Sunday, 3 October 2010

Blogfest Asia 2010 @ Penang - Day 1: Heritage Tour

Yes guys!!! I have safely arrived in Penang 2 days ago after the flight delay drama. Not told much about the cause except that it was a delay from the previous sector from Phuket. Bah~ Okay~~~~ At least I got myself entertained thinking of reasons for a flight delay....

And of course entertaining myself by camwhoring... The thing about being a blogger who posts a lot of my own photos is that I've mastered the art of  aiming your camera with MYSELF in focus, very well. =D

Been really busy with the activities (and watching American Idol last night on their local station) which is why I have not been updating~ 对不起啦~! Maaf ah~

Okay, I basically concussed the first night I was here due to insomnia the night before, but what was good was that I was all fresh and prepared for the tour arranged for us the next day!

 Fresh and chio~ Good. Travel photos will look (much) better. ;)

Chew Jetty, AKA Seh Chew Kio in Hokkien. It's called Chew Jetty because the early immigrants who settled here in the mid-19th century were divided into a few main clans, eg Lee, Tan, Lims, and the Chews were one of them. In fact, this was the largest waterfront settlement in George Town. So ALL the immigrants going by the surname Chew would settle here. I think that really creates a sense of belonging for people who travel here and are new to this part of the world.

This is my FAVOURITE part of the tour. 
There's nothing more captivating than a living heritage. I'm personally not a big fan of majestically-built architecture. Simple houses that simple residents built makes me feel down-to-earth again. Like even if I lose all material things, I will still be fine...

The fact that this is by the waters grips me even more. Seaside/waterfront life has always struck me as refreshing. And you know what? Notice the homestay sign? I just might come back for that. The stay I mean, NOT the sign... -.-"

 Just look at the simplicity of the way this jetty neighbourhood is built. I've lived in one of the last remaining kampungs in Singapore, and this brought back many fond memories of the simple though not-as-developed life.

 Motorbikes can park at your own door leh!!! Try thatin Singapore and you'll get slapped with a fine. UNLESS you live in your own landed property. And I don't mean on the 1st floor of HDB flats...
 In Singapore, even if you park INSIDE your home (1st floor HDB flat residents), it is illegal. Right...okay...I'll go into bizarre traffic rules and laws another time...

 This has a calming effect on me somehow. It's simple. Yet so breathtaking...

This is what the houses were built on.Notice the white bottles? Those were used pails of paint! Stacked together and sealed with cement in between them. Amazing~

Also, did you notice the air-conditioning system??? WOW!!! This is what I call cool heritage-jetty-living~ Lol!You marry a bit of technology with old tradition and cultures, and you get the best of both worlds.

 I'm still awed by the fact that motorcycles can ride into the jetty. I would be super petrified to do this. Just in case the floor breaks and I drop into the water... With my bike. 
Maybe if I ride a really cheap old bike I might. Then again...*thinks hard*...maybe not...

You see an heritage site, and in the background are modern architecture. I'm glad Penang has been listed as one of the World Heritage Sites,so that means these old places are here to stay.

 With this REALLY cute boy I met on the tour - Christopher. His parent are fellow bloggers, and him? He's a Mathematics genius, and though he's only 5, he's very matured for his age, and his mum said that hecould go into deep discussions with adults. Chris, I like you already. If you didn't have such flawless skin, I'll really like you even more~ *jealous*

He said he wants to be a half-doctor, half chef when he grows up. I just love the fearless ambitions of a kid. Untainted by adult opinions of "No you can't", "Don't be silly", "Oh, only a few make it" "You sure you want to study so much?", this is a young boy's dream of "I want and I will". Go for it Chris!!!

 WAH! Macam bungalow kan!!! Got metal gates!!!

 A tourist attraction? Yes. But it doesn't restrict the residents' daily lives. Clothes are still being washed, they still watch TV and lie down on the floors when we walk past, bras are still hung outside... 很写实,我喜欢~

 That's our dear Jeremiah sashaying down the boardwalk of Chew Jetty...looking ABSOLUTELY like a tourist.

This house behind me was torn down. But the tearing down of one house definitely does not affect its neighbours' infrastructures.Then again, tearing down of wooden boards and metal roofs shouldn't be too complicated a process. =)

 The corridors. Reminds me of our own corridors back in Singapore, don't you think?


I've always dreamt about living by the sea...and every time I pass a waterfront site, it'll rekindle my dream once again. May the jetties live on~

I know I mentioned I'm not a fan of majestic architecture, but this following one, I've got to mention. 

 The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. 
Built by a great man who proved wrong to people who told him he wouldn't make it. This house was so obscenely huge for his time (it is reputed to be only one of two such buildings of this size outside China), I wouldn't even want to think how successful he was - Cheong Fatt Tze.

They say only successful (and rich) men have many wives. He had 8. And he fathered his favourite wife (No.7)'s son at the ripe old age of 74. Wooo~~~~

Use that car as a proportionate measure. Of just the length. You have no idea how deep this house goes. It looks a lot bigger than it does here.

Restored beautifully from its former dilapidated state, it was awarded winner of 'Most Excellent Project' Award at the UNESCO Heritage Awards 2000.

 The much photographed form of transport outside his house.

We weren't allowed to take pictures beyond the living area and the main courtyard, so apologies for not being able to show you the deeper parts of the house with  38 rooms, 5 courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 windows. And did I mention he arrived penniless from China, at the tender age of 16? Remember Chris, the little boy, what I said about children with big dreams? Cheong Fatt Tze didn't stop believing in his dreams. =D

 This is one of the painstakingly-restored panels in the house. And you see the gold flakes around the sides? I was told those were actual gold leaves smeared on as designs. Very interesting.

 This was where he greeted and welcomed his guests. It's not even officially INSIDE the house yet. Is your living room even half this size? I can do somersaults and backflips here man!!!

What greets you when you enter the house. Which means after you pass those doors after the 'greeting and welcoming' room. Yes, there are doors after that room to officially enter the house.

This is the courtyard. Said to have perfect fengshui. Word has it that if you stand between those 2 blocks in the middle in the early hours of the morning, you will feel a sense of calm and harmony with the earth and the universe around you. Anyone can testify to this? =) Email me.

I am a firm believer of fengshui and as I walk around the house, I really saw all the practical usage of fengshui being applied around his home.

 On the 'kerb', you'll find a water drainage hole shaped like a Chinese coin. Incidentally, water symbolises wealth in fengshui.

Unfortunately, these were the only photos I could capture. What you can rejoice in, is that this house has been converted into a boutique hotel, so you can actually book a room and stay here while you are in Penang. You'll then get to experience the magnificence Cheong Fatt Tze built and which his family of many wives and children lived.

 You can go to their website - for more details and to view more pictures. 

Thanks to the organizing committee of Blogfest.Asia 2010, as well as Tourism Malaysia for this wonderful opportunity to know Penang. I especially love the Chew Jetty, and of course, knowing this cute little Penang boy who claims I'm his girlfriend for the time I'm here. Cute kan? =D

More updates on Blogfest tomorrow!



  1. Hello Silver, thank you for this wonderful entry. Do support and join future events sponsored or organised by Ministry of Tourism Malaysia.

  2. 一见钟情~~ ;-)

  3. Silver-Great post! Nice photos. It was a pleasure meeting you at BlogFest Asia 2010. Enjoy your stay in Penang, we look forward to seeing you again soon. My Chrissie will be happy to catch up with his "girlfriend" :)

  4. Hi Silver,
    I tot that cute boy is your son. Hahaha...! Anyway, there's something in this blog on the blogfest -

  5. Hey Silver! It's nice getting to know you and glad that you enjoy Penang...yup..Chew Jetty's one of my favourite as my friend is one of the residents there..(I was late due to meeting with some Gov off.) and oh ya that torn down house was due to fire outbreak about 2-3 years ago during the 9th day of Chinese New Year!
    Do contact me if you're dropping by Penang again.

  6. You captured Chris' personality perfectly. I have known this little boy since he was 3 or so. His father is a Mensa member and his mom is a big advocate of reading so that will explain why the boy is smart and cute!