"Georgetown for a short respite" George Town by Waxbag
George Town Travel Guide: 134 reviews and 318 photos
Georgetown, as well as Malaysia in general, is an incredible mix of Asian peoples and cultures. A Hindu temple may be located next to a Chinese temple with a mosque across the street. Walking through the streets I am brought back to the India through the smells alone . . . the good ones. Sandalwood, incense, and curry perfumes the streets. Hindi music, Chinese TV soap operas, and the call to prayer rise up over the din of traffic. We first visited the waterfront and Fort Cornwallis. Captain Francis Light from Britain set up a colony here first building a wooden palisade and then in 1810 a brick and mortar fort. The British wanted a free trade port in which to take control of the South East Asian markets away from the Dutch established port of Melaka. Only the outer walls remain and are quite unimpressive. A moat greatly added to the fortitude of Cornwallis but was filled in 1920 due to a lethal malaria outbreak the very same year. There are some displays (made considerably more interesting solely being in the AC) about the history and archeological findings of the fort as well as a family history of Francis and his son William Light who was the founder of Adelaide, Australia (Good on ya mate!). The oldest relic of the fort is the beautiful Seri Rambai cannon. It was constructed and presented by the Dutch in 1603 to the Sultan of Johor and over the years found its way into the hands of pirates before the British liberated it in the 19th century.
A kongsi is a Chinese clan house and Khoo is the family’s surname. Essentially, it is a block of houses surrounding a temple, a meeting square, and a Chinese opera house. The Khoo family fled from the Qing Dynasty in Eastern China and their wooden sailing ships landed in Georgetown with permission from the British to set up their Kongsi. The night the magnificent temple was finally completed, New Year’s Eve 1901, the roof caught fire and burned down. The temple museum said that the fire was taken as a sign of the God’s displeasure or jealousy of such opulence so the temple was more modestly rebuilt. My guess is they didn’t have enough dough to replace the original. However, it is a beautiful structure with colorful stone carvings, multicolored tiles, and frescos adorning the walls and hanging lamps suspended from an intricately design gold ceiling. The temple is a place of worshiping and venerating the Khoo ancestors and a school for bringing up the little Khoo in the traditions and histories of their forefathers. Walking through the complex felt like being in a Kung Fu flick and I expected any moment to see Bruce Lee flying through the air with razor cuts on his bare chest.
We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. We ordered two vegetable dishes and rice and ended up getting shredded meat in one and pork in the other. I guess the Chinese consider meat a vegetable. I wonder if the shredded meat was dog. Although, G’town is ridiculously hot, I felt it held a lot of interest for a short visit. I especially liked how Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, as well as other Asian and Western peoples live so peacefully here going about their own lives in the traditions of their own people yet still tolerant of other people and cultures different from their own. The fact that my father was here on R & R during his 1967 Vietnam tour of duty was also intriguing to me. I wondered if he had visited any of these places as I had just seen. The answer came the next day in an email with several attached photos. One was with a snake around his neck and in the other he is standing in front of the old Seri Rambai cannon in Fort Cornwallis. More shocking than my dad putting a snake around his neck is his uncanny resemblance to me.
- Pros:Good place to rest for a couple of days
- Cons:Hot, way too hot.
A kongsi is a Chinese clan house and Khoo is the family’s surname. Essentially, it is a block of houses surrounding a... more travel advice
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