Ah, Penang. My first time to this state in the north of Malaysia was when I was 12. It was a day trip with my family, and truth be told, there isn’t much you can really experience in a day. No, to visit Penang, you’d need a few days to really get to know this lady – to walk along her roads, to see her children and to eat the foods that she is famed for.
Of this three, however, it is her children that truly make her special. These offspring are of a place that was born during a time of colonialism and their subsequent generations make Penang the state that it is today. While many of the original occupants came to this golden island from other lands in search of opportunities that their home country was void of, their kin that exists today collectively make up a community that is today so distinctively Malaysian, standing resilient and undeterred to the perverse political and racial chaos churned out by the country’s capital city.
My colleague and I stumbled upon a little gem of a bookshop while walking around in Penang one sweltering hot afternoon during a work trip. Its owner was an interesting man, who was from India and came to Penang in his youth.
I left with a story, as well as a copy of the English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.
This is one of my personal favorite articles simply because writing it was a joyful experience, proof that writing about something that you are personally passionate about results in work that is way beyond mediocre. The joy in the process culminates in the excitement in seeing the final product.
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