A New Dawn

Penang is undergoing change – change to catapult it into a modern city with modern architecture and infrastructure, with modern art and ideas. Penang is experiencing a new dawn.

Penang Sunrise

In addition to massive projects such as Gurney Wharf and the new outer ring road linkages, Penang’s heart is gradually transforming, slowly being renewed.

Just take a look at the old streets that branch off Lebuh Pantai – you wouldn’t recognise them anymore.

Penang Lebuh China
Penang Lebuh China

BM Charity Ride IV Event Review

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

In the stalwart stadium of MPSP in Bukit Mertajam, hundreds of riders gathered to take on the BM Charity Ride version 4.0 at the crack of dawn. BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The stadium is always a popular spot for events in Bukit Mertajam. It’s a popular venue with the regular runners in the area, and there’s an Olympic sized swimming pool around the back. There’s also plenty of parking in the vicinity!

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

Uh…no, this isn’t the swimming pool.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The actual parking lot of the stadium is always converted into an exhibition and staging zone, with canopies, chairs and food trucks lining the boulevards.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei CyclingBM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The BM Charity Ride is one of the only cycling events in Malaysia that I know that gives long sleeved bike jerseys with a zippered pocket on the back.

But I digress. The ride itself was well coordinated – the major junctions were well guarded, although the overall police force was still a little thin.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The police worked very closely with the traffic marshalls to keep riders in line. There was a lot of whistling. At least I assumed it was from the marshalls.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

There was sufficient signage, pointing out directions for riders as well as a few warning signs of impending doom.

There were a few fun climbs of significant elevation, but fortunately the climbs were short-lived and were mostly rolling hills, providing quick relief to fatigued riders.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The midway water station was very well manned and stocked, with plenty of bananas and bottled water to go round twice!

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

Riders were well taken care of, not just by the volunteers handing out goodies, but by the overwhelming number of media personnel – there were photographers and videographers and drones coming out our ears!

Pretty sure there were at least three DJI drones hovering at the starting point.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The route was quite pleasant, with a good view of the hills and palm plantations around BM.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei CyclingBM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

It also took us through the old town of BM, ending up with a nice loop of 48 kilometres.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling
Very colour coordinated marshall

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

After the ride, there was lots of activities to keep participants occupied. Of course, the ever important food and drink!

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

It got hot fast today, so a lot of riders left without much ado. However, the ones that stayed got to try out e-bikes and sample tea and ice cream.

Also, there were lots of goodies for all the school children from the many (over 13) schools in the local region that the BM Charity Ride made contributions to. Always heart warming to see such support for our local schools. Or maybe it was just the heat from the scorching tropical morning sun.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

Overall, a nicely organised ride with emphasis on safety and being family friendly. The speeches were short, the riders were rambunctious, the weather was wonderful. The downside is the pockets on the jerseys weren’t fully attached to the jerseys, resulting in many droopy pouches popping out people’s backs.

Car Pull Guinness Record

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Why are so many people standing around staring blankly? They’re waiting. Waiting for a Guinness Record to be made.

Penang has had no shortage of Malaysian Guinness Book of Record records, but this one actually required some amount of effort! The record was the pull a somewhat heavy SUV a good 51 metres in distance, using only a finger.

The index finger, to be precise.

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Yes, this car (Toyota Alphard, in case you were wondering).

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

The official entry in the Malaysia Book of Records is the “Longest Distance Vehicle Pull with Index Finger” by a Woman.

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Organised by Orient Fitness Penang (the one that is no longer at Gurney Paragon), this record setting event was in aid of D’Home Mental Health Association. Isn’t that heart warming? Or I suppose head warming.

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Looks rather daunting, doesn’t it?

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Well the happy faces clearly indicate that a record was set. And indeed it was – in fact, it was shattered into little pieces! The new distance was over 70 metres!

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Behold our champion!

You could say her fingers have been itching for action since her last attempt.

Well, finger. Singular.

Penang Guinness Book Record Car Pull

Skies Above Relau Sports Complex

Penang Relau Sports Complex

Did you know there is a new sports complex nestled deep in the heart of Penang Island? Welcome to the Relau Sports Complex!

Penang Relau Sports Complex Penang Relau Sports Complex

With Olympic size swimming pool and dedicated diving pool with multiple diving platforms, this complex is a swimmer’s paradise!

Penang Relau Sports Complex Penang Relau Sports Complex

Quite striking design, wouldn’t you say?

Penang Relau Sports Complex Penang Relau Sports Complex

The diving boards from a unique angle.

There is also a large badminton complex, with ten brand new badminton courts!

Relau Sports Complex Penang Badminton Relau Sports Complex Penang Badminton Relau Sports Complex Penang Badminton

Penang Relau Sports Complex

And there’s plenty of parking within the complex itself, but if you need there is abundant street parking just down the road.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

The inaugural Asia Pacific Masters Games has just taken place, right here in Penang, Malaysia! Here are some brief glimpses of the Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games that took place in September of 2018.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Now I bet you’re sitting there like the Thinker, thinking to yourself:

What is the Masters Games?

Well, put simply – Masters refers to veterans, or those who are typically outside the range and considered “past the prime” for competitive sports.

Basically the Masters Games is an all-encompassing international multi-sport event, like the Olympics, but for all ages and abilities!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Anyway, this is the opening ceremony for Penang’s Asia Pacific Masters Games.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

It went off with several bangs.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

And of course some speeches.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

And marching.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

And some snazzy song and dance to keep everyone entertained.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

And of course some colourful things to thrill the throngs!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei
The iconic transportation of Penang – the mighty trishaw! Now in technicolour

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Did I mention there were a lot of bangs?

And here’s the swimming segment of the Masters Games:

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

And here’s the cycling segment:

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games HoweiPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei
Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Healthy drinks and sporting events are made for each other! Hope he’s ready for some good business!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Howei

Penang APMG Cross Channel Swim

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Beaches and sun! That must mean…we’re in Penang? That’s right – it’s the Penang APMG Cross Channel Swim!

The what? Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Every year Penang hosts a swim across the perilous straits of Malacca – a whopping 6 kilometres of briny water filled with ships, junk and jellyfish!

So before you start, you need to get your head checked.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim
Yeah, check out this body, baby!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

They’ll check the rest of you for free!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

I jest – it’s not that crazy. I mean, there are people that come from all over the world to swim this channel!

There are dozens of us! Dozens!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

I jest – it’s not that lonely. There’s usually a few hundred brave souls.

And a few thirsty ones that just can’t wait to jump in the water.

This is the day before the actual swim, mind you.

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim
You sick of this view yet?

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim
Hell no!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim
Cute interracial couple (they actually just met)

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel SwimPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim
Ready for launch, comrade captain

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim
One day all this will be yours – to swim!

And now we move on to the actual Asia Pacific Masters Games (the aforementioned APMG)!

Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel SwimPenang Asia Pacific Masters Games Cross Channel Swim

Really, just random shots of Penang.

You likee?

Rainy Round Island

Penang Island Haji Rain Cycling

On the day of Eid al-Adha – the Day of Sacrifice in Malaysia, we did a rowdy ride around Penang Island. We witnessed and endured much, with the rain coming down on us halfway through our ride. There were also some rather gory scenes, with public slaughter of livestock (it isn’t called the Day of Sacrifice for nothing), which I will spare you.

Penang Island Haji Rain Cycling Penang Island Batu Maung Haji Rain Cycling

It’s mostly our usual cyclist shenanigans.

Penang Island Haji Rain Cycling Penang Island Haji Rain Cycling Penang Island Haji Rain Cycling Penang Island Haji Rain Cycling

The Biggest Penang Cycling Event

Do you know which is the biggest cycling event in Penang?

Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam

The name itself might not be the catchiest, but it’s definitely been one of the largest since its inception back in 2008.

That’s right! It’s been running for 10 years straight, and this year they celebrated their 10th anniversary – with a big ride, of course!

Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam

Taking place right in the heart of George Town, at the old field by the sea, this iconic event takes riders over 80 kilometres through bustling city streets (at least not so bustling early on a Sunday morning); Penang’s major highways; up gradual rolling hillsides; past rural kampung areas that people couldn’t imagine existed in modern day Penang; and past picturesque beaches and coastal boulevards.

Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam

There’s almost always a hill in the background.

Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam

And we pass some intriguing gardens and attractions on our way.

Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam

Did I mention Penang is very hilly?

Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam

And of course when there’s lots of people, there’s lot of wacky antics.

Penang Event CFAL Cycling Howei Sam

Monkey Beach Baby!

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
Can I help you?

Welcome to Monkey Beach – a pristine park of Penang’s northern National Park! And yes, there are actually monkeys here! For now.

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Dusty Tree Monkey
Cute guy munching on leaves

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

It starts off with a nice civilised pathway, but wait until you get slightly deeper.

The trail to Monkey Beach is about a 3km hike across semi-forested areas and short stretches of sandy beach.

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

And there’s actually signage! Huzzah!

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Now before you head in, you’ll most likely be accosted by some of the salespeople at the entrance claiming there is a landslide blocking off the passageway to Monkey Beach after the USM campus. This is a bold-faced lie.

They will also insist you need a boat to access the beach, and will insist you pay a deposit to ensure you have a boat ready to take you wherever you need. You do not need a boat.

But it’s still nice to take a boat ride on the way back after you’re exhausted from all that hiking. However, you can easily get a return trip by boat from Monkey Beach itself, or wherever there is a jetty.

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Access to this National Park is also entirely free! That’s right – FREE!

All you need to do is list down your personal details in case you run away with the monkeys and they need some names to put in the news.

Monkey Beach Penang National Park ExploreMonkey Beach Penang National Park ExploreMonkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Watch out for the little critters!

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
A little disrepair

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
Filthy flower flipping me the bird

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
Things start to get a bit messy further in

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
Fancy some jelly?

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Hermit Crab
A shy little guy

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
Returning to nature

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Hermit Crab Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Dusty Tree Monkey

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
Slightly cheekier type of primate lurking nearby

You’re bound to meet plenty of wildlife in here, as long as you keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you. Just make sure the wildlife doesn’t make off with your sunglasses.

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
If you see this, you’re almost at Monkey Beach

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
So lazy they couldn’t even be bothered posing for a picture

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
I wasp here too!

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

You can even go for a swim in the relatively clean (but still murky) salt waters of Monkey Beach!

Just watch out for the watercraft and jetskis and banana boats.

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
Horsey taking a bath

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
My poor attempt at underwater photography

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

The best part is after you spend the better part of an hour trudging up to the beach, you can easily hail a speedboat back to the starting point. All for the cheap, cheap price of RM50 per boat!

I wouldn’t bother booking them beforehand, which the salespeople are wont to encourage you to do before you step foot into the park.

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore

Monkey Beach Penang National Park Explore
You leave now, yes?