Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Thaipusam

Summary: Thaipusam is a mental thing that more than a million people do each year in Kuala Lumpur, with many more across the world doing similar things.


For the main Malaysian version, these devotees walk in a procession for around eight hours before climbing 272 steps up to a dark cave. Many will do this while carrying a heavy burden or mutilating themselves along the walk, often causing themselves to go delirious due to the exertion and the heat.

Long line for the cave

The reason they do this is obvious: it’s to ask their Gods for a favour in the coming year. The more they ask for, the more they carry/impale their own skins as they go. The most common burdens seemed to be pots of milk (bet that smells nice at the end of the trip) and pieces of fruit hooked into the walker’s skin. Presumably this must work, otherwise people wouldn’t return in huge numbers every year. Right?

Here’s a guy with apples on/in his back:

Easy access snacks
He took off a couple near me to feed his friends. This guy went for oranges, but others just took spikes and shoved them through their cheeks.


And this guy not only trumped them by putting fruitĀ in his legs too, but also because he was carrying this crazy contraption as well. The reason for the drummers is because he, and others like him, like to stop every few metres to have a little dance. This is actually true.



Of course, because of all these people here, I didn’t actually get to go in the Batu Caves which is a bit of a shame but with loads of other trips to Kuala Lumpur to come, surely I’d make the effort to go back. Spoiler: I won’t.


Filed under: asia, , , ,

One Response

  1. Dave says:

    I bet they scared away the masturbating monkeys too. That’s the best part of the Batu Caves.

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