Leap of Faith

A walk through the narrow alleys and lanes of Georgetown quickly reveals the incredible diversity of religious institutions that history has woven into the fabric of Penang. It is a sensory exploration of faith. Hindu drums and the Muslim call to prayer reverberate through clouds of Chinese incense and the wafting scent of strands of floral offerings.

During one of our explorations, we stopped at the Kapitan Keling Mosque. At first, Freda wasn’t quite sure whether she would be allowed in, as many countries do not allow Westerners or Western women to enter. But as we approached the mosque Continue…

One of these Things

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Could it be the Mickey Mouse statues at Kek Lok Si? They have Porky Pigs and Donald Ducks as well.

Kek Lok Si Illuminated

To celebrate the year of the rabbit, Penang’s massive Kek Lok Si, the largest Chinese temple in Malaysia, has been decked out with 12,000 red and yellow Chinese lanterns as well as over 250,000 decorative bulbs. In addition to the temple, the newly constructed super-pagoda built to house Kek Lok Si’s 30 meter (100 ft) Kuan Yin statue is also being lit up each night. The twinkling complex sitting high above historical Georgetown gives a whole new meaning to the term “Buddhist enlightenment.”

Chinese New Year’s Eve Celebration

For years, Ken has been talking about the amazing food back home. So when Ken and Freda announced their plans to visit Ken’s family during Chinese New Year, we were immediately on board. What better time of year to visit than during a holiday which is all about eating.

When we walked into Ken’s oldest brother Jimmy’s home for the celebrations, I wanted to jump in delight. A table covered with a dozen different dishes had been placed in front of an altar in the living room. It looked promising. But I had to hold back, it wasn’t yet Continue…

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Gong xi fa cai, everybody. Congratulations, get rich. We are in Penang, Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year with my mother, Freda, and her husband, Ken. Close friends and family know that Penang is not just another random destination in our explorations. No, Penang, or more precisely nearby Butterworth, is Ken’s hometown. After more than 17 years, we will finally be meeting Ken’s family and experiencing a real, down home Chinese New Year’s celebration.