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The Streets of Penang

The Streets of Penang (ground floor) remind us of their rich history and legacy. Names of the early administrators, beginning with Captain Francis Light, remain engraved over cobbled streets and tarred roads. They remind visitors of the early efforts of the British colonists to lay the city of George Town and its outskirts. They also give a picture of the romance of a bygone era.

The streets and thoroughfares of Penang often evoke memories of its peoples and their distinct business activities, historic personalities and monuments. Although many of the early streets were poorly and haphazardly laid out, they bustled with commercial and social activities.

Hawkers were a very common sight on the streets, plying their trade throughout the day and night. They sold a wide variety of goods, ranging from all types of cooked food to household utensils such as brooms and pails.

Penang’s history, according to Lim Kean Siew, a local lawyer, is written in its street names. “[T]he street names which we have inherited map out an index of individuals and a geography of communities which reflect the interesting byways that developed from the highway of colonial history” (Pulau Pinang, 1989).

The Victorian traveller, Isabelle Bird, who had visited the island in 1879, described the city centre as a “truly brilliant place under a brilliant sky....” in her book, The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither (1883). An evening stroll reminded her of the romance of the Arabian nights. “A touch of picturesqueness is lent to the streets at the busiest parts of the day by all races, clad in garments peculiar to their respective countries. The “nonias” .... are usually resplendent in their jewellery... The Malay females... also are fond of colour”.

 Notes On My Native Land

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. . . from the early days

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The Museum Courtyard

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 The History Gallery

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The Captain Robert Smith Room &
 The William Daniell Room

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The Many Faces of Penang

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The Malays of Penang

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The Indians of Penang

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The Chinese of Penang

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The Baba Nyonya Culture

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The Streets of Penang

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For enquiries and feedback regarding the Penang Museum & Art Gallery, kindly e-mail us at muzium@po.jaring.my

STATE MUSEUM BOARD: 2nd Floor, Dewan Sri Pinang, 10200 Penang
(Tel. & Fax. No: 604-2613144)

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