Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Witnessing The Celebration of Hokkien New Year in Penang

This year, I had a chance to follow my mate to come back to Penang to witness how his family celebrate the Birthday of Jade Emperor which also know as a New Year Celebration for Hokkien people. You may read here for more info about the history of Jade Emperor's Birthday celebration

We were lucky that day, my boss is actually on a long leave and I managed to escape early from office and depart to Penang from Kuala Lumpur around 3.00pm. After 5 hours driving, we arrived to my mate's family house at Lim Jetty, Georgetown. From explanation, the most happening event during the celebration will be at Chew Jetty which is located next to Lim Jetty. If you have no idea about the jetties, you may read here for a better understanding (technically).

When we arrived, the mother busy in kitchen get busy preparing the dishes for prayer later midnight as well as some aunties were busy flipping papers for worshiping and prayer activities tonight. It was really a beautiful view and all family members get together, talking and laughing while making the preparation. 

While waiting for prayer time, says about 11.00pm, me and my mate take a chance to walk to Chew Jetty and see what is happening there. The street is getting more crowded with people and cars. There are food vendors selling delicious foods with sea of Chinese people and tourist eyeing here and there. At the front yard of Chew Jetty was built with a performance stage and loud music was played continuously with stage shows. Well, its a New Year celebration right? Of course it is really noisy and crowded.

At the main road of Weld Quay (of the clan jetties) was built with a long table which people will display their worshiping items later tonight there. There are really lots of things such as suckling pig, turtle cakes, fruits and many other stuffs which come with own significant. 

Since I am very tired from 5 hours driving, we decided to go home and take a short rest while waiting for the prayer time. At around 10.00pm, the uncle and cousin start to get busy to arrange a worshiping table at front door with sugar cane was tight on the left and right side of the table. Then, all those items such as suckling pig, pig cake, turtle cake, fruits, roasted chicken and other stuffs also displayed on the table and the prayer began when everything is ready. From what I saw, the father will start the prayer   and continued by siblings and younger people.

Around 11.00pm till 12.00pm, people will start to burn the firework and trust me, it is so big, so loud and so near... and me so "afraid" of it. There are many jetties at the area and the firework sound was like will never stop.

There should another agenda which I can say the peak of the new year celebration which is burning the paper for the ancestors. I am so sleepy at that time and had excuse myself from joining the activity. Luckily my mate took the camera and snapped those photos for me.

It was truly a unique experience witnessing how Hokkien people celebrating this big occasion and now I understand why my mate insisted to come back to Penang earlier.  

A Must Try: Assam Laksa, Pasar Air Itam, Penang

Penang and Assam Laksa is something that really synonym. Now, I would like to share about one of my favorite Assam Laksa place in Penang. Almost everytime when I come back to Penang, I will visit here for breakfast.

Yes, I am referring to the famous Assam Laksa at Pasar Air Itam, Penang. A very simple direction, this place is located not really far from the famous Kek Lok Si Temple and miles away from the Penang Hill aka Bukit Bendera.

About the Assam Laksa, the gravy is so rich with flavours, with lots of things inside. Slightly mild with a delightful aromas which is really nice for a Saturday brunch before exploring Georgetown afterthat.

Besides that, you also can order other foods here such as Muar Chee and also this delicous serving of fried popiah too. How about drinks? The vendor in front of you are ready to serve you an acceptable freshly machined sugar cane juice.

Places Around Teluk Intan, Exploring the Hidden Gems of Perak

If previously you read my article about the Leaning Clock Tower of Teluk Intan which the style is almost the  same as Leaning Tower in Pisa, Italy, I will share more about places and things you can do in here. 

Basically, the history of Teluk Intan was started during early 19th century and it was called as Teluk Mak Intan. Then, on March 1882, the British changed the name from Teluk Mak Intan to Anson Bay before the Perak Sultan changed the name again on 1st January 1982 as Teluk Intan. 

The question is, what can you do in when visiting here? At first, I am seriously blank about what can I do or see in here since most of blog postings are only referring to the only clock tower. 

If u come from Bidor, you will go straight to the centre of Teluk Intan via Changkat Jong road until you meet the intersection of the Clock Tower. Since we arrived at lunch time, our first agenda is to mingle at the food court area which is located at the opposite  side of the Clock Tower. There are selection of food stalls here, and it is 100% by Malay. So, you are expected to order Malay foods such as Laksa, fried noodles and also mixed rice. I think Laksa is very popular among the people of Teluk Intan as I can see most of the stall here were serving Laksa. As for us, we ordered, Laksa Perlis as our first meal in Teluk Intan.

Done, with our lunch, we mingle around the Clock Tower before continue our journey to find the famous Mastan Ghani Mee Rebus stall (located at the opposite side of Billion Supermarket) which sadly closed during the time. 

The excitement of our sudden trip in Teluk Intan when we started to spot many old buildings and houses around the town and my mate couldn't control himself to snap as much as photos he can. There are churches, mosque, private house and schools which historical and beautifully built in this town. But I really wonder, why the Perak Tourism Department did not put any effort to promote this little gem. 

If you are driving along the main road of Jalan Syed Abu Bakar, you will see many old houses (with chimney at the backside), government offices, churches and schools along the way. It is just like other old town in Malaysia and for me, it is really beautiful and we should keep it. I won't say much about it, and let the photos below speak by itself. Oh ya! Since then, we had forgotten to find the Mastan Ghani Mee Rebus which supposed to be our early plan.

I am not sure about this building. It is located at the opposite side of Teluk Intan LHDN Building and nearby the Jalan Mahkamah and Jalan Ah Cheong four junction.

We secretly snapped this photo. From what I know, we can't take photo at army's place, and this is one of it's kind. At first glance, it was look like a church, but actually this is a Teluk Intan Army Office. 

Old private houses along Jalan Syed Abu Bakar, Teluk Intan

Tamil Methodist Church at Jalan Syed Abu Bakar

Old house and somebody still living here. 

Look at these wooden houses. I wonder why it was built with chimney? The house design also very standardize and unique

I believed this ruin is the Old Palace of Teluk Intan. Normally, young King will stay here during past time. So sad to see this kind of place have no preservation by the authority department. 

Another sample of modern Perak's style house

Old Christian Cemetery at Jalan Ah Cheong

Church of St. Anthony, Teluk Intan

St. Luke Church at Ah Cheong Road

Many of us didn't know that Teluk Intan (Anson Bay) used to be the 2nd most important port in Malaysia after the Port Swettenham and followed by Penang Port & Port Dickson. According to history, the port here was closed on 1970s since the Perak River was getting shallow because of the land erosion which damaged most of the warehouse along the river bank. But then, people in Teluk Intan still can spend an evening at the jetty to relax, fishing or maybe having dinner and enjoying the river breeze. If u like Udang Galah, ask local about where you can find it, as I saw there are some restaurants with name Udang Galah, but I can't re-call the exact location.

Since we were very fascinated with those building, we forgot to find the famous Mastan Ghani Mee Rebus restaurant, and only been there at the end of our tour. As I said, it was closed and we definitely will come again to here to adventure their foods. Before we go home, we dropped by to another famous spot for eating out in Teluk Intan which I will share in my next article.