Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Georgetown City's rich multicultural heritage


This is Penang Islamic Museum located at the corner of Acheen Street or Lebuh Aceh, This 19th century mansion was the residence of Syed Mohamad Al-attas, a wealthy merchant and community leader described by the Chinese as "Kepala Kongsi".

The minaret of the Malay mosque or Masjid Melayu founded by Tunku Syed Hussein Idid, a wealthy spice merchant and leader of the Muslim community and unofficial head of the Malay Town or Malay enclave. He was formerly Sultan of Aceh who abdicated in favour of his son, Tunku Syed Abdullah Idid.

The clock tower of Georgetown City. In the background is the 12-storey Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry building.

A fleet of trishaws at the Esplanade.


Dutch tourists on heritage tour by trishaws after a stop over at Fort Cornwallis.

On my trip to Penang last week-end, I witnessed something truly Malaysian that would disgraced young and foolish politician who continued to harp on racial issues to gain political mileage and popularity.

This particular Oxford educated politician can learnt a lesson or two from Penang's middle-aged trishaw men which I encountered at the Esplanade or Padang Kota Lama. The trishaw men, Chinese, Malays and Indians, not only work together but they help each other in times of need, irrespective of race or religion.

"Kita sama-sama cari makan, kawan. Mana ada gaduh. Itu orang politik bikin kacau saja," Ah Chye the trishaw rider told me in Malay. Literally he said "we work together to earn an honest living. That politician is a trouble maker."

His sentiment was shared by Ibrahim, a Malay trishaw rider. Ibrahim told me that politicians sometimes "lepas cakap" (talking without thinking) and most of them were only interested to "buat harta" or to "make money."

I was told by Ah Chye that they were hired by tourist guides to ferry tourists on a tour of Georgetown City's rich heritage, a new tourism package introduced by the state authorities and non-governmental organizations.

Hundreds of tourists both local and foreign, visit Penang's vast preservation of treasure in the city. It is the city's man-made heritage.

As the starting point of Penang's multicultural community, the inner city of Georgetown, Malaysia's oldest city, has many houses of worship, guild and clan houses, mosques, temples and other buildings which are Penang's 'open museum' of migration and cultural history.

The heritage tour covers the Colonial Quarter where Fort Cornwallis, the Esplanade, City Hall, Court House, St George's church, state museum, Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, and the Protestant cemetery are situated.

A short distance away are the historic port settlements or 'ethnic enclaves' - the Little India commercial area, the Kapitan Keling mosque, Goddess of Mercy temple, Mahamariamman Hindu temple, Armenian Street, the Malay Town of Acheen Street or Lebuh Aceh and the Malay mosque of Tunku Syed Hussein Idid, the Khoo Kongsi, the Islamic museum and Weld Quay.

Georgetown City has one of the largest collections of 19th and early 20th century buildings in South-east Asia. It is a living historic city.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sebab you cerita pasal Pulau Pinang, saya pun nak cakap pasal peristiwa yang berrlaku di Pulau Pinang ni juga.
Di Dewan Budaya Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). 4 September, satu sesi Forum Khas diadakan sempena majlis pelancaran Kursi Tan Sri Dr Noordin Sopiee Mengenai Kajian Global. Saya dok dengarlah hujah ahli panel dok bercakap pasal Allahyarham Tan Sri Noordin Sopiee. Memang saya ikuti pemikiran Tan Sri Nordin ni dan pernah mendengar ceramah beliau terutamanya di majlis-majlis yang diadakan di Pulau Pinang ni. Datuk Hishamuddin Aun dok beri gelaran Tan Sri Noordin sebagai bapa kewartawanan moden. Nak beri gelaran tu OK tapi apa alasannya? Ngapa tak disebut pun?. Gelaran mestilah berkaitan sumbangan, bukan mengenai apa yang dia buat di NST. Siapa pun jadi ketua akan buat perubahan. Itu bukan sumbangan tapi dah tugas dia. Tukang kebun pun boleh diberi gelaran tukang kebun moden, kalau itulah alasannya. Tan Sri Noordin mungkin layak diberi gelaran yang lebih besar jika ada alasannya. Panelis gagal beri hujahnya. Ini gelaran bukan main-main. Tan Sri Noordin adalah seorang pemikir sosial-ekonomi-politik dan isu-isu dunia moden dan kaitannya dengan latar belakang sejarah sebelum dan selepas perang dingin. Beliau juga adalah seorang pembicara, pewawancara tokoh-tokoh dunia bertaraf antarabangsa. Dia menjangkaui peranannya melebihi daripada wartawan. Asas kewartawanan, pergaulan, pembacaan dan pengalamannya di NST membolehkannya menjadi pemikir, pemidato, pembahas yang matang dalam isu-isu global, serantau dan kontemporari. Janganlah jadi panelis pak sumbat je. Kewartawanan moden itu amende? faham ke tak?. Pak Samad Ismail wartawan apa pula?. Kawan saya kata, dia ni tak faham kut pasal tertib memberi gelaran dan pengiktirafan. Kewartawanan tidak boleh lari daripada soal pemikiran. Pemikiran dalam bidang kewartawaan yang macam mana dibawanya?. Apa falsafahnya mengenai kewartawanan, demokrasi, pengaliran maklumat Timur dan Barat dan pemikiran kritisnya mengenai kewartawanan di zamannya. Datuk Annuar Zaini cerita pengalaman bersama Tan Sri Noordin. Itu cerita peribadi. Common lah, siapa nak tau itu semua. Ceritalah yang ada isi sikit. Kalau majlis ilmu macam ni berbincang soal titik bengik, macam mana boleh tingkatkan pemikiran masyarakat. So sorrylah.

Syed Imran said...

Saya turut hairan mengapa Hishamuddin Aun begitu mudah memberi gelaran yang pada pendapat saya tidak setimpal dengan kepintaran, khidmat bakti dan sumbangan Tan Sri Dr Noordin Sopiee kepada negara.
Jikapun dia nak cuba dapat publisiti murah dengan mencadangkan sesuatu gelaran kepada Dr Noordin, biarlah gelaran itu kena pada tempatnya.
Bagi saya, ketokohan dan kemampuan Dr Noordin Sopiee tidak memerlukan apa-apa gelaran.

Anonymous said...

Siapa Hishamuddin Adun ni nak beri gelaran pada orang lain pulak. Mungkin dia nak samakan taraf dia macam Pak Samad kut, Pak Samad lain statusnya dengan dia. Dia kena tau, Nordin Sopiie hanya berkhidmat di NSTP je, Sumbangan dia dalam kewartawanan terbatas di NSTP. Pak Samad ada perjuangan kewartawanan Nusantara. Kalau gelaran itu di NSTP tu bolehlah diterima. Nordin Sopiee lebih kepada penyelidik dan pemikir. Kewartawanan sekejap saja.
Kalau dia bagi gelaran kat Noordin bapa kewartawanan moden, nanti dia sendiri esok tak ada gelaran dah. OPPPP... lupa pula, dia bolehlah diberi gelaran BAPA KEWARTAWANAN BODEK.

Syed Imran said...

Benar, Hishamuddin sebenarnya tidak lebih sebagai pepatung di NST. Saya mendapat tahu dia menerima arahan dari luar termasuk dari Aras 4, Blok Utama, Bangunan Perdana Putra, Putrajaya.
Contohnya, ruangan mingguan Rejal Arbee, bekas bosnya di BH dulu, ditamatkan serta-merta hari ini (Rabu) atas arahan dari Putrajaya.
Nampaknya Rejal turut sama menjadi mangsa permainan kotor yang didalangi pihak tertentu.