Art & Architecture, Penang
"This port on the Straits of Malacca shows that booming cities can compete in the world economy without sacrificing their soul. Penang feels far more relaxed than most Asian cities and looks much the way it did decades ago, with bustling marketplaces and winding streets lined by traditional "shophouses".
(The Utne Reader)
Now, if you're an American, chances are, you would have come across this delightful magazine that offers alternative and insightful views of the world in general. Well, this worthy mag recently proclaimed Penang to be one of the seven urban wonders of the world! Quite a feat if you consider that there are thousands of beautiful cities all over, vying for that honour ( Singapore included ) . But really, once you're there, you'll understand that statement well. How many places on earth can you find tradition so well preserved in the midst of modernity? Even in Singapore, preservation sometimes take a sterile turn. If you can, take the time to go to the cramped and narrow thoroughfares of Chinatown. Look at the lettered colonnades, colourful awnings and the colourful russet roofs. And that's just the architecture. Consider the ancient trade that still goes on behind those walls. Visit an old restaurant if you can, or an ancient craftsman shop where time-trusted tools are still used.
These old house in Penang are made of bricks only , instead of the normal half-wood and half brick houses.
Its usually used as an association house or club for pensioners.
It seems that these houses has been painted with new life. And be seen near King Street and Church Street .
A nimble amble through the historical sights in George Town: the first four streets mapped out by city fathers in George Town, namely Beach Street, Light Street, Pitt Street (now Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling) and Chulia Street are still very much relevant and bustle with traffic everyday.
Beach Street is now known as the financial hub in Penang, the old colonial buildings have been occupied mostly by financial institutions.
IF YOU LIKE ANTIQUES, THEN YOU WILL LIKE THIS MANSION
The Peranakans, also known as the Babas and Nyonyas, were a prominent community of the Straits Chinese, who adopted selected ways of the local Malays, and later, the colonial British. This created a unique lifestyle and customs which had not only left behind a rich legacy of antiques, but cultural influences like cuisine and language that are still evident in Penang today.
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a typical home of a rich Baba of a century ago. It has been recreated to offer a glimpse of their opulent lifestyle and of their many customs and traditions.
With over 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectibles of the era on display, this Baba-Nyonya museum is also housed in one of Penang’s heritage mansions with stylish architecture.
It was built at the end of the 19th century by one of local history’s famous personalities, the ‘Hai Kee Chan’ and once was the residence and office of Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee. Though not a Baba himself, his Chinese courtyard house was much like a typical large Baba home.
It incorporates Chinese carved-wood panels and English floor tiles and Scottish ironworks. The Mansion has now been restored, it and the furniture inside is beautiful!
Adults in 2009....RM10.00
OPEN.....Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays from 9:30 am to 5 pm
When I visited photos were allowed, but I see now they have banned this and......
NO PHOTO'S ARE ALLOWED, .....what a shame!
Next to the City Hall in the Esplanade, is another beautiful historic building called "Town Hall". It is complements the City Hall and has recently being renovated to save the building.
The Town Hall used to be used by the elite during the British colonial rule to watch events, games and parade on the field of the esplanade from the balcony. The building has been used by a private college as its premise for several years. It was also used for the shooting of the movie "Anna and the King", the new version of Yurl Bryner "King and I" of the Siamese King and the English Governess with the cast of Oscar Winner Jodie Foster and Hong Kong Chow Yuen movie idol Chow Yuen Fatt.
I think the restoration is great but the choice of the dual colors on the outsidea could be better.
I think it's always a good idea to visit art galleries, wherever you go, and if you take the Historic Georgetown Tour, you'll pass at least two. I was impressed by one, less so by another, but it was still a nice break to learn what' s happening now in Georgetown, instead of just historically....
From the Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal, walk across Pengkalan Weld (main street), then turn right to see the junction to Gat Lebuh China (or China Avenue).
Wisma Kastam (Office of Customs Department) is just right at the corner. This old British colonial building was named Malayan Railway Building. It was completed in 1907. It was not a Railway Station, but a ferry and railway ticket office for Penang. People bought a ticket here and took a ferry to Butterworth to board a train. The building has a clock tower and even with light after dark.
Along the same street, you will continue to see more colonial buildings like the Georgetown Chamber and Bangunan Uab, and etc.
From Gat Lebuh China, turn left on Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keiling I discovered one of the most beautiful side of Penang during sunrise.
Next: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Kiling
Ku Din was highly regarded as an administrator in Setual (in south Thailand). In 1902, Ku Din assumed the title 'King of Setul'. Ku Din himself owned several shipping vessels exporting goods such as birds' nests, timber and coconuts from south Thailand to Penang. Ku Din married a woman from Penang, and this town house on jalan Penang served as his trading office.
Colonial old houses are one of the unique attraction in Penang. These houses contribute to the heritage of Georgetown.
Previously, for those house owners that didnt stay in the town, their houses are rented out with a very low price (may be never adjusted for several years). An act was approced a few years ago where the house owners now have right to increase the rent to a reasonable price- which actually cannot afford by the residence. So, many people who stayed there are forced to move out. The houses are blank.
Nowadays, some of the houses became the drug addictor palace.
This cultural village gives a chance of seeing different costumes of Malay Wilayats, Malay Dance, Malay food, and how they perform certain tasks like painting materials.
Karpal Singh Drives in evening and early night attracted some people from local residence site nearby who spend their after meal time to have strolling around.
There are also some customers who dine in the restaurants in the commercial complex.
The attraction to me is the illuminated blue pillars. They got the light from the blue spot lights shooting to them, they are beautiful.
The street lights enable the local residences to spend longer time if they want to enjoy natural sea wind.
It truly reflects the factual Chinese culture. All the buildings, shops and residential places replicate the actual Chinese culture of China. Moving around into these areas will unquestionably take you back in time.
This building is one of those few buildings in Penang city which recalls the memories of old colonial days. It used to be a residential place but due to its age it is no more in that state to be occupied for accommodation.
We travelled to the northern district of Penang to see a lot of beautifully styled Malay houses and villages. These villages are called "kampongs" in Bahasa Malaysia.
The houses are built on stilts with large windows so it's cool inside and, the floods by heavy rain will keep the people dry.
The colorful kampung scene at Teluk Bahang (Glowing Bay) may not be on the normal tourist itinerary but it is certainly worth the visit. Along the way, you will witness the fascinating life at this village. Here you can find the peace and quiet of the gentle not-in-hurry life that reflects old Penang ... It is said most of the beautiful houses belong to the very rich Chinese ...
On the road to Batu Ferringhi there are still some old colonial mansions that have resisted the urban speculation. However, sometimes the old buildings have had to learn to live under the shadow of extravagant modern buildings in Asian style. The blend, as you can see in the pictures, is bizarre and dépaysant.