5 Places to See in Penyengat Island

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Officially named Penyengat Indera Sakti, the island is situated just off the coast of Bintan’s capital Tanjung Pinang and was renowned as the cultural and royal seat of power for the Malay Riau-Lingga sultanate in the 19th century.

Penyengat is where one of the most famous Malay poems, Gurindam Dua Belas, was written by Raja Ali Hajji. He is also known as the person who first wrote about the basics of Malay grammar through his book Pedoman Bahasa (language guidelines), which later became the standardized reference for the modern Malay language. Continue reading

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Dhanagun Vihara: Welcoming The Year of Wooden Horse

The lunar new year celebration is in sight. The end of this January marks the time for us to say goodbye to the snake and to prepare ourselves galloping with the horse. Not much different than in any other places around the world, Chinese descents who lives in Indonesia celebrate the lunar new year with various kinds of festivity as well as religious rituals.

A few years ago, I had a chance to visit Hok Tek Bio vihara in Bogor in the morning of Chinese New Year. Also renowned as Dhanagun Vihara to the locals, this old establishment stands sturdily at the corner of the road right across Bogor’s iconic landmark, the Bogor Palace. Continue reading

Walking a Harmonious Life on Harmony Street

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A lengthy reverent chant is humming from outside my hostel room’s window as I am barely awaken from sleep. Curiously looking out below from the balcony outside my room on the second floor, I can see that the continuing chant is coming from the Sri Payyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple right across the street from where I stay in Malacca. Apparently, it is the Hindus devotedly chanting their morning prayer. I feel at ease just listening to the vibration of it. Continue reading

Illuminate Ramadhan with Lampu Colok Festival

Colok in Malay language means light. Malaysians today often refer colok as “pelite”
or “pelito”. It is a kind of lamp made from tin and uses kerosene as its fuel. Lampu
colok used to be used as traditional lights to illuminate rural villages. Usually it is
made from bamboo or tin. Some are also made from used drinking cans and used as
flashlights. Continue reading

Pura Agung Jagatkartha: A Tint of Bali in Bogor

It was Sunday morning, when I and four of my best friends went on a trip to Bogor. We were planning to go to Pura Parahyangan Agung Jagatkartha in Tamansari. We have heard quite a lot about this largest Hindus temple in Indonesia outside Bali but we didn’t know exactly where this temple is located so we were kind of curious about this temple existence. We departed from Jakarta early in the morning by a friend’s car to avoid the heavy traffic jam and to spare some time just in case we get lost or led astray.

It wasn’t so difficult for us to get to Tamansari area since we have asked a friend who had been to the temple before to give some directions how to get there. Continue reading