Chi­nese deities fly busi­ness class for SE Asia tour

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A statue of a Chi­nese god­dess adorned in brightly col­ored clothes and an ex­trav­a­gant head­dress has be­come an on­line sen­sa­tion af­ter it was pic­tured fly­ing busi­ness class to Malaysia. The six-foot (1.8-me­tre) model of Chi­nese sea god­dess Mazu was pic­tured strapped into the lux­ury seat on a flight from Xi­a­men, south­ern China, to Kuala Lumpur at the start of a tour of Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore. Mazu and two heav­enly guardians were es­corted by a group of 130 devo­tees from a tem­ple on an is­land in Fu­jian prov­ince, be­lieved to the birth­place of the god­dess, who is revered as a pa­tron of sailors and fish­er­men.

The deities trav­elled at the week­end with Xi­a­men Air­lines-each busi­ness class seat cost­ing 2,091 yuan (about $300). Some seats had to be re­moved to make space for tow­er­ing Mazu on the flight. But af­ter su­pe­rior treat­ment on the out­ward leg, the god­desses had to come down to Earth for the rest of the trip. They trav­elled by bus on to the Malaysian city of Malacca, and then down to neigh­bor­ing Sin­ga­pore in the back of a lorry with the devo­tees fol­low­ing in coaches. The pic­tures of Mazu in busi­ness class sparked a mix­ture of mirth and amaze­ment on­line. “Does the de­ity have to go thru the screen­ing and pat down pro­ce­dure?” asked Face­book user Shukuchi Fox. An­other post said that she was “tak­ing up role of air god­dess bless­ing trav­el­ers on board”. The deities’ heav­enly pow­ers could not save them from the very hu­man headache of a lengthy traf­fic jam yes­ter­day how­ever-they got caught in a snarl-up as they headed over the cause­way sep­a­rat­ing Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia.

They were then de­layed for four hours by Sin­ga­pore im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials who made them un­dergo ex­tra se­cu­rity checks. The or­ga­niz­ers of the tour de­cided to bring Mazu to Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore for tours of Chi­nese tem­ples be­cause the coun­tries’ large eth­nic Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties re­vere the god­dess. “We want to share the bless­ing of Mazu with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble,” said Lin Jin­bang, chair­man of at the Mazu An­ces­tor Tem­ple on Meizhou Is­land in Fu­jian, a shrine to the god­dess. —AFP

SIN­GA­PORE: Devo­tees make an of­fer­ing with joss sticks to the idol of Chi­nese sea god­dess Mazu dur­ing its sec­ond stop-over at a tem­ple in Sin­ga­pore yes­ter­day. The Meizhou Mazu idol is cur­rently on a tour of Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore, a re­gion tra­di­tion­ally re­ferred to as ‘Nanyang’ by early Chi­nese mi­grants, as part of a cul­tural ex­change tour for devo­tees to pay trib­ute to the de­ity. —AFP

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