Cows damage graves at Ipoh cemetery
ABOUT 5,000 Chinese graves in a cemetery in the north Malaysian town of Papan are constantly under threat from cows allowed to roam free by their herdsmen.
Damage has already been done to at least 100 tombstones and urns containing remains.
The manager of the Guanyin Temple Cemetery in the Perak town, about 3km east of Ipoh, told the media this week that the encroachment by cows had happened for years, but the problem worsened recently.
"There are a few groups of herdsmen, each with about 20 to 30 cows, who let their charges come to graze five days a week and at any hour and any corner," the See Hua Daily News quoted Yuen Teck Wong, as saying.
The cemetery is more than 120 years old and about the size of 20 football fields.
Mr Yuen said the cows come from neighbouring Pusing village, and the problem eased for a while following negotiation at the end of last year.
"But now not only cow dungs are spattered all over the carparks, they are also found in the censers for offering joss-sticks to the buried," lamented Mr Yuen.
"And what's most appalling is that urns had been trampled on by the cows, causing the bones to be exposed and the receptacles to be filled with water," he added.
Jimmy Loh, who represented the Malaysian Chinese Association at the press conference, said he had urged the Batu Gajah District Council, whose jurisdiction encompasses the cemetery, to act on the complaints, reported The Star.
"Cowherds are not allowed to leave the animals to roam free, according to the bylaws of the council," said Mr Loh, adding that police might have to intervene.
Mr Yuen pointed out that the problem is a serious issue as local Chinese view such damages as irreverence towards their ancestors.
"They also fear the fengshui is disturbed, leading to bad fortune for their descendants," said Mr Yuen.