Heritage enthusiast tunglang sent in this photo story of the remains of a 19th-century mansion at Pykett Avenue that was suddenly demolished before MPPP personnel could visit the premises to assess the building. The MBPP later stunned many Penangites when it rescinded its rebuild order.
It was a September Sunday morning. Passing by the desolated grounds of the mansion, I decided to pay her (the remains of the mansion) a second visit.
Standing outside and expecting to see nothingness, out of the blue I could sense her ravaged soul still wandering in limbo among the mossy ruins and wildly grown trees in a once resplendent mansion estate with an English garden. Was she waiting for justice or a promised resurrection?
She was keeping her distance, put on lockdown behind a grill gate that in the past protected the fragile and beautiful mansion from harm. Her beautiful eyes belied her distressed soul trapped in frozen silence. Her parted lips wanting to say something yet could not.
Ground Zero now looked more like a dead-silent Aokigahara Forest, overgrown with wild shrubs, darkened by restless trees stretching out twisted branches of traumatic pain. It was littered with the dried leaves of fallen grace and trashy icons of a cosmopolitan ‘toxic’ environment.
Discarded on the damp forest floor was a white ceramic washbowl probably used by the mansion while she whispered her secret love poems in the mirror every morning.
I could just about hear the echoes of a once charming English garden with soft Bermuda grass, the tinkling of angelic laughter amidst barefoot-waltzing to the classical tunes of Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube, the notes wafting up from a stately gramophone during a Sunday tea.
As I walked around the perimeter fencing hoping to engage her restless soul, the natural surroundings looked despondent, putting up a cordon of extreme caution, which included a menacing-looking giant ghostly shrub.
But the mansion kept her presence within my sight. Sensing my dogged persistency to connect, she seemed to express her utter helplessness and anguish. Was that almost audible sound the slow drawn cry against an indecent act of despicable ravage in the dead of night?
It was a sunny morning, this brief encounter with the restless soul of the mansion in her seemingly timeless estate abandoned in silent desolation and decay. I left with unforgettable impressions of beautiful memories now lost, along with an emotional capture of her present state of restlessness and helplessness, devoid of hope.
The mansion suffered an untimely end, her dignity demolished and her regal heritage pulverised into grey dust. But her timeless beauty and living spirit of old world colonial charm live on in the human hearts and minds of Pulo Pinang.
Will there be an earthly resurrection ordained by law for her, may I ask the Lord of Justice?