sign in a cave in Laos

29 January 2021

Thaipusam 2021

Thaipusam was 28 Jan 2021. But this year it was more or less cancelled, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysia was under a lockdown, so the MCO (movement control order) meant there could be no celebrations. In Kedah the State government cancelled the Thaipusam public holiday. 

In Kuala Lumpur the famous Thaipusam chariot was allowed to travel from the Jalan Bandar temple to Batu Caves but without a procession. 

Photo from The Star -

I don't know what the entry fee is, I assume it is for a car.


See my 2007 blog on Thaipusam.

15 January 2021

Oldest cave art again found in Indonesia

 Once again the oldest rock art / cave paintings have been found in Indonesia, again in Sulawesi. This time it is a 45,000 year old painting of a Sulawesi warty pig from the Maros-Pangkep area. In mid Jan 2021 there were plenty of media reports about this. 

Science Advances carries the full article on 13 Jan 2021, "Oldest cave art found in Sulawesi". This is their abstract -

I was in the Maros area in 1994 and saw this babi rusa in Pettakere Cave in the Leang Leang Park -

13 January 2021

Gunung Kanthan Sakyamuni monastery cave

An article in the Perak China Press about the ongoing attempts to save the Gua Dhamma Sakyamuni monastery at Gunung Kanthan, Perak. Gunung Kanthan is being quarried and the monastery has little protection. I was invited to visit the monastery and its caves in June 2013 and have been following the progress since. Cave register number Prk 47/09.

The article was published 13 Jan 2021. It is in Chinese, this is the online English translation :

Hundred-year "Sakyamuni Sacred Rock" hopes that the government approves it to stay in the original site

In order to ensure that the "Sacred Rock of Sakyamuni" in Kanthan Mountain's century-old Buddhist temple can be kept on the original site forever, the temple hopes that the government will assist and approve the temple on the premise of maintaining the country's multi-religious, cultural and ethnic harmony. Continue to stay at the original location.

Master Fashan, a representative of the "Sacred Rock of Sakyamuni", said that since the temple has been built for a century and has been supported by many believers at home and abroad, and Kanthan Mountain has a variety of rare species, it is necessary to retain it.

Venerable Fa Shan held a press conference today with the assistance of the director of the Perstate Public Service and Complaints Center of Barisan Nasional Rawai to seek assistance from the Perstate Government.

Master Fa Shan said that as early as 2013 to 2015, someone asked the temple to be relocated, but it was approved by the then state government to keep it on the original site. Unexpectedly, the same thing happened again in December 2020. Therefore, he hopes that the state government can extend its hand. But he declined to give more details.

He said that the temple called on the government to help solve the survival crisis of the temple based on five main reasons. That is, the temple is a centuries-old cave Buddhist holy site, a spiritual sanctuary for thousands of Buddhist monks and believers, and is built in a cave. The Buddha statues are the sacred symbol of Buddhism, the world's unparalleled meditation temple, and the rare animal and plant species that exist in Kanthan Mountain are priceless treasures of the country.

Rawai later pointed out at a press conference that he would assist the "Sakyamuni Rock of Sakyamuni" to reflect its appeal to the Minister of State of Perak, Datuk Sharani, and seek assistance from the state government to keep the temple on its original site.


There is also a video with the article. 


Additional articles :

And an article in Ipoh Echo on 12 Jan, "Appeal to preserve monastery in Gunung Kanthan".

Sin Chew 12 Jan "Temple appeals / Sakyamuni sacred rock is facing crisis and hopes the government will keep this holy place forever".

Oriental Daily 12 Jan (in Chinese)

Suaraperak 12 Jan "Pengurusan kuil mohon gua Gunung Kanthan sebagai tempat ibadat penganut Buddha (The management of the temple requests the Gunung Kanthan cave as a place of worship for Buddhists) :
Malaysian management Dhamma Sakyakumi Caves Monastery hopes the cave area on Mount Kanthan, Chemor is recognized as a place of worship for Buddhists.
His representative, Dr. Chiong Sai Tin said, his party has sent an application to the state government and hopes it will be considered.
He said the cave area existed more than 100 years ago and became a place of meditation for thousands of Buddhists.
“In this cave there is a temple that is home to 15 monks.
"This is the second time we have applied to the state government after the first application in 2014," he told reporters here today.
Meanwhile, Perak Barisan Nasional Service and Complaints Center chief Mohd Ravi Abdullah said he would meet with Menteri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad this week to discuss the issue.


Pan Malaysia Cement began their attack on 14 Jan. They issued a media statement in English entitled “A tragedy waiting to happen – monastery built on volatile structure prone to limestone fall”. This was published in Perak Chinapress on 14 Jan, in an article "There is a potential risk of falling rocks in the Gongqiaoshan [Arch Bridge Mountain]. 

1 January 2021

Gunung Kanthan media updates 2016 - 2020

I haven't posted anything on this blog about Gunung Kanthan since 2015 (apart from Tony Whitten's memorial) so thought I should do an update. However I have been putting some news on my Caves of Malaysia wwww : Archives 2020, Archives 2019, Archives 2018 Geopark, and Archives 2016.

11 July 2017, LafargeHolcim published an article, " LafargeHolcim accelerates biodiversity efforts in Southeast Asia". This is a general article, not directly related to Kanthan. 

2017 Lafarge study on snails at Kanthan.

2017 Rimba report on the snail study.

Zookeys report on the snail study.

In 2019 YTL acquired LafargeHolcim’s entire 51% stake in Lafarge Malaysia Bhd and LafargeHolcim exited the Malaysian market.

YTL website published a feature story "Kanthan Biodiversity Initiatives" on 20 Oct 2020. It says "YTL Cement continues to play its role in the biodiversity conservation by developing rehabilitation plans at the Associated Pan Malaysia Cement (APMC) Kanthan Quarry site located in Chemor, Perak.". It sounds good but I wonder if anything is actually being done. 

There is a really nice diagram about Gunung Kanthan, its quarrying, flora and fauna etc on Coogle -

YTL Executive Chairman's Letter to Stakeholders 2020 -
In the section BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION says "YTL Cement and Malayan Cement Berhad have continued to invest in conservation and biodiversity initiatives. These include preserving endemic species of flora and fauna in the limestone reserve of Gunung Kanthan and other karst outcrops.".