Discovering Malaysia’s Religious Heritage

My first time to visit Malaysia.  Finally.  For this trip, I decided to take a private tour (lately, I have been too lazy to commute my way to well-known landmarks).  I found this private tour service in tripadvisor with very good reviews.  Pricey, yes.  But still worth it considering I’m a solo traveller and I need someone to take my photos.  I took Anuar’s Kuala Lumpur City Tour for First Time Tourist that includes Putrajaya and Batu Caves.

Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy and has deep multi-cultural roots that remain in spite of strong influence of British colonization.  For this trip, I decided to learn more about the country’s religious heritage.  Anuar’s tour is nice because it provided me an opportunity to visit a Malay Muslim mosque, a Chinese Buddhist temple, and Indian Hindu temple.

Malaysia is a multi-religious society and the Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion.  Nevertheless, Islam is the federation’s official religion and majority of the population is Muslim.  This is followed by Buddhism, practiced by Chinese, and Hinduism.

Religion often follows ethnic lines, with most Muslims being Malays.  According to Wikipedia, the large Chinese population in Malaysia practices various faiths, but mainly Buddhism.  Hinduism is practiced by majority of Malaysian Indians.  It is interesting that despite British colonization which ended only in 1957, Christianity remains a small minority.  My tour guide, though, mentioned that there are several cathedrals in Kuala Lumpur.  Christianity is not tied to any specific ethnic group.  Most Christians are in East Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan).  I guess this stemmed from the influence of Spanish missionaries coming from the conquered Philippines.  This is interesting, as I come from southern Philippines and I had the impression that the practice of Islam in Mindanao has strong influence from neighboring Borneo.

Stay tuned for more travel tales of a yogini.

Travel Tales of a Yogini.  Malaysia. 2014.

References:

Wikipedia

My tour guide, Bala

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