The stream runs its course

By Kek Lok Si Temple Management

Two things are bad for the heart: (i) running up hill; and (ii) running down people, so said a philosopher.

To be relevant to the needs of the time and the million odd people who visit the Kek Lok Si Temple and its premises, the Temple had to develop and up-grade its facilities.

The land beside the stream that is called Ayer Itam River is being upgraded to accommodate the traffic congestion during public holidays and Chinese New Year. The queue would at times extend up to the State Mosque (at the junction of Jalan Masjid Negeri and Jalan Air Itam) especially after the completion of the new Penang Hill train. It is also necessary to build a new and bigger pond for the tortoises that were released by worshippers. That was a request by SPCA.

Every year more that a million worshippers and tourists visit the Kek Lok Si Temple. The number is increasing. The basic infrastructures such as the access roads and parking bays are stretched to its limits. The visitors were complaining of long periods of waiting. The residents in Ayer Itam area were complaining of access disturbances.

The management was responding to these genuine complaints. The management wants an efficient use of available land. The proposed upgrading of the facilities will include:

a) 1000 car parking bays and 20 coach parking bays
b) a landscaped garden, lily ponds, rock gardens, tea pavilion while maintaining the rich flora and fauna
c) a bigger and better tortoise pond and fish pond
d) public toilet and visitors resting area

The armchair critics must descend from the ivory towers and face realities. 120 years had lapsed since the Temple was first build. It cannot stagnate and choke itself. A certain amount of debris must be cleared for development to take place. It is not destruction.

The course of the stream was not interrupted. The removal of some vegetation and small boulders adjacent to the stream should not be viewed with a magnifying glass. The management of the Temple is very much alive to environmental needs. There is no destruction as claimed. If the Temple were to cater for all the gossipers, there will be no development.

The Temple was established more than a hundred years ago. It cannot remain in that period. The Temple will become irrelevant if it is not allowed to develop. It needs the facilities for the visitors and the traffic.

A few dissenting voices may surface once in a while but the truth should not be distorted to please the dissenting few.