Thursday, June 29, 2006

Penang's Famed Beaches

Penang's northern shoreline is famous for its beautiful beaches of golden sand and deep blue seas. The Tanjung Bunga, Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang beaches offer expansive stretches of glittering sand interspersed with secluded coves within the shelter of gigantic rocks. It is along this famous coastline that resorts of international standard have sprouted up, offering a host of water-based recreational facilities.

However, Penang also has its fair share of secluded beaches where one may escape from the usual holiday-makers crowd. These are to be found off the beaten tracks and accessible only by jungle trails in the northwestern part of the island.

If you crave for privacy, head for Teluk Duyung, Monkey Beach, Pantai Keracut (Monkey Beach) and Pantai Mas accessible via the trails in the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve from Teluk Bahang. The Pasir Panjang Beach at the South Western tip of the island is a good clean stretch for swimming and can be reached after a 25-minute hike over hilly land from Betong.

Batu Maung Fishing Village Batu Maung is a small fishing village at the South-eastern tip of the island, which owes its fame to the beach-front shrine dedicated to Admiral Cheng Ho, the famous Chinese admiral who featured prominently in the history of the Malacca Sultanate. The huge footprint in the vicinity of the shrine is said to be that of the admiral.

Note : Photos were taken at various beaches in Penang Island, they are :- Batu Feringghi, Tanjung Bunga Beach, Monkey Beach, Muka Head Beach, Pulau Betong Beach.

Life of a fisherman

The daily life of a fisherman.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Thaipusam Festival from 10th to 12th February


One of the most colourful festivals to mark the victory of Lord Subramaniam over the demons. It is also symbolic of good triumphing over evil. The festival begins with a procession of the silver chariot bearing Lord Subramniam's statue from the Temple in Lebuh Queen to the Nattukotai Temple in Waterfall ' road. Devotees bear "kavadis" along the route in fulfillment of vows.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Faces of Penangites

These pictures speak more than words.

Scenes of inner Georgetown

Georgetown, at the north-eastern tip of the island is the seat of administration and is also the commercial hub of the state. This bustling metropolitan city combines the best of east and west as seen in its fascinating collection of fine old buildings, each bearing the stamp of different foreign influences in its colorful history. Much of its charm also lies in its famous golden beaches and clear blue seas. Penang today is a resort island in full bloom - an idyllic playground for worshippers of the sun and the sea. Its multi-racial population contributes to a wealth of cultural attractions and festivals for visitors to bring home memories of happy times in Penang.
Penang today bears the mark of an early history of successive foreign influences - from the early Indian Civilization that took root in northern Malaya to that of the Portuguese, Dutch and later the British who came to this part of the world in search of spices and stayed to participate in the lucrative trade.
The history of modern Penang can be traced back to 1786 when Francis Light managed to persuade the Sultan of Kedah to cede "Pulau Pinang" (island of the Betel nut) to the British East India Company. Light landed at the site of the present Esplanade and according to local legend, fired gold coins into the surrounding jungle to induce his men to clear the area. The island was originally named Prince of Wales Island and the settlement that soon grew up was named Georgetown after King George III. In 1800, the Sultan of Kedah further ceded a strip of land on the mainland across the channel which Light named Province Wellesley, after the then Governor of India. In 1832, Penang formed part of the Straits Settlement with Malacca and Singapore. It flourished and grew to be a major trading post for a lucrative trade in tea, spices, china and cloth. For more than a hundred years, it remained under British Colonial rule until 1957 when it gained independence and became one of the states of the newly formed Federation of Malaya and later Malaysia in 1963.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Goddess of Mercy Temple

Goddess of Mercy Temple

If one is in need, sad or just troubled, a safe haven awaits in the form of Kuan Yin Teng also called the Pitt Street Temple. Although the temple is named after the Goddess of Mercy, it is actually dedicated to two goddesses, Kuan Yin and Ma Chor Poh. Kuan Yin is the Goddess of Mercy, a kind deity who watches over all who are good and kind. This deity is to the Taoist and Buddhist what Saint Anne is to the Christians. Ma Chor Poh is the patron saint of seafarers and also known as Mother of the Hearth to Taoists.

This temple was founded in 1801 on land given by the East India Company and originally named Kong Hock Keong or the Cantonese-Hokkien Temple, as it was jointly established by both clans. But just as mercy knows no bounds, the temple has come to be known by the name of its patron saint and its devotees include Chinese from any clan and all walks of life. The most popular Chinese temple in Penang, it is congested on the full moon days of the1st and 15th day of the Chinese lunar month, holy days for the observance of precepts. On the three enlightenment days of Kuan Yin, the 19th day of the 2nd, 6th and 9th Chinese lunar month, the whole temple is brimming with devotees and visitors who turn up for worship and also to join in the celebrations and watch the puppet shows and Chinese operas staged on the temple's open grounds.
The cobbled square in front of the temple is a comforting sight with the burning of kim and gin (gold and silver paper), feeding of a lively flock of pigeons, burning of incense and joss paper and also with the bustling about by the temple hawkers. It is also here that the followers of Hare Krishnan distribute food free to the homeless, beggars and the hungry regardless of race. At a corner of the same square is a well, shaped in an octagon, which was once a public well for the Chinese community.

It is interesting to know that although mercy and heavens know no bounds, the devotees of the temple consider the temple to be of important geomantic significance. When the Malayan Railway was built in 1907 with a huge clock tower, the Chinese community saw it as a conspiracy against them as the feng shui of the temple would then undergo a change! But a more likely explanation would be that the temple's pair of stone lions who loved to play out at the sea's edge at night would then be without their enjoyment.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Festival of Hungry Ghosts (month of August)

Actors and actresses prepares for their role in an chinese opera in front of live audience on the stage mostly by the roadside throughout Penang to honour the festival of hungry ghosts, normally will last throughout the month of August.

And then the show begins...