Giant Footprint in Penang, Malaysia

In a place called Batu Maung, located in the state of Penang, Malaysia lies a Chinese temple known as the "Sam Poh Footprint Temple". The temple was built only in 1993 and the local Chinese fishermen here are said to pay respects to the temple before going out to sea each day. Therefore, this temple is currently only 18 years old.

The history (before the temple was erected):
Originally there wasn't any temple erected for this foot print.

(Photo above: Taken before temple was erected)

According to locals, the foot print which is stamped on solid rock is believed to be more than a century old. (Himanshu Bhatt-Neo Sentuhan)

The size of the foot print: 33 inches / 0.85 meters

What the locals believe:

1. The ChineseThe Chinese believe that the footprint belongs to Admiral Cheng Ho (Admiral Zheng He)from China whom the locals called "Sam Poh Kong".

Who is Admiral Cheng Ho?

Historical accounts points out that he was a Muslim born in the district of Yunnan Province. He had led seven sea expeditions in the 15th Century believed to be between years 1405-1433 on behalf of the emperor from reign of Emperor Yong Le. Has traveled across Southeast Asia and visited several ports including Ayutthaya, Melaka, Palembang, Surabaya, Aden, Champa, etc.

A quote from an Indonesian Islamic scholar, Hamka says, "The development of Islam in Indonesia & Malaya (Malaysia was still known as Malaya until Sept 16, 1963)is intimately related to a Chinese Muslim, Admiral Zheng He." It is believed that he left behind many of his Muslim crew members in Malacca after building warehouses, granaries and stockade because the local community in Malacca was also Muslim.

After Zheng He's death, all expeditions were suspended and the ensuing result 400 years later is that the Hanafi sect that originally was amongst the Chinese became lost and absorbed into the Shafie sect of the locals. Later, the Chinese were discouraged from converting into Islam. The result: Many of the Chinese Muslim mosques became the San Bao temples commemorating Zheng He. As time passed by, the influence of Chinese Muslims in Malacca waned to almost none existent. (Wang Ma, R 2003)

Thus goes the story of the Chinese belief linking the footprint to Admiral Cheng Ho.

2. The local Indians
The local Indians believe that the footprint belongs to Lord Hanuman who while leaping over the ocean in search of herbal cure for Lakshamana, Rama's brother had left an indelible mark on a solid rock.

Another account of the belief also links to Lord Hanuman who on his way to meet Rama's wife, Sita, left an indelible mark.

3. The Malays
The local Malays believe that it "Tapak Gedembai" belongs to a gigantic figure known as Sang Gedembai who was strong and feared by the locals. According to this version, one day while a villager was chopping wood, 1 piece flew high enough and caught the eyes of the nearby terrified giant who ran for his life leaving heavy footprints all over which is still visible till today.

They say that this footprint in Batu Maung is only 1 of the four footprints of "Sang Gedembai" where 3 others are available in Pulau Jerejak (Island of Jerejak), Pulau Aman (Aman island) and Bayan Lepas. All 3 others are not too far away from Batu Maung.

Photo 1/2 of Closer view of another footprint located at Bayan Lepas

Photo 2/2 below: Distant view of (cemented) footprint captured in Bayan Lepas

1. Mr. Himanshu Bhatt- Neo Sentuhan with many thanks.
3. Asia Explorer

Holy water from trees...

First of all, apologies for the long silence once again. Just to break the silence, i am bringing in an amusing story of holy water falling down from trees. The local's have mixed feelings and like usual, some are quick to assume that the water may have some curative powers and started making some quick bucks selling MYR 5 for a little plastic container.

On the other hand, Science, authorities from Consumer Association of Penang are cautioning the locals not to be taken in awe by the unexplained until full investigation is conducted with leptospirosis in mind. This is because some are already experimenting the efficacy of the water by wiping the face and body with the "water" .

At the same time, former University UKM lecturer Prof Dr Zaidi explains that nothing is mysterious about this water possibly it is the urine of Cicadas during mating season. Another local when interviewed said in response, how come only this particular tree is showering water when the other trees also have cicadas but no showers? Well, time will tell.

Islamic Religious bodies are reminding Muslims to stay away and understandably cautioning that it is blasphemy (Syirik) to expect miracles from trees.

For some, it is opportunity and brisk business as they have put up stalls and started catering fast food for visitors. Chinese folks are going there with the hope that they might strike 4 digit local lottery as the tree might increase the luck due to the presence of a holy spirit (Datuk Kong).

Let's wait and see how this drama ends as it may take 2 weeks for the authorities to conclude the tests on the "water". So till then, the stalls can enjoy another 2 more weeks of brisk business; lottery punters can continue to try their luck for another 2 more weeks---they might either get poorer or richer.

For more details about this news, you can get it here and here .
Photo contributions (with thanks): The Star


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