Saturday in Penang: Penang Hill, Fort Cornwallis, Seri Rambai Cannon and Sup Torpedo

It is interesting to note that Fort Cornwallis saw no actual combat to date. Thus, unless you unleash hell at the fort, it’ll remain relegated as the fort that never went through the tribulations of war. It’s such a sad title. Who will do the right thing? Who here is righteous enough, with fire in their bellies and steel in their balls? Who here will attack Fort Cornwallis tomorrow? – Crap from Huai Bin, 2009

day 2 start

I woke up nice and early on Saturday morning. I only managed 3 hours of fitful sleep on Friday (mostly due to people calling me at odd hours) and crawled out of bed to hit the shower before heading out for breakfast with Cheryl and Kah Wheng. We had planned to hit some of the further tourist attractions in Penang so a hearty breakfast is in order.

chicken rice

Cheryl recommended the chicken rice at (The Famous) Goh Thew Chik Hainan Chicken Rice. I was a little out of it during breakfast but I didn’t realize that anyone could tell until Cheryl told me. :x The breakfast was good, and I was having doubts I could even eat lunch coz I stuffed myself. I figured I needed to walk off all that chicken rice so we headed over to…

fort cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis!

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Fort Cornwallis was built in 1786 when Sir Francis Light took over Penang from the Sultan of Kedah with Fine Print (TM) that would make most bankers today go green with envy.

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The admission for Fort Cornwallis is only RM 3. I highly recommend this place – it’s a famous historical site (it’s in our history books) and there’s surprisingly a lot to see and do over here…

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…and I don’t just mean camwhore

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…with huge cannons. ;)

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Whoa! You gave me a fright dude.

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This here cannon is the British Empire’s finest back in the days. It’s the largest cannon in the fort and a gift from the Dutch (which makes it Dutch’s finest, I guess, but I tend to think of other things when that is mentioned) to the Johor Sultanate. The British seized it under the Dangerous Drugs Act: Forfeiture of Property Act of…er, 1701, and placed it in Fort Cornwallis. It even has a name – Seri Rambai Cannon.

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BE CAREFUL LADY!!!!

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Let us deal with the fucking invaders…

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Check out the gunpowder barrels and cannon balls in the artillery store. I loved it!

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There are also jail cells for the misbehaving masses…I imagine thieving folks and deserters were thrown in the brig back in the days. I remember going to this gaol in Melbourne and spending the night there. I wish we can do that in Fort Cornwallis.

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It is interesting to note that Fort Cornwallis saw no actual combat to date. Thus, unless you unleash hell at the fort, it’ll remain relegated as the fort that never went through the tribulations of war.

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It’s such a sad title. Who will do the right thing? Who here is righteous enough, with fire in their bellies and steel in their balls? Who here will attack Fort Cornwallis tomorrow?

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Okay, enough crap.

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We headed over to QE II after that. It’s a nice beachfront place, but that’s not saying much on an island. ;)

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I took random shots of historic looking structures…

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…before we adjourned to Khoo Kongsi.

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Khoo Kongsi (RM 5) is located in some back alley in Penang and still maintains the housing facilities for clan members. Kongsi is a benign triad of sorts, a clan if you will. This is the Khoo clanhouse.

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Khoo Kongsi used to be a miniature village and most of the facilities can still be seen around the compound.

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However, it is first and foremost a temple, and there are a lot of intricate sculptures and carvings at the temple.

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There are surviving members of the Khoo clan up to today. The rooms hold an exhaustive list of the Genealogy of Khoo, aptly called Numbers.

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I’m kidding but it really lists down every single Khoo that came in FOB from China to the ones who’re alive (and kicking) with degrees from Australia, US and England.

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How times have changed…

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Continuing along the same theme, the next stop also retraces our cultural roots – it’s the Cheong Fatt Tze Heritage Tour. It should be noted that no cameras are allowed inside the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.

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However, no one is going to stop you if you go around snapping photos (except for the tour guide, but don’t worry about her ;)).

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The tour costs RM 15 and it’ll be quite informative for those of us who have, somewhere along the line, lost track of our Chinese culture and heritage. I count myself as one amongst this lost generation and I found the tour to be quite enlightening – especially the bits about why they had water in the middle of the courtyard.

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The reason they have water in the middle of the courtyard is…er, I forgot. :p

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Nevertheless, it’s a good introduction to Chinese culture. I learnt that the good Cheong Fatt Tze couldn’t ride first class on a ship to England due to racial prejudices back then. He was so pissed off that he threatened to start his own shipping fleet. He could have done so easily with his considerable financial clout but finally the British acquiesced and let him ride first class.

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He was also known for breaking bowls before shipping them to avoid taxes against china (as in the delicate tea cups and saucers, not the country) and reassembling them back in Penang. Very interesting. I would advice giving the overpriced souvenir store conveniently located at the end of your tour a pass and go camwhore with the props outside.

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Next stop: Bukit Bendara a.k.a. Penang Hill!

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…but not before refueling with the famous Penang Assam Laksa at Pasar Air Itam. It’s on the way to Penang Hill.

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Penang Hill is a hillside resort located in Air Itam. I wanted to go on the funicular railway that brings you to the peak of Penang Hill in 30 minutes. A funicular railway is just a fancy way of saying the railway runs on a steep incline. ;)

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Bukit Bendera (Flag Hill) refers to Penang Hill’s highest peak – Flagstaff Peak. I figured the ½ hour and 2 km ride to the top would be fun since it was a pretty warm day. Unfortunately, all tickets were sold out except for the 8:30 PM. It would be way too dark by then for any decent photography so we decided to head back to the hotel and come out again later at night.

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I managed to get a photo of the Penang Hill Railway. This is the funicular railway (the only one in Malaysia) that propels you to the top. Propel might be the wrong word to use since it takes ages; a leisurely ride is more like it.

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You can get to this vantage point by going to the restricted Exit area when you see the train coming down. I don’t think the train driver liked me being there though. ;)

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Anyway, we got back to the hotel, showered and rested for a while. It was raining heavily that night so a lot of options were closed. It’s a good thing we already went to Gurney Drive the previous night. Cheryl and Kah Wheng picked us up and took us to eat the Hokkien Mee in Penang, which is very different from the Hokkien Mee in KL.

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We ordered Hokkien Mee as recommended. I had mine with square fish balls and pork ribs. You can actually choose what ingredients you want to be in your noodles – eggs, roast pork etc. Penang is a Hokkien bastion and Hokkien Mee is one of its famed delicacies.

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It tastes like what KL people would call Curry Mee. This is authentic Penang Hokkien Mee and to go with it, we ordered a platter of O Chien (oyster omelet). It was a good choice for soaking up all the alcohol we’ll be drinking later that night. ;)

soi 11

We headed to Soi 11 for a drinking session since it’s a Saturday and we’re due to fly back the next day. I remembered ordering several buckets of beer…

soi 11 chicks

…and sculling it. I also vaguely remember meeting some local chicks and getting their numbers. The Memory Keeper (TM) went on sick leave and I couldn’t remember much after that. Heh! I told you I shouldn’t mix, Cheryl. ;)

soi 11 us

Now…where are we? Okay, the drinking session ended at around 2 am and Cheryl and Kah Wheng sent us back to Cititel. The Memory Keeper (TM) also kicked in around that time and I remember we have to eat the famous Sup Torpedo at Sup Hameed. It’s conveniently located right outside the hotel and it’s only open from 6 pm – 3 am, though they extend (LOL!) the opening hours when there are customers.

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Bull’s penis is the shiznit…

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…and for some strange reason I couldn’t sleep that night and ended up ordering room service (in Penang?!?!?). I didn’t know what I was thinking but when I woke up I found the remnants of a club sandwich. I can’t remember if I paid for it but the room was charged under my credit card, so I just let it be.

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Jesus, eating room service in Penang. I blame inebriation for this sin. :p

The RM 1,000 bankroll kindly furnished by MAS is still looking healthy and there’s only one more day to go!

Next up: Penang Day 3!

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28 thoughts on “Saturday in Penang: Penang Hill, Fort Cornwallis, Seri Rambai Cannon and Sup Torpedo

  1. I never been to Penang before..I love all that historical stuff there. It’s right up my alley. Great pics! Sir Francis Light doesn’t look too light at all, he looks like a big guy at 10 feet tall LOL! I guess he didn’t get sand kicked in his face by any local bullies then.

  2. i had been to the fort conwallis (vague memory of me getting into the hut with the creepy old figurine), and to the temple (unfortunately it was under renovation when i went) and to bukit bendera… ah, the good old days with my family.

  3. HB, as a Southeast Asian which kind of dipping sauces you like the best for Hainan Chicken? I know there so many recipes but not sure which one the local like the most.
    Love the photos it really show what a wonderful place you been to. The cost must been a lot.

  4. You brought the shame outta me cos’ I’ve been to Penang and never bothered with the ‘touristy’ stuffs. Perhaps I should plan a complete trip of Malaysia instead.

  5. cwee: Nice! I love Penang too! :)
    Shirley Snow: Yup, have been doing research on where to go coz I haven’t been to Penang since I was a kid on a family trip. :)
    Jeff: I haven’t been to Penang for more than a decade. A lot has changed, you’ll love it! :)
    Haha! I doubt he was harressed by the locals, the British had superior firepower. ;)
    shaoweii: The sup torpedo tastes good. :)
    It did have an effect on me, the morning after though, but I’m not sure if that is due to the sup torpedo…have to take a few tastes, er…I mean TESTS to know. ;)
    WEEN: He’s English so I supposed he’s Caucasian. :)
    maggot: Yeah, a lot has changed…but my Penang hiatus was longer – way more than 10 years. I think I was 12 the last time I went. :)
    cindy khor: That’s nice! We used to take family trips every year too…and the return trip usually takes us to Peninsula so I’ve been around these parts too. :)
    Erica: I like the garlic chilli sauce they have for chicken rice…but soy sauce with Hainan chicken rice is pretty good too. :)
    It doesn’t cost a lot – managed to do Penang (inclusive of hotels) for less than RM 1,000. :)
    claire: Hello Claire! Thanks for reading! :)
    The last photo is a club sandwich from Cititel, you mean the sup torpedo? Highly recommended, I saw it in Going Places (the MAS in flight mag) and wanted to check it out straight away. Good thing it’s just outside the hotel.
    Have fun on your trip to Penang! :)
    KY: Indeed it does. :)
    Trey: LOL! Thanks mate! :)
    Familiar Stranger: I totally understand, and you’re not alone. Most people I met in KK hasn’t been to Mt Kinabalu either, much less climbed it. I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that you’re so used to it being around. :)
    ShaolinTiger: Eh really? Tastes like curry mee to me. So it’s prawn mee eh? Thanks for the correction. :)

  6. Drea: Yeah, I think I’ll love it too. I saw the brochure but didn’t get to visit in such a short amount of time. :)
    WayeYoung: Cheers mate! :)
    LOL! Yeah that would make an interesting photo. ;)
    J2Kfm: Really? Sup torpedo is a stimulant? What do they put inside?
    eiling: Yeah, coz I went there on vacation. ;)
    However, I haven’t been to a lot of tourist places is Sarawak…

  7. umm, Cornwallis is not exactly regarded as a big hero around here ( NC in the US). More akin to , well, Bededict Arnold. On the other hand, those that win the wars get to write the history books. And as a guy that served in uniform for almost nine years, during a time of no major ( from my perspective, at least) wars, I agree with the old saying – they also serve, who stand and wait. Too many old animosities, just waiting to rear their ugly heads, to the misfortune of the present generation. Tom

  8. You mean like ” tear this wall down”. If the collective peoples of this planet would stop pissing away resources on arms ( and I speak
    as a former military officer) persons on this planet could achive wonders. But there is the rub, HB. Somebody ALWAYS wants to be in control. For their own purposes. I read a book by Thomas Berger, called little big man. One thing that stuck in my mind was a statement by a guy who was reponding to bible verse, the lion shall lay down with the lambs. the guy said, “thats ok, as long as you add fresh lambs once and a while”. What a terrible thing to say. But true. Tom

  9. tom robinson: Yeah, like the phrase goes, history is written by the victors. I like the excerpt from the book – I shall go hunt it down. Cheers! :)
    mknace: Thanks! :)

  10. wow , touchy situation, hb. Much like here, in NC, but I would be cosidered a traitor, had I lived back then. I would have had to be on the side of the north. Much as I revere j.e.b. stuart, and longstreet, not to mention r.e. lee, they were wrong. Let me say it again. WRONG. I could no more own another human as slave, then I would be one myself. I guess that is why i am not a member of the masons. I was offered membership, and thought it a great honor. I had often wondered why my dad declined. ( three of his brothers were members, as well as his uncle, who he loved like a father. Once I went, I knew. and declined any further association. I remember comming home that night. He said, well what did you think? I said, ” not for me, I guess” Know what he said? ” Good, I thought so, but you had to make up your own mind”. Tom

  11. Simon Seow: Heh! I knew I ordered something when I got back to the hotel. I’m wondering why I felt the urge to order a club sandwich when we had just eaten the sup torpedo. :)
    bongkersz: De facto pose with a cannon. ;)
    Probably something to do with the male psyche.

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