Jan 11, 2009

Oh, Penang!

I was reading anilnetto's post: Heritage lost: "Welcome tourists, bye-bye tenants"; and suddenly I felt homesick. I've left Penang for almost 6 years now. Since then I moved to a lot of places. No matter how far I've travelled, my heart still lives on the island where I was born.

The UNESCO initiatives to preserve the heritage in Penang is well-known to all of us. But what have they achieved so far? Basically, shophouses are repainted and repaired. When it looks brand new, the property value will increase (not to be mention, the heritage value is attached to the building too), and then they will sell it for business purposes. Very smart!

People always get the wrong idea of what heritage really means. When the word "heritage" is mentioned, people always associate it with preserving old buildings. The true meaning of heritage extends further to cultural and living heritage. They probably don't teach you this in school, but I'm very generous in sharing my idea of what heritage means to me. Sorry to disappoint you, it's going to be just photographs. My spelling sucks and I don't give a damn about proper grammar (except only when it's my exam or assignment). So, photos better can?

This is Runnymede Hotel. It was once residence of Stamford Raffles (founder of Singapore). It was named after the field where King John signed the Magna Carta. During 1930's, this place was a very posh hotel. There were cocktail dances Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And on Thursday and Saturday, there were dinner dances. My grandma told me the story where she went for a dance with my grandpa there when they were just dating. Later, during the Japanese Occupation, this place turned into a military base.

And this is the Protestant graveyard. You might seen this place in the movie Anna and the King. This is where the skeleton of Francis Light (founder of Penang) burried. It can be a little bit creepy when there is no one around.

This is the famous jewel of Penang, the Khoo Kongsi (Khoo family clan house). As you can see there are prayer tablets for the dead. The one covered with red cloth belongs to a living person. When he or she dies, the red cloth will be removed. Take a closer look at the roof. It is made out of broken china bowls used by the Khoos imported from China.

The Baba and Nyonya house. Notice the symmetrical arrangement? It is for feng shui purpose so that everything is balanced.

The backstage opera actress doing their make ups. You can only watch the opera during Hungry Ghost festival. Best of all, it's free.

The side of the shophouses at Stewart Lane (off Love Lane). This place used to be a brothel. It still looks like a brothel to me. Love Lane is where all the famous brothels were. I'm so proud of this photo. Fed Ex bought this photo from me and made it into postcards.

This is Cheah Kongsi, the Cheah family clan house. Not as grand as Khoo Kongsi, though.

My church, the St. George's Church. You'll be momentarily transported to Rome as you entered its compound. This photo can't tell you how serene the real place is. Although it's located in the heart of Georgetown, you'll find peace as you're in the house of the Lord.

Lastly, this is the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Residence of a famous merchant in Penang. It is now converted into a boutique hotel. Entrance fee is required if you just want to view the place.
Above are all my own photos. Now let me show you the real Penang where you can find on Google Image search.

The Penang skyline

This is where I used to work with ING. Does it look like LA to you? By the way, on the right side it is the beach.

The busiest part of Penang. If you can ever cross this road from one end to the other, you'll be crown king of pedestrian. Of course, you must be alive.

The other part of Penang skyline.

And this is how Penang is going to be in a few years time. This photo is ultimate bullshit. There are buildings everywhere next to it. We have no more land to waste. Do you think the developer will want to build such a huge compound?
Where is the Penang that I used to know? Where are all the lost heritage of Penang? No one knows.
Anyway, if you want a short walk with me in Penang town, click here >>> Come! Follow me...
If you want more photos, click here >>> No words, just photos
If you want other crap about Penang, click here >>> Penang label

6 comments:

Bear Bear said...

Your photos are awesome. Great story behind them too. ^^

Marcus said...

Just when I thought my life could not be more boring and lackluster at 5 o clock in the morning, your blog has certainly knocked on my door and greeted me with a big smile. Good post and yes Penang is beautiful and the foods rox.

eMz said...

lovely photos! i can feel the emotions pouring out of this post. ^_^

kaixven said...

damn... even though i just left penang not long... but already missing it. why do you have to bring it up ? why ?

Jerine said...

BearBear: thank you, my dear

Marcus: food, eh?

emz: thanks, darling

kaixven: i know you miss home that's why want you to suffer with me.

Josette said...

Penang is a really beautiful island and I used to enjoy coming to the island with my family.

Wow, did you take those pics? They're really nice! I like the graveyard one. Spooky.

Man, I hope they'll stop building useless modern buildings which will in turn make Penang uglier than ever.

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