Penang - City of Malaysia
Penang is a state in Malaysia, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.
MALAYSIA National Animal : Tiger
Penang, originally part of the Malay Sultanate of Kedah, was given to the British East India Company in 1786 by the Sultan of Kedah, in exchange for military protection from Siamese and Burmese armies who were threatening Kedah. On 11 August 1786, Captain Francis Light, who was credited as the founder of Penang, landed in Penang and renamed it Prince of Wales Island in honour of heir to the British throne.
Many early settlers succumbed to malaria, earning Penang the "the White Man's Grave" epithet.
Unbeknownst to the Sultan, Light had acted without the approval of the East India Company when he promised military protection. When the Company failed to aid Kedah when it was attacked by Siam, the Sultan tried to retake the island in 1790. The attempt was unsuccessful, and the Sultan was forced to cede the island to the Company for an honorarium of 6,000 Spanish dollars per annum. This was later increased to 10,000 dollars, with Province Wellesley on the mainland of the Malay Peninsula being added to Penang in 1800. An annual honorarium of 10,000 ringgits continues to this day be paid by the Malaysian Federal Government to the state of Kedah.
In 1826, Penang, along with Malacca and Singapore, became part of the Straits Settlements under the British administration in India, moving to direct British colonial rule in 1867. In 1946 it became part of the Malayan Union, before becoming in 1948 a state of the Federation of Malaya, which gained independence in 1957 and became Malaysia in 1963.
The island was a free port until 1969. Despite the loss of the island's free-port status, from the 1970s to the late 1990s the state built up one of the largest electronics manufacturing bases in Asia, in the Free Trade Zone around the airport in the south of the island.
On 7 July 2008, Georgetown, the historic capital of Penang was formally inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside with Malacca. It is officially recognized as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.
Penang enjoys a year-round equatorial climate which is warm and sunny, along with plentiful rainfall, especially during the southwest monsoon from April to September. The climate is very much dictated by the surrounding sea and the wind system. Penang's proximity with Sumatra, Indonesia makes it susceptible to dust particles carried by wind from perennial but transient forest fires, creating a phenomenon known as the haze.
The Bayan Lepas Regional Meteorological Office is the primary weather forecast facility for northern Peninsular Malaysia.
The common languages of Penang, depending on social classes, social circles, and ethnic backgrounds are English, Penang Hokkien, Tamil and Malay. Mandarin, which is taught in Chinese-medium schools in the state, is also increasingly spoken.
Penang Hokkien is a variant of Minnan and is widely spoken by a substantial proportion of the Penang populace who are descendants of early Chinese settlers. It bears strong resemblance to the language spoken by Chinese living in the Indonesian city of Medan and is based on the Minnan dialect of Zhangzhou prefecture in Fujian province, China. It incorporates a large number of loanwords from Malay and English. Many Penangites who are not ethnically Chinese are also able to speak in Hokkien. Most Penang Hokkien speakers are not literate in Hokkien but instead read and write in standard Chinese, English and/or Malay.
The official religion of Malaysia is Islam and the head of Islam is the Yang Dipertuan Agong, but other religions are freely practised. These are Buddhism, in the Theravada, Mahayana and increasingly also Vajrayana traditions, Taoism, Chinese folk religion, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Sikhism- reflecting Penang's diverse ethnic and socio-cultural amalgamation.
There is also a small, but little-known, community of Jews in Penang, mainly along Jalan Zainal Abidin.
Penang's historic architecture is centred mainly in George Town. Its rows of 100 year-old shophouses and colonial villas give Georgetown its distinctive atmosphere. Penang was the venue for several historical movies, such as Anna and the King and the French film Indochine.
The best way to capture Penang’s mixed heritage is to stroll around town. The aged buildings are noted for their faded colours and crumbling walls. Old houses have columns or multi-coloured Peranakan tiles. The Aceh Mosque is the oldest house of worship in the city. The smell of incense drifts in the air amidst gold settings of Burmese, Thai and Chinese temples. The Khoo Kongsi is a traditional form of Chinese art with its delicately carved wooden panels. Other long-time occupants include elderly Chinese shopkeepers, colourful Indian food stalls and trishaws with their drivers.
Healthcare in Penang is provided by public as well as private hospitals. The healthcare system in Penang is widely perceived to be good, and the public healthcare system first established by the colonial authorities was supplemented by healthcare provided by local Chinese charities, and Christian missionaries such as Roman Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist missionary groups. Hospices are also increasingly becoming the choice for long-term and terminal care.
Penang General Hospital
Balik Pulau Hospital
Seberang Jaya Hospital
Bukit Mertajam Hospital
Sungai Bakap Hospital
Kepala Batas Hospital
Gleneagles Medical Centre
Pantai Mutiara Hospital
Loh Guan Lye Specialist Centre
Lam Wah Ee Hospital
Penang Adventist Hospital
Tanjung Medical Centre
Mt Miriam Hospital
Srigim Medical Centre
Bukit Mertajam Specialist Hospital
Bagan Specialist Centre
In addition to public hospitals are numerous smaller community clinics. Private hospitals supplement the system with better facilities and equipments. These hospitals cater not only to the local population but also to people from other states and health tourists from neighbouring countries. Patients from the Indonesian city of Medan across the Straits regularly visit these hospitals for quality treatment, and because the cost is less than in places like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Penang is, therefore, actively promoting health tourism.
MALAYSIA National Bird : Rhinoceros Hornbill
MALAYSIA National Flower : Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa sinensis, locally known as Bunga Raya
MALAYSIA National Game : Badminton