Sunday, December 8, 2013

“World Heritage Core Zone”- GEORGETOWN- a photo essay of street art and buildings

All over what is known as the “World Heritage Core Zone” in Georgetown Penang these amazingly cool sculptures inform people of the history they are currently standing in. 

From the very first one I saw I was captivated. I cannot resist photographing them. It is such and engaging way of educating people. Amid the chaos and jumble of fully restored, slightly dilapidated

 and totally decaying buildings it is difficult to get a picture of what must have created this cacophony of cultures, but with these simple cartons and captions a great deal is conveyed vividly and charmingly. 

(Since the captions are not always readable I will copy them! and throw in a photo or 2 of the actual buildings in the vicinity and the odd other piece of street art)

The heritage walk on which we spotted most of these buildings and caricature sculptures can be found at Brochure.pdf

“Up until 1909 the police doubled as Georgetown’s firefighters.”

“To the dismay of parishioners of the Portuguese church there- Church Street also housed the headquarters of the notorious Ghee-Hin secret society”

“ Here you’ll find traditional Cantonese restaurant serving dim sum”

“ The Hokkiens called this street Pak Thang Ah Kay or ‘Copersmith Street' a reference to the early Malay Brazier making brass and copper ware”

“ The Tua Pek Kong Hueoh Grand Float Procession is held in the Year of the Tiger to wash away bad luck and bring great wealth and health.”

“ The hand pulled rickshaw was the most popular form of transport in early Penang.”

“ Nasi Kandar originated from Tamil, Muslim hawking homecooked dishes of curry dishes and rice from contaners slung on both ends of a kandar (a wooden stick)”

“ May I borrow your high heels?” / “ The counter of the pawnshop is typically higher for security”

“Where’s my husband?” / “The local Chinese say the rich men who lived on Muntri Street kept their mistresses here, hence the name Ai Cheng Hung or Love Lane.”

“ At the turn of the last century many shophouses were turned into cheap hotels making this internationally known tourist strip very popular with backpackers” – Love Lane

“ Much of the traffic of pilgrims to and from Muslim holy land for the haj went through Acheen Street where tickets for the trip were sold- shopping was also a favourite activity for both pilgrims and their well wishers”

“A cannon shot fired during the 1906 Penang riots made a large hole hence the name.” – Cannon Street

“The ‘five foot way’ of Wan Hai is said to be the narrowest in Penang.” / “Obviously this is less than five feet”


“The black and white Amahs were Cantonese domestic servants from Guangdong who did all kinds of household chores and would refer to themselves with wry humour as Yat Keok Tet (one leg kicks all)” – the black  and white refers to their standard attire of black long pants and white blouses.

“Thick medium or thin?”

“Locally known as beca most of the trishaws also double as tour guides.”

“Also called toddy or palm wine tuak is an alcoholic beverage made from underdeveloped flower of coconut palm. The collecting and market for tuak was an entirely Indian affair with the majority of its drinkers being Indian labourers.”

“Roti Bengali came from the word Penggali (shareholders in Tamil)”

“Tok tok mee is so called because hawkers would strike a tok tok to signal their presence.”

“Parrot astrologers were Indian fortune tellers who used green parakeets to foretell a person’s future.”

“While its royal English name sounds very grand it’s also locally known as  ‘Gudeng Rumput’ or Grass Godown with bullock carts being parked along this side street."

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