Penang losing its ‘charm’ and ‘character’

55
1645
The Runnymedia masterplan - Artist's impression: www.e-architect.co.uk

I couldn’t help thinking of the demolition of the Runnymede ancilliary buildings over the Lunar New Year, when reading this report in Buletin Mutiara (below). The irony of it all.

Past and present Chief Executives of Hong Kong had visited Penang. Both found that the charming character of Penang is reminiscence of old Hong Kong.

Chinese media had asked Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to comment on the recent private visit of Hong Kong first Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa to Penang. Lim who was surprised that the media got information of the private visit said, “I hosted a dinner for CH Tung, his wife and friends. However it was a private dinner.”

“CH Tung came to Penang in the 1970s and he has not been to Penang for 42 years. Before he decided to visit Penang, he said many people had recommended to him to visit Penang. They asked him to come because Penang is charming and has character. It is only recently when his own younger brother and his daughter urged him to visit that he decided to come to Penang,” Lim added.

“Penang hopes to build stronger ties with Hong Kong. During Christmas, the current Chief Executive of Hong Kong Mr. CY Leung also had his holidays in Penang. He enjoyed the visit. Penang is proud that it has now become a holiday destination of choice for many. In general, they found that Penang reminds them of the old Hong Kong.”

But bit by bit, as more and more highrise towers dwarf our heritage buildings, as our hills our stripped bare and as our coasts are hived off for ‘sea view’ homes for the wealthy, we are losing that ‘charm’ and ‘character’, which is what draws visitors to Penang in the first place.

As for Runnymede, Chow Kon Yeow’s contention is that the planning permission for the towers was approved in 1999 and as the first tower, the EPF building had already built, so the permission for the whole project is still valid.

This argument is open to question.

From what I hear, the act of building must be continuous. Building plans have to be submitted and approved for other phases as well. If works stops for more than three months, shouldn’t the building plans lapse and, along with them, the planning permission as well?

Meanwhile, where is the Local Plan? And are all the projects being approved in line with the Penang Structure Plan?

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
55 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
zoro

why so many empty apartments? why so many open kopi tiams and make kopi kau kau?

tunglang

Pls lah don’t kecoh-kecoh like a parrot.
If have nothing constructive to comment, pls lah don’t mouth like a parrot!
Why not ask: Can or not?

zoro

What constructive comments from you!? You still still with your LP records and turn table. But it is broken and play the same message over and over again Only whine and bark at the CAT

tunglang

Preposterous assumption.
Plucked from the air of “I think so”.
How to discourse with reasons???
Maybe I should also assume that after some time of exhilarating worshipping of Tokong, the reasoning mind has gone hay-wired.
Oh no. I should not assume unless I invite a Z-slash on my buttocks from Ah Shor!

zoro

where are new bldgs going to located. not on reclaimed land. hillslopes. sea fronts, redeveloped land, not my backyard? not in penang. but hypocrates are buying cars and investing for old age

lim

Spot on zoro, they secretly investing…

They want affordable housing but must not in my taman, where else to build then ???

Willie

If you are taking RM300K loan for affordable home purchase at 4% interest, you need to pay at least RM1500 a month in instalment for the next 30 years. But on statistics, 80% of Malaysians are earning less than RM3K a month. How to get the loan? Again the influx of foreign workers have suppressed local wages for the last 2 decades while real productivity does not improve at all.

tunglang

Then ask Venerable CAT Tokong to build more affordable housing rather than tango with greedy developers from seaside to the hills.

zoro

when greedy developers cannot sell they did not beg from us. however there are many waiting to do business with them. electricians, computer suppliers. gardeners, kopi tiams etc supply to workers. even someone in the family have direct or indirect link

tunglang

Have you dealt with a developer before?
Why not try & see what kind of business relationship & only then share a true to life x-perience with a developer for the benefit of readers here.
“Bo bi phui, bo chai chhau”

zoro

So you have a great deal of experience Unlike me a greenhorn. I do not know what is D& C, PPP and alliance contract. Construction has a lot of uncertainty and high risk. Leighton contractors lost a lot of money and delay wembly stadium (with a hanging arch roof) for FA England and try to claim against the owner (developer). Also the HK Gomen (developers) of the West Kowloon high speed terminal and hk-macau-zuhai bridge has to ask the Legistrative assembly to fork out hundreds of billions HK dollars due to delay and construction problems and uncertainties. The projects have… Read more »

tunglang

Can’t keep to specifics, but blah, blah, blah!!!
Quote here, quote there. What x-perience?

zoro

kosong and telor from you wasting my time to old granny

tunglang

Why build more when there are so many empty, unoccupied apartments.
Go see Times Square apartment (at Dato Kramat Road) & take a nice picture at night to post it here for all to see rather than shout (for no good reason) for more buildings!
Unless you are not in Penang to see the real picture but imagining things.

Bigjoe

Hate to say it but even if this was approved in 1999 what did they do to stop it? It does not appear much. The good enough leader gets AHEAD of problems, not let it catch up and make excuses. LGE team, despite some talent, not good enough. All the good ones migrated – DAP Achilles heel

tunglang

LGE & Team is all about Money Talks – to help it fulfils its dream of a physically developed state (at all social-cultural-environmental costs), – to fill up its state coffer for annual proclamations of ballooning budget surpluses that no one can match, – to tango with corporations for money, money, money via swap this & swap that. And possibly donations for GEs. A top down hegemonic style administration can’t & won’t think out of the Komtar CAT Box to creatively, collectively overcome problems (without fear or favor) & create viable-sustainable solutions. Much less with an overdue opposition syndrome that… Read more »

Willie

You can be a good PR strategist for Gerakan. Sure they will pay you well, or you can search your soul and decide to volunteer without pay.

4-SeKawan Gelak-Gelak

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha……..
Ada lagi orang-orang macam Tunglang.
Penang oredi hilang soul. Apa lu cakap soul-soul?

zoro

can be modern soul like a modern singh leave his turban.

tunglang

When you see no soul worth preserving in old world charm Penang, what the b. heck are you talking soul to me???
Have you not heard of Ox Tongue Soup? Hungry Ghosts will surely like it from yours!!!

Kashika Sweetie

Since more concrete high rise to dominate the Penang Island landscape, MPPP reportedly has been planting more trees to soften the scene for greener Penang. I can’t comment until I come to island to witness the contrast and report to fellow readers.

benny

All the recent discussion about losing your ‘charm’ and ‘character’ serves as a reminder to all married couples today on Feb 14 to renew their vows for Love of a Lifetime:

Willie

Good one indeed!

zoro

federal or rakyat gomen has no interest and trade the building with a developer. why rakyat are so silent. rakyat also quilty and never raise a whisper or even promote the building. the bldg belong to rakyat under federal gomen. why … are scared under OSA but ah gee n ah jo over CAT?

tunglang

‘More buildings could be in danger’ https://sg.news.yahoo.com/more-buildings-could-danger-030110874.html Conservation architect and cultural heritage expert Laurence Loh decried the lack of political will to preserve heritage and the “pathetic” state of affairs. “It has been proven that political will, statesmanship and good public guardianship was instrumental in George Town attaining World Heritage status,” said Loh, adding that the demolition of the bungalow had erased part of Penang’s history. Meanwhile, Local Government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said local authorities could save Runnymede Bungalow by cancelling the planning permission. In response to calls by heritage groups for the Penang government to use Section… Read more »

zoro

the young ones should voice out and made their choice. will they follow their parents and continue the char keow teow and live in one of those prewar houses? will they continue to listen to twist again or jailhouse rock? does penang forum members support the trishaws? they are heritage and will dissppear within a decade. the last rishaw puller in hong kong is treated like an animal in the zoo posed for photos

Berny Johns

Heritage landmarks must be preserved otherwise it is seen as a distruction of the past

gk ong

Heritage value is a subjective matter.
Those who value colonial heritage should have set up a trust fund to rescue those relics, just like the chinese community that treasure Sun Yat Sen’s contribution to maintain his memorial home.
Mere talks cannot stop the wrecking ball.

lim

Yes, ong is right !!!

Willie

Very well said Ong!

zoro

why people under umno gomen allow to trade with developer? why the silent for so many years? also have a bit of share likw 1mdb?

Stanley Ting

Following the footsteps of Singapore

benny

in 2015 the Singapore Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth announced S$12M funding for a second tranche of Natinal Heritage Board’s National Monuments Fund to safeguard the nation’s built heritage, and more funding dedicated to heritage commemoration, assessment and research. http://www.nhb.gov.sg/places/sites-and-monuments/national-monuments The Preservation of Sites and Monuments (PSM) is the National authority that advises on the preservation of nationally significant sites and monuments in Singapore. It is guided by the Preservation of Monuments Act to provide “for the preservation and protection of National Monuments”. PSM’s roles and responsibilities cover 4 main areas: 1) Planning, research and publication to extend knowledge… Read more »

zoro

those shout the loudest get the fund up otherwise it is year of the blind, deaf monkey. if they think the gomen cant do, advocates are blind to jfk’s speech as what they can do for the country. doers n not talkers

tunglang

SingLand did a big irreversible mistake of putting to eternal sleep most of its heritage assets & icons in the name of speedy development even with a PSM in place. It did not assessed the cultural values in longer terms unlike the Scandinavian & Eastern European countries which have no high rise buildings & preserved much of its hundred years old assets (despite the ravages by Nazis during 2WW). Go to any of these countries & you see many museums with treasures that we Asian can only ogle & yearn to visit. One example is the Coliseum. And in the… Read more »

benny

Singapore (37 Mbps) – Country With fastest LTE
http://opensignal.com/reports/2016/02/state-of-lte-q4-2015/

tunglang

Pls go visit Melbourne, Australia. It is not so high-rise developed but has preserved a lot of historical & cultural assets. The street sidewalks are wide & clean, the people love Nature, the kangaroo bush, the seaside.
And their ISP & mobile network speed is36.73 Mbps provided by Telstra.
No need high rise joss stick looking buildings to tell their story of success.

zoro

Melbourne has so many areas for building. Who object if they have another high-rise in the city? Try building some medium high-rise in residential areas? GDP in those countries 1 to 2.5% compare to 5 to 10% in asian countries. Asians will say the place will look the same even after 10 years but ang mohs love to come to asian countries but they are fascinated by surprises and 24 hours food. Melbourne closes after 5pm in early 1990s.

tunglang

Australians manage their environment, laws, economic, society & even politicians better than here. No such thing as YBs like here who act like tua-liab, some even like to be worshipped like a deity (tokong). There, politicians are servants to the people, not the other way. Tourists come here for the winter breaks, not so much to migrate b’cos of the favourable shopping hours. My Malaysian (not sure if he has given up his MyKad) friend prefers Melbourne than to come back to Penang & invest in another property. He shook his head seeing what is happening to his once-upon-time home… Read more »

tunglang

UBAH in Malay means “change”. This Komtar Niao Kong knows only one word for Penang i.e. UBAH the old world charm & soul of Pulo Pinang. But this is not the UBAH we asked for: It is not the same old political traders of Gelakan that we asked for selling our assets for quickie swap-deal money. We merely asked for UBAH in political, educational, social justice & economic opportunity terms. We didn’t even ask for Cosmopolitan Penang with all the Hongkie-style sky high towers everywhere that don’t rhyme with inner city George Town in particular. We did not ask for… Read more »

Jetty Lee

Heritage supporters why no words of support cannot solely depend on Anil n Tunglang to stand up for Madam Pickette or Pirate Stamford of Temasek?

zoro

federal or rakyat gomen has no interest and trade the building with a developer. why rakyat are so silent. rakyat also quilty and never raise a whisper or even promote the building. the bldg belong to rakyat under federal gomen. why buggers are scared under OSA but ah gee n ah jo over CAT?

Gwynn Jenkins

LOST

Oo Thiam Peng
benny

All should go to “Penang Chinese New Year Celebration 2016” this Saturday:
Date: 13 February 2016
Time: 4.00pm-12midnight
Venue: Esplanade, Penang (Padang Kota Lama)
Light Street, King Street, Penang Street, Church Street, Bishop Street, Beach Street & Armenian Street

http://www.visitpenang.gov.my/portal3/penang-tourism-news/2194-penang-chinese-new-year-celebration-2016.html

http://www.fb.com/pgcnycelebration

tunglang

I went there with my family last night.
But one glaring fact is that there was not a single Malay in the crowd except for a few Indians who happened to be at nearby Little India.
Is this to be a celebration for multicultural Penang?
CAT should go back to history to see what exactly was a multicultural Penang.

Shebby

Do you expect non Malays to participate in Malidur Rasul event to be multiracial?
Go watch Ola Bola if you want to believe again.

tunglang

Can’t you see the contrast? Don’t let religious prejudice rules your head. Just go to Armenian Street on any day or weekends & you see Malays, Indians & others busy selfie-ing at wall murals which depict mostly Chinese icons in a place full of Chinese temples, Kongsi & altars. Any religious prejudices like yours? But this CNY celebration is not about religious ceremonies but cultural showcases, exhibits & entertainments. Pls know the difference from a religious celebration perspective. I guess you still don’t understand the true essence of Ola Bola. May be you were not yet born during the 70s-80s… Read more »

benny

10 SECRET MESSAGES FROM ‘OLA BOLA’ Road to Moscow 1980 was perhaps the best opportunity for Malaysian football team to put the country on world map. It was the era where Malaysia, despite being a relatively poor country, was blessed with so many talented football heroes that the mighty South Korea wished their country had those gifted players. But thanks to politics, the Government of Malaysia joined the United States-ledboycottagainst the Soviet Union for the invasion of Afghanistan. If only Malaysia stood neutral and decided that politics and sports should not be mixed. But that’s fine because there will always… Read more »

benny

“not a single Malay in the crowd except for a few Indians who happened to be at nearby Little India” – is this not a statement with racial undertone? Wonder if you would comment likewise on Awal Muharam (Muslim New Year celebration)?

tunglang

Penang is a cultural melting pot of multiculturalism. It was very genuine in the 50s – 80s when all races would come out in times of celebrations, if not to worship others’ gods & deities (exception for Chinese with hills of coconuts during Thaipusam). Not a single Malay means this is not Penang anymore. You still wish that for your Komtar Deity sake? Wishing Malays (or other races) to join in Chinese celebration is racist? You must still be intoxicated by years of racist propaganda. Have you worked with Malays, socialised or even attended their weddings, social gatherings, etc? Time… Read more »

tunglang

I went there without my Nikon Df. As an artist, I am always guided by my spirit, by my instinct, by my soul. I decided without my Nikon, I won’t lose a moment to capture. Nothing is as artificial & set up as a display for an audience like this celebration. So, I went for selective memory scan & family togetherness. No selfie with the artificial smiles. One moment which captured my soul was this flutist (whom I guess was from Nepal) @ Armenian Street-Beach Street junction. His soulful acoustic ‘softened’ the celebration & slowed the hurried feel of time… Read more »

benny

Last night Hokkien clan celebrated the 9th day of Chinese New Year, also known as Ti Kong Che (Jade Emperor God’s Birthday) at Chew Jetty:

tunglang

Pray for a better managed Penang, for a truly Greener Penang.
But search your hearts (first) before asking Thi-Kong for more swap-deal monies.
No more monkey business like the Botak Hill (still in landscaping sandiwara), better still ‘chiu-chua’ to Thi-Kong there will be no more (maybe) approval for housing in Botak Hill. Can or not?