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Not to Prove or Disprove Any Religions!

In a bid to learn beyond textbooks, Taylor’s American Degree Transfer Programme students currently taking the 'World Religions' module, embarked on a voluntary field trip to various temples in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Led by enthusiastic Lecturer, Mr. Clarence Ngui Yew Kit, the trip proved to be an immersive experience filled with discovery and camaraderie. Setting the tone for the day, the field trip began with a hearty breakfast at a traditional Hainanese kopitiam. Armed with enough food for fuel, the walking tour began at Chan She Shu Yuen, a Cantonese Chan Clan Association. The serenity of the venue, accentuated by the aroma of incense and glow of red lanterns, provided a tranquil background to understand the importance of ancestral worship in Confucianism.

Next on the itinerary was the Gurdwara Sahib Polis, a Sikh Temple, where the students were warmly greeted by the temple keepers. Engaging in dialogue and observation with the temple keepers, Russel Vir Singh and Farandeep Singh, the two Sikh ADTP students, shared their firsthand understanding of Sikhism. The journey continued to Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, where vibrant colorful Hindu deities and melodious chants captivated the senses. Amidst the colorful surroundings, students were given the task to search for the vahana of Murugan. A student, Navinaa Vickeneswaran quipped, “The search was so fun and insightful as it combined textbook learning with real-life experience.”

The students visited two more Chinese temples, the Guandi Temple and the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, the former dedicated to the God of War and hero of the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, while the latter commemorated the Founder of Kuala Lumpur, Kapitan Yap Ah Loy. Reflecting on their experience, students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with different faiths and cultures. Rainaf Akif described it as a “Very interesting learning experience”; while Zainab Mohsinbhoy shared her excitement of her first time visiting a Sikh temple, emphasizing the novelty of such an experience.

Tan Ching Yow, reflecting on the day’s events, encapsulated the sentiment of the group, recalling the memorable moments shared, and the camaraderie made at each religious site. He also recalled the culinary delights savored along the way and how the immersion trip concluded with nasi biryani at an Indian restaurant at Lebuh Ampang. In a world divided by religious and cultural differences, this field trip served as a poignant reminder to World Religions module’s motto of “Not to Prove or Disprove” any religions. This eye-opening firsthand experience and meaningful interaction showed the importance of embracing diversity and mutual understanding in the context of Malaysia and the wider globalized world.


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