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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Historical 1932 Video of Penang by Michael Rogge

I was born in Penang Island in 1958. To come across this historical video of my home island is something that is so privileged and i would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Michael Rogge for being so gracious by uploading this archival treasure to You Tube.

Thanks so much sir. In this video we get to see how Penang used to be? The bullock carts, jinkrishas and other modes of transportation that are now only to be found collecting dust in the museums.

To be able to see moving pictures of long gone Chinese fishermen rowing their sampans across the sea. To see Chinese junkships with their unique sails billowing across as they sail smoothly over the waters of the Perai Straits is just something like watching history come alive albeit in grainy black & white motion picture.

This video is truly priceless! We get to see how the people of Penang used to dress and go about their business and life?

We can see a shirtless Chinese trader carry his goods in baskets hanging from a carrying pole as he walks barefooted along the street plying his wares.

We also get to witness how bullock carts were the main transportation vehicles as they were used to carry attap roofings and other goods.

There were also scenes showing Indian coconut gatherers cutting some coconuts.

Scenes showing the Snake Temple and a Chinese man handling a viper. The video also shows a street peddlar carrying his trading cupboard hanging from a pole.

I recall having seen these type of travelling salesmen doing business at my village.

They were like a mini emporium selling all kinds of goods from China. These kind of traders are now extinct.

Relegated to the display units of the nation's museums.

Businesses that started way back during the Colonial British's era have slowly but surely died away as most of the heirs of the business founders passed away without their sons and daughters wanting to carry on with their father's or grandfather's legacy.

Penang has a rich history that goes back to 1786 when the British Captain Sir Francis Light landed on the beach where the Fort Cornwallis still stands.

At least, there are efforts being made to reconstruct the early British settlement which was established by Captain Sir Francis Light and his troops.

This will actually add to the tourism industry where locals and overseas tourists can have an experience that they can treasure for the rest of their life's by dressing up in colonial attire and take photographs or videos of themselves at the historical site.

I have long written about the need for those in charge of the national museums especially those in Penang and Melaka to bring history to live!

This is exactly what the administrators of Penang have successfully done by the recreation of the early British settlement at Fort Cornwallis.
The entrance to Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City of Georgetown, Penang.
Photos courtesy of
Imagine how attractive it would be for the tourism industry if we could have the Malaccan Sultanate be resurrected albeit even if it is just a theatrical performance at what is said to be the Malaccan historical site near the remaining structure of the Portuguese built A Famosa fort?

A serious lack of creativity on the part of Malacca's PERZIM is the reason why the historical state is losing out on cashing in more of the tourist ringgits from the ever increasing crowds of local Malaysians and overseas tourists flocking to the land of Hang Tuah and his warrior friends?

Penang once had trams running in the city. If the Penang State Government are wise, they should reintroduce the trams as a tourist attraction. I know for sure that the old tram tracks are still there along Penang Road, Chulia Street, etc.
Cash in on the tourist ringgits! People would love to travel once more on such trams. All it takes is for the brain cells of the Penang City Council councilors and Penang State Government officials to start cracking and work together on this project!
Instead of seeing the old tram tracks as a problem, Penang State Government officials should take advantage of the rediscovery and make plans to reintroduce trams back to the public's usage. Plans should be made to reduce vehicle entry to the historical parts of Georgetown and urge the people to use public transport!
Instead of unwittingly getting himself reported negatively in the local news, this DAP Komtar State Assemblyman Ng Wei Aik would do better by striving to improve the tourism industry of Penang and see to it that the island state gets a new source of income through reintroducing Penang's once legendary street trams back to the historical City of Georgetown!

Penang, my home island and state has a lot to offer. It can once again really be The Pearl of the Orient if its administrators have it in them to return the shine to this resort island by way of making the best of its glorious heritage!

Dondang Sayang, Boria and other traditional Penang cultural treasures can be brought back to be enjoyed by all in order to add more life to Penang's entertainment scene.

Dondang Sayang Baba and Nyonya (Penang & Melaka)

Penang Boria Icons ( Mamu Pi'ee, Mamu Maidin, Arwah M.Shariff (Kedah)

These delightful arts should be brought back to prominence in both Penang and Melaka!

All Malaysians must never forget our national treasures in the forms of all these arts and heritage.

Teach our young to appreciate and nurture all these before they are gone forever. These are our national identities.

We are all equally responsible to see to it that our cultural heritages are kept alive and well. 

Malaysia Boleh!

For those who would like to see how Penang looks like today, come watch this HD video:

Penang is truly an island that has it all! 

1 comment:

hamsor said...

Assalamualakum bro..

I was there Saturday...

How relaxing it is to perform the maghrib solat at the Kapitan Keling Mosque, then 'pekena' nasi kandar at Nasi Kandar Beratur next door, then continue with the Isyak prayers..