101 Stories of Old Penang

Preface

Georgetown from Penang HillThis book is meant for the younger generation and for the generations to come. In view of the rapid development transformation currently taking place, many areas have either undergone, or are undergoing, massive changes.

Among major examples, Tanjung Tokong and Batu Uban, with their heritage and traditions, have largely disappeared to make way for condominiums and highways. Teluk Bahang, Jelutong and Balik Pulau look set to follow. Even Seberang Perai and paddy-growing areas are being snapped up for condominiums and luxury housing.

In addition, Seberang Perai is also a few light years behind, when it comes to heritage, compared to Penang Island. Heritage trails here have yet to be developed with only a few identified. There is hardly anything to be seen at the Guar Kepah archaeological site which has been covered over by development.

Any proposed heritage project can only be built here if, and when, we can get a few skeletons back from the Netherlands. Heritage, history and old traditions seem to have little value in the face of massive high end development.

When will this stop? Till every nook and cranny is taken up? Should we allow such development to take place just because “more people want to live here”?

Penang is a great holiday and residential destination with huge investment potentials. Unfortunately, she is a victim of her own winning attributes because her natural resources continue to be plundered. It must not be denied that greed and uncontrolled development will lead to Penang’s downfall. Do we really need more shopping malls, expensive homes and high-rises in order to be tagged an `international’ or ‘intelligent’ city? It cannot be denied that more homes for the Malaysian wage earner need to be built on the island, but not homes described as ‘affordable’ and accessible only to a select group of investors.

This book was written in my hope that Penang’s heritage trail can remain forever traced, if not in its physicality, then in words and pictures. I am greatly indebted to Dato’ Anwar Fazal, Chairman of Think City Sdn Bhd, my editor Agnes James and designer Su Lin Lau, who have all helped in making this book a reality.

CONTENTS
PENANG ISLAND
1. Historical Importance Of Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque
2. Batu Feringgi Once Grew Rice
3. Balik Pulau: The Times They Are A-Changing
4. Early Penang Malays
5. Colourful History Of Bayan Lepas
6. The Browns Of Gelugor Estate Were Among Prominent Planters
7. Should Prangin Canal Be Revived?
8. Mystical Splendour Of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
9. The First Chinese Settlers In Penang
10. Penang’s Earliest Christians
11. Penang’s Debt To Convict Labour
12. When DAFC’s Stylish Football Won Hordes Of Fans
13. Penang Free School, The Oldest East Of Suez
14. Penang’s Pre-War ‘Gold Rush’
15. The Face Of Gurney Drive To Change Forever
16. Penang Road Is Never Quiet Nor Boring
17. Jelutong Leaving Poverty Behind
18. Kampung Seronok, A Truly Model Kampung
19. Kapitan Keling Mosque – An Unforgettable Sight
20. Nasi Kandar Has Come A Long Way
21. The Kek Lok Si And Its Gruesome Tale
22. Khoo Kongsi – A Most Prominent Chinese Lineage
23. All Kinds Of Everything At Lorong Kulit Flea Market
24. Penang’s Malay Town
25. When The Rajula And Chidambaram Called At Penang
26. Amusement From The New World Park
27. Some Notable Pre-War Hotels In Penang
28. Penang Bazaar Is State’s Oldest
29. When A Gang Preyed On Penang Harbour
30. Unforgettable Restaurants Of Yesteryear
31. Penang Harbour Board
32. The Penang Malay Drift To Rural Areas
33. Unique Assets Of Penang National Park
34. Pre-War Penang’s Laidback Lifestyle
35. Sungai Pinang & Jelutong
36. The Early Sikhs Of Penang
37. Sinaran Bros Show The Way
38. Bygone Era Of Tanjung Bunga
39. Tanjung Tokong Fishing Village Is Just A Memory
40. Teluk Bahang Ponders Its Future
 
SEBERANG PERAI (NORTH)
41. A Haunted Merdeka Bridge
42. A Traditional Kampung Shop In Permatang Keriang, Penaga
43. Early Days Of The Butterworth Airbase
44. A Bustling Bertam Awakens Kepala Batas From Its Stupor
45. Buffalo Fights In Province Wellesley
46. Butterworth’s Early Beginnings
47. Butterworth Bracing For The Good Times
48. Chinese Activities In Province Wellesley
49. Guar Kepah Skeletons Must ‘Come Home’
50. Mak Mah Braved The Waves For Over Two Decades
51. When Province Wellesley Exported Elephants To India
52. A Unique Stone Age Site In Guar Kepah
53. Hunting Snipe In Province Wellesley
54. Jeti Lama Helped To Establish Butterworth
55. From Old Kepala Batas To Bertam Of The Future
56. Lesser Known Heritage Sites Should Also Be Saved
57. Policing The Chinese In Province Wellesley
58. Changes In The Province After Siamese Invasion Of Kedah
59. Province Wellesley Resources
60. Why Province Wellesley Could Not Supply Enough Rice
61. When Province Wellesley Was A Den Of Murderers
62. Producing Sugar The Chinese Way In Province Wellesley
63. When Tigers Ruled In Province Wellesley
64. When Coconuts Replaced Sugarcane In Province Wellesley
65. The Unique Fish Whispering Auction At Kuala Muda
 
SEBERANG PERAI (CENTRAL)
66. BM Flourished After The War
67. The Inscribed Rocks & St Anne’s Church
68. When Perth Was Just A ‘Cowboy Town’
69. The End Of Permatang Tinggi
70. High School Bukit Mertajam Is The First In Province Wellesley
71. Hutan Lipur Bukit Mertajam Is Good For Jaded Spirits
72. Five New Villages Set Up In Province To Stop Communists
 
SEBERANG PERAI (SOUTH)
73. Better Times Ahead For Batu Kawan
74. An Extraordinary Rum Indeed!
75. How Nibong Tebal Got Its Name
76. Better Days For Nibong Tebal
77. Kee Lai Huat Laid The Foundations Of Sungai Bakap & Valdor
78. Peace & Tranquility In Pulau Aman
79. Pulau Aman Has A Lot Of Catching Up To Do
 
OTHER STORIES
80. Syeikh Abdullah Fahim Chose The Date For Merdeka
81. Bionic Girl
82. Recalling Colourful Boria Days
83. Malay Clubs Flourished Before The War
84. Early Conservation In Penang
85. What Clubbing Was Like In The 1930s
86. Living Life To The Full Was Eddy Choong’s Credo
87. Wong Pow Nee – The ‘Unsung Patriot’
88. Forgotten Places In Seberang Perai
89. Penang Already Inhabited Even Before Light’s Arrival
90. Traditional Games Lose Out To The Computer
91. Rebuilding Penang In The 1950s
92. No More UTC Buses After Six Decades Plying Butterworth-Alor Setar Route
93. The Japanese Occupation
94. Time To Revive The Keroncong?
95. Maurice Pestana’s Rugby Legacy
96. Tan Sri P Ramlee, An Entertainer Par Excellence
97. Actor Nordin Ahmad – An Incomparable Warrior
98. Rabia Abdul Salam Died At Her Peak
99. When Ramvong Caused A Storm In Penang
100. Sheikh Omar Basheer’s Fatwa Helped To Stop Muslims Joining Secret Societies
101. Zainal Alam
Some George Town Roads And Streets With Old Malay Names

By: A. Shukor Rahman

Extract from the book “101 Stories of Old Penang”