Category Archives: caskets

Of Scholars & Undertakers…

And the Twain did meet … 秀才遇到棺材

Mention the name Carnarvon Street (or “lam chan na” – 烂田仔, in Chinese, meaning “poor quality swampy fields”) and am sure the old folks of Penang will remember that was the go-to place for Books/Stationery and, Coffins !     The street was lined on both sides with maybe a dozen bookshops and  casket shops.

In my secondary school days, this street was my favourite haunt – of course I went only to buy books and stationery, not those fabulous “longevity lumber” or “big houses” (Chinese euphemism for coffin).    Well, I moved out of Penang in 1984 to Singapore,  so had no chance to patronize the latter business.

Since then I have not undertaken a trip back to this place.  There must have been a lot of changes.  People still die, but am not sure if people still read as much.