21 July 2015

Penang's Role in World History

Georgetown, Penang

I thought I'd join in with today's "Tell Me About Your Town" link up. The theme is history, and the town where I live currently has played an interesting role in world events in recent centuries:

 Penang is part of the UK's previous colonial territories in SE Asia. The story of how it became part of the British Empire is a sketchy one, involving the Sultan of Kedah, Captain Francis Light, and the East India Company.

Francis Light's Grave
Sir Frances Light's Stone in the Cemetery

The island was occupied by Japanese military forces during World War II. The current "War Museum" is run on the location of the old military base, built by the British and later taken over by the Japanese army in 1941. The European inhabitants of the island had been evacuated before the occupation, which left only the local people to suffer at the hands of the Japanese invaders until they surrendered near the end of the war in 1945.

Thomas Leonowens, the husband of Anna Leonowens, of The King and I/Anna and the King fame, is buried in the Old Protestant Cemetery in Georgetown.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen stayed in Penang for a short time during his political career, in 1910. Road to Dawn is a historical fiction film that was made on location in Penang, that references this episode in Sun Yat Sen's life.

2004 Tsunami Damage

2004 Tsunami Damage
One of the homes in our neighborhood, post-tsunami

In 2004, Penang was hit by the Southeast Asian tsunami that devastated so much of this part of the world. The tsunami caused significant damage to the island and the lives and livelihoods of people here. I wrote the story of how this tsunami affected our neighborhood here.

A number of famous people in more recent history hail from Penang. Ever heard of Jimmy Choo? He was born on this island. A former prime minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is also from this state.

Learn anything new? I collected just a few of the historical facts that I've always found most interesting about this state. If you have any of Penang's history that you'd like to share in the comments, please do so!
Anonymous said...

Yep, I definitely just learned something new. Actually, pretty much everything you mentioned in the post was new to me. Very cool!

Melissa Camacho said...

Thanks for linking up with us!! I absolutely LOVE learning about places I've never been, but especially other countries! The pictures are so fun. I love the first one with the bike.

Jaelan @ Making Mrs. M said...

How cool!
I love learning about different places. It sounds like your city has a really special place in history.

Jennifer Prod said...

Jimmy Choo, huh? I've heard of the guy, but certainly never worn any of his stuff. Maybe someday! Also, your pictures in this post are expressive and beautiful - perfect coffee table prints :)

Ali Hval said...

Yep, definitely learned some things! I've heard of Jimmy Choo... had to look him up to remember who he was though, haha. These photos are incredible. That first one especially!

Caravan Sonnet said...

Wow!! This was so fascinating to read Rachel!! Thank you so much for sharing!!
:) Rebecca

Anonymous said...

I didn't realise you lived in Penang! Found your post fascinating, thank you! (I must admit that I've always wanted to know a little more about the try story behind Anna and the King - I shall Google for more details later!).....goodness, had no idea your community had been affected by the to read your post about that now....Helen xx P.S. What an absolutely fabulous idea for a blog series!!!!

Annie | MontgomeryFest said...

oh wow! this is fascinating! those post tsunami photos hurt my heart :/

Shybiker said...

Interesting. I'd never heard of it before.

chelsea @ the new wifestyle said...

wow! sounds like an intense history, thank you for sharing. thank you also for linking to talking about the tsunami that occurred, i hadn't read that post and my heart is still beating fast reading it. i'm so glad you were all okay - that would be such a traumatic thing to be a part of.

Amanda Moments said...

I'm so so so glad you joined us for the linkup this month. Your post is especially fascinating because it's in ANOTHER COUNTRY! Wow, I remember the news of that tsunami. Thank you so much for sharing more about your town!!

Tayler Morrell said...

I LOVE Anna and the King! So cool that part of the story happened on your island!