Niki Cheong is blogging

Pearl of the Orient

Off topic: I can’t believe that Carly was voted off AI over the disasters that was Jason Castro and, one of my favs, Brook. Sigh.

And on to the post …

So I started writing this last night. Then I just got tired and gave up. I had woken up at 6am to head over to Penang for work. Last time I was there was two years ago, for work as well, and the nature of the work meant I gave to explore a lot of the nook and corners. I really enjoyed it.

This time, I got to see some stuff as well (but what was more interesting is that how people are still talking about politics, more than a month after the elections. Everyone I met brought it up – and I’ve only known them for a couple of minutes!).

Of course, I also got see some things I never would have thought I’d see otherwise. Thanks Vicky for driving us around.

Kapitan Keling Mosque

The Masjid Kapitan Keling was gorgeous in the inside. We met with the chairman of the mosque who showed us around and told us a little bit about the history of the 200-odd years old place of worship and the Indian-Muslim community who lived in the surrounding area. I took a few shows on my trusted iPhone and so the picture quality isn’t great, but this is the one I liked best.

Chew Jetty

I also visited the famed clan jetty (so famous that I didn’t know about it until a few days prior to my arrival – shy only). The jetties belong to various clans (each have their own) and I visited two – the Chew Jetty and the Lim Jetty. Language was a fucking major problem – they couldn’t speak Cantonese, only Hokkien and Mandarin. At least now I know that being Hokkien by birth doesn’t help me understand the dialect, and taking Mandarin classes last year paid off (I understood 3% of what they were saying).

Of course, what is Penang without its food. I didn’t take any pictures ‘cos I was too busy eating. But we had prawn mee (which wasn’t so yummy) near the jetty, then had Assam Laksa near Bukit Bendera (which I also didn’t really enjoy). Later at night, we had Char Kuay Teow (which was too spicy so I didn’t enjoy it). It cost RM6, the most expensive I’ve ever paid for CKT.

Then we noticed the next stall selling dessert and had a lin chee kang thing, which I loved, loved, loved! And then we noticed the stall next to it selling this chicken feet in gravy, which was yummy, yumm, yummy (although we had no extra plates so we did like the locals and spit the bones onto the table – quite very the gross). Then for breakfast we had wan tan mee, and lobak (which was piping hot – so delish I can still taste it in my mouth).

Okay, enough about food. What I love most about Penang though is its heritage (from the mosque, to the jetty, to the food). Sure, sure, we all crack jokes about them being Islanders and all but IMHO, the city looks so much better than Malacca, which makes me sad. I love Malacca so much (consider it my hometown) but the development there leaves a lot to be desired. The old shophouses in Penang actually look like old shophouses. If I wanted to use a really weird analogy, I’d say Penang is like Sophia Lauren, and Malacca is Joan Collins.

But it’s not just the buildings though. For example, the shots below I took from my hotel room (zoon lens rocks!).

Eagle eye

Reminds me a bit of a Lat cartoon. Just a really big house with a big garden and the kids kept running up to this guy (father, uncle?) to be swung abouts. They didn’t have a swing set, or a pool (though the size of the property sure could fit one), just a lot of laughter and fun.

Okay, so maybe this doesn’t actually say anything about my point of loving Penang’s heritage but I just loved watching them (yes, the voyeur is emerging). Oh, and those of you who are observant will notice that the pictures are not in order (the girl in pink is testament to that). I was too malas to sort it out properly in Photoshop.

Just a liability claim. Necessary, like everything else in life.

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