PENANG. Food. Good food. That’s probably what comes to our minds when we think of the Northern state. But as one of the crucial entrepots that played an important role in the history of the nation centuries ago, Penang offers more than just a delicious plate of char kuey teow.

And that’s what the Heritage In Penang (HIP) project founders want people to know – that there are many historic wonders in Penang hidden in plain sight and that they are here to help people discover them.

Last weekend, the HIP project organised a free walking tour – “The HIP trail” – along the famous Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (check out the tour map below).

Participants were given a map of the earlier years of Penang as well as illustrations and postcards depicting the state in the 1880s. They were also encouraged to imagine that they were people living in that era.

In character and eager to explore the trail, the participants were soon studying traditional trades, pausing to observe the architectural traits of historical buildings and discovering the legends and myths surrounding the trail.

“We want people, especially the youths, to be culturally aware of their heritage assets through different methods,” said Chen Yoke Pin, Arts-ED programme coordinator.

Founded 13 years ago, Arts-ED is an initiative that seeks to provide non-formal arts and culture education programmes to young people seeking to preserve and promote the legacies in Penang.

The HIP project is just one of its few initiatives. Other programmes include cultural events, cultural mapping, documentation and more.

And the response from the young people towards the initiatives is very encouraging.


N. Vijay Kumar

Medical student N. Vijay Kumar, 26 said, “What attracted me the most is the early settlement history, how they came and settled here, mixing with all kinds of people from different races.”

Vijay, who travels occasionally on the street, admits that he never knew the stories behind it, and it’s the first time he’s taken the initiative to learn about Penang’s heritage.

“Now the concern is how the young people are going to maintain this place. If not, it’ll all fall apart,” he said.


Chai Siu Yeng

For Chai Siu Yeng, 20, the HIP trail walk was very informative and it gave her an opportunity to discover the gems hidden along the street.

“The walk was really educational as I managed to see, hear, feel, smell and taste the things hands-on. You won’t find these things in textbooks,” said the Universiti Sains Malaysia student.

Tell us what you think!

Go top