Chinatown and Street Art

Georgetown has a couple of enclaves that you can explore on foot if you want to brave the heat. Two of them are Little India and Chinatown.  The are right next to each other and couldn’t be more different.

Little India still a neighborhood where locals live, work, and go to shop.  It is really chaotic, there are people everywhere, strong smells of delicious food.  Bollywood music being blasted out of store fronts.  I got my eyebrows threaded for the equivalent of about $3.50 USD.  Which was pretty awesome.  There are tons of textile/fabric shops there.  If you are into sewing this is a good neighborhood to check out.

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Right next door is Chinatown.  It has become more of a tour destination rather than working neighborhood.  There are lots of really cool little shops that have some fantastic art, jewelry and batik  fabric items.  There are quite a few Chinese Clan Houses in China Town which are pretty neat.  Chinese Clan Houses are associations for Chinese that have the same surname.

Here are a couple of examples:

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Seh Tek Tong Cheah Kongsi
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Lion out front
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Cheah Si Hock Haw Kong Kongsi

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I am not sure if this one is a small temple or if it is a Clan house.  I just love the sculpture out front.

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If you are interested in learning more about Chinese Clan Houses, here is a link to a Wikipedia page explaining it.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kongsi

Perhaps the coolest thing about Chinatown is the street art.  The merchants have allowed local artist to come in and put up murals, iron work sculptures and other various forms of art.  It is like an outdoor gallery and there is a often a surprise around the corner.

Here some examples.  The first here is possibly the most famous, and I can see why.  It is my favorite.

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What I don’t understand the people (and there are many) that want to take their picture with the bicycle.  By doing this every single one I saw covered up the kids.  That is the best part!!

Here are some more of the murals.

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I interpreted this one to represent the three main cultural groups on the island Muslim, Chinese and Indian in traditional dress.

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There were cats painted up and down an alley.

There are many iron work sculptures around Chinatown.  Some of these tell the story of colonial and modern Penang. Some of them are informative with the street names.  They are not flush with the walls so they cast some really cool shadows on the buildings in some light.

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Modern and Colonial Transportation options on the Island.

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Now the tiger is protected, it was not in 1930 Colonial Malaysia.

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There are also several free standing art pieces here and there too.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Kara says:

    Wow! I had no idea how colorful it is there!

    Liked by 1 person

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