Seberang Perai: Stories from Across the Sea is about the hinterland across the sea from Penang lsland. The narrative on Penang has been predominantly on the island, and this book seeks to present the lesser-known half of this northwestern state in Peninsular Malaysia.
The authors, writer Ivy Soon and photographer Kenny Loh, chose to accomplish this by telling the Seberang Perai story through its people, the everyman and everywoman whose lives are anchored to this land. Through individual accounts and images, we portray the people’s journeys, experiences and aspirations.
In this beautifully laid-out book you will meet a fascinating smörgåsbord of people, old and young, male and female, working folks and retirees. Their lives may be different from each other’s, and may even be remote to some, but the themes are universal – making a living, transcending the mundane, seeking meaning, strengthening communities, hoping for a brighter future. Though localised in Seberang Perai, these are stories that will resonate with Malaysians everywhere. This book is a tribute to them.
Change is perennial and threads through the narratives. Collectively, the stories depict Seberang Perai’s history and heritage, developments and progress, and its future direction and aspirations. The chapters are neatly divided along geographical boundaries: Butterworth, Kepala Batas, Penaga and Tasek Gelugor.
Seberang Perai, past , present and future
The colloquial Hokkien term for the mainland, koay kang, means to cross the river. ln the old days, people from Penang Island would land at Perai and cross the Perai River to get to Butterworth and the mainland beyond that. Thus the mainland was seen as the land across the Perai River, which is what Seberang Perai also means in Malay.
Word has it that Seberang Perai is on the brink of transformation, that its days on the margins are numbered. The second bridge iink – the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge which opened in 2014 – is set to accelerate growth on the mainland and lead to more synergy between the state’s two halves.
There are exciting days ahead, which will mark the continuation of the Penang story. lt is the people that have laid Seberang Perai’s solid foundation of infrastructure and industry, of fulness and resilience. They are rooted but not unyielding to change to forge ahead … they are primed to forge ahead.
We hope this book will not only spur greater interest about the communities of Seberang Perai and their way of life, but also be the catalyst for further blossoming of this truly splendored place in our country, rich in diversity, beauty and harmony. – Dato (Dr) Anwar Fazal, Chairperson, Think City Sdn. Bhd.