Friday, January 16, 2015

Down the hidden lanes and back streets of George Town Penang

It is very often the side streets in a town that offer the unexpected glimpse into the ordinary day to day life of it's people .

These older shop houses were photographed from the top of one of Penang's shopping malls and show the rear garden area to the back of the properties.

It's not unusual to see washing being dried in the warm sunshine from the windows walk and look up and be surprised.

This colourful old mews property is part of a redevelopment area in Nagore Square just off Burmah Road .

This local shop has probably not changed much in the past 50 years

Street side cafes are usually full of local characters.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fishermen at Tanjung Bungah ..a fast disappearing world .

There used to be many fishermen along the shoreline from 

Tanjung Tokong to Tanjung Bungah.

Unfortunately , land is valuable and much of it has already 

been developed for super luxury high end condominiums 

that only the rich can afford to buy or speculate on .

I live about 5 minutes walk from the beach at Tanjung Bungah .

I went to explore what is left of this once thriving community.

Catnapping cats go around looking for the scraps of fish left over .

This looks serene and picturesque but other building works will follow all along the coastline and sooner than later all the locals will be gone in the name of progress.

It is not only the cats that you catch napping !!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Take a stroll in George Town and you are sure to observe some of it's character , made up from the mix of cultures , faiths and cuisine that are so evident all around you .

I know many people now prefer to hire a bike and cycle round but in my experience the best way is on foot , then you don't need to worry about where to park the bike and how secure that is.

Start your morning with a "Kopi O " , traditional local strong coffee , you don't need to put sugar or milk into it ..i think that spoils the taste. have that along with Roti Bengali and half boiled eggs.

That should set you up with energy for a good walk .

Remember to talk water with you and an umbrella , just in case of the odd shower.

The markets are crowded and at their busiest between 7 am to Midday .

Buy everything and anything .

This man is testing out a new super bike pump and repair kit , always ask for discount ..lah ..hehe .

It must have been school holidays when i took this , the girl is still tired and yawning as Mum prepares local drinks and desserts.

Most stalls are still family run and have been for many generations.

I guess this guy has had a hard morning !!

Move out of the market at Jalan Kuala Kangsar and into Kimberley Street , where you will find the Apom Balik  maker . He is one of the few who still use charcoal and you can taste the difference.

Move down to Beach Street (the narrow part before the bomba) and you have the chance of seeing life that has not changed much for many years. Old industry surviving for now .

As you can see , there is still a lot to explore and find , just a few steps away from the main tourist trail. Enjoy George Town.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mark is back ..with memories of George Town ..Characters and Places

Sometimes you just get a bit jaded with a place.

I was feeling that way for a while about George Town ,Penang .

Too many changes, not all for the better.

New trendy coffee shops , most selling the same thing along with so called Heritage hotels , hostels , home stays opening about one every week .

Then i rethought and re looked and there is still so much to see and so much character left in George Town . 

Here is a reminder in photos and words of what makes George Town Great .

Of Francis Light /Divide & Rule.

Of Francis Light 
Devide & Rule
Of Officers & Gentlemen
Of Churches for a certain few
& land bequethed to Acheen rule 
From lands nearby.

A kapitan Kling from Comoral coast
Also came to build a mosque.
They are all now on the tourist trail 
Of present passers by.

Indentured labour from Indian coasts
& Chinese stevedores 
Left Southern shores
With little else but wing and prayer
To God's up there
Or who knows where.

To seek a fortune on foreign soil
Their sweat and toil for ringet small
So look at now 
What do you see ?
A land divided ..still not free from
From rich and poor
& privilege for selected few
Yet justified by those on high
With fear of falling
Though join me now for Kopi "o"
Where all sorts mingle in the flow 
Of cafe life and what makes 
George Town great.

Most people never want to hate
Each other

BeMW Poet.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


It is George Town Festival time , so maybe you are in Penang for the first time, or you are returning to experience more of what makes this place so special . 

I hope this post will give you a few ideas of where to explore and enjoy.

The Acheen mosque taken in the early evening ,with Chinese lanterns strung across the road nearby ..a sign of the many faiths celebrated in this unique UNESCO area..all very walkable or why not hire a bike .

It is not just a place full of tourists , it is still a living , vibrant and friendly community, this retired man is taking care of all the plants that surround the art work of Ernest Zacharevic a must see while walking around George Town.

Old industry still survive on Beach Street  a stone's throw away from the tourist trail.

Stunningly renovated houses can be found in the small and quiet lanes ..go explore.

Right next door are places that still need a lot of TLC but don't they ooze so much character, these days it is not unusual to pay over 1 million for a pretty derelict building with potential .

Beach Street is full of businesses ,many family owned for many years.

Penang Flavours of Culture, Nature and Cuisine

It is Festival time again , in fact their are more festivities throughout the year in Penang than in many other Malaysian Cities.

With this in mind i have put together a tableau of photos and script which i hope will be a true reflection of what is on offer for all to see in this very special place.

This photo , taken in Muntri Street , seems to draw you in to the scene , the same way as the city does , slowly intoxicating you  with the senses and smells of the past along with all that is modern , hip and trendy .

Take your time , don't walk too fast or you shall miss a temple, Art gallery ,coffee shop.

You often find the best kept secrets by going off the major tourist trails.

Sit down with the locals , they are a very friendly bunch , chat and find out what makes Penang tick for them . Usually a good discussion will follow if you ask where do get the best Roti,Noodles or Cendol etc ..Everyone will have their favourite place.

You may even come across a some real Penang Characters , like this man who just loves his dog so much , he gives him a ride home.

Although all may seem life in the fast lane, people still shop daily at the markets for their essential supplies,meat , veg etc.

Though sometimes shopping becomes boring 

So take the kids down to Padang Kota Lama , a large park , near the sea and close to Fort Cornwallis, City Hall and Town Hall.

 This gives you a small glimpse into life in Penang ,hope you enjoyed it ..more to follow.

Friday, April 26, 2013


This was the scene from the local beach at Pandaquit ..about 4hours by Victory Liner coach from Pasay Terminal in Manila and then a 30min tricycle ride from San Antonio in the Zambales area. My friend and I stayed at Bigfoot Rest House and restaurant , food was great and rooms are small , basic, clean and cheap.!__resthousepage..or you can go directly to Pandaquit and find a place to stay .This is an unspoilt and lovely area to visit.

The beach was clean and the local people so friendly and hospitable. The local boatmen have a hard life, though am sure is better than moving to the hectic capital to look for work .

The local youths were keen to get their photos taken and it seemed a very laid back place to spend a day or so.The boys and girls had caught jellyfish and were busy dismembering it !!

This guy was a natural and very photogenic.

The view from the beach to the mountains was so serene ..just perfect.

The younger kids have all the simple pleasures of the sea and sand ..who needs iPhones ??

The view out to the neighbouring islands was stunning , so beautiful with the suns rays.

This bay and stretch of beach was virtually deserted of tourists ..only locals were there..long may that continue.

The boatmen keep their boats freshly painted .

I was truly sorry to leave this part of the World and head back to KL , i hope to return.