TV SMITH's Dua Sen: Chasing A Chariot
TV Smith's Dua Sen
TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...


by TV Smith & Lu Sean

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Lu Sean: We spent 6 hours the other night chasing a chariot. It was the annual festival of Thaipusam where devotees thronged the streets to walk the approximately 15km from Chinatown to Batu Caves. This could be an 8-hour journey culminating in a flight of 272 steps to the top of the caves.

TV: For us, it was to become a six hour journey that zig zag through the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Gombak and Selayang, both on foot and wheels. She had originally planned to walk with the worshippers, while I'll trail in the car, get some pics and her, if she falters. I also had this ambitious plan to webcast from the vicinity of the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Chinatown, where the procession begins.

On arrival at the starting point at midnight, we found out that the logistics weren't as simple as we have envisioned. There must be at least a hundred thousand devotees there and we could barely inch towards the enchanting chariot. Besides, we stood out visibly like two intrusive backpackers. That turned out to be a good thing actually, as people offered us food, drinks and information enthusiastically.

Traveling light. Not even with her inseparable iPod... Me checking out the free and very yummy vegetarian nasi lemak

Lu Sean: It was amazing! There were so many people on the streets. Apparently 100,000 were expected, though it looked like a lot more. Followers of all ages, shapes and sizes. Some carrying milk pots, small kavadis or children on their heads. The persistent drizzle did not dampen the spirits of the devotees who were out in force. They all seemed happy to be there and some had such a sublime look of devotion on their faces, that little old agnostic me felt a pang for such unwavering and unquestioning faith.

TV: I quickly located an empty hawker kiosk, parked my notebook on it and mounted the webcam as high as possible. As expected, 3G coverage was good in the heart of the city and the images were soon transmitted to my server in Cyberjaya and out to the world at large. There were about 900 concurrent viewers, since Jeff Ooi kindly made an announcement on his site hours earlier. (continued here)

From this vantage point, the images were broadcast via a 3G data card in my laptop Moments before the chariot begins its long journey to the caves.

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TV Smith's cameras furnished by Olympus Malaysia.

© 2006 TV SMITH
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