09 Dec 2014 — 'Khatan' is the term for male circumcision carried out as an Islamic rite. It is considered by some as a sign of belonging or introduction to the wider Islamic community. Islamic sources do not fix a particular time for circumcision. It depends on family, region and country. A majority of ulama, however, take the view that parents should get their child circumcised before the age of 10. The preferred age is usually seven although some Muslims are circumcised as early as on the seventh day after birth and as late as at the commencement of puberty. The Malaysian Insider photographer Afif Abd Halim records a mass circumcision held at a mosque in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
02 Dec 2014 — December 2 marks the 25th anniversary of the Hatyai Peace Accord, when the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) laid down arms against the Malaysian and Thai governments, ending an insurgency that began in 1948. Some of the party members left the jungle and returned to their families but 146 members of the 10th CPM Regiment decided to start a new life at Chulabhorn Pattana 12 village in Sukhirin, Narathiwat, Thailand. The Malaysian Insider photographer Hasnoor Hussain travelled to the village to record some of their daily activities.Read more
27 Nov 2014 — As recently as 30 years ago, Kuala Lumpur was a predominantly low-rise city, with hardly any building more than a few storeys’ high. Fast forward to today, and the situation could not be any more different: the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, with the iconic Petronas Towers and massive shopping centre, epitomises the new KL. But, a few hundred metres away is Kampung Baru, a settlement that has so far resisted the march towards modernity. The Malaysian Insider photographer, Nazir Sufari, captures this living heritage of sorts in its element today.
14 Nov 2014 — The Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) project involves the construction of a rail-based public transport network which, together with the existing light rail transit (LRT), monorail, KTM Komuter, KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit systems, form the backbone of the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley region. With the Klang Valley MRT, the target to have half of all journeys in the Greater KualaLumpur/Klang Valley region to be on public transport can be achieved. The Malaysian Insider photographer, Afif Abd Halim records the construction of MRT station around Kuala Lumpur.
01 Nov 2014 — There are two main forms of the Chinese lion dance, the Northern Lion and the Southern Lion. But around the world, especially in Southeast Asia, the Southern Lion predominates as it was spread by the Chinese diaspora communities. Only a few companies in Malaysia make lion's head masks according to traditional methods. Normally, the masks are imported from China because it is much cheaper, but the quality is not very good as they are commercially made and mass produced. The Malaysian Insider photographer, Nazir Sufari, had the opportunity to see and record the making of lion's head masks at a shop in Desa Pandan in Selangor. As said by craftsman Wong Soon Fai: “It is hard to play the lion dance, but to build the lion's head mask is much harder.”
21 Oct 2014 — Deepavali, or Diwali, is a festival celebrated by Hindus to commemorate Lord Rama and his wife, Sita’s return to Ayodhya after his 14-year exile. It was a dark night when they first returned, hence his people lit their houses with lamps (diyas) so that Rama and Sita could find their way. For some Hindus, Deepavali is also celebrated in honour of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The lighting of diyas would then make it easy for Lakshmi to find her way to homes. Thus, this festival is known as the Festival of Lights. It also signifies the victory of good over evil. Lighting diyas also refers to the inner light, which, according to Hindu philosophy, is called the Atman. Hindus in Malaysia will celebrate Deepavali on October 22.
03 Oct 2014 — The Nine Emperor Gods festival is a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which is observed primarily in Southeast Asia. It is celebrated to usher the nine sons of Tou Mu, goddess of the North Star, who controls the books of life and death. Also known as Kew Ong Yeah, the festival is celebrated nationwide in Malaysia. It begins with welcoming the Nine Emperor, followed by a spear-skewering ceremony and a procession of floats. It ends with a send-off of the gods to the sea on the last day.
01 Oct 2014 — Budu is a fish sauce and one of the best known fermented seafood products in Kelantan, Terengganu and southern Thailand. It is traditionally made by mixing anchovy and salt, and fermented for between 140 and 200 days. It is used as a flavouring and is normally eaten with fish, rice and raw vegetables.
20 Sep 2014 — The 60th PAS muktamar or assembly started on Thursday, September 18, and is held in Batu Pahat, Johor, for the first time. For over four days, PAS members and leaders meet to debate and set the party’s direction. At this muktamar, the Islamist party is grappling with the Selangor menteri besar crisis and an internal struggle over its ties with Pakatan Rakyat.
13 Sep 2014 — Despite competition from modern launderettes and washing machines, traditional laundries run by Indians living in Dhoby Ghaut are still serving their loyal customers. The settlement is at the confluence of Sungai Air Terjun and Sungai Air Itam, which form Sungai Pinang. The dhobi used the rivers to wash their laundry. A drop in the quality of water forced them to move from the riverbank to tap water, but they still hand scrub the laundry and dry them under the sun. Business began in the 19th century and handed down through the generations. But today, labour shortages have forced many dhobi to close shop. From 150 dhobi in the 1970s, only about 13 remain and most of their workers are from India.