Chinese deity predicts economy will pick up after May 29

Poh Hock Seah members fanning the urn filled with joss sticks at the Tua Pek Kong seafront temple in Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN - Malaysia's eco­nomy will be robust from May 29 onwards, predicted Tua Pek Kong.

The prediction was made by the deity at the annual Chneah Hoay or fire-watching ceremony held at the Taoist deity's Tanjong Tokong seafront temple in Malaysia late Thursday.

According to the deity, the nation's economy for the first trimester of the lunar year, which began on Jan 31, will be moderate. It will then gain pace and be robust for both the second (May 29 to Sept 23) and third (Sept 24 to Feb 18 next year) trimesters.

The prediction is based on the height, intensity of the flames and also the speed at which the embers in the deity's urn flared up during the ceremony.

The fanning of the embers began at 11.58pm on Thursday when the tidal waters rose high enough to completely cover a rock about 50m away in the sea fronting the deity's temple.

The temple's lights, candles and oil lamps were put out to enable committee members of the Poh Hock Seah, which conducts the annual ceremony on the eve of Chap Goh Meh, to monitor the height and intensity of the flames.

The members fanned the urn filled with joss sticks amid the sound of clashing cymbals.

Poh Hock Seah Temple president Lim Chooi Beng said the embers from burning joss sticks ignited after four minutes of fanning, signifying a moderate economy.

The second flare was about a minute later followed by the third 57 seconds after that, with both being strong flames.

Temple vice-president Tan Lye Hock, however, advised the public not to be "swept away by the positive outcome" as the ceremony was only a traditional religious ritual and the results were merely predictions.

The temple was a hive of activity as thousands of devotees converged to offer prayers and witness the auspicious ceremony.