By Sumiitra Yiohan Sooriaarratchi
Written on 07 May 2014
Hope you are well. Just want to share some photos from a recent adventure to the magical island of Penang in Malaysia. I spent most of my time in George Town – a UNESCO world heritage site – that is a bit like a living museum. Some parts of George Town reminded me of Colombo.
Everything about the place is great… the food (crazy awesome), night-life, well preserved old buildings / architecture, old Buddhist / Taoist Temples (Chinese, Thai, Burmese), weather (hot), seaside / beach, street art, exciting mix of people / languages, beautiful girls and the history of the island as an East India Company strong-hold. Penang is a lot like Singapore and Hong Kong which also functioned as a prosperous, ancient trading post.
- East India Company definition: the ultimate gangster-pirates who subdued local inhabitants and installed political stooge-leaders/monarchs the world over in order to monopolize trade in everything from opium and spices, to silver and gold.
This is a place you’ve got to visit at least once. I spoke to my uncle about my trip and he had some interesting stories about the place… like how he was once entertained by an old-school, upper-class millionaire at a mansion in George Town (Penang’s biggest city) ha ha – Thanks 🙂
One of the highlights for me was that I found a Hotel on Penang Hill called the Bellevue Hotel that is dedicated to my favorite scientist/architect/futurist Richard Buckminster Fuller (Bucky)- A big Thank you to Sunari for introducing me to Bucky when she found an article about him in one of my grandfather’s books in Sri Lanka.
Bucky used to stay at this hotel whenever he visited Penang and some of his Geodesic Dome structures are still in use today in George Town. The hotel staff were really happy to meet a “Bucky” fan and introduced me to one of Bucky’s personal friends – Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat (hotel owner and renowned architect) – a silver haired gentleman who greeted me by announcing that I was on “Hallowed Ground”…. ha ha ha ….when he showed me around the rooms where Bucky used to give lectures.
Another interesting place on Armenian Street was an old Baba-Nyonya house used for secret meetings / illegal fund raising activities by China’s revolutionary Dr Sun Yat Sen during his campaign to overthrow the Qing Dynasty in China.
Awesome place hope you can visit soon !!! 🙂
Check out Anthony Bourdain’s take on Penang:
Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Penang