Sunday, 26 October 2008

Kathina in Ulu Tiram, Johor

On the weekend of my birthday week, my family and I went to Ulu Tiram, Johor for Kathina. It was a group thing my dad organised with members of his Buddhist Society, Triple Gem Centre (yes, my dad is that active in Buddhism till he has his own centre). So we went in a bus together with the other people, which were mostly old ladies. There was this lady, we shall call her the host, she was like the sort of leader la. She kept asking people whether they wanna sing karaoke. Hello!!! People are trying to sleep here. So annoying. It was a super long journey btw. Almost 8 hrs, if u count the shopping time, eating time, and visiting time.

The host

If u click on it, u can see a sign saying Soon Aik. My friend's name is Aik Soon. Haha.

A street named Jalan Sayang

We stopped at a shop selling all the local biscuits and stuff, Yong Sheng Gift Shop, in Muar. We bought so many biscuits.

Two big plastic bags of biscuits

Then we went to a nearby hawker shop to have duck rice while my dad had kueh-kak and some kuih. The duck rice was quite cheap la. RM3 for plate. Me, my sis and my mum shared 2 plates. We bought some otak-otak also. Prawn and fish, 5 each.

Herbal duck

Normal duck


Prawn Otak-otak

Sesame ball kuih thingy

The air-con thing in the bus

The nice nice curtains in the bus

A feather my sis picked up on the road, on the way back to the bus.

We stopped at a temple where there's this huge fish that is quite famous. It doesn't bite people wan, although there was once it did bite someone. Anyw, the host was telling some story in cantonese so I didn't understand, therefore, I didn't bother to hear, therefore, I slept until we reached the place. Apparently there were tortoises too.

The bridge

The lake

A big tortoise head

Humongus tortoise!!!

Pop!!! Up comes the head!!!

So many smaller tortoises clambering around the big tortoise

Tiny tortoises heads!!!

An elephant thingy

Some of the parts of the temple

Another part of the temple

And another part

There was this part where there were lots of aquariums with dragon fishes.

Some of the dragon fish


A cave like thingy in the temple

The fountain at the pond

A place for people to stand and see the big gigantic fishes

So huge!!! It's length is longer than my dad's height which is 5 feet 10.5 inches!!! Sooo scarrrrryyyy... I have a phobia of many/big fishes.

This fish looks big right? But just now wan bigger!!!

Some fake ducks floating around. Look so out of place.

Most of them look like catfish. Can u see the whiskers?

See!!! So big and scary!!!

There!!! The big gigantic fish again!!!

The temple from another angle

That's all the stops we had, besides the toilet stops. In summary, these were what me and my sis did in the bus.

1. Sleep
2. Eat
3. Stupidly woke up sis to watch Beijing Olympic opening which she already watched.
4. Saw sis stupidly bite off a huge chunk of chocolate biscuit which she already knew smelled funny.
5. Sis stupidly mixed up 'oil palm' and 'palm oil', calling the oil palm plantation a 'palm oil plantation'.
6. Both of us stupidly mixed up whether rubber trees had black or white splotches on the trunk. I was right, but sis confused me, confidently saying that rubber trees were white, with black patches on them.
7. Took pics of host's big nose (ok, i know it's mean, but I was bored!!!)
8. Tell each other stories of whatever we wanted to tell a long time ago but kept forgetting.
9. Hear sis complain to me, mum, and dad about how lame it is to spend the 1st day after PMR rotting in the bus for more than half a day.
10. Listen to the annoying lady sitting behind my sis telling the guy beside her, Robert, aunty stories.

She's really damn annoying. Since I doubt anyone she knows will read this blog, I shall tell
her name, Catherine. Not sure if the spelling is right since there are so many ways to spell it, but I don't care. She likes to hold the seat in front of her. Don't know why. She just does. And when she does that, she will pull my sis's hair as well, since she let her hair down. If not, then her hand will kena my sis's arms. And she doesn't care wan!!! So annoying u know. Then when she walk past people and accidently pushes them, she won't say sorry or at least turn back to acknowledge that she hit/pushed someone. She just walks away. WTF. And she was talking to Robert about Buddhism like she's damn geng like that. Hah! Her mouth a, like non-stop wan. Talk talk talk talk talk!!! One of the stories I overhead was about her accompanying her daughter and 4 of her friends to a disco. She said it was her daughter's 1st time there. So she's very worried ma, scared people spike her drink and stuff. She said her daughter curious ma. "Curious must let her try, but then I worried ma, so I followed", she said. Then her daughter was underage or something and she told the guard/bouncer/whoever that she's responsible for her. She said spent more than RM200 on drinks for them. Stupid la. Buy so many drinks for them for what? Buy already then complain so much. Then she complained that the place is veyr smoky and the dancefloor is so crowded and stuff. Duh!!! It's a disco. Of course it's smoky and crowded. Smoky she complain I can understand, but what's a disco when it's not crowded? Not nice to dance when nobody else is dancing ma. Stupid. I pity her daughter la. So humiliating u know!!! Mother follow daughter to disco. OMG. That will be the day. Then she's very weird wan. When we reached the place, she said loudly "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have now arrived at Ulu Tiram. I hope u enjoyed ur journey." Oh, and she also said " Everyone! Robert is going to renounce here today! Lets give him a round of applause!" Weirdo!!!

By the time we reached the place, it was 6.30pm. And we left at 9am. Can u believe that? It is a forest manastery btw, so the scenary is okla. Normal forest scenary. But there were some people going woo and waa!!! Me and my sis were like, ok... My dad came here before so he knows the people, so, he went to ask the people in charge whether there were any free kutis for me and my sis to stay in. A kuti is a small house thingy for monks/nuns/people to sleep in. There's no fan, no lights, no bed. Just a pondok thingy. My mum and the rest of the people slept in the hall for the ladies.

The hall

Some old furniture at the corner of the hall

A kuih that we ate in the downstairs hall.

Another yummy kuih

A nut biscuit thingy. Not nice wan. So hard and dry.

The maggi mee my sis cooked, and we sort of fought over. Hungry mar!!! We kinda missed dinner.

There was a kitchen near our kuti. They use the old fashion stove thing. We missed dinner because we were following my dad around to get the kuti. We got one in the end. So then we had to go up and down, separating our stuff from our mum's. Luckily we were staying in the same kuit, so we don't have to seperate our stuff from each other.

The inside of our kuti. We already put our stuff. We 'stole' the pillows from the upstairs hall where the other ladies slept. The pillow kept sliding off my head! So hard to sleep!

Closer view at our stuff

The other end of the kuti. Can see the ends of our sleeping bags. Small le? It's meant for like basic living la. Cuz in Buddhism we pratice no attachment to material things ma.

A nice pic of the candles we lighted in the kuti. Luckily it didn't burn down the kuti. Haha. The kuti is like entirely made of wood.

Our kuti!!! I only managed to take a photo of it the next morning.

While we were packing our stuff, I accidently dropped my pants into the tar at the stilt!!! Yucks!!!

The door of the kuti. No lock wan. Cuz temple ma. Who wana break in?

Small hor? Originally it's like that la. Without the water bottle of course.

The roof. It's not very high.

The scenary outside our kuti. Nice le?

The temple is in a oil palm plantation, so there were lots of oil palms around.

A moss ridden trunk

The amount of stuff people lined the roads with. Put there 1st to book place for the Kathina. I'm not exactly sure what a Kathina is, but it is something like the name of a ceremony where a Pindabat, a mass offering to the monks occurs. I shall clarify this with my dad later.

The stuff I offered

The stuff my sis offered

The stuff my mum offered.
my dad didn't offer because he already offered the night before.

An unconsiderate old man, smoking his lungs out (literally)

Even the photographer smoked. Stupid people. Smoking kills!!! Don't u know?!?!?!

My sis broke her shoes the night before, so we had to use this gigantic slipper. My sis wore my mum's shoes so my mum ended up with it. My mum has tiny feet, so it looks so cute in the huge slippers. I alternated it with my mum since it's quite hard to walk in.

The amount of people at the Kathina. This is only a very very small section of the road.

Us waiting for the monks to come

They're here!!!

Us offering

See baby? I wore the watch you gave me!!! I didn't take it off the whole time!!!

There were 50++ monks and so many more people that they had to go another round.

After the ceremony. So few people left.

Outside the temple there is a very large open area. There were many many food stalls set up from breakfast till lunch. Me and my sis didn't go for breakfast because we weren't ready yet, still packing our things and stuff, and didn't know where it was. My mum didn't go because my sis was wearing her slippers so she had none!!! Haha. Actually we did go for awhile, but only a very very short while, cuz the Kathina started soon after that. Anyw, after the Kathina, the monks did chanting. Food consmption was put on hold until after the chanting. So me, my sis and my mum went around to explore.

An insect

The place where people do walking meditation

A tiny leaf we found. I think u'll have to click on the pic to see it. The bigger leaf beside it is a normal sized leaf.

The row of kutis for females. For males, the kuti are further apart, as in really much further apart.

Our kuti again!!!

The toilets for the inhabitants of the kutis

Probably only half the amount of stuff received from everyone during the Kathina.

After that, we went back to the main area and saw my dad. So my mum took a rest while my dad took us to see a lake from which Singapore buys their water from.

A spider web we came across

The kuti my dad stayed in

The kuti is not very high. Even my dad can bump his head on the beam when he stands upright.

A thorny flower plant we saw

A blue concrete kuti. Complete with own toilet.

A nicer kuti, with an open area to sit and meditate.

My dad, at the entrance to the lake

The huge lake

An ant trail we found when we were walking back

Made by ants u know!

Those stuff u see inside the trail, they're not dirt, they're ants!!!

A very modern kuti

Part of the monastery


Got ayam ginseng (Ginseng Chicken) summore!!! But I didn't try la.

Some small bowls of noodles

The stuff to put inside the leng chee kang

A lemon/lime juice drink stall

Ice cream!!!

Roti canai. The dough look so cute la.


An ambulance. I'm not sure why the 'ambulance' is arranged in the mirorr image on the front. Is it like that normally?

An ice cream man taking advantage of the crowd to sell his goods

The crowd

My bowl of Wan Tan Mee

Me punya leng chee kang. I had 2 rounds. Hehe! The 1st round (pic), they were very stingy in the ingredients. The 2nd round, it was full of stuff. Hehe.

The buns me and my sis ta-pau-ed to eat in the bus since we didn't really eat breakfast or lunch

A monk giving a Dharma talk in Chinese/Cantonese/Hokkien in the main hall.

The crowd listening to another Dharma talk delivered in English.

The monk giving the Dharma talk in English

So many people!!!

3 cute dogs we saw near the bus

Has anyone noticed that mineral water tastes of coconut? Me, my sis and my mum did. I didn't like the taste of it, so I went to refill my bottle before the bus left. Even after I came back (when I left to refill my bottle, almost everyone was on the bus already) Catherine and Robert were still not there yet. My dad called them to remind them that it was already 2pm. In the end when they came, the host scolded them for being late. Haha. And of course, it was Catherine's fault. She has to shower 5 times a day. If not she cannot tahan wan. At least that's what I heard her telling Robert. She was late because she showered. This time, I had to suffer Catherine, since she sat behind me. But she only pulled my hair once.

She was telling this story about how someone was rustling through her bag at 4am in the morning and someone shouted at her to do it the next morning, then she couldn't help it and laughed out loud to attract attention. The story is that there were alot of distractions in the ladies hall the night before. My mum told us that she didn't get a good night's sleep because of it. At around midnight, there were some ladies who came in to look for place to sleep. So they were making quite some noise shuffling here and there and going in and out. Then, much much later, a lady went rustling through her bags which were full of plastic bags, and so made lots and lots of noise. My mum said she did that for at least 20mins. Until someone couldn't stand and said "Look look look!!! Look for what a? Tomorrow only look la! So noisy!!!" in Cantonese. The real words were something like " Chao chao chao! Chao mat ye a? (Tmr only - I don't know how to say this in cantonese) chao la! Chou sei yan a!". Haha. Then somebody laughed really loudly. Then at 4am, the helpers got up. So there were activity around the monastery already. It wasn't very noisy, but my mum's a light sleeper so she couldn't really sleep. Later on the host told us that she was actually looking for her toothbrush.

After our adventure with our dad, we took a nap in the ladies hall at around 11am. There were a few ladies already sleeping. At that time, we already knew the story about the noisy lady. So when we saw this lady rustling through her many many bags, we guessed that it was the same lady. One of the sleeping ladies, was not alseep yet. She was facing the noisy lady. Her expression was like 'Are-u-done?-I'm-trying-to-sleep-here + *glare* + boorrreeeeddddd'. The noisy lady very weird la. Imagine there are 3 bags in front of her. She takes out a plastic bag from bag 1, looks through it, stands up with hands on hips and stares at it. Then she crumples the plastic bag and puts it in bag 2. Then she searches through bag 3. Then she returns to bag 2 and takes out the plastic bag again. Then from inside bag 2 takes out a comb and combs her short curly hair which does not require any combing at all. Then puts comb and plastic bag into bag 2 again with lots of rustling. Scavenges bag 1. Takes out plastic bag from bag 2. Opens it and stands up with hands on hips again and stares. Puts plastic bag into bag 1. Conclusion, the only productive thing she did was comb her hair which does not need combing in the 1st place. After that, she left the ladies hall. We saw the almost-sleping lady's expression change immediately. She was smiling and closing her eyes to sleep. Haha.

So anyw, all through the journey, she talked and talked and talked. Yadda yadda yadda. There was a difference in the journey there and back. This time, the host got her wish. They sang karaoke. Old Chinese songs!!! She kept asking everyone not to sleep. I don't care and slept right in front of her face (cuz I sat in the 2nd row, behind my mum, who sat behind the driver). The karaoke actually only one person sing lo. She sang for so long u know!!! I had to block out her horrible singing by turning up the volume of my mp3. I wonder how my ears didn't die. If I go deaf, I'm blaming this trip. My sis almost fell asleep, but was jolted awake when the host suddenly shouted loudly into the mike " Oi!!! Don't sleep la!!!". The way my sis described it to me was damn funny la. Haha. The host also asked a few of the passengers how they felt about the trip. She actually asked my mum, but I was too far away in dreamland to know. Haha.

An unusual wedding car I saw from the bus. Another ambulance!!!

Our bus

Surprisingly, we reached home in time to watch all 3 CSIs. Hehe. Still got time for my sis to wash hair before that some more. Well, that's all. =)

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