People of the Five Rivers
As one ascends the steps of George Town's magnificent Chinese clan temple of the Khoo Kongsi, it is difficult not to notice a pair of huge images meticulously carved out of granite as if welcoming visitors in.
The two tall, life-sized figures of Sikh guards (above) stand imposingly on the ornate pavilion of the century-old complex, widely considered to be the grandest clan temple in the country.
Heritage buildings in Penang
Acheen Street Mosque
Also known as Mesjid Melayu, the mosque was built on land donated by Syed Sheriff Tengku Syed Hussain Aidid an Arab merchant prince who came from Acheh in Sumatra. The vernacular-style mosque from 1808 remains basically unmodified except for the Moorish arcade added at the turn of the century.
Book review: Once Upon A Kamcheng
Lillian Tong and Jewel Tan
This book is an anthology of Penang Straits Chinese Baba Nyonya memoirs, biographies, and collected stories. The compilation was inspired by life growing up in a Baba Nyonya home and the stories told to me by my mother, Tan Chooi Bee, and my friends. Beyond the nostalgia of resplendent gold and gilded lattice screens and gracious living are behind the scenes expose bothering on the ridiculous to the tragic, where antics, escapes, indulgences and misadventure reign.
Silat – a Malay martial art steeped in tradition
Like other forms of Oriental martial arts, the millenia-old Malay silat is equally popular and effective in exhibitive, entertainment and sporting functions as it is for actual combat. The etymology of the word silat refers to movement of the body and the art itself originated during pre-Islamic times. Historically, silat reached its zenith during the Majapahit dynasty (1292-1478).
Merdeka – the National Day of Malaysia
In 1956, the then Prime Minister of Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj led a delegation to London to hold talks with the British Government concerning independence for Malaya.
The Malayan delegation, comprising of four representatives of the Malay Rulers and four Alliance representatives, convinced the British Government to set a date for independence: 31 August 1957.
Hungry Ghosts roam the Streets of George Town
The Hungry Ghost Festival, locally known as Phor Thor, is an annual month-long celebration observed by the Chinese communities not only in Penang but also throughout Malaysia, Singapore and Phuket.
Pictorial essay of the energetic Angin OMbulan performance
21 July 2022 • 8:30 pm • Fort Cornwallis, Penang
Aida Redza and Kamal Sabran teamed up once again under the George Town Festival 2022 in Angin OMbulan, an on-site experimental performance. It was an expanded version of “Ssegar Angin” that was presented at the Venice Arts Biennale in April 2022 under the invitation of Port Perak, supported by George Town Festival 2022.
Tides of candlelight adoration at St. Anne's Feast
One of the largest and most extraordinary religious mass gatherings in Southeast Asia is the St Anne Novena and Feast in the town of Bukit Mertajam in Penang.
Of lanterns and mooncakes
"The Chinese people have never demanded a clear separation of the worlds of myth and reality – indeed, they are so closely bound up that it is hard to say where one begins and the other ends." – An Introduction to Oriental Mythology, Clio Whittaker et al
"The moon, along with fine wine and beautiful women, is a favourite topic for the Chinese poets." – Chinese proverb
The journey of faith – the Haj
Hari Raya Haji (or Hari Raya Korban) falls on the 10th day of Zulhijah, the last month of the Muslim calendar. It is a major Islamic festival and of particular significance for pilgrims who have returned from performing the Haj or umrah (pilgrimage) in Mecca. It may not be as grand as Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (or Hari Raya Puasa) in terms of joyous celebrations, but is important nonetheless for Muslims the world over.