Sabah Mazu Buddha statue : believe, fatwa, Kudat economy and lazy execuses

Posted On 27/12/2007

Filed under random thought

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source from wikipedia,Kudat

DanXia burning Buddha statue
Zen master DanXia used to stay RotDung Huilin temple. During a freezing winter, DanXia took a piece of Buddha statue from the temple and burn it to get warm.

The temple guru scold DanXia, “WTFWhy you burn my temple Buddha statue”.

DanXia answer, “Oh, I am looking for Sarira “.

The temple guru say, “The statue is make of wood, you can’t freakingfind Sarira from a wood statue”.

DanXia answer, “Oh, since there is not Sarira, that shouldn’t an issue for me to burn few more”

Mandarin text
丹霞烧佛
邓州丹霞山天然禅师,曾到洛东慧林寺,因天寒,遂取殿中木佛,烧之取暖,院主见之呵曰:为何烧我木佛?师以仗拨灰说:吾烧取舍利。院主说:木佛那有舍利?师说:既无舍利,再取两尊烧之。院主遂悟自性

I am quite puzzling with Malaysian frenzy mindset on building all sort of mega statue. Yes, it is no different to me whether Chinese go build a huge Buddha statue, the state use money to build a mega Mosque, Hindu build a mega Statue in Batu Caves.

But the most intriguing part are Buddha statue. One of the oldest controversial statue are the huge Kuan Yin statue . In fact, the statue has more economy value than its religious meaning. Just walk around the area, you will notice it is actually a tourist attraction point, in short, yet another place to make $$$$.

Honestly, I don’t like the Kuan Yin statue. From artistic point of view, it is actually 100% made in Taiwan (or China?) Fiber glass stuff. Whether design or material, the statue didn’t use a single local material. And the design part is not impressive either. Honestly, with mainland China huge Buddhism cultural material, the 100% Made in China Kuan Yin statue are nothing. Even the not so “grand” Kek Lok Si has more cultural valuable than the Kuan Yin statue.

Nonetheless, it is yet another (no thanks)“value added” effort made. Even though it make the whole Kek Lok Si looks like a statue flea market.

So even it does not adhere to the Buddhism teaching, and for the welfare of the people that depends on the economy, well, I don’t think Buddha will disagree the people exploit the opportunity. Because people with empty stomach can barely seek enlightenment. What good is a religion that make his believer suffer?

And how is this related to the Mazu statue that erect in Kudat,Sabah?

Honestly, when I see the fatwa letter that post on RPK Malaysia-today.net , it annoyed me.

It seems Malaysia Islam religions practicer that associate with BN government are so damn lazy. They can’t think of much valid reason than shooting something that will BENEFIT Kudat economy, regardless muslim or non muslim. Yes, like the economy games play by Penang Kek-Lok-Si management, it is a landmark to boost Kudat popularity, yet without erect a single cents of Malaysian tax payer money. Let me repeat it, empty stomach do no good to non muslim as well as muslim!

And why I say those practicer are lazy, both in bones and their brain? Come on, can’t you think of some better excuse? I can easily borrow the Penang Kek Lok Si experience here

  1. Local content! Insist of some local builder design on the architecture
  2. Local material. Well, the excuses of “currency outflow” and promote local business
  3. Preservation of greenery and blend of local surrounding. Well, this FORCE the people to make a better design
  4. Maintenance of the statue. Well,if the statue will look ugly without maintenance and spoil the surrounding
  5. Safety. Obvious reason

When you start working on those reason, nobody can shoot you down, and call you Taliban(Whereas, I call the lame fatwa excuses as “Berat Tulang” (Lazy) excuses). In addition, it make people think : from every angle, than the narrow fatwa point of view that make Islam look STUPID. (well if Malaysia Islam religion department refuse to LET people think, that is another story)

Stupid Islam religion department fatwa vs Kudat welfare
Let me borrow some facts from sabah.com.my website.

Kudat Division is located in the Northern part of Sabah and occupies a total of only 4,623 Sq. km or 6.3% of Sabah territory. Kudat is indeed the smallest among the 5 divisions in Sabah. The Division’s main towns are Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas. The division has approximately 7% of Sabah’s total population (1991 census, Sabah Yearbook of Statistics, 1998). Kudat Seaport serves the region for mainly commodity transportation. The domestic air strip serves the region in a very minimal way.

Compare to Kota Kinabalu and Kundasang that reaping tourism profit from Mountain Kinabalu landscape, and Island beaches near Kota Kinabalu, Kudat has little tourist attraction point that worth the tourist hassles.

In addition, Kudat are not a rich district. Even with few golf course and resort setup, the district face always lose up to stiff competition from nearby district.

So how is the Mazu Buddha statue has to do with Kudat economy? A lot.

source from wikipedia

According to Sabah tourism statistic Jan – Oct 2007 statistics, every month, Sabah attract 25,000 tourist from Asia region, 12,000 from non Asia region, and 123,000 local tourist.
Note : In order NOT to discriminate the number, I subtract Indonesia 24,300+ and 5,700 Philipines “tourist”

If you look at the number, it say little to Kudat district.

Due to Kudat location, any hurricane or typhoon hit Philipine, Kudat will take some share of it. So offshore fishery in Kudat are limit by typhoon month.

Typhoon Mitaq , U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photo, public domain

Since Kudat terrain are mountainous, the river are short and not adequate for farming.

Despite some of this shortcoming, few people know Kudat are actually capital of Sabah state in 1881. This mean the district has many Sabah historical information compare to Kota Kinabalu. However, this Rungus people hometown are being keep discriminate from historical tourism development for many years.

So the roles of Mazu Buddha statue are pretty obvious. The RM5 million(little tax payer money involve), 108 feet(36 meters),world tallest statue give valid reason for deep pocket Asia region tourist (e.g. HK, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea,China) to make a stop on Kudat. It is a nice packaging that give a big push to Kudat tourism. Whether muslim or non-muslim, everyone will get stake from the tourism boost. Like it or not, the Mazu statue are a huge Christmas tree to Kudat people, whether they are believer or not.

(Now guess what happen if Malaysia Islam religion department claim fatwa on the massive number of cat statue in Kuching, Sarawak)

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