Tuesday, January 11, 2011

10 January 2011: Foundations

At the foundation of the KL Megamall lies a temple. In their rush to capitalize on Asia’s hunger for American styles, products, and inanity, the intrepid entrepreneurs bulldozed the old sacred space of the Hindus to erect one of their own. And then, so the story goes, bad things began to happen. Accidents, setbacks, and financial losses compounded like a gathering of spirits to stir the long-forgotten superstitions of the pioneers of tomorrow, and finally, they came to grips with the truth that without the old temple, the body of the new one would remain without a soul. And so they invested large sums of money to rebuild the shrine. It sits there to this day, the residence of a holy woman whose hair falls to the floor, and who reportedly blesses weary pilgrims who know how to walk against the grain of highway traffic and not be harmed.

When we arrived, its gates were locked, while the wind howled down the gaping maw of the blind mouth of the megamall parking garage. Light shines in the darkness, and darkness cannot quite overcome it - and so the darkness pays lip service to light, preferring to let the world be filled with its own forgetfulness, and so believe in neither. And the temple at the mall’s foundation sits, packed like dynamite, waiting for the world to remember light, and so spark the fuse that can topple Nebuchadnezzer’s golden statue, as its powder keg is filled with the peaceful power of prayers, petitions, and watchful waiting protest. And I felt the whispering of the darkness in the passing of a luxury car, a few inches from where I stood in contemplation. And the darkness is afraid.

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