Together with a friend, we went to Tanjung Balai Karimun for a short weekend getaway. On the morning of the second day, we went to a local Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin) temple as it was celebrating Bodhisattva's Leaving Home Day.
The men paid S$2 for incense offerings and offered prayers to the deity. Several local residents dropped by to pray too. Seeing me sitting in a corner, the friendly locals came to chit-chat with me. They speak Teochew too.
A young mother came by with a few T-shirts of her young children. She requested the abbot to put an imprint on the back of the T-shirts. The abbot took a wooden seal, thumped it a few times on a pad of red ink and pressed it hard on the T-shirts, a square imprint with Chinese characters was formed.
I was feeling emotional as it was a familiar ritual which my mother used to do for us when we were in primary school. It is believed the T-shirts blessed by the deity would ensure young children would grow up safe and healthy.
After prayers, we were treated to a scrumptious home cooked vegetarian meal by the abbot of the temple. The locals were hospitable and kept piling us with food and beverages. They probably felt honoured to have overseas visitors ... or maybe because we are kakinang (same dialect group). hahaha....