Monday, May 25, 2009

Penang International Dragon Boat Race May 09

This event was much smaller than the one held last August. Nevertheless, the spirit of the participants was infectious. Teluk Bahang Dam once again played host. Against the spectacular scenery, paddlers huffed and puffed to push their boats to the finishing line. As usual, there are some winners and some losers. That is sportmanship for you.

I enjoyed watching the teams prepping up for their turn to compete. The spirit of teamwork and camaraderie was abundant. Dragon boat racing is a total team effort. Even the seemingly easy job of the drum beater had the purpose.

It is heartening to know also, Teluk Bahang dam only allows this sport to be held here. It is because dragon boat racing does not give much impact to the environment. After all, the water of the dam will go to our household pipe. This catchment area is also home to many fish and the forest surrounding the dam has many animals including the majestic eagles. We spotted a few huge ones yesterday patrolling their domain.

Read the full report
Read last year's full report

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Youth Park in Penang

I just love Youth Park. It is one of my favorite places in Penang. It is cool, green, clean and beautiful. It is safe for children to run around and splash in the pools. It is great for youths to go and create a lot of noise as much as they want. The best thing is, it is free for all.

There are jogging path, football pitch and jungle trekking trail and manicured gardens, among others.

There is also an indoor gym and an outdoor one. A huge selection of playground toys too for children.

It is on the way to the Botanical garden, just after the Indian Waterfall temple. Oh yes, this is where I recorded the Silambam demonstration on video a few weeks back.

Let's go to Youth Park
See Silambam Demo

Chinese Dragon Boat in Penang

This competition is here again at Teluk Bahang Dam on 23-24 May 2009. The event that I attended last year was a blast. It was exciting and full of energy. Penang does have what it takes to hold an international sports event of that standard.

Everything was properly organized, there was enough space, enough public toilets, enough food and drinks. Transportation was also provided using RapidPenang bus, right up to the dam.

It was my first time visiting the compound of the dam. It was spectacular. You can bet I will not miss to attend the Chinese dragon boat racing this weekend.

Chinese Dragon Boat Racing in Penang
International Events in Penang

Tell us your Penang Stories

Every visitor who comes to Penang mostly will return home with memorable thoughts about their holiday. Or, the events that they came to attend.

Penang Heritage City web site would like you to submit your stories. Old or new. Happy or sad.

Childhood memories, or rave about the particular food stall that makes you drool whenever you think about it.

Here is the first submission. You may leave your comment or create your own stories. Pictures are welcome too. The more the merrier.

Thaipusam in Penang

Share us your stories about Penang

Penang Events

Walking tour from Stewart Lane to Muntri Street

I had several hours to kill yesterday. My daughter forgot her lunch box. So I went to the city center early and grabbed my camera too. After delivering the much appreciated food to her, I left and explored George Town, yet again, on foot.

Every time I walk the street, I enjoy it very much. Despite the beating afternoon heat, it has always been pleasant for me. I took many pictures of the shophouses, some are nicely refurbished, some are still in their original conditions but still decent looking. Also, I encountered some blocks which were in deplorable state with trees growing right into them.

I used Stewart Lane, starting from the Kuan Yin temple, and followed the lane, even between two blocks of shops which seemed to be haphazardly built, the alley being dubbed Boat Alley. It was a very dirty alley. Later, I chanced upon the old headquarters of the PHT. The touristy signboard was still there. The whole block seemed to be very quiet.

When I reached Muntri Street, I shot lots and lots of photos. I seldom come to this part of the city but here, I found a lot of hidden treasures. I took over a hundred photos at Muntri Street. Fantastic shop houses, and also houses, clan temples and association houses, even an old private Chinese school.

I ended my solitary tour when I reached Penang Road. Here the atmosphere took a busier tone. I crossed over to reach Transfer Road and came across another derelict row of shop houses. This time the whole block seemed to be invaded by the wild fig trees.

I wondered who the owners of these shophouses were. Would they continue to fall in ruins? Or would someone with enough funding will come and rescue them? Only time will tell.

Read about PHT.
Shop houses in Penang

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Living Heritage Award

Our heritage can come in many forms, the tangible ones like the buildings and the traditional clothes or intangible ones like humans practicing dying arts. In order to honor outstanding individuals who are dedicated promoting their dying art, Penang Heritage Trust and HSBC bank create a special fund to award these people.

Read on about some of the recipients of this award here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Esplanade and heritage schools

Yesterday when I went to pick up my daughter, I noticed a helicopter on the lawn at the Esplanade. This surely was a rare sight, too bad I did not have my camera with me to record it. I wonder what it was for, most likely it was a TV station aircraft for aerial coverage.

Anyway, the Esplanade as always a pleasant place to be. Besides the majestic Town Hall and City Hall buildings, on the other side, there is Fort Cornwallis. It is supposed to be the stronghold of Penang even though it hardly played its role to resist any invasion attempts since it was built.

My daughter goes to Light Street Convent, the oldest school for girls in South East Asia. The buildings are old, the gnarled trees have been there since the days of Francis Light. There are two old wells there, dug during Light's time to supply the residents of the area with fresh water.

I have a lot of materials about the school yet to be published. It is always pleasant to set foot in the school compound, there is a sense of peace in there, after the noisy schoolgirls left for the day. Visitors are allowed after 2 p.m. It has its own trail that you can follow to trace the history of the school.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Retail therapy in Penang

Almost everyone I know loves to shop, especially the ladies. We go for retail therapy and window shopping at every opportunity. Penang is never short of stuff to buy. Whether it is antique furniture, paintings, clothes, electronic goods or beauty products. We have numerous night markets, sidewalk bazaar and also flea markets. Shopping malls with designer goods? Plenty.

For lively and colorful experience, head to Little India. For cheap clothes in bulk or wholesale, go to Campbell's Street and Penang Road. Hmm, what else? To get electronics gadgets, go to Prangin Mall.

If you crave people watching and want to see and to be seen, Gurney Plaza and Gurney Place are the venues you want to check out. After getting so tired with all the walking, simply rest and sample the local food at any hawkers' center or restaurants.

I went to the Queensbay Mall today to get some groceries and to settle some chores. I love it as this place have banks and post office too. While window shopping, I saw a photo exhibition about last year's Penang Bridge International Marathon. I also noticed that for this year, this event will be held on 22nd November 2009.

In order to encourage more people to register early, the organizer has some incentives. Please check out my report from last year to see the link to the official marathon web site.

Shopping in Penang
Penang Bridge International Marathon report 2008

Penang Heritage Documentary by RTM

Last January I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Mr. Harjit Singh Hullon from RTM. He would like me to be their guide when they shoot some footage meant for overseas satellite broadcasting about heritage buildings in Penang.

I happily obliged and spent three days showing locations to the crew which were worth filming for the documentary.

We covered Penang National Park, the Heritage Trail, Little India, Street of Harmony and also the intangible aspect of heritage like day to day lives of normal folks at the market, at the temples, etc.

The skits have not been processed yet as we speak but I will keep you posted. It would be nice to see the web site name rolls on credit at the end of the show.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The history of Tupperware

Hmm, Tupperware in a heritage blog? Sounds very unlikely, eh?

Hey, don't run away yet! Let me tell you the story. In 1963, Tupperware was introduced to Malaysia. It became instant hit when home parties were conducted to sell the products. You probably remembered when your grandma hosted a Tupperware party at her house. Tonnes of food, lotsa laughter and plenty of ladies having fun playing silly games.

Now, you probably still use Tupperware which you buy from your office mate who brought the catalog to your workplace. Tupperware parties are getting rare but the legacy of home cooked food brought in that colorful plastic containers to school or office still remain.

I built an intensive mini web site about Tupperware, you probably would be interested to hear about the history of this revolutionary product.

Check it out here:

The history of Tupperware (complete with a 1961 commercial to promote the products)

Silambam Nilaikalakki demo at Taman Belia, Penang

Last week on Tuesday, I had the honor of witnessing a demo by members of Silambam Nilaikalakki performing their skills. I shot a lot of videos and also photos. Master Anba was there to supervise the movements that needed to be recorded.

All these were very new to me. I know very little about martial arts let alone Silambam. After a week, I collected the material and did a bit of research to come up with two preliminary pages. It is far from complete yet. I need to know more about this art.

Here they are:
Silambam Nilaikalakki in Penang
Photo and video page of Silambam Nilaikalakki