tunglang sent in the following description of a nocturnal stroll around the George Town heritage core zone.
Last Saturday night, I went for a walk in the heritage zone of George Town.
The place looked more ghostly: few local residents who actually lived and grew up there were around. Except for lively Little India, the rest of the people in the city were snoozing in an area that resembled a zombie zone under lockdown.
High class thematic restaurants and cafes have replaced the usual street hawkers, kopitiams, papa-mama sundry shops and old trade houses.
No more chatter among Cantonese folk on the five-foot ways; no more Rediffusion drama stories; no more innocent children running around or cycling or playing ah-chi-lote; no more hawkers delivering night meals on Bengali bicycles; no more Tan Tong Tong walking and singing his Hokkien ballads advertising his fortune-telling skills on the streets; no more Chinese medicine men displaying their acrobatic skills and martial arts at street corners. Not even the ting-ting of the ubiquitous Roti Man on his tricycle.
The Penang Peranakan Mansion gave me goosebumps before I could even reach the iron grilles of its main gate.
As I took two photos (my camera battery was running low) of a cat enjoying its Lebuh Armenian night stroll on the cemented but slippery pedestrian walkway of quietness minus any cat-hunting dog lurking around, I feared what this fat feline was wishing next for George Town, where the old world charm seems to be waiting to be decimated by a mere tweak of town legislation.
Standing on the ‘go-kaki’ of 120 across the narrow & winding Armenian Street, ‘Dr San Yat-sen’ gave me a frown of black and white melancholy.
Today, the ‘heritage’ of George Town seems different: more plastic and unauthentic in its dearth of Penang lang (people) spirit, essence and lifestyles.