Faces of Penang

Ordinary people who make Penang Extraordinary

Penang is not just about its hot weather, tasty food, and wonderful heritage buildings. A great part of the delight of living here is the friendliness of the everyday encounters with ordinary Penangites. Neither obsequious nor snooty, most possess a genuine warmth and an interest in people that sets them apart. Join us as we celebrate a few of the human jewels of Penang.

Stitching Through Hardship: A Nyonya's War-Time Chronicle

Emily © Adrian Cheah

At the Church of the Assumption, nestled amidst the charming streets of George Town, the hearts of Louis Michael Martin and Emily Elizabeth Surin became forever entwined. Their love story, like a cherished melody, found its harmonious crescendo on that memorable day of 7 August 1926. Officiating their marriage was Rev. Fr. P. Lerond. The church must have looked different from what we see today as it underwent a major renovation in 1928 when two wings were added.

Continue Reading

"Nature At Play", Michael Quah's evocative solo art show

Michael Quah © Adrian Cheah

Besides my beloved parents, a handful of inspiring teachers have steered my decision to make art my career, and what a rewarding and fruitful endeavour it has been. Among them are Mr Ng Kok Lum (La Salle School, Form 1-3), Mr Michael Quah (St. Xavier's Institution, Form 4-5) and all my lecturers at The Malaysian Institute of Art.

Continue Reading

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Nawab Khan, Seniman Negara

Celebrating six decades of contribution and achievements in the music industry

Ahmad Nawab © Adrian Cheah

On 13 August 2017, Ahmad Nawab shared his musical journey in a dialogue session with Gareth Richards at the Penang House of Music. In a career spanning six decades, Ahmad has composed more than 2,000 songs and almost 70 singers from all over the region have recorded his songs. Many have become standards. Besides ‘Bintang Malam’ (subsequently recorded by Zaharah Agus and Uji Rashid), other songs include ‘Kau Kunci Cintaku Dalam Hatimu’, ‘Setulus Hati Mu’, ‘Sabar Menanti’, ‘Tiada Maaf Bagi Mu’, ‘Antara Matamu dan Mataku’ and ‘Wajah Kesayanganmu’.

Continue Reading

Abdul Rashid Abdul Razak – a self-taught artist of great talent

"In portrait painting, likeness is crucial"

Abdul Rashid Abdul Razak © Adrian Cheah

Under the guidance of his father, Abdul Rashid Abdul Razak honed his artistic skills at a very young age. He was just nine years old when he earned his first commission – a portrait in oil which he sold for RM80.

Continue Reading

Pastoral charms and rustic women – the batik art of Teng

An appreciation of a local legend

One does not run the risk of an overstatement when describing Chuah Thean Teng as the pioneer of batik painting. He is, after all, recognized internationally as the master of an exquisite and delicate art - one which requires skill, draftness, patience and meticulousness. In the fickle, fidgety and evolving world of art, his oeuvre has carved a permanent niche in the rare pantheon reserved for timeless and sublime works of beauty.

Continue Reading

Capturing the opulence of bygone days – the Nyonya art of Sylvia Lee Goh

Sylvia Lee Goh

Sylvia Lee Goh embarked on a journey of discovery of identity and self-worth. It was a long road but with a lot of encouragement and moral support.

In the mid-eighties Sylvia was a member of the Arts and Craft Guild in which she held a committee member position for two years. This Guild was under the umbrella of the American Association.

In 1986, Ahmad Khalid Yusoff, the president of the Persatuan Perlukis Malaysia invited Sylvia to become a member. She was a life member of this Association.

Continue Reading

Tan Choon Hoe – the crusader of Penang Hokkien Dialect

Tan Choon Hoe

The Digital Age and today’s globalised world have been a boon for the spread of Popular Culture. Popular culture – Western or American, is slowly but surely seeping into our way of life. Predictably, even Asian youths are dressing and gesturing like their hip hop or boy band idols from MTV. Even the way we speak is being MTV-nised and you will find certain youths who are more at home going “Yo, dude” or "Whassup” than greet you in their native tongues.

Continue Reading

P. Ramlee: Where lies the heart of a star

P. Ramlee © Penang House of Music

Every genius has his roots. Each marvel springs from a source.

In 1925, a young sailor from Lho' Seumawe in Acheh by the name of Teuku Nyak Puteh settled in Penang to marry a quiet lass from Butterworth, Che Mah Hussein.

As the modest couple began a new life in a village, it is unlikely they could in their wildest dreams have imagined that they would have a son who would someday become a legend.

Continue Reading