Uploaded some more photos the other day and thought I should just write a bit about the last few which are of the Thaipusam Indian festival which happens each year. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaipusam ) There's a big Indian community in Singapore and the backpackers I'm staying in is right in the heart of it. So when one guy in our dorm had such bad sleep apnea that 4 of us could not sleep, we headed out onto the streets to check out the procession of people going from one temple to the other, carrying their "burdens" for the gods. These ranged from large pots of milk to big getups with hundreds of long pins sticking out of their flesh, or hooks in their backs attached to ropes pulling carts.
We followed the procession back to the first temple where the preparation (mutilation) was going on. It was so intense... people having their cheeks, tongues, lips pierced with long metal rods, and having the elaborate skewer canopies put on and pinned to their flesh. The part I didnt understand is why the canopies had shoulder cushions... surely when you have 100 pins in your body, some mild discomfort of weight on your shoulders is not a concern! Some of the men collapsed in a trace-like state... probably partly to do with the fact that they fast for 3 days beforehand. We stayed, watching in shock, until 5am, by which time our snorer had stopped but I was not that inclined to sleep anyway.