Saturday, November 6, 2010

Penang Cultural and Heritage One Day Tour for the Visually Impaired (Part 1)

Although the main focus of the Teruko Ikeda ICT Training is on Microsoft Office, Jaws, programming, scripting, XHTML, JAVA and others. It will be kind of boring and tiresome for the participants just to sit in front of their laptops for the whole 1 month. Especially for those in the Advance course who had to struggle with programming and Java language. If you put me in front of my laptop to do programming for the whole day, you will find me wandering in Facebook for half of the day!

In order to make life more enjoyable and the trip to Penang more memorable for the participants, (For most of the participants in the intermediate course, this is their first trip to Malaysia ) the coordinators Mr. Wong Yoon Loong and Mdm Christina Anne Lau, had creatively come out with an idea of 'One Day Penang Haritage Tour for the Visually Impaired' to promote the rich culture, religious beliefs and heritage of Penang to the participants.

Since most of the participants are totally blind, the tour must be of something that they can touch, hear, smell and feel so that they can have some picture or an idea of the culture, the people and heritage of Penang.

It was not easy to conduct such a tour but thanks to our volunteer tour guide Mr. Paul, from Belgium, (Ok, our tour guide is a "Mat Salleh" from Belgium but not me a local.... malunya... phai seh nia!) everything went well and it was really an eye opening experience for most of the participants... and even for me as a local.. ahem!

By the way, Ms. Jayanthi and I was invited by the coordinators to be volunteer guides to the participants on that tour, (That's why I say I am just a Kay po chee tagging along Hehehehe!)

Our first destination, starts with the Pulau Tikus Catholic Church.

The Advanced group with the coordinator and volunteers photo in front of the Church.

(The Intermediate group) Everyone is listening attentively to Mr Paul introduction of the Church (Except me, cause I am holding the camera).

The participants from the Intermediate group is touching and feeling the pew that they are sitting on.

Such a serene and sober atmosphere..... it feels so peaceful. Just close your eyes, empty your mind and slowly walk down the aisle and you will know what I mean.

The participants were guided along the aisle to the front part of the church.(Shown here were the participants of the advanced group) Like going for holy communion only hehehehe!

In front of the podium at the left side of the stage, there are some beautifully arranged pot of flowers. Some of the participants especially the ladies were quiet captivated by touching and smelling the fresh flowers. Therefore they asked me to take this photo (On the left, Delgerbayar, and Ariffin. On the right Minnie and Lanieta)

Next, we proceed to a Hainanese Chinese Temple somewhere along Muntri Street. One of the unique and interesting features about this temple is, the outer walls and front poles are covered not by paintings but carvings of animals and mystical beings from ancient Chinese folklore. Therefore it was really a great experience for the participants as they can touch and feel the rich architecture of the building rather than just listen to our descriptions.
Group photo in front of the temple.

Amrith from Bhutan was having a feel of a dragon that was carved on one of the front poles of the temple.

Mr. Paul was explaining and them about the joss stick urn. For some of them, this is their first time experiencing the smell of burning joss sticks.

Miss Evelyn ( one of the previous Teruko Ikeda instructors) Sisi and Ashoka were quite interested in touching this mystical lion. Paul was showing and telling us that in order to know whether the lion is male or female, we should look at the... (Having dirty silly thoughts is it? Hahaha!) front of the lion, A male lion will step on a ancient Chinese coin and a female lion will have a cub on its back. (Yeah! Shame on me.... it takes a Belgian Uncle to tell a Chinese like me about this!!!!)

Delgerbayar and some of the participants were quite fascinated with the carvings on the wall.

Sisi and Ashoka was again fascinated with the unique shape of a mystical beast's head door knob.

Mr Paul showing them the 'puak puay' two wooden crescent shape thing used by Taoist people during prayers.
Next Mr Paul bring them near the main altar and showed them the 'Chim See' or the oracle sticks used by the Taoist people when praying and asking for some guidance from the Heavenly Mother Goddess (Thian Hou Kong)
"Okay, everyone come and see what the Heavenly Mother Goddess had to say about all of you"
To be continue in part 2

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