Monthly Archives: August 2016

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Distracters

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Distracters

It’s the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar. That means the gates of the underworld have opened, and for 28 days, the ghosts of the unreincarnated walk among us. There’s nothing to eat in the underworld, so when they come back to earth, they’re very hungry. In Penang, where about 40 percent of the… Read More

Temples and Mosques

Temples and Mosques

Penang’s places of worship are as diverse as its people. Although Malaysia is officially a Muslim country, Penang is also home to large and vibrant communities of Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, and Christians. The Chinese temples and ancestral clan halls are the most atmospheric—with their incense, lanterns, and sculptured roofs—while the Hindu temples are the most… Read More

People of Penang

People of Penang

I didn’t spend as much time as I might have liked taking pictures of people in Penang (mostly because of the withering heat). But here is a small representation of the varied faces and styles of a wonderfully diverse place—much of whose population is descended from immigrants from China, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and… Read More

Shophouses of Penang

Shophouses of Penang

If there’s one thing that epitomizes Penang’s historic center, George Town, it’s the traditional shophouse. Street after street in George Town is lined with these multipurpose rowhouses—dating from the 18th to the 20th century—in myriad styles, colors, and states of repair. A typical shophouse was intended to play many roles: the front of the ground… Read More

On Top of Penang Hill

On Top of Penang Hill

On Tuesday, we did what countless people in Penang have done for centuries: rode up to the highest part of the island in search of cooler air. Most of the development in Penang is around the coasts; the center of the island is forested mountains. The highest point that is easily accessible, Penang Hill, is… Read More

Art Around Every Corner

Art Around Every Corner

One of the things we love about Penang is its passion for street art—everything from murals covering the sides of multistory buildings to small paintings tucked into the corners of random alleys. The last time we were here, in 2014, we posted a photo gallery of Penang street art that included some of the most… Read More

How Penang’s 1% Lived

How Penang’s 1% Lived

The buildings that Penang is best known for are Chinese-style shophouses—long, narrow rowhouses with stores in front, workshops behind, and living quarters above. Built in the 1800s and early 1900s, they housed much of Penang’s urban lower and middle classes. Wealthier residents had stand-alone houses, and the wealthiest of all had mansions. We took a… Read More