I always look forward to visiting Penang.

I think I’ve always liked Penang since I was little, but this ‘like’ deepens as I grow older, as I got to see more of this humble yet silently developing state. My mom’s from Penang, and so when parents said that we’ll be spending the first few days of CNY in this island this time around, you can’t believe how ecstatic I felt! We haven’t spent this festive period in Penang since…forever.

Why do I like Penang so much, you ask?

I like it for how real it is, how down to earth the people and things are, how it is always so bustling with activities (“lau zuak” in hokkien), how it is developing so quickly over the past few years and yet not forgetting its roots and traditions.

Throughout my traveling experiences, I’ve come to observe that people living in the Northern part of countries are generally friendlier, more open to welcoming guests, and to a certain extent more generous. I felt it when I was in China for a work exchange, and when I was traveling in Vietnam.  And I feel the same about Penang each time I’m there! Is this a common trait in most countries?

Oh and not forgetting the most used dialect in Penang; Hokkien! Very pleasant to the ears, whenever I’m there and I get to listen to them locals speak, it’s a warm tingling feeling inside 🙂 I grew up speaking hokkien with my grandmother at home, which my mom said is a blessing, for without my “ah ma”, my brothers and I probably wouldn’t be able to communicate in this dialect.

This trip back was a fruitful one for us. We got to see relatives we haven’t seen in years – both older and younger (them babies just keep coming!!), we got to see the art-sy side of Penang, and indulged in familiar and some new eateries. I ate so much I experienced my first food coma in life.

Will kick this post off with Soo Hong Lane, where mom spent 13 years living in! It’s situated in the Heritage Area in Georgetown, near where Armenian street (ya know the kids on the bicycle mural?) is. A pleasant surprise bestowed upon us mom…


Mom’s old home has now turned into a cafe! A cosy and quaint one, at that.

And what a punt the name of the cafe is… Soo Hong… Soo Hungry… SooHongry… geddit?? Haha.


The inside of the cafe where little pastries, coffee, and tea is served


It says: “Laugh at your problems, everybody else does!”


Mom and the two operating tenants of the cafe and place…

Both were so keen in hearing stories from my mom, and mom equally as overwhelmed and excited to share too; of how was it like growing up in this place, living with god knows how many other people, each family squeezing into a room, which was the favourite hangout spot in the house, the “bucket system” when using the toilet, etc.

It was definitely a walk-down-memory-lane sentimental moment for mom 🙂

Other mural and heritage spots include:


Papa carrying this little boy up the chair while mom looks from the sideline.


Ah, so relevant. Almost similar to a guy asking a girl what does she want to eat (didn’t mean to generalize, it could be the other way! hah). Except if you ask me, I will always have an answer for you where I want to eat….or go. Haha.

“Where do you want to go?” (lu ai ki to lok?!)

“I don’t know” (um zai)

Moving on… We were so thrilled and fortunate to have caught the art exhibition by Ernest Zacharevic, the man behind the murals you see above!

Art is Rubbish, Rubbish is Art


At the entrance


where everyone was waiting outside the Old Hin Bus Depot before the exhibition was open


Inside the depo where it’s turned into an exhibition of his amazingly creative work

– where he turned rubbish into art; and not just any art, but relevant art that makes your heart warm, especially those localized to the Penang culture


A broken cupboard spelling out a human body


Susu + Kopi O = Kopi Peng! My loveee


A picture of a cow framed with wall pins black, grey, silver, white, and gold in colour


This explains why I can’t even get through a yoga class.. hehe. Definitely need to give yoga a second chance this year


Truly, rubbish is and can be art.

“I just want to emphasise the point that one man’s rubbish can be another man’s treasure which is why I chose this theme,” Ernest said in the sneak preview of his exhibition. (Source: Malay Mail Online)
Thank you Ben & Pris for letting us know about this exhibition!
Besides that, we also got to visit the Made In Penang Interactive Museum; the first 3D art or trick art museum in Penang!


Outside the museum: Lim (drink) kopi and teh with the Penang Chief Minister


And inside we were awed by so many 3D art that is SO REAL!! And very interactive too. Like the one above, a mirror image between you and someone else if you both act the same way!


‘Tam jiak’ mummy… hehe


We took a while to realize that there are actually foot positions for you to stand on to perfect the photography angle and distance. There’s also a sample photo beside each 3D artwork for you to have an idea of how to pose and to emulate.


Will Spiderman be able to save me?

Not to forgetting the relatives, which are just so nice people all around!


Mama and her siblings 🙂


Mom’s generation or mama’s siblings sons and daughters, aka my “uncles” and “aunties”

And it’s in this trip that I realize that I love babies…


Baby Jayden!


Baby Jean Wein!


“chee yee poh”, or the 7th aunty; mama’s older sister (mama’s the 8th) who’s one of the most jovial and light-hearted woman of her age I know. She was the one who told us about the 3D museum btw hehe

Where she lives is so near the longest cafe in Penang!


China House cafe 🙂


A mirror selfie? No? Hehe


Had to mark my presence there hee

And at night…


We enjoyed some good live band music and beers at The Library, Straits Quay


Mom brought us to take a walk at the jetty area… This is the Lee Jetty, her surname, though not ours.

If you have watched the movie The Journey, the ‘bai ti gong’ prayers was shot at one of the jetties! Absolutely great movie, which I will blog about it in another post.


The dim sum place we stumbled upon by chance that houses a whopping 138 tables!

A panaromic shot taken to show you the sheer size of… imagine only 70% of the tables filled, with an average of say 4 people per table, with the turnover of say 3 times in one morning, you do the math.


And lastly, I just had to wrap my trip with this picture: So simple, so delicious, so satisfying. My favourite prawn mee (or hokkien mee in Penang) and kopi o peng

#hojiak 😉


2 thoughts on “CNY 2014 IN PENANG <3

  1. Albert Wong says:

    Hi … Weilyn, very good advertisement for good olé Penang, the Island, that is! Excellent ambassador for good olé Penang in the making, if I may add (if one day in the future you choose to be one in whichever capacity😄). Am your mom’s classmate (never believed in using ‘former’ in preceeding the word … sounds so ‘no more’ to me) at SXI where your two ‘koos’ were also schooled. Like (not liked) your other write-ups in sharing your other travels and experiences too. Visit Prague, Czech Republic (if you had not done it already), to me, absolutely the most beautiful city in the whole of Europe, if not the world … and I am positive you would revel in putting pen to paper on the unrivalled historical city of Prague and, if you do, I believe it would be a good read. All the best to you and please convey my regards to your mom.


    • wltang says:

      Hi Mr Albert! Thank you so much for your kind words, from reading them I can already see that you’re good in putting words beautifully together yourself 🙂 Also, thank you for dropping a note here, it’s always nice to hear from my mom’s pals, old or new alike 🙂 And yes, I do hope to be able to visit Prague someday!

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