Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Migrants from Myanmar and their roles in a Chinese temple

This morning some colleagues and I went to a famous Chinese temple in the heart of Kuala Lumpur (the temple is as old as Kuala Lumpur) to pray to the Tiger God (Hor Yah in Hokkien) to ward off petty and bad people (小人) from disturbing us and to ensure that everything that we do goes on smoothly. It is said that today is the day that the temple of the Tiger God in heaven is opening again after closing throughout Chinese New Year.
We have seen migrants from Myanmar at hawker centers monopolying the cooking and serving, taking over the job from locals, they are at construction sites, they do car wash, they sell pirated DVDs, and they do peddle jobs selling stuffs at hawker centers and restaurants and many more. There was even a saying that Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur is no longer Chinatown as most of the people doing the selling and serving there are from Myanmar and it should be called “Myanmartown”.
Well, to my bewildered eyes, they take over temple jobs too which were previously only dominated by the Chinese. The person selling joss sticks and joss papers at the counter is from Myanmar and he speaks fluent Cantonese. Those who upkeep the temple are from Myanmar as well. There were some Chinese which we supposed were the caretaker of the temple sitting at one corner of the temple chatting among them and occasionally gave orders to the migrants.
I then told of one the Chinese that we want to pray to the Tiger God and he ordered us to another corner of the temple where the God is situated. Over there, two Myanmar migrants took charge, instructing us what to do with the joss papers and praying materials.
After that came the ceremony where we were required to knee in front of the Tiger God where usually the Chinese temple caretaker will chant something akin to warding off bad people, evil spirit and the famous “打你的小人” in Cantonese a few times which means “hit on you the bad people”. I fully expect the Chinese temple caretaker will come to do this but to my biggest surprise in life, this was done by the migrant from Myanmar, chanting fluently without a miss word albeit with some Myanmar slang. Oh my God! Should I say this is how globalized we are or how dependent we are to foreign workers?
My friends and I left the temple in shock and disbelieve but we can’t help laughing all the way back to office and throughout lunch. We joked that probably in the near future we will see them taking over the role of “temple medium” on which it is said that the God entered the medium to communicate with people who seek the God’s help. Maybe they will also able to interpret the divination stick that I mention in one of the previous post. Well, who knows if we will be right?

No comments:

Post a Comment