good food, good people, good places to visit
Before I proceed to share my experiences and knowledge as a 21-year-old Penangite, I would like to talk a little about my roots. I am really proud to be a Penangite as living in this beautiful city has given me a lot of priceless memories. I was born in Penang in the year 1999 at Lam Wah Ee Hospital. I feel lucky that I was born in the 90’s as I personally experienced those good old days without the existence of modern technology.
My family and I once lived in Jelutong. Our house was located in the middle of a kampung. In those days, it was freezing every single time I took a shower as there was no heater at home. At night, I would hear cats chasing mice on top of the wooden roof. Besides that, there were times when a huge monitor lizard would appear out of nowhere right in front of you. It would appear either in the living room or kitchen as the old kampung house was long and had two entrances—the front and back door. Thinking back, I was quite a brave boy back then as I encountered these “terrifying moments”. When this incident happened in broad daylight, my mother had to get assistance from neighbours to get rid of this huge monitor lizard while my father was away for work.
During the rainy season, flash floods would happen due to the overflowing rivers beside my village. After the floods subsided, my family and I worked together and cleaned up the mess happily as there was always the sense of cooperation and family bond. We would wait for my father’s return from work and greet him before having dinner together. In my own perspective, family bond was stronger without the presence of modern technology as we managed to spend time together and cherished every single moment. In this current sophisticated era, for example, when we eat outside at a restaurant, majority of the family members just stare at their mobile phone and there is no communication among each other. Everyone sitting at the table is scrolling and swiping their own phones. It is a sad reality to see how technology has replaced so much of the activities we had in the past.
My parents always tried to fulfil our needs and wants in terms of materialistic items. They showered my brother and I will love, which money can never buy. Once, my mother bought a lot of mini toy cars for us and we were so excited that my brother and I neglected breakfast, lunch, and dinner to play with the cars from morning until night! This might sound exaggerated. My mother definitely would not allow us to skip any meal to obtain healthy lifestyle. I still recall the leisure time I spent with my brothers as we played with kites even though we sucked at it.
I always looked forward to the dismissal of school on weekdays as I would get to play with my neighbours and sweat like crazy. It was indeed fun as I had a lot of friends living in the neighbourhood. We played congkak, pick up sticks, Pepsi Cola, and police and thief. Pepsi Cola refers to a traditional game where each player tries to protect their feet from getting stepped on. First, we have to gather everyone in a circle and assign numbers to each player. Then, we say in unison “Pepsi Cola” and jump back “1-2-3” times as far back as we can go. Everyone shouts their assigned number and tries to step on another player’s foot in one leap. Anyone who gets stepped on is out of the game and an eventual winner will emerge. It was always exciting no matter how many times we played together as a team or as individuals. I believe children these days will never experience the life of a kampung boy and will never understand the ups and downs we had living in the village. Those fun times and moments will forever stick in my mind. I will definitely share it to my children in future days to enlighten them about moments that they will not be able to have.
When I was 9 years old, we moved to an apartment near my old house in Jelutong. Things were obviously different as I no longer get to play with my neighbours after returning home from school anymore. As time passes by, we lost touch and even when we met outside, we barely recognized each other. It was saddening but we had to live in this reality as reality to mostly everyone seems to be awful and harsh in a way. Perhaps, this could be the consequences of growing up. There was a saying when we entered different phase of life, “Friends may and go, but true friends leave footprints in your heart.” On the contrary, lifestyle was indeed enhanced when my family and I moved to the new apartment which were equipped with various modern technology gadgets. Sometimes, I still reminisce about the good old days, like how we still enjoy living life to the full without technology.
Living in the year 2020, I still brag about the beauty of Penang and how grateful I am to be a Penangite to any tourist or traveller who visits Penang. Before I enrolled in Han Chiang University, I worked at Marks and Spencer, Gurney Plaza as a sales advisor. In my role, we learnt to prioritize customer service satisfaction and product knowledge. We had to ensure every customer was attended to and assist them in every possible way. Honestly speaking, most of Marks and Spencer’s target audience and regular customers were expatriates and tourists. After serving them, I always took the opportunity to enlightened them about how they made the right choice to visit Penang.
I would always suggest top places to visit in Penang, such as China House, one of the longest cafés in Penang Island which serves a variety of large slices of cake at affordable prices; Avatar Secret Garden, which has beautiful flowers and lights to replicate scenes from the Avatar movie (best visited at night); and Big Ben’s breakfast at Penang Botanical Gardens, where hikers and joggers get to enjoy superb breakfast options. I also talk about the uniqueness of Penang in terms of culture, heritage sites, and the delicious variety of cuisines such as nasi lemak, char koay teow, roti canai, and much more. Celebrations such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, and Deepavali are grandly celebrated by the majority races, Malay, Chinese, and Indian.
Penang is indeed one of the most precious cities in Malaysia as good food, good people, and good sights are guaranteed. Trust me, plan your next family trip to Penang for greater experience instead of just listening to stories of Penang. Come to Penang and witness for yourself the festivals, performance arts, street art, historical museums, architecture, and literature.
I can assure you, readers, you will love Penang.
Hi, I’m Chung Yee and I’m currently pursuing my degree, a Bachelor’s in Public Relations, at Han Chiang University College in Penang. I was born in Penang as well and I’m really proud to express how fortunate I am to be a Penangite. Planning and coordinating an event are my personal interest but more to passion. Besides, I do play football and perform calisthenics workout on regular basis.