Category Archives: places

Hush Hush Aspects Of A Fishy Business

Pasar Bisik – or the  “Whispering Market” where fish is auctioned via close-bids.

We used to live near by the seashore in Bagan Ajam, Butterworth.   Early in the morning,  there would be small crowds gathered around the several fishing boats that the fishermen brought to shore with their hauls. Potential buyers would whisper into the ears of the fishermen and sometimes, the latter’s heads would nod or shake, along with expressions of either grimace or joy.

Hah, what a reminiscent joy of the old days !

These scenes have very largely disappeared; probably, we can still see these on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.    The beach at Bagan Ajam used to be clean – hence its name was Pantai Bersih.  Alas, now it is dirty and all kinds of rag-tag huts and makeshift stalls have sprouted up all over the place.  More like Pantai Kotor !


Love Is Blue

Apparently, the 19th century immigrant-made-good Cheong Fatt Tze knew that too!

He built this mansion in Penang to house his 7 wives. What an awesome testimony to his wealth and love for his women. I first visited it only in 2013, some 29 years after leaving Penang.

The magnificent 38-room, 220-window mansion blends Eastern and Western designs, with louvred windows, art nouveau stained glass and beautiful floor tiles, and is a rare surviving example of the eclectic architectural style preferred by wealthy Straits Chinese of the time. 

The distinctive blue colour of the mansion is the result of mixing lime with natural blue dye made from the Indigo plant. The blue was very popular in the Colonial period and the dye was imported from India to Penang by the British.

The building was rescued from ruin in the 1990s. You can visit it and also stay in the exclusive hotel

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