An Italian inventor has combined faith and ingenuity to come up with a way to keep church traditions alive for the faithful without the fear of contracting swine flu - an electronic holy water dispenser.
The terracotta dispenser, used in the northern town of Fornaci di Briosco, functions like an automatic soap dispenser in public washrooms - a churchgoer waves his or her hand under a sensor and the machine spurts out holy water.
"It has been a bit of a novelty. People initially were a bit shocked by this technological innovation but then they welcomed it with great enthusiasm and joy. The members of this parish have got used to it," said Father Pierangelo Motta.
Catholics entering and leaving churches usually dip their hands into fonts full of holy water - which has been blessed by a priest - and make the sign of the cross.
But fear of contracting the H1N1 virus has led many in Italy - where some 15 people have died of swine flu - not to dip their hands in the communal water font.
"It's great," said worshipper Marta Caimm as she entered the church.
"Thanks to this we are not worried about catching swine flu. It is the right thing for the times," she said.
Luciano Marabese, who invented the dispenser, said he did so out of concern that fear of swine flu was eroding traditions.
And he is now blessing himself all the way to the bank.
"After all the news that some churches, like Milan's cathedral, were suspending the use of holy water fonts as a measure against swine flu, demands for my invention shot to the stars. I have received orders from all over the world," he said.
YOU do not have to travel all the way to Tangkak in Johor to savour a bowl of beef noodles.
A branch of the town’s famous Kuang Fei beef noodles outlet has been operating in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur, for a year and business has been brisk.
I came to know about this after savouring the offering in Restoran Kuang Fei, which is located off the main street in Tangkak.
Finding this shop itself was an adventure, but thanks to malfreemaps.com, this makan place was marked as a point of interest in its Malaysian-Singapore map on my in-vehicle GPS unit.
Up to expectations: The beef noodles with tripe and top loin slices. It was not difficult to locate it because many GPS-toting makan kaki are regular patrons there.
While paying my bill, I found a stack of leaflets announcing its branch in Kuala Lumpur.
So, recently, my wife Michelle and I paid a visit to this outlet, which goes by the name of Restoran Tangkak Beef Noodles but is popularly known as Kuang Fei.
And, compared to its branches in Malacca, I would say that this noodle house is more stylish, hence the asking price of RM7.50 for a bowl of noodles.
You can have the beef noodles with soup or in dry gravy, and the more side orders you add, the more you can expect to pay.
Making waves among foodies in KL: The Kuang Fei beef noodles outlet in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.
As for taste, the Tangkak beef noodle shop in Jalan Imbi lives up to expectations. The soup base is clear and rich, and if you like yours sour, simply add a dash of vinegar, which is provided free of charge.
Highly recommended is a mix of top loin slices of beef, ox tripe and, if you are lucky, you might get slices of the cow’s heart, which is served only to regular customers.
If you want to try this makan place, it is located opposite the Overseas Restaurant in Jalan Imbi.
Since this part of the city is congested with vehicles, it would be wise for car owners to park in Sungei Wang Plaza or Lot 10 shopping centre.
The area is accessible via KL Monorail and the nearest station is at Bukit Bintang. A ride from KL Sentral will cost you about RM2.10, and for those from the northern and southern parts of the city, the nearest transit exchange is the KL Sentral station.
Lastly, to you gearheads out there, the lat-long coordinates for Kuang Fei’s KL branch are: 03 08 662 N, 101 42 847 E.
Today's article in The Star about the above topic. Come to think of it people can text and drive at the same time. Me while driving I don't even bother to read the sms. Can always read and reply your sms when you arrive at your destination.