By 9.30am we finally find ourselves right in front of the teochew temple. However, it was decided that we visit the cheong fatt tze first as the tour is at 11am. Having some extra time to kill, what better way but to go for dim sum. Walking from Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling hunting for food, we passed by a tattoo shop with 2 guardians painted on each of the columns at the entrance, and a peculiar building.
entrance to the blue mansion.
This mansion has 38 rooms, 5 courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 timber louver windows, which includes gothic louvered windows and art nouveau stained glass (in the image of pineapple for ‘ong’). the walls are painted blue as in those days, there are only 3 popular colours: blue (imported from jagpur, sourced from indigo), yellow (earth colour), and when you mix blue and yellow, voila! you get green. The Chinese didn’t like homes that are painted white it seems, as white and black are used widely during the mourning. They imported this blue powder, mixed them with lime, and applied them to the walls. It comes off easily and therefore, has to be re-applied yearly. Floor beams supporting the first floor are a mixture of wood and steel, especially at the courtyards when wooden beams are not able to support the weight due to the openings.
With high ceilings, 5 courtyards, plenty of louvered windows for cross ventilations, it was a very pleasant place to be in, especially during a hot afternoon.
We seriously recommend those who haven’t been there to go at least once! It’s really once of the better tours that we have been in. Next round we will try to get an architectural tour instead of the normal tour.
Next stop, the Penang Museum. Once housing the Penang Free School, and later the Hutchings School, and occupied it until world war II when Allied bombing destroyed the 1896 wing, (the one closest to the St. George's Anglican Church), which was never rebuilt after that. This is a great place for one who is interested to learn about the culture and lifestyle of Penang, both old and new. However, we left this building with a tinge of regret and sadness when we compare the serene pictures of Penang in the olden times and now, where many good things have been wiped out all in careless development.
-----continued on FIRST OUTING! (part II)