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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Penang, Malaysia, Part I

The Old City of Tanjung Penaga (Georgetown), Penang

"Hang nak pi mana?" said Mr. A.    >> Where are you going?
"Aku nak pi Tanjung cari belacan" said Mr. B.       >> I'm going to Tanjung to find the shrimp paste.
"Ooo, aku ingat hang nak pi market." Mr. A replied.   >> Oh, I thought you want to go to the market.

Which Tanjung? Where is about? 'Tanjung' can be translated as cape in English. The full name is Tanjung Penaga which is nowadays known as Georgetown, the capital for Pulau Pinang state in Malaysia. Just check, what is the capital for California? Los Angeles? - Wrong! Its Sacramento! Hahahaha. Actually Pulau Pinang state consists of two parts, Penang island and Perai in the mainland (just like New Territory in Hong Kong). Tanjung Penaga is a city located in the Penang island which is facing the mainland. For me, Tanjung is the biggest and the highest populated city in the northern Malaysia. This city is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and hosts many tourist attractions  These attractions including historic places, waterfront, shopping malls, religious centre and fine restarutants. In overall, I rate this place at 4.5 out of 5. The main problem is; traffic congestion and parking lot during peak time.     
The north part of Tanjung Penaga (Cape Penagaire) of Pulau Pinang

Establishment and growth
Tanjung Penaga city was developed by the British led by Captain Francis Light after the British took the Penang island from Kedah Sultanate. At that time, British was desperate to find a base for military and trade purpose in Southeast Asia region because the other European powers such as Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese had already occupied several territories and setup their admin centre in this region. Once the British had successfully occupied this island, they change the name of Tanjung Penaga to Georgetown - referring to King George III of England. Since then, the British under the East India Company had evolved Tanjung Penaga to become a commercial business centre. The key of the development is port. Via this port, the Brits had countered the Dutch monopoly over the Malayan tin business. This port still operates until now, but most of the industrial products operation had been shifted to the new port in the mainland - just like what happened to Hong Kong indeed. Once Malaysia got independence, this island haven't been returned to the Kedah sultanate but remains as a state in Malaysia.

Major attractions
Basically, the main attractions here is regarding more to culture and historical legacies. You'll find the imperial design buildings everywhere here. Now some of those buildings had been converted into banks, government office, museums, shops and even hotel. There is a British built fort at the tip of the cape, known as Fort Cornwallis which become one of the attraction for history lovers. The port? Now there are two ports operates here which has limited function - as a ferry to the mainland and cruise ships terminal. The terminal for cruise ships is located near the Fort Cornwallis (Pengkalan Swettenham) and the ferry terminal to the mainland is near the bus station (Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda). During the colonization era, the British had provided few settlements due to people race. That's why there is Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Cina and Lebuh Melayu which refers to the racial settlements - till now. Refer to the map drawn by Captain Home Briggs Popham (1798) below. As time goes by, this place changes a lot, with the coming more and more traders and workers. Hence, a blended culture was born. One of the obvious example is the Chinese Peranakan- the Chinese who came to Penang and adapted few Malay customs including food and attire. They are recognized as Baba and Nyonya or The Straits Chinese. There is also Baba and Nyonya community in Malacca. You can get more info here. Besides, for those who are eager to track down Islamic heritage in Penang or to perform solat or to find more about Islam, you can visit two outstanding mosques here which are the Kapitan Keling Mosque and Achenese Mosque. Meanwhile, the Penang Islamic Museum contains resourceful information regarding Islamic growth and past activities in Pulau Pinang. Here is the list of few attraction location:
  • Fort Cornwallis
  • Jalan Padang Kota Lama and Esplanade (waterfront)
  • Penang State Museum 
  • Lebuh Pantai - Imperial Architecture and restaurants/coffee house
  • Penang Peranakan Mansion
  • Penang Islamic Museum (Jalan Carnavon)
  • Penang Islamic Museum (Lebuh Armenian)
  • Penang Museum and Art Gallery
  • Vintage Toy Museum
  • Little India
  • Acehnese Mosque
  • Kapitan Keling Mosque
  • First Avenue Shopping Mall (modern shopping mall)
 Map of Tanjung Penaga in 1789 by Capt. Home Briggs Popham. At that time the British engaged with French in several battles in India while United States America is a new country. Singapore is not yet existed as there was only Great Johor-Riau Sultanate controlling the southern part of nowadays Malaysia, part of southern Sumatera and few Riau islands.

 The British left this fortress but they destroy Malacca Fort. Why? I think because Malacca Fort is bigger and stronger. Therefore I believe the British afraid if Malacca Fort falls to Johor-Riau or Achenese Sultanate. This size of this fort is almost similiar to the size of Brandenburg Fort of Yogyakarta, built by the Dutch.

 Padang Kota Lama and Esplanade Penang - waterfront and recreational area. Do not forget to dine at the stalls and restaurants here to try local foods such as Rojak Pasembor, Sotong Kangkung, Hokkien noodles, Prawn noodles and Nasi Kandar.

 Pengkalan Swettenham - previously was the Penang Port, now is a terminal for cruise ships and big ferries.

 The Penang Port- Ferry Jetty to the mainland

Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda is a ferry terminal to the mainland (Perai). Most of the locals regocnize it as 'The Ferry Jetty". Near to this terminal is a bus station and few shops that sells souvenirs and the famous 'Jeruk'.

 Walk through this street to see the legacies of the British colonization. However most of the buildings had been converted into commercial business centre or government agencies office.

 Little India - one of the settlement for Indians in Penang.

 Nice building design

 I like this architecture too. It is located near the Esplanade.

 Am I in Liverpool or Bristol eiyh? Heheh. It reminiscent me the buildings near the Albert Docks and Bristol in UK.

 Masjid Kapitan Keling. Conduct class for Islamic Studies including fiqh, sirah, syariah, aqidah etc. Want to know more about Islam? Come here to learn.

 The White Aways Arcade at Lebuh Pantai - Host for various restaurants

Lebuh Pantai restaurants. Local foods as well as western foods are available here.

 One of the Chinese Peranakan restaurants at Lebuh Pantai which offers Baba and Nyonya cuisine. When I was in Beijing and Guangzhou, it was difficult to find hot and spicy Chinese cuisine. But here, where the east meets the west, a hybrid product had been evolved. The Chinese eat Assam laksa? Or the Malay eat Hainanese Chicken Rice? Its weird isn' it? Nothing impossible. Now Malaysians eat Bim bim bap, Bento, Lasagna and Tajine.

One of the original Malay Cuisine Restaurant - D' Dapor.

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