Sunday, October 01, 2006
I've been a terrible blogger I know! I started this blog over two months ago, but have not had the time or will to update it as often as I would have liked to. Today, all that changes! Boss Ming will pledge at least one blog entry a week to keep anybody who is vaguely interested on the developments in my life, or thoughts satisfied. I doubt there are many, but it's all about personal development anyway, and who knows what I will discover about myself as I look back.
Anyway, I've just touched down from Penang. Went there for some business, with the primary aim of incorporating my first malaysian company! For those not in the know, I've started a company with my friend from London, Ah Tiam or boss stewie
as he calls himself!
I share a strange affinity with Penang. Whoever thought that one day, I would have a Penangnite partner, and an office there. As a kid, I used to love the place, so much so that my parents would take me up there everytime my birthday came around. This happened for a good four or five years before I grew out of it. I still remember, how we would drive up in a convoy of cars to Malaysia and all the crazy fun we had. Piss breaks were a highlight, then there weren't any proper rest stops.... so ... humans returned the favour to nature. Don't see much of that anymore do you!? Ah ... how our children will miss out! Hehe.
After a lapse of a good decade, I returned to Penang, not entirely sure what to expect. When you're a kid, you don't have any expectations whatsoever, any beach, any destination away from home (even sentosa) is good. The world is your playground, and that could very well be a 15 minute ride away. When you grow up ... ah ... thats where expectations come into play. You think to yourself? Penang for a beach holiday!!!? Hells no!!! I'm thinking more ... Seychelles ... and why not add a Banyan Tree resorts to the picture.
That's more like it.
But anyway, what about Penang then? What's it like now? Well to tell you the truth. It looks and feels exactly the same as when I left it 10 years ago. Damn, there goes any comparison to the Banyan Tree at seychelles, breakfast on the balcony, inifinity pool looking out to the sea.
But hold your horses one minute before writing off the place. I mean it in a good way. I'm sure Penangnites themselves would rather see development that comes about with economic progress, but living in Singapore, sometimes I am only too aware of the costs. I love my beautiful city. Anybody who knows me in even the slightest capacity would have discovered that in the first five minutes of conversing with me. What is there not to love? I travel quite alot, either on holiday, business, or for studies. Every single time I am driven to the airport, I am greeted by the length of our skyline, and without fail, a smile appears on my face, and there is a slight pang in my heart that I am about to leave. There it is, at 7am in the morning.
There is one catch however, and that is development has no eyes and no heart. Nothing stands in its way. And everytime you advance yourself, you also lose a little bit of your old self. Heritage, memories, destroyed at the thud of a wrecking ball. I struggle to think of a single place in Singapore that is exactly the same as when I was a kid. Everything changes in this fluid city. The only solace I find is in the family home in which me and my siblings grew up in. That I hope will remain in family hands for a long time yet.
Thats my brother and me playing in our garden.
In Penang, I discover a little bit of my childhood intact. There is a reastaurant that has become a firm favourite for our company outings (We get slices of watermelons after dinner, hah! Bet you don't get that sort of star treatment!). Its called GOlden Gate Steamboat, off gurney drive, and it is really such a pity I dont have a photo of the place. Housed in a colonial style building, it's not so much the food that attracts me to the place (Although its not bad at all, stewie and his foo chok....), it is the fact I am sure as a kid I've been there before, and best of all, the place is EXACTLY the same as it was 10 years ago. As kids run around with possessed energy, and their parents allow them free rein, concentrating on their hotpot and foo chok, I am transported back in time to those carefree days. One cannot help but be filled with a warm fuzzy feeling with those kind of memories.
I got the same feeling as I was walking along the beach after a very nice dinner at Rasa Sayang resort. Its newly renovated and looks great, but the gardens and beach exude the same sort of familiarity that assaults me in golden gate. Thats me, tiam and chee giat having dinner at Spice Cafe in Rasa Sayang... 106RM+++ per person, pretty steep, for malaysian standards!
So there you have it. For sure, I don't expect it to always be the case. Penang and Penangnites deserve the right to be a developed city (A right me and tiam have hopes of contributing towards), but in that journey, it is my hope, that some of the penang that I have always known, and that I have come to love (at least a little :p), will remain the same. Click here