assigned for a volunteer-position in Kenya, it was I who was nurturing an ambition to be the  first in my family to ever set foot in the African continent. As a development worker, it was one of my dreams to be working in any African countries. But as luck would have it, my sister beat me to it. Although a volunteer’s life is not comfortable all the time, it has given her the opportunity to see with her own two eyes the many wonderful places, ethnic tribes,  and wildlife animals in Kenya. 

Again, the stamps are the same as the previous Botswana postcards that I posted the past few days – the white-rumped Shama.

ChobeNP, Botswana stamps

Show me your six-packs, stripey!

 

This male zebra here must have undergone some good ab workouts and thus showing off his stripey abs to his rival! *lol* Okay, here’s what I’m talking about – another wildlife postcard from Botswana featuring one of my favourite wildlife animals:

Zebra, BotswanaThe information at the back of the postcard reveals one interesting fact about the zebras. During the mating season, male zebras fight over females. These sometimes fierce battles include rearing up on hind legs while trying to bite or kick their opponent. Now, you see the connection with the title, eh?

The zebras in the postcard are called the Burchell’s Zebra or the plains zebra, (Equus, Burchellii), or simply zebra to us laypeople. They are the most common type of zebra found in rich grasslands of Eastern and Southern Africa.  Wildlife experts describe them as being related to the horse because of their stocky build. They usually have white or cream coat with black stripes that continue down to the belly. Unlike the other zebra species, the Grévy and the rare Mountain zebras, the underside of the Burchell’s zebra’s belly is completely or mainly white. The mane is upright and striped to match its neck while the tail is also striped with a black tassle.

This postcard was sent from the Kuala Lumpur Airport with Malaysian stamps, of course:

Zebra, Botswana stamps Thank you, Fe, for the lovely postcards and stamp sheets you sent me.

Postcard from Botswana, stamps from Malaysia

 

Two years ago, a friend of mine relocated to Gaborone, capital of Botswana. Just in December last year, they left Botswana to be based in China. She bought with several dozens of postcards from Botswana and, during a stopover at Johannesburg and Kuala Lumpur Airports, she sent me several postcards. This explains the title. While also in Jo’burg, she gave me a surprised call and excitedly mentioned about this latest craze in herbal supplements displayed at the airport boutique; it’s made from a wonder plant found in somewhere in the deserts of Africa. Before I could ask her:  does hoodia really work? the line went dead. Oh well.

And these, my friends, are what I’m talking about:

Cheetah, Botswana 

Cheetahs are one of the main wildlife attractions in Botswana’s national parks. With a scientific name Acinonyx jubatus, cheetahs outside of protected areas in Botswana are shy, elusive, and difficult to see.  They can chase their prey for distances of up 400metres at a maximum speed of 7pkh making them the fastest land animal in the world.  Recent assessment reports published by several wildlife conservation groups in Botswana, however, reveal serious reductions in wildlife populations, including the cheetah. A deadly combination of overpopulation, destruction of wildlife’s natural habitat, illicit wildlife trade, and many other factors have contributed to the dwindling wildlife numbers.

Okay, now, on to the stamp:

Cheetah, Botswana with Malaysian stamps

Yes, you are looking at the right stamps; my friend used two 50sen definitive stamps featuring the white-rumped shama. It’s rich and melodious voice make it a popular breed for cage-birds enthusiasts in South Asia and Southeast Asia. It’s been said that the white-sumped shama can mimic the sounds of other birds.

Malaysian batik-printing and songket-weaving

I’ve been to Malaysia twice already but I just failed to buy one of its prized coloured and patterned batik and songket cloths. To those unfamiliar, a batik is, according to the Wikipedia, a cloth that traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. I own several pieces of batiks from Indonesia and Philippines (which I use to have an outfit made for me, some for making  bags, etc.) but none yet from Malaysia. So a friend sent this postcard to me. At the moment this is the closest thing I have to owning a Malaysian batik.
 Songket is a common to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, that is hand-woven in silk or in cotton with intricate gold or silver patterns. Songket is a very delicate (and expensive) material that weavers are trained well for careful material handling. Both songket-weaving and batik printing are important cottage industries along the east coast of Malaysia. I hope I could go back to Malaysia again and be able to see how a songket and a batik cloth are made, and come home a proud owner of these clothing  materials.  For the stamp used:

Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Thean Hou Temple, KL, Malaysia
Sent by Sue of GeeAnuar’s Postcard Collection
Postmarked Kuantan
Dated 09 January 2009

Perched on a hillock at Robson Heights in southern Kuala Lumpur, Thean Hou Temple, or Temple of the Goddess of Heaven, stands between a sacred Bodhi tree and a Buddhist shrine built in 1874.

Thean Hou Temple, with beautifully decorated dragon-inspired columns and charming pagoda rooftops, is considered to be one of the largest Chinese temples in Southeast Asia. The temple is dedicated to Thean Hou, or the Goddess of Heaven, and, as protector of fishermen and those who make a living from the sea, is worshipped by hordes of Chinese, especially living in the coastal areas.

Thean Hou temple is located on top of a hill and offers a magnificent view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. No wonder it is popular to locals and foreign tourists. The temple is beautifully decorated with dragon-inspired columns and pagoda-rooftops.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dataran Merdeka, Malaysia
Postmarked BB Bangi, Malaysia
Dated 12 Dec 2008

This arrived in my postbox in late December. It shows an aerial view of a section of Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur’s prominence does not end at being the home of the Petronas towers, the world’s tallest twin buildings. The city has a unique blend of different cultures – Malays, Chinese, Indians and other indigenous groups – and yet has evolved into one of the most industrialized and the fastest growing economy in the region, a leading shopping destination, and host to many international cultural events and sporting competitions. I have been to Kuala Lumpur several times already and I must say that I am amazed at how the different cultures blended in and how these cultures embraced the seemingly fast pace of development there, resulting to a vibrant, colorful, exciting capital that is now Kuala Lumpur!

The postcard was sent by Ian and it shows the historic Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square where the Malaysian flag was hoisted for the first time and Malaysia’s independence was proclained on August 31, 1957 by Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Since then, it has been the venue for the annual Hari Merdeka Parade or the National Day Parade.

The accompanying stamps are equally nice featuring creatures that are unique to Malaysia. This sure are great pieces to start my Malaysian postcard and stamp collections with.

Terima kasih, Ian!