PENANG: A Visit to Historic George Town with Dr. Wong Yee Tuan (黄裕端) and Mr. Tan Yeow Wooi (陳耀威)
Our fall trip to Malaysia takes us to the island of Penang, to visit historic George Town, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2008. This gem city has colonial architecture, Chinese shop houses, Christian churches, Muslim mosques, and Indian and Buddhist temples over one hundred years old. In fact, in a street aptly named Harmony Street, we see Kapitan Keling Mosque, St. George's Church, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, and Sri Maha-Mariamman Temple. Dr. Wong Yee Tuan and Mr. Tan Yeow Wooi will take us down memory lane and explain how these four different religious houses of worship came to be on the same street in the past and co-exist until today.
Another intriguing street is Armenian Street. How did this country way out in the Caucasus region come to have her name on this island in Asia? Our hotel, E&O, continues this theme of historic George Town. What is the full name of E&O and why was it named thus? A look at the architecture will show European and Moorish influences. Dr. Wong will enlighten us on the background of this hotel and her historical anecdotes.
We will be visiting some of the older Chinese clan houses and Dr. Wong will lecture us on the history of the Chinese arrival on the island and how they settled down and made their homes here. Terms like Baba, Nyonya, and Peranakan, etc will be explained. Mr. Tan, an experienced architect and conservationist of historical buildings, will introduce and explain the different architectural designs and styles of the clan houses and shop houses.
Culinary art is also an important part of the Penang culture. Our two resource persons will highlight the various cultural influences on the special taste of Penang cuisine. Both experts will share with us interesting stories while we savour the delicious fare that has made Penang justly famous!