Southeast Asia Journal Number Seven


The Pre-New Year Hindu Celebrations in Malaysia

Malaysia was Awesome!  The most incredible part: The Hindu Celebration in Little India on the island of Penang.  It was really something.  There I was sitting in front of a little cafe right on the road and the next thing I know, there were these bells and sirens and horns and then a caravan of two huge cows and it was accompanied by Hindus on their way to the pre-New Year celebrations just a few blocks down the road.  I grabbed my camera and sprung into action.  I hadn’t been that engaged in a photo-op in a very long time.  It was like the rush I had working for the newspapers back in the states.

By the time it was done the processor in my camera was hot to the touch and I was soaked in sweat.  But all the while, it was such a great rush.  These photos can be found at this address:  But to cover what happened; I would have to say that it was a pretty remarkable experience.

After the caravan moved down the road and turned the corner to the temple, it

Outside the precession, horns wailed and drums blared

sat out front with people throwing powdered colors everywhere and placing a single colored dot in the centers of others’ foreheads, they positioned the main staple of the celebration, a large, chrome stag mounted atop the caravan, to move into the temple.  Before long, I was noticed as a photographer that was there for the duration.  I was moving throughout the crowd catching amazing faces and drummers and celebratory movements.  Just after I shot a breathtaking picture of the leader of the ceremony in a cold pause atop his eulogy, he came down to me and calmly invited me into the temple to take photos in the better spot.  He lead me right to where the action would be taking place — right where the statue was to be placed.  It was quite an honor.

While I waited for the crew to unload the item, I continued to walk around and snap shots of the precession.  What I walked away with was really incredible.  And I got some pretty nice photos, too.

The ceremonial leader brought me in as the unofficial photographer.

Be sure to check out the photo album for this event. The feeling of that night will remain with me for a long time.  It was something I think few people would appreciate or even have the opportunity to experience.  And it’s all because I got up and sprang into action, jumped into the action and didn’t wait for permission.  I think I have found that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.  One still allows for the experience to have taken place.  These photos can also be seen on my website: cyleodonnell.com

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Thanks for your comments! For photos and more, go to cyleodonnell.com

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