'Taoist god' goes on a walkabout

'Taoist god' goes on a walkabout
The participants taking turns to wear the ‘Tu Di Gong’ costume as they make their way around Penang island for four days on a 84km journey.

GEORGE TOWN - A group of youths are making heads turn as they walk around Penang island wearing a human-sized costume of a Taoist god.

The 22 youths, aged between 14 and 22, will be taking four days to complete the 84km journey, which began from the Chio Tian Culture and Arts Troupe Penang centre in Permatang Damar Laut, near here, at 8am yesterday.

Twenty-one of them are members of the troupe, which organised the journey, while the remaining participant is a volunteer. Several other non-members will join them along the journey for a day or two only.

The costume of Tu Di Gong (God of Fortunes and Virtues), which they take turns to wear, is a sight to behold, with its long white eye brows, moustache and beard. It weighs about 15kg.

Thong Kaw Wenn, 15, said it looked easy when she watched her teammates walking in the costume but found it tough when she had to do it herself.

She could only walk for 10 minutes before passing it on to another participant.

"At the end of the journey, the sense of achievement will overshadow everything else."

Kelvin Lim, 16, said the journey was an activity which boosted the troupe members' teamwork. "This is an invaluable experience since the chance to walk around the island as a team does not come by often," he added.

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