The International Steam Pages
Going Back, Rob and Yuehong in Penang, 2009
For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:
After our visit to Burma and transit in Thailand, we travelled south. In general, Malaysia is pretty bland in comparison but Penang is where I started out in south-east Asia nearly 40 years ago and this was a very special sentimental journey. Penang was always known as the 'Pearl of the Orient' but of course like everywhere else in the region it's seen enormous development and these days much of the urban area is frankly pretty ghastly and the traffic is horrendous and a constant threat to the few people like us who have yet to lose use of their legs. However, at heart it is almost unchanged and while walking round the hill or exploring the heritage area or eating out at night you could sometimes imagine it was still the mid 1970s and not 2009.
For a continuation of our Penang story see Winds of Change, A Flat with a Sea View (2010) and links therein
'Funiculi, Funicula' - the Penang Hill Railway on DVD!
Back in 1972, a fresh faced (and newly married) graduate boarded a plane for the first time to take a teaching post in the recently established Universiti Sains Malaysia (Science University). This was our organic chemistry section in 1978, courtesy of Clement Silva, one of the technical staff who is still working there, however almost everyone shown has (like me) retired or moved on.
Next to me at the back is my old drinking and hashing partner Sam Teng Wah, I joined him and Oen Seng Fo who was my fellow rugby referee and hashman for an evening of reminiscing, Sam was recovering from dengue so he was off the beer! Quite what Yuehong made of it, I have no idea:
I no longer have any of the slides I took in Penang during my stay (except for the hill railway) so one of the things I wanted to do was get some sort of photographic record of things that had not changed significantly. This was my home for 6 years, totally just as I remember it, right down to the mail box on the gate:
As I always expected, Yuehong loved the island, it is the perfect meeting point of east and west, one of the few places in the world where each of our native tongues can be heard spoken in everyday conversation by the inhabitants and seen on the signs. Our thanks go to Sam Teng Wah (and Sue See) who helped give us a soft landing for the first week. I am sure we shall be back in due course, not least because Yuehong left it 'wanting more'; she described it quite simply as the first place we have visited together where she would want to live...
Our earlier 2009 explorations in the region are described in pages linked from:
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson