Art, Creativity, Photography, Travel, Writing

Archive for the ‘Penang’ Category

one word photo challenge: clear



dinner table in Kalkan, Turkey

Mudam, Museum of Modern Art, Luxembourg

glass sculpture in the forecourt of the European Parliament, Strasbourg


glass ball sculpture


glass window panel in the Peranakan mansion, Penang


weekly photo challenge: community

Cheri Lucas of the Daily Post has this to say about Community:
“When I think of this word, I imagine all sorts of scenes: A family sitting and chatting in a living room. Crowds gathering in squares to watch a holiday tree lighting. Or even some of the spaces on the web that I frequently visit, like The Daily Post.

But community doesn’t necessarily conjure up images of people. I took the image above on a recent layover in Seoul, South Korea, in a mall complex in Insadong. I noticed a communal wall of thousands of trinket and ornament-like offerings, many with scribbled messages. The place was cheery and welcoming, and I could imagine all the people who’d walked this path before — their stories, their relationships, their hopes and dreams.”

foreign tourists pose for a group photo at Pamukkale

the only way to keep warm when it’s cold



votive messages in Penang

a side street cafe in Penang

preparations for the Hungry Ghost festival in Penang

finalists in the Miss Malaysia global beauty contest in Penang
the prayer wall at the house of the Virgin Mary near Ephesus, Turkey

Cee’s fun foto challenge: locks, knobs and handles







What have you used to open/knock on a door recently? There are some great examples here.

a word a week: worker

Once a week Skinnywench dips into the dictionary and picks a word that the page falls open at, the challenge is to post a picture or use whatever genre you prefer to share what your take on the word is.

Here are some of my workers from India, Thailand and Penang:













a word a week photo challenge: blue

Skinnywench’s one word photo challenge this week was “blue”. Here are some of my blue photos:

wild fennel sky01-Jills moon fabric texture overlay copy

and the bridesmaids wore blue

wedding flowers

the cake

tables all set for the meal

blue sky – can you see the dragon’s head in the clouds?

blue tiles in Deruta, Italy

Bodensee aka Lake Constance in Germany

batiks for sale in one of the night markets in Penang

Cheong Fatt Tze mansion in Penang

A splash of colour

Some years ago we spent a couple of months in Thailand. However, since we had arrived on tourist visas which were only valid for 30 days we needed to leave Thailand on “a visa run” to enable us to get a new visa on return. We decided to go to Penang for a few days as it was convenient to get to and we’d never been to Malaysia.

Penang proved to be a very colourful place especially as we were visiting during the month of the Hungry Ghost festival during which shows and Chinese opera/theatre performances are staged during a whole month. The Chinese believe that the prayers, offerings of food and prayers, shows and operas will appease the spirits who are allowed into our world to roam for a month. Joss papers and fake money are also burned and we saw several such fires burning in the streets.

paper kimonos on display for the Hungry Ghost festival

dragon joss sticks produced especially for this festival, they are about 6ft high and for environmental reasons it is forbidden to burn them within the temple grounds

I particularly wanted to visit the blue Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion which was used in the French film Indochina starring Catherine Deneuve.



The building was constructed according to Feng Shui principles with a chi stone at the centre of the house which possesses a sophisticated system of water pipes which helps keep the house cool. ‘Chien Nien’ (a sort of cut and paste using porcelain fragments) is used throughout the house for decoration since Cheong Fatt Tze had a source of artisans in Penang who brought the craft from their native homes in Fujian and Teochew, China. This style of decoration can also be seen in many of the temples in Bangkok, especially Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn).


both the doors in this photo are double which means that the inner door can be opened, leaving the outer one closed but allowing conversation to take place

The room just inside the front entrance. This was–and still is–the reception area for visitors. To impress them, Cheong Fatt Tze had a large multi-paneled screen (centre installed with numerous scenes from Chinese history carved in wood finished with gold leaf. The lower panels are covered with an orange-tinted protective coating to prevent further wear and tear on the screens which visitors used to lean against.

The name of the street where this building is – Leith Street – is still referred to as Lotus Lake. Curiously enough the servants quarters were on the opposite side of the road. They were later used as a wine bar but were now up for sale or rent.

A few more splashes of colour we saw on that trip:

a tattoo shop advertises itself on a concrete column at the edge of the covered walkway

a shop in the area called Little India

prayer articles for sale


inside Hainan temple

a colourful batik for sale

Travel theme: on display

Ailsa from where’s my backpack challenged us to share some photos featuring “on display”
Here are some mine, taken in Penang

on display – Miss Malaysia global beauty contest finalists




batiks on sale at one of the night markets



prayer articles for sale

more temple goods

flower stalls near the temple of Kuan Yin

the purchasers of these birds may later release them in order to gain merit for themselves through the act of liberating them

dragon joss sticks produced specially for the festival of hungry ghosts

not for sale but on display, these paper kimonos are made for the festival of hungry ghosts

more goodies for the same festival


does anyone know what the green bicycle might be for?

visit to Penang

We were lucky enough to get to visit the Malaysian island of Penang as part of our last trip to Thailand. Penang is muslim – a complete contrast to buddhist Thailand. We only had 2 days there so didn’t manage to see anything of the island other than the main town Georgetown but we did notice that it was generally much cleaner and better cared-for than much of Thailand.

On our first night we sampled the culinary delights of the Red Garden food court, just over the road from our hotel. Finalists for the beauty competition Miss Global Malaysia were assembled there for a publicity evening – great fun to see all the girls from the different regions of Malaya.

a tempting selection of food on offer in the food court

The next day we set off exploring. Our first port of call was the beautiful Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion which was used as a location in the French film Indochina.

It was forbidden to take photographs inside the mansion so I could only take this picture of the gilded wooden screen in the entrance hall. Behind this screen there is an open courtyard with an atrium (like the ancient Romans had in their villas) where rainwater collected in the sunken area. A sophisticated system of pipes running through the house through which rainwater is pumped provides a cooling system for the house. This central area is the chi energy centre of the house and the rooms are contained in wings spreading out from the courtyard, with a staircase leading to the upper floor of the house.

From here we took a trishaw (a bicycle powered rickshaw) through the colourful streets of Little India,

past the Hindu temple with its magnificently decorated ceramic gateway

and the small Nagore mosque. We stopped for a wander round the Chinese temple to the goddess of mercy

A large notice in the courtyard requested people not to burn dragon joss sticks that were more than 4ft tall on the grounds that it was not environmentally friendly. Similar stands to this could be found in the vicinity of all the Chinese temples – such a riot of colour and I didn’t know what half the stuff on sale was for.

There are always flower stalls near the temples too.

Next we visited the largest and most important Chinese temple, the Koo Kongsi, which had some beautiful drawings on the walls inside.

That evening we dined in another food court, this time in a beach resort about 20km away from Georgetown. The main reason for going there was to sample the delights of the night market. I almost succumbed to one of these beautiful batiks but in the end contented myself with a photo instead.

Next morning I was up early again and out with my camera. Most of the streets were colonnaded to give protection from the hot sun or heavy rain. However, most of them were cluttered up with motorbikes so it was virtually impossible to walk more than a few metres undercover without having to walk out in the road. The red objects hanging on the columns are small shrines belonging to the buildings.

A tattooist takes advantage of a blank piece of wall to advertise his skills.

Tucked away in a side street I found an incense-cone maker, who offered to show me round the nearest temple. Unfortunately I was pushed for time and couldn’t take advantage of his kind offer.

and not far away I found real, huge dragon joss sticks – these are over 2m high and I can just imagine how much smoke they must give off when lit.

15 August sees the culmination of the Hungry Ghost festival during which bonfires are lit in the streets and paper money, joss papers and pictorial representations of consumer goods are burned to appease the gods who are wandering the earth at this time. Portable temples and puppet/opera theatres also spring up all over the place. Here the supervisor of this portable temple prepares the food offering to the ghosts.

Brightly coloured paper garments adorn the walls of this temple