What goes into a Datuk house by Cheryl J Hoffmann

What Goes In To A Datuk House?

March 17, 2022

Malaysians like to respect the Datuk by building him a house. There are so many interesting versions of a Datuk house, a place that gives him cover and provides a place for worship. Sometimes the houses look a lot like…

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Datuk idol under big tree, photography by Cheryl J Hoffmann

The Datuk – What’s In A Name?

March 16, 2022

In Tanjong Karang, Datuk temples and shrines abound. The Datuk helps protect the fishermen who hail from a sea-faring background in Fujian province in China. There are 5 Datuks worshipped in this shrine and some of their names are indicated,…

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Candlesticks melting


November 8, 2019

The fire element plays a very important role in the Nine Emperor Gods Festival as devotional acts bring the world into balance. The presence of Yang can be very dramatically applied as in the Firewalking rituals, the boom of fireworks,…

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Spaces along the street

Small Sacred Spaces along the Street

October 21, 2019

When the Nine Emperors Gods are invited to the temple, it is customary for devotees to offer tea and joss sticks in sets of nine out of respect and a sense of Chinese hospitality. Look at those nine little tea…

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Dates for the 2019 Festival Ampang Style

Haze Move Over! Dates for the 2019 Festival (Ampang Style)

September 25, 2019

Ready, Set, Go! The Nine Emperor Gods Festival begins on Saturday

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A hindu religious person kissing another person on forehead

Connecting & Reconnecting

August 12, 2019

This story comes from a cluster of Hindu temples under the high tension wires in Kampung Eng Ann, Klang. Here communities gather to reclaim their attachment to sacred space, generations after being separated from their land. We found ourselves there,…

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Four men performing


August 5, 2019

A story of Ritual, Images and Words I have a memory of being suspended in the space before the morning light, enfolded in the embrace of another realm. Pauline and I were encircled by the final rites of a Kuda…

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Ritual dancers

Alam (Tak) Nyata at OBSCURA Festival of Photography

August 4, 2019

5-31 August 2019 Hin Bus Depot, Georgetown, Penan Images by Cheryl Hoffmann, Words by Pauline Fan Video by Persona Theory Games

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People dancing

Sublime Presence

August 4, 2019

Images of Kuda Kepang For several years I have been watching the Kumpulan Kuda Kepang RHF perform the entrancing healing rituals of the Kuda Kepang dance. As I fell in love with the rhythmic beauty of the ritual movements, the…

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Twisted Hands in V Shape Image

Night of the Harimau

February 11, 2019

Communities have different ways of responding to pressures on their traditionally-held beliefs. When a conservative faction in Johor state revived a religious fatwah against the art of Kuda Kepang, the response was loud and clear. In the heart of Parit…

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