A kavadi bearer and a Chinese opera performer

There are various kavadis that devotees carry during Thaipusam, a festival Hindus celebrate to worship Lord Murugan, a son of Shiva. Known as a burden, the kavadi shown in this Thaipusam procession (left) involves piercing the body with spikes and metal hooks. A devotee must prepare himself spiritually before bearing a kavadi, living a life of abstinence while keeping to a strict vegetarian diet for a month before the festival.Chinese opera, or ‘wayang’ in Malay, was a form of theatrical performance brought to Singapore by the Chinese immigrants. It was a popular form of entertainment during the 19th and early 20th century. Street operas were typically acted out on makeshift stages in open spaces near or next to Chinese temples as these performances constituted part of the wider religious celebrations and festivities. The popularity of Chinese operas waned drastically in the 1970s with the emergence of cinema and television. Nonetheless, it is still recognised in Singapore today as an integral part of Chinese traditional culture and art form.