Mixed economic climate for Penang

Hoping for the best: Devotees observing the flame-watching ceremony during the Ban Ka Lan Snake Temple CNY Cultural Celebration at the Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: The resident deity of the Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas has predicted that Penang’s economy this year will be at its best from May to August.

The Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong deity also predicted that the economy will be average in the first quarter of the year, with things looking less optimistic towards the last quarter of the year.

The predictions, drawn from the annual flame-watching ceremony according to the strength of the flames, saw hundreds of people observing the ceremony at the temple on Wednesday.

Cheng Hoe Seah Association chairman Teoh Hock Guan, who helped the temple in the flame-watching ceremony, said the ceremony proceeded quickly this year, as all three flames were ignited in less than three minutes.

“The first flame which ignited at 11.44pm at about five inches (12.7cm) had a moderate flame, signifying a moderate start to the year.

“The second flame flared at 11.45pm with bright, strong flames at six inches (15.24cm) signifying a strong transition, while the last flame at 11.46pm was fairly weak, at three inches (7.62cm) signifying a weak yearend, ” he said after the flame-watching ceremony.

The ceremony was an annual temple tradition to read the deity’s divination based on the stability, brightness and strength of three bursts of flames of the incense urn – each representing a four-month cycle of the year.

Earlier, thousands of visitors were entertained with performances at the eighth edition of the Ban Ka Lan Snake Temple’s Chinese New Year Cultural Celebration before a 10-minute fireworks display at midnight.

Present at the event were State Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, former exco member Danny Law, Penang Chinese Clan Council executive adviser and Hokkien Kongsi public officer Datuk Tan Lye Hock and event organising chairman Cheah Cheng Ean.

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