In the old days, as I wandered along the five-foot ways of shophouses (especially the pre-war types) in towns, I noticed that almost everyone of those shops sported a bamboo sunshade — also known as “chick blind”
These were made of long strips of bamboo, tied together with strings, and could be rolled-up or let down using a simple rope-and-pulley system.
I know Penang had plenty of those. I think it was a great idea. These shades provided a cool environment in which customers and shopkeepers could comfortably strike their deals, screening them from the blistering heat and glare of the sun outside. Besides, they also provided very convenient spaces for self-advertisements — content and colors limited only by the owners’ imaginations.
Alas ! These bamboo curtains are getting scarcer with time.