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Mar-25-09

Penang, As It Is Now.

posted by constance

Nostalgic memories enveloped me as we crossed the Penang Bridge in the wee hours on Tuesday morning. Penang was all quiet. Oh, too quiet. What do you expect.. At 2.00am everyone must be asleep.. It is early in the week. Monday blues, Tuesdays too. I could hear a faint crow as I wind down the window… amazing!

Penangites in the olden days (not sure about now..) used to be among those that slept early. Entertainment in the old days was not like now. Less night spots and the only entertainment we had was more of night clubs, pubs and cinema midnight shows. Boston Pub, Jockey Pub, Cinta Discoteque, Hollywood, Spaniards Inn and even notorious Chu San, they were all familiar names. Oh and those busy Chowrasta area where Penangites go for their Indian fare.

When I was younger, I’d follow my dad to the nearest newspaper vendor at night for his evening papers (Star or Echo). It was usually about after 8pm or so and as my Dad held my hand and we walked to Cantonment Road/Burma Road Junction, many shops were closing for the day. The Tucky coffeeshop that was in front of the news vendor used to sell delicious evening Sar Hor Fan fried by an elderly couple. Now, they are no longer doing the business as my mom said the kids do not wish to pick up these slaving over stoves and cooking skills from their retiring parents. Can’t blame them. Life was simpler then. Now the world is full of paper chase, gourmet coffee, wifi andΒ  E-everything.

I took pictures of the provision shops that is still around for the last 40 years? Or more? I’m surprised they are still around..

Many of the shophouses have been sold and resold since I left Penang. There used to be Tip Top and Top Top restaurant and bakery but they are now shops selling Bak Kwa (BBQ Pork Slices) and Nasi Kandar (Indian fare). The clinic that I used to go to, Dr Chan’s clinic is also no longer there. There was also Barkath Store and Baptist Book Store in the same stretch, I don’t see them around. My Alma Mater stood there nearby across the Church of Immaculate Conception. Amazing.

Ban Joo Lee.

This is locally known as ‘Kedai Runcit’ (malay) or ‘Chai Tiam Ma’ (hokkien), which means Provision Shop. As young as 5 or 6, I patronized this shop for my titbits, Pringles Potato Chips (it was only RM$2 for two cans), dad’s cigarettes and my school stationery. The old parents that minded the shop are no longer there. The two sons were already helping out when I was that age and they are still the two main person I could see as we drove past the shop. They all remembered me as Ah Hoon, I am sure they still do because I was such a daily-regular.

Cheow Guan.

This was the place I’d go to for all my bottles of Coke, Sarsi whatever soft drinks I wanted. And mom usually orders with them for our Chinese New Year treats too. We normally get about 6-7 cartons of soft drinks from F&N Orange, Coca-Cola, Sarsi, Ice Cream Soda, Kickapoo, Mirinda, 7-Up, Fanta of all flavours… I miss Fanta..

Barkath Stores

Driving towards the old esplanade, I found another Barkath Store that is in deteriorating condition.

And more shots of other dilapidated buildings below.

Messy junction at Gama (dato kramat/macalister road)

Police Quarters in forlorn state..

Odeon Cinema. Anyone knows if it is still being used as a cinema?

Komtar looks like she is in dire straits…

Penang YMCA -inside a simple cafe that sold wonderful food

Penang Prangin Mall

Prangin area was the place to be in those days… This is where we smelt the smelly Longkang, okay? There was a stretch of Jual-murah shops there too all doing brisk business.

Komtar was just newly built and it was packed with people and many Penangites were here as this is the place to meet. Penang had it’s first MacDonald fast food here. Penang also had it’s first Esprit shop here. We were gasping at how expensive the price was – $80 for tops or dresses..hehehe, yet we still went to buy them like there were no tomorrows!

This was also the place for snooker fans, because there were about as many as 3 snooker centres (big ones that had as many as 40 Snooker tables or so each). Of course I knew cos I helped MOM with her beverage outlet inside Jade Snooker Centre! I swear in my ears, I can still hear the balls hit another at night… Boy!

Going back certainly brings back good times of the old.

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  1. sting Said,

    oh we just came back from a trip to Penang πŸ™‚ but it was really fun reading your memory lane post as we did pass by some of those places u mentioned … glad u had a great time

    sting’s last blog post..Trip With-In The Law

  2. jepunlauee Said,

    As I read this post..all those wonderful old memories flows bck…I miss the old penang so much…

  3. Kikey Loo Said,

    wow.. hoon.. i miss Penang…

    Kikey Loo’s last blog post..Happy Mother’s Day

  4. NomadicMom Said,

    Don’t think I ‘ve been to Penang for like more than ten years. Sure changed alot liow hor?

    NomadicMom’s last blog post..London Trip – Part 4 – Purchases

  5. Kinoko Land Said,

    Ohhhh thank you so much for sharing,love all photos in this entry…. bring back memories …. πŸ˜€

  6. annant Said,

    my last trip to penang was like five years back O.o…
    i miss gurney drive where can eat my heart out πŸ™‚

    annant’s last blog post..Botanical

  7. Angeleyes Said,

    That odean still operating I guess… showing only Tamil or Hindu movies.
    Did you eat at the kopi shop next to it? Apparently their chicken rice is one
    of the best wor… according to my MIL lar! But I like the lobak especially the
    deep fried crispy cuttlefish!

    Angeleyes’s last blog post..Banana for Monkeys only?

  8. Ellyn Said,

    I just love Penang. Everywhere is so near and convenient. Another good thing is if you are driving on Penang’s roads, you are hardly used the fifth gear of your manual car. πŸ™‚

    Ellyn’s last blog post..A call from Kylie’s teacher

  9. Ryan mami Said,

    yeah… Odeon showing tamil/hindu movies!!

  10. mummy moon Said,

    Long time I didn’t step my foot to Penang πŸ™

    mummy moon’s last blog post..Two Special Nights

  11. Ed Said,

    Hello Constance,

    Thanks for the post. Wow you must be caught in the same time capsule as I am because I remember and could relate to all the places you mentioned (esp the foul smelling drain at the Prangin bus stop) as that was the only bus service to get to Tanjung Bunga and other beaches.

    I am going back to Penang in Nov. and will certain look forward to the food. I can’t say I enjoy the overly congested island anymore; I adore the Penang of old (circa 70’s, 80’s). The urban sprawl is a turn-off. Funny the mention of (Straits) Echo automatically conure up the image of their office on Penang Road/Hutton Lane. Glad that fragment of my memory is still intact. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane and pictures; a lot of fond reminiscing!

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