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Syair Boria: a review December 6, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

Syair Boria, Biografi Abdullah Darus problematized the origins of boria, a performing art form peculiar to Penang to Persian Syiah beginnings arising from the murder of Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Karbala, Iraq in the 7th century, to mark the occasion. The practice came to Penang with the arrival of sepoy soldiers from the 21st Madras Regiment. Speculations abound as to its origins that boria is derived from boriah or mat…

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She who wants to see Penang at its classic best October 15, 2018 – Posted in: In The News

George Town native Khoo Salma Nasution @ Khoo Su Nin, 55, wears many hats in championing the Penang capital’s colonial era heritage. She was the president of Penang Heritage Trust, and prior to that was involved in the group’s successful lobbying to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to list George Town as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008. Khoo Salma has written multiple books about Penang’s history, some of which were…

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The memoirs of the last British headmaster of PFS July 23, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

2016 will surely be remembered for some momentous events. However I am not talking about Brexit or the results of US Presidential Election. I am referring instead to the bi-centenary celebrations of Penang Free School, my alma mater, which took place on 21 October 2016. Founded by Rev. Robert Sparke Hutchings in 1816 not long after the British East India Company took over the island from the Sultan of Kedah, Free School was the first…

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Zooming in on living heritage July 2, 2018 – Posted in: In The News

TRADITIONAL trades that are often overlooked in Penang have been beautifully captured and documented in a 248-page book. Author Chin Yoon Khen, a project programme management advisor, said his Traditional Trades of Penang book comprised photographs of 54 different trades that he found in the state. “Besides the photographs, I have also included the descriptions of the skilled trade workers. “All the artisans who worked with me for the book were very helpful and did…

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Postcard Journeys June 4, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

Every once in a while, a book comes along that surpasses expectations. Although there have been other publications about postcards in Malaysia, Penang Postcard Collection 1899-1930 is by far the most ambitious study of the subject to date. Serious collectors or scholars of postcards (deltiologists, as they are called), as well as casual readers, are sure to delight in this richly illustrated and beautifully designed volume. Packed with fascinating historical detail, this book is a…

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French book on Penang launched in Paris – Posted in: In The News

A book on Penang entitled Penang: la Porte des Secrets (Penang – Through Gilded Doors) as well as an exhibition of photographs on the Malaysian island were launched today, 18 October 2006 in Paris. The book, its French edition stylishly written by Julia de Bierre and superbly photographed by James Bain Smith was officially launched by the Malaysian Ambassador to France, H.E. Dato? S. Thanarajasingam, at a ceremony held at the Café des Initiés in Paris.…

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A tribute to Penang’s SGGS May 21, 2018 – Posted in: In The News

EVEN before the Spice Girls sang about “girl power”, the girls of St George’s Girls’ School (SGGS) were already paving the way for women to shatter the glass ceiling. Oon Beng Hong (nee Lim), the country’s first female lawyer, studied at the school just before World War I, and was the first Straits Chinese woman to have been called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in London in 1926. Her story was just one…

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8 Dec 2017: Penang and Its Networks of Knowledge December 14, 2017 – Posted in: Newsletters

The essays testify to the rich cultural life of Penang’s cosmopolitan populace, who were engaging simultaneously with tradition and modernity, with indigeneity and foreignness, and producing new types of hybridities in thought, expression, the printed word and the urban cultural landscape. — Khoo Salma Nasution It would have been just another rainy Thursday evening (and a significant holiday in the US) but for many book and history lovers, it was the day a long awaited…

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